Dana,

You probably know this, but the Fabriano needs to be acid treated prior to use. 5% oxalic for 10-15 minutes seems to do the job for recent batches. It seems to be even more buffered than it used to be.

Last time I tried Strathmore 500 it sucked. Acid didn't seem to help. This was probably over a year ago.

Rives BFK is a winner. Excellent for gumovers, as is Fabriano Artistico. Personally, I like the thinner version of BFK (175 gsm, I think), but the 280 gsm works well, too.

Are the Van Gelder papers gone for good? I miss Simili Japon/Socorro.

Hope that helps...