From Pukka to Rhodia

Rhodia: Why good stationery matters

A recent story involving a customer has had a nice outcome, and I thought I would share it as it says something about good quality stationery such as a Rhodia notepad. Inara bought a Lamy Nexx M fountain pen last year, in May. She wrote to me just before Christmas saying the pen wasn't writing very well. I knew I was possibly out of my depth so I gave it to Mishka who took it off to Pen Hospital. After a thorough clean out she declared the pen fit for purpose and it was duly sent out.

So imagine my disappointment when Inara got back in touch a few weeks later saying it still wasn't writing properly. She said it didn't flow, losing ink mid-stroke. A disappointed customer and an equally unhappy feeling for me as it felt like there was something wrong with the pen we had sold. She sent the photo below to show the problem.


Again, I took this one to Mishka who immediately diagnosed the problem in three ways:

1 - The pen was being used too firmly when writing, creating the tramline effect. If you apply too much pressure it simply forces the ink out unevenly and so causes the tramlines. To prove it Mishka demonstrated how it happens and as if by's true. In Mishka's own words, a good fountain pen should simply glide across the paper without the need to apply pressure. So step one was to tactfully ask Inara to adjust her writing style to apply a bit less pressure.

2 - What paper was being used? It's an obvious one, but the quality of the paper makes a difference. Or so I hoped - was it all a bit of a myth? I enquired and Inara informed me she used a work-issued Pukka pad. The horror - of all the brands! There was at least some relief that it wasn't a good name like Rhodia. In fact, why not send her a Rhodia pad? I duly picked an A5 Rhodia R pad (in sapphire blue) and sent it off. Fingers crossed, it would actually make a difference.

3 - The final piece of this jigsaw was the ink. To be fair I think Inara was using Lamy'w own ink, but a good quality ink does help and so Mishka felt compelled to send some really good quality ink. She loaded up a Lamy Z24 converter with (her own) Pilot Iroshizuku Kosomusu ink and sent it off with the pad.

A few days later Instagram popped up with pad and ink - it had arrived, and the following day Inara told me how beautifully the pen was writing on the new pad, and the adjusted pressure was also making a difference. See below for proof. Her next step is to petition the powers that be to stock Rhodia pads rather than Pukka. Good luck, although it might be a tough one to pull off.


So the moral of this story is that good quality stationery really does make a difference - invest in a good pen, some quality paper and the best ink you can afford, and see the results flow.

2 thoughts on “From Pukka to Rhodia”

  • creativityinthebox

    Nice materials do make writing a much nicer experience. That said, having just filled about 20 pages of a (Muppets) Pukka Pad with multi-coloured notes, there's also a place for lousy paper and a pen that just writes fast. Maybe it's Rhodia as well as Pukka rather than instead. No point using really nice paper for notes that'll be in the recycling by the end of the day

  • Maria Berry

    As a staunch stationery fan, I find this such a heartwarming story. Thanks for being here for us, BD!

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