Yay Shiva, a fellow Circa fan! Circa is the Levenger licensed version of the Rollabind system. The Levenger version is spiffier, with some very cool, well made discs. Now I also use Rolla products from Staples, which is Staples branded Rollabind stuff. It's not on the Staples website, but is in the local Staples at excellent prices I might add, though a sparse selection at best. I purchase full sets (covers, sheets, folder, etc.) for under $10 and cannibalize them for incorporation into my current Levenger stuff.
Getting fully on board with Circa does take a little coin because such necessitates the purchase of the hole punch. That said, Levenger does sell sample/starter kit for around $40 last I looked. That was what I got, and it came with a gift card that I turned around and spent with again. Once I tried the sample set, I think I sunk in 150-200 setting myself up with it (I run several books using the system). I have been very pleased with Circa and am now VERY excited that TB is making a Field Journal Notebook. This will only increase my Circa pleasure once I contain my daily planner in the FJN. I better watch I don't swoon when that happens. The merging of my TB and Levenger stuff into one holistic whole might erupt into a singularity of bliss that will leave me reeling for weeks! ;)
(Am I in the right place?)
So: Two types of paper
A. Crane's Crest cotton, cream/ivory
B. Harbor Recycled, white with lines or grid
Tested with Uniball black and a #2 pencil
First observations: The Crane's is heavier. It feels heavier, less flimsy. When I put the paper samples on a dark table, with the envelope under the paper, the Harbor showed the envelope more; the Crane's was more opaque. Both seemed about equally smooth on both sides (I was feeling for grain, and found none)óno right side and wrong side. The Harbor felt a little smoother to the touch overall.
Although the Crane's is cream, not white, it is brighter than the Harbor.
Writing test: The Crane's offers more drag, especially to the pencil. The Harbor shows more ink bleed to the other side.
Personal preferences: I seldom use graph paper, except for knitting charts. I prefer smaller boxes. For the lined paper, I definitely prefer narrower rules; wide rules waste paper. I like white better than colored.
Conclusion: Even though I would rather use white narrow-ruled, I would buy the Crane's ivory unruled. I like its weight and opacity. The difference in drag is not so great that it would overrule the better quality of the paper. I vote for Crane's!
I still need to email all of the paper testers with this info - we were given the wrong weight of the Harbor paper. The sample you received is lighter weight than the kind we had selected. So, that's good news - the correct variety should have much less bleed-through for fountain pen users (and it'll be great for everyone else.)
We will offer the Harbor *and* the Crane paper. :)
I'm still playing with the samples. The Harbor is by no means flimsy, just lighter-weight than the Crane's. But it's also smoother to the touch, so it's six of one, half a dozen of the other. I just wish it came with narrower rules or unruled.
I tested the samples with a roller ball (TUL) and with a fountain pen (fine tip nib) as well as a Ticonderoga #2 pencil. The Crane's sample won hands down in all instances. There was very little drag with the pencil, a little but it was almost unnoticeable. The fountain pen (Mont Blanc) wrote like melted butter. I have never felt such a smooth flow. The roller ball (TUL) a much lessor quality did equally as well as the fountain pen which surprised me.
The Harbor was decent but certainly not the quality of the Crane's. There was some bleed through with both the fountain pen and the roller ball. I noticed a considerable amount more drag with the pencil on the Harbor than on the Crane's
My vote is for the Crane's! Now, if the Crane's can be weather-proofed!
Because I am one of those people for whom "fountain pen friendly" is important, I focused on use with fountain pens. I tested the Crane cotton paper with eight pen-nib-ink combinations. I used a variety of pens and inks.
Lamy Al-Star; cursive italic nib; Private Reserve Invincible Aqua ink
Pilot Varsity; standard nib; blue ink
Waterman Phileas; fine nib; Levenger Skies of Blue ink
Lamy Safari; cursive italic nib; Noodlers Saguaro Wine ink
Pilot Varsity; standard nib; purple ink
Pelikan Future; cursive italic nib; Private Reserve Plum ink
Lamy Safari; cursive italic nib; J. Herbin Rose Cyclamen ink
Monteverde Atlantica; cursive italic nib; Lamy green ink
There was no feathering with any of the inks.
None of the inks bled through to another page.
There was some show-through to the back side of the paper with all of the inks, but this varied.
most show through:
Pilot Varsity with both blue and purple inks; Lamy Al-Star with Invincible Aqua ink; Pelikan Future with Plum ink
some show through:
Waterman Phileas with Skies of Blue ink
least show through:
Lamy Safari with J. Herbin Rose Cyclamen ink; Monteverde Atlantica with Lamy green ink; Lamy Safari with Saguaro Wine ink
The paper is smooth and pens move easily across the paper sample. The paper feels lighter than 24lb ink jet paper.
This is a good paper for use with fountain pens as long as you only need to write on one side of the page. The paper is too light and there is too much show-through with most of the writing samples to use both sides of the page. That said, it is possible to use both sides of the page with SOME pen/ink combinations.