Monday, August 16, 2010

Rhodia Webnotebook

I was very excited to find my new Rhodia Webnotebook waiting for me in my maibox last Friday.  Many thanks to Stephanie and Karen for getting this notebook to me to review.  Be warned, however - this is a lengthy review!

This is the large, unlined version of the Webbie with an orange cover (my photo really doesn't do justice to the brilliant orange colour).  The cover is made of a smooth, rubbery-feeling material and is slightly flexible.  The Rhodia logo is prominently displayed on the front.  Although this is the large version, it really isn't all that large, having dimensions of only 14 x 21 cm or 5½ x 8¼ inches: still quite portable.

The notebook closes with an elastic band; the elastic feels tight and secure when closed.  The elastic leaves some dents in the soft material of the cover when it is removed.

The endpapers are orange.  When I first opened my Webbie, the front and back endpapers and the first and last pages of the book were stuck together with some stray glue and there was a tiny bit of glue on the cover as well.  That seemed a bit sloppy, but at least the pages peeled apart with no harm done.

The paper is very smooth (seriously, if it was any smoother, you probably wouldn't be able to feel it at all), and a pleasing off-white colour that I always think looks so much more sophisticated than plain white.

There is also an orange ribbon bookmark (creased from being folded into the book) - nothing special there.

The book contains a back expanding pocket - again, this seems fairly standard, and I never use these things anyway.  (Do you use back pockets?  If so, what do you use them for?)

One great thing about this book is that the pages lie flat, although possibly not quite as flat as the Heinz Jordan Permanent Sketch Book that I reviewed a while ago, and the pages required more creasing and pressing on to lie in the flat position in the first place.

The Webbie contains 192 pages or 96 sheets, made of "Clairefontaine brushed vellum 90g paper."  I don't really know what "brushed vellum" means, but, as I mentioned before, the paper is very smooth and is an off-white colour.  I tested several pens on the paper:

The smoothness of the paper made all of these pens a joy to write with.  They all performed very well, although there was some very slight feathering with the Uni-ball Vision and the Pilot V5 Hi-Tecpoint (both of which seem to feather on just about everything anyway) and an even slighter, barely noticeable bit of feathering with the Staedtler Triplus Fineliner.  I wouldn't consider any of it much to worry about.  There was slight showthrough with all of the pens, but no bleedthrough at all.

I can definitely see this notebook becoming one of my favourites, and I would also like to try watercolours and some other media in this notebook some day, but that will have to be the subject of a future post.  Now, my only concern is: what will I use it for?  The unlined pages would be ideal for a sketchbook, but it will be quite a while before my current sketchbook is finished and I don't really need another one.  Perhaps a journal of some sort?

Related reviews: The Well-Appointed Desk, Peaceable Writer, Ink Nouveau, Seize the Dave, Comfortable Shoes Studio, The Dizzy Pen, Spiritual Evolution of the Bean, Faint Heart Art, David Wasting Paper, For Love and Idleness, Rhonda Eudaly, Amateur Economist.


  1. How much do Rhodia notebooks run and what is/are their most famous/popular size(s)?

  2. Sygyzy, I have seen Rhodia notebooks available at a variety of prices, but they seem to be generally around $20 or so. Shop around and try to find the best deal. They are available in a small size (3 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches) as well as the large size (5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches) that I reviewed here.

  3. I was wondering about the drying time for Rhodia notebooks? I am concerned that with the smoothness of the paper the ink wont dry quick.

  4. Marco, the drying time will depend on the type of pen that you are using. Most of the pens that I tested dried in 1 or 2 seconds or less. The liquid ink pens - the Pentel EnerGel, Pilot Hi-Tecpoint, and Uni-ball Vision - were slower to dry. The Pilot FriXion was also slower to dry than the other gel pens. I did not have any problems with the drying time in this notebook.

  5. Pretty informative review. Looking forward to seeing your future post on the performance of this sketchbook with watercolors. Nice job!

  6. Thanks, Sunny. I'm not sure when I'll get the watercolour test up, but hopefully it won't be too long, so stay tuned!

  7. Rhodia makes quality notebooks and paper but I'm forever hooked on the Moleskine line. It's an obsession. I have five of them going at the moment; a 5x8.25 as a journal, a reporter's book in 3.5x5.5 for field notes, two plain 3.5x5.5 and one of the new inexpensive brown covered 5x8.25 as an office diary (nice creamy, toothy paper). And I use the inside pockets often, mostly to stash business cards, phone numbers, web addresses etc that I accumulate on the road. I love your blog and your well written reviews.

  8. Thanks, HC. It seems as though there are some people who use one kind of notebook, pen, etc. obsessively, while others are constantly trying different kinds. I am probably the latter type myself. I'm planning an upcoming review that will compare Rhodia and Moleskine notebooks, so stay tuned for that!

  9. Excellent review!
    Between this review and the one you did of the Dot Grid Rhodia, I'm fairly sure that I've already found my next notebook purchase.

    How do they fare with fountain pens, though? Lately, I've taken to writing with my Sheaffer Prelude, but most papers just can't seem to properly deal with FP ink (sad, isn't it? haha).


  10. Excellent review! Between this and the updated one you did of Rhodia's Dot Grid webbie, I'm pretty sure that I've found my first high-end notebook purchase.

    How do the webbies handle fountain pen ink, though? I've recently purchased a Sheaffer Prelude, and use it as a daily workhorse pen for random scribbling and college. Not many papers are up to the task of handling it, though, which comes as a minor source of frustration to me.


    1. Thanks, Apple! I don't have a lot of experience with fountain pens, but I think that most fountain pens should perform very well on this paper. Rhodia notebooks use Clairefontaine paper, which is very well respected in the fountain pen community. I just quickly tried out my Lamy Safari fountain pen in this notebook and it looks great: no feathering, no bleedthrough, and negligible showthrough. The only thing that you might have an issue with is drying time. Because the paper in this notebook is very smooth, the ink may take a bit longer to dry than you are used to, so be cautious with that. I hope that you try out one of these notebooks, because I absolutely love them and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to anyone!


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