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Economical But Appropriate Stationery

With all the political goings on here in Wisconsin I’ve become a letter writer again. The best way to get a legislator’s attention is with a handwritten letter, so that’s what I’ve been doing.

Now when I was younger, single, and childless I bought some Cranes stationery with my name engraved at the top. It’s nice stationery, in Monarch size (7.25 x 10.5) which is a little more personal than letter size. It’s their 32 lb paper which is stiff and heavy, and being 100% cotton it’s got a great feel.

It’s also quite pricey – about $2 for a single page letter. As I wrote my 20th letter to someone in Madison, I realized that while I want to send a message I was probably being a little frivolous.

After a few pointless trips to the local office supply stores, where I found a narrow selection of nice paper but almost no envelopes, all at high prices, I checked out Xpedx.com. Xpedx are a paper distributor, but they sell online and have several walk-in locations where you will find a huge selection of paper. They had a few choices in 100% cotton paper, along with matching envelopes. For less than the cost of 100 Crane engraved letters, I could get 500.

A ream Crane’s Crest 24lb 100% cotton paper and matching envelopes cost just over $100, about $70 of that being the envelopes. As I need to I laser print my name at the top and contact info at the bottom of the sheets and my return address on the envelopes. I can always print some for my wife or daughters, so it’s nice to have that flexibility. 100% cotton gives me some piece of mind that a letter will survive being carried around for a while, should I ever write anything that eloquent. I do write other folks as well, and cotton paper just feels so much better than wood-pulp paper.

The 32lb paper cost about three times as much – about 30% more for a ream of half as many sheets, and it seemed that if I was going after some economy it was silly to go after the increased weight. The 24lb is also thinner and packs in less space when I travel. It’s plenty stiff enough to have good feel, I can write on both sides even with a wet nib, and a four-sheet letter is less than an ounce.

While I’m very happy with my choice, if I was going to do it again I would consider going with 25% cotton 24lb writing paper. I picked up a ream of that to use as desk paper at the office, and it actually writes a bit nicer than the Crane’s, feels almost as good, and it’s about 40% less (on the paper).

The side of the Crane’s where the watermark is reversed is much nicer to write on, which is something to keep in mind when printing the letterhead info. It wrinkled a bit on the edges coming out of the printer because of the heat, but after a few days it flattened out again. The envelopes took a bit of a curl when I printed them, but they too flattened out after a while.

So now I have some paper fancy enough but cheap enough that I feel good using it.

2 comments… add one
  • Sarah November 2, 2011, 9:07 am

    It is really nice to see that someone is still writing letters. I really miss things coming through the letterbox that aren’t bills. I hope all your recipients are appreciative.

    • Steve November 2, 2011, 10:24 am

      Hi Sarah,

      Thanks for the comment!

      I think most people are appreciative, but I don’t always get a reply back. That’s ok.

      I think it’s more important than ever to write letters. Here in the US the postal system is under pressure to reduce costs, and we may well lose the ability to send letters if we don’t work to preserve it. Fortunately all we need to do is send more letters 😎

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