(I promise the giveaway is real and not an April Fools joke. Just happens to fall on the 1st!)
Tomoe River has been a paper that is loved by the fountain pen community due to the unique interaction between the paper and ink. Ink shows incredible shading and sheening properties on Tomoe River paper and the paper can take a large amount of ink before bleed through is an issue. New Tomoe River paper is manufactured in a slightly different way and the comparison between the two does show differing properties (although the pros and cons of this change are debated).
Since the announcement that the manufacturing process of Tomoe River paper was changing, the interest in new paper types has increased dramatically as stock of the older version of Tomoe River paper dries up. This interest has driven an increase in notebooks using a variety of paper types.
Musubi recently released a notebook using Cosmo Air Light 83gsm paper.
The exterior of the notebook is covered in a light colored cotton and matches the other notebooks in the Musubi lineup of Tomoe River paper and Bank paper notebooks. Each notebook is a slightly different neutral color.
The Cosmo Air Light folio notebooks are available in blank, 7mm lined ruling, and crossgrid paginated. my Cosmo Air Light is the blank notebook (blank is best!)
As with all of the Musubi folios, the notebook is only branded on the lower right corner of the front cover.
Musubi CAL lays flat and stays open to your page although new notebooks might need a bit of encouragement at first.
The Cosmo Air Light paper has a very slight color – somewhere between white and ivory. It was hard to notice this color during use.
I tried to test many different characteristics on this paper – bright colors, shading, showing multiple ink colors, sparkly inks, sheening inks. Above is the front side of my testing page, below is the back of the same page.
There is a slight bit of show-through with Cosmo Air Light 83gsm, but very little. The camera actually picks up more show-through than what is seen in-person. Sheen is another piece that is hard to show here – it is quite high in-person.
To show this comparison a bit more clearly, I ran the same tests on a Musubi Tomoe River folio.
Above: Front side
Below: Back side
Cosmo Air Light paper:
Cosmo Air Light paper with watercolor, front (above) and back (below)
Tomoe River paper:
Musubi Tomoe River paper with watercolor, front (above) and back (below)
Cosmo Air Light paper is thicker, less show-through, doesn’t wrinkle as much with water, and shows brighter colors than the Tomoe River paper. I did notice that the back side of the Cosmo Air Light paper appeared shiny after the watercolor had dried:
The back side of the paper with watercolor was still great for writing – the shininess didn’t affect the quality.
After the writing and watercolor, the pages only showed slightly when the notebook was closed – no major wrinkling even with the water.
To wrap up the comparison, here’s a short list (TR for Tomoe River, CAL for Cosmo Air Light):
Size: TR A5, 384 pages; CAL A5, 208 pages
Price: TR $35; CAL $25 (approximate pricing from Singapore currency)
Paper weight: TR 52gsm; CAL 83gsm
Sheen: More from CAL
Shading: Crisper shading from CAL
Color brightness: Slightly brighter on CAL
Multiple ink colors: More from TR
Show-through: CAL has significantly less
Watercolor: Brighter colors from CAL, easier to blend on TR
Water resistance: CAL superior
Smoothness: CAL has more tooth, TR smoother
I love this new Cosmo Air Light folio. Downsides include number of pages – TR has nearly twice the number of pages, although the CAL does reflect this with a lower price. CAL also shows ink as crisp – very crisp. This could be good or bad – to me it is just different.
I am incredibly impressed with the quality of this new folio and the paper. I do mourn the loss of traditional Tomoe River paper, but at the same time, I’m very happy that this change is motivating new notebooks. I have expanded my daily notebook pile to include a Cosmo Air Light folio and I expect to replace it as soon as it fills up – I’ll also be expanding ink reviews to cover the ink on CAL in addition to TR. This new paper won’t take the place of TR in my heart, but I couldn’t be happier with the quality of the new Cosmo Air Light notebook. Thank you so much, Musubi!
Another thank you is due to Musubi as well. They recently contacted the Well-Appointed Desk to ask if we would give a new Cosmo Air Light notebook to a reader of the blog! In order to enter to win, leave a comment with your favorite feature of the new CAL paper. Details and rules are listed below.
DISCLAIMER: The item in this review was purchased by me and no affiliate links are provided in the post. Please see the About page for more details.
TO ENTER: Leave a comment below and leave a comment with your favorite feature of the new CAL paper. Play along and type in something. It makes reading through entries more interesting for me, okay? One entry per person.
If you have never entered a giveaway or commented on the site before, your comment must be manually approved by our highly-trained staff of monkeys before it will appear on the site. Our monkeys are underpaid and under-caffeinated so don’t stress if your comment does not appear right away. Give the monkeys some time.
FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 10pm CST on Monday, April 5, 2021. All entries must be submitted at wellappointeddesk.com, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winner will be announced on Monday. Winner will be selected by random number generator from entries that played by the rules (see above). Please include your actual email address in the comment form so that I can contact you if you win. I will not save email addresses or sell them to anyone — pinky swear. If winner does not respond within 5 days, I will draw a new giveaway winner. Shipping via USPS first class is covered. Additional shipping options or insurance will have to be paid by the winner. We are generous but we’re not made of money. US and APO/AFO only, sorry.