Unseating the Firma Flex Notebook?

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Three years ago, I wrote about my favorite notebook at the time, the Franklin-Christoph Firma Flex. It remained my favorite notebook for years, until, sadly, it was out-of-stock for an extended period of time late last year and early this year.

In that time, I went looking for a replacement notebook. This was partially because I wasn’t sure if the Firma Flex would ever be available again and partially because I’ve been looking for a notebook with paper that will better show ink shading.

In a fortuitous happening, Rhodia finally released the Goalbook with white paper. Before the Firma Flex, I’d said that if the Goalbook came in white paper, it would be my favorite notebook. And I wasn’t wrong.

I still love the Firma Flex. It’s a fabulous notebook. But one of the best parts of using a fountain pen is the ink properties. And, for me, shading is the best ink property. Therefore, the white paper Goalbook, with it’s acceptable level of shading visibility, just edges out the Firma Flex.

Now, it the Rhodia Goalbook my dream notebook? No. To take that spot, it would need to have much less ghosting, and a slightly better display of shading.

If you don’t use shading or sheening inks, I’d suggest the Firma Flex over the Rhodia. The lack of ghosting is a truly wonderful thing. But if, after much deliberation, you decide shading is more important to you than a lack of ghosting — as I have — then the white paper Goalbook is the way to go. There is, thankfully, muh less ghosting than Tomoe River, though. At least I’m able to use both sides of the paper.

Comparative Mini Review

Rhodia Goalbook (White Paper)

Rhodia Goalbook

Price: $29.95 + Shipping

Availability: Atlas Stationers | Goulet Pen Co.

Pages: 224 + Planning Pages

Colors: Orange, Black, Silver

Binding: Hardcover, Sewn

Size: A5

Ruling: Dot

Bookmarks: 3

#ed Pages: Yes

Paper Texture: Smooth, not silky

Bleedthrough: 0

Ghosting: 3, writing shows through, but isn’t fully readable. Stamps, dark lines show significantly

Feathering: 0

Franklin-Christoph Firma Flex

Franklin-Christoph Firma Flex

Price: $11.50 + Shipping

Availability: Franklin-Christoph

Pages: 192

Colors: Black

Binding: Hardcover, Sewn

Size: A4, A5, A6

Ruling: Blank, Lined, Graph, Dot

Bookmarks: 1

#ed Pages: No

Paper Texture: Matte, very slight tooth

Bleedthrough: 0

Ghosting: 1 – Only very heavy, dark blots show through.

Feathering: 0

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