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26 March 2012

Pen and Paper Test

I've just swapped over from using the Filofax Time Management Week View insert to the Ray and Steve Enhanced TM Week View insert (must come up with a new name!)

In fact I created a version 2 of the insert with a little bit more room between the lines and some other tweaks to the format. You will see the links to the new version on the post and in the Diary Inserts page.

Having got unused pages of both formats I decided to do a very quick and simple pen test on both pages. I had printed the Enhanced TM insert on some A5 paper I bought in UK from my local Ryman stationery store. It is made by Mondi, 80 gsm and it says for Laser, inkjet printers and copiers, so nothing very special.  I bought a 500 sheet pack, so enough to keep me going quite a while!

So here are the two pages side by side Filofax on the left, 'Steve and Ray' on the right:


and the reverse side:


And here's the stack of pens I used:


It might not be so obvious from the pictures... but here are my findings.

On both pages the CD markers bleed through quite obviously, they are a spirit based felt pen designed for writing on the shiny surface of a CD/DVD, so they will leak through paper easily.  But the Filofax paper seems worse than the Mondi.

Next worst is the Pilot V5 Hi Techpoint this shows bleed through on the Filofax paper, but not on the Mondi paper.

There is some very very faint bleed through on the Filofax paper on the Pilot G1 Grip rollerball.

On the Filofax paper the first four pens are very very faintly showing through the paper, I wouldn't class it as bleed through, it is just the paper thickness really. The 0.5 Frixion is very hard to see through the paper on both samples.

So if anything if you are considering printing your own inserts, try to get a sample of the paper first and try as many different pens as you are likely to use before buying a large pack of the paper.

18 comments:

  1. Thanks Steve - very useful. I usually go for 90 or 100gsm for fountain pen writing (depends what I can get), so I guess it is a balance between good quality paper and how much space it takes up in the binder - the thicker paper does take up more room overall.

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  2. I bought some cream paper from Staples but have found that my lampy pen looks all 'scratchy' when I'm writing on it :(

    I also have found that I can't seem to cut the paper very well for personal sizes. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong but they're coming out all different sizes which is bugging me alot. Does anyone have any tips? I am using the guides on the print out and a craft paper cutting thing - the official name of course ;)

    Cat

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    1. In the print dialogue, make sure you're printing at 100% size. By default, Adobe Acrobat Reader will shrink your pages slightly.

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    2. Hi Steve

      As a 'relevant aside', I'm *very* happy with the cotton cream inserts I've migrated to on my Personal Malden....I generally use pencil only for my diary (believe me, it's necessary!), but where I *have* used fountain pen )cheap Parker with bog standard Parker cartridges), there has been no bleed-through at all. Likewise on the A5 Finsbury where I'm currently trialling the TM Time Management day-on-two-pages set.

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    3. You could always take a ream of A4 paper to a printers and ask them to cut it for you using their professional guillotine. Even when I was charged for cutting A4 into A6 sheets it cost no more than £5.

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  3. Thanks Ray, I did try that after getting it wrong but it's still not working. I think it's my cutting rather than the printing being wrong. I seem to cut the marks off and have to almost guess the last few cuts. Maybe there's a knack to it that I just cant get!

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    Replies
    1. Oh, I see. What you need to do is cut the pages out, rather than cutting the edges off. You should end up with an A4 sheet rather than a few strips of offcut. Don't cut right to the edges, only as far as the crop marks.

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    2. I think you need to do a 'Blue Peter' style video, in the best John Noakes tradition! 'And here is one I prepared earlier' ;-)

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    3. Ah, I think I understand then where I might be going wrong. I just struggle to get a straight line with a craft knife and ruler, even a metal one, so I thought using a proper trimmer would be better. I'll try tonight and see how I get on. But a video would be awesome, though I am feeling a little silly for not getting it right and needing a video lol!

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  4. Blue Peter, John Noakes?? Surely you're not going to launch Ray out of aeroplanes and such like, John Noakes style?? I met John Noakes, Peter Purves and Valerie Singleton many moons ago, as a birthday surprise, I had a tour of television centre and watched the filming. My uncle worked in children's tv,on Jackanory, and later on the news. Valerie Singleton was just so so lovely to me, like the best of aunties and gave me a signed copy of her script and a Blue Peter badge. The badge is still in the loft somewhere. It was the episode where they planted the tree with a memory box, to be dug up in the year 2000.

    In Blue Peter tradition, I have printed off my own Filofax diary. I am delighted with the Ray and Steve A5 amended TM version. I have printed it onto cotton cream 100gsm paper, bought from WHS. I too have made a few changes,in that I have thickened the line divisions and darkened the lines, so that it is not so pale, ie bold. Easier to quickly scan read. Expensive paper, but it just makes using my filofax so enjoyable and such a pleasure. Like most of us, I wonder if Filofax will ever opt for better quality paper and a wider selection of diaries. Keep going Cat, it is well worth the perseverance.

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  5. Heavier weight paper doesn't necessarily take up more space. As an example, an Oxford "signiture" notebook from Staples has 90gsm paper, and its 96 sheets are the same thickness as the 96 sheets of pocket Moleskine that uses 72gsm paper; so the paper is effectively denser, not thicker.

    I agree with Steve about frixion pens; both the 0.5 and 0.7 versions show very little through Moleskine and Filofax paper, and the 0.7 version works particulary well on cotton cream paper (0.5 version can be a little scratchy for faster writers).

    I have tried Filofax cotton cream paper - I actually quite liked both its appearance and tactile quality, but ultimately decided not to use it because the amount of "shadow", and occasional bleed through show with my fountain pen was unacceptable. Check, using you own pen and ink, would be my advice.

    Here's a tip if you do like cotton cream paper - just buy 3 packs of 20 sheets, print (or hand draw in fountain pen) the lines to denote each day, to effectively create your own wotp diary, and then exclusively use Frixion pens to denote both the date and your memos. Then stick last week's sheet into the microwave for 60 seconds (your printed lines will still be there) and re label it for use in 52 weeks time. If you're feeling a little miffed at paying a whopping 8 pence per sheet, you'll feel a lot better knowing that you can re-use each sheet over and over again. And of course, you can apply this frugality to all your other cotton cream inserts too. Obviously Filofax themselves would rather Frixion pens had never been invented, but the money you save could be put towards your next binder, perhaps.

    A blue Frixion 0.7 looks superb on cotton cream, but use a Frixion 0.7 refill inserted into a Pilot G2 body (because it's so much nicer to write with and also because the G2 clip works perfectly on filofax rings).

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    1. 0.7 mm Frixion refills fit the 0.5mm Frixion pens perfectly too and fit the Malden Pen loop as well.


      http://philofaxy.blogspot.com/2011/08/pen-loop-compatible-pens.html

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  6. Steve, many thanks for the link.
    None of my vintage filofaxes have loops that will accomodate either a Frixion or a G2. A stretchy loop would be more useful with the variety of pens available these days..
    However, the design of the G2 clip lends itself very well to being slid down inside the binder mechanism, and clipped onto the topmost ring, almost as if they sat down and designed it that way.

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  7. I have stopped using the Frixion pens now, as I had some writing rubbing out by itself, just through day to day use of my diary I think!! Not enough to stop me from working out what I had written, but enough to make me think I could lose important appointment data. I wonder if anyone else has had the same problem?? I now use the Frixions for day to day lists, ie shopping lists etc, stuff where it doesn't matter if wee bits get erased. That also means that my pens don't go to waste. I have worked out that my diaries are going to be an expense each year, whether bought from Filofax or hand printed. I am kind of justifying the cost to myself by really enjoying the pleasure of using good cotton cream paper in my diary and by thinking well.... Philofaxy (and all the related blogs and task managment sites,)and designing my own inserts, has become firmly one of my hobbies now.... so as hobbies go, the odd purchase of paper and printer ink..... and even the odd outing to London for Philofaxy meet ups.... is not hugely expensive in the long term. Neil, the G2 is a good tip. Thank you for that. I am intrigued. Does putting the paper into the microwave erase the Frixion pen then??? Also isn't there the danger of setting fire to your paper???? I haven't got a microwave, so can't test out the theory, but I am curious anyway!!

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    1. Butanben, 60 seconds in the microwave does the trick. I agree with you that one has to be careful with Frixion - always keep away from warm car dashboards, window sills and the like. I'm doing a long term test using Frixion and a Moleskine, carrying it it my pocket as I work and play, to see if the cumulative effect of warm environments affects the ink - ok so far after a couple of months, although the black ink is a little on the grey side (blue is perfect).

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  8. Actually the Slimline metal FriXIon housing fits perfectly into small penloops, and takes both the 0.5 and 0.7 refills. I'm expecting a major FriXIon haul from Japan tomorrow: colored highlighters and retractable FriXIon pens in all my favorite colors. I'm still a huge FriXIon fan and haven't had any ink disappearance problems this far!!!!

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  9. @Jotje I'm a FriXion fan too and so far haven't lost anything. If only they would create a multi-pen FriXion. Enjoy your haul.

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    1. I know !!!!!!!! That really must be next on their list, right? Would be perfect if you could choose the vessel and insert the refills that you like best.
      Oh, one can dream....!

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