Is it Imitation or Innovation?
I’ve been swatching ink for a few years now as a way to pick from the obvious obsessive-compulsive collection I have on hand. When I started out there was really only one good choice – the Mnemosyne Word Cards. The Word Cards were convenient as they held the business card sized swatches with an O-ring, allowing reordering and removal of swatches quite easily. The paper was a bit toothy, but it was convenient – a good solution for sure.
About two years back Mnemosyne decided to stop making the Word Cards and so I quickly hit up Goulet Pens and ordered a few to keep me going. Eventually those got used up and there was nothing out there to fill the void. That was until Ana over at The Well-Appointed Desk decided to remedy the situation. After researching paper options for months, she settled on some 100lb/160gsm natural white acid-free stock from Europe and the “Col-o-ring” was born.
The Mnemosyne and Col-o-ring books look similar at first but some testing revealed the Col-o-ring is not just an imitation, it actually improved on the original idea. Starting with fit and finish you can see how the die-cut edges of the Col-o-ring are crisp and centered while the Mnemosyne feels like it was rounded with a belt sander. Next I looked at the tooth of the paper (using pencil lead to reveal the texture) and while the Col-o-ring (left) provides a lightly textured surface, it’s not as pronounced so writing with a fine/flex/dip nib is much easier.
The lines on the ink swatched Mnemosyne paper (right) are where the paper tooth and pen nib (Pilot Parallel) caused a little fraying. The Col-o-ring provides a much better surface and no fraying was noticed during testing. The paper, even under heavy ink washes, is feather-free and at 100lbs keeps the bleed-through in check.
The whole deck is finished off in a nice thick chip-board with Col-o-ring debossed into the stock and held together with an O-ring. The deck comes with 100 2″x4″ sheets for about $10 which should keep me going for a while…I think.