Posts Tagged ‘notebook’

Review: Rhodia Ice Notepad

Rhodia Ice covers

I finally got a chance to see what all the hullabaloo surrounding the new Rhodia Ice pads is all about. In honor of its 80th anniversary, Rhodia has released a white covered version of its classic notepads. I got the No. 16 (6 x 8.25″) which is a good desktop sized, comparable to an A5 or Steno pad. The logo is metallic silver on the warm white, matte-coated cover. Inside, the paper is white with a light grey grid.

The Ice notepads are available in lined or graph, both with the same light grey ink for the lines. The Ice notepads all feature the same high-quality paper that the original Rhodia notepads use.

Rhodia Ice writing sample

Since my Rhodia pads tend to have the cover folded back from the moment they are unwrapped, the color of the cover isn’t all that big of a deal. But I’ve avoided anything but the blank Rhodia notepads because I find the purple lines to be too dark and distracting for me. The grey lines in the Ice notepads is such an improvement! The Ice notepad is a lot more usable to me than the standard lined or graph in the orange or black notepads.

I much prefer the grey lines to the standard pads. I might have to stock up on the Ice pads in case they discontinue them.

Prices for the Rhodia Ice pads range from $2-$9, depending on size, on Goulet Pens.

Tested with my Kaweco Skyline Mint with Kaweco blue ink. Seemed like a good icy companion.


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Rhodia for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Upcoming: Blackwing Slate Notebook

Blackwing Slate profile view with elasitc pencil loop

It’s a week chock full of new notebooks. The new Blackwing Slate is an updated version of the Blackwing Luxury notebook. This time the notebook is hardcover but uses the same polymer leather-like material. The branding is center at the bottom of the back cover and not central across the cover.

The size looks like an A5-ish at about 5×8″ and has 160 pages.

The spine is canvas with an elastic loop along the spine to hold your coveted Blackwing pencil. The paper inside is 100gsm and is available light grey lines (that look quite similar to the current format) or blank.

The new Blackwing Slate adds a ribbon bookmark and a pocket inside the back cover. Since I’ve been using my Blackwing Luxury notebook as my daily book for awhile, I can tell you that the absence of the catchall pocket is keenly felt. I’m glad they’ve added this feature.

The new Blackwing Slate will retail for $22.95 and is expected to be available in limited quantities by the end of July. Check with your favorite retailer or pencils.com to order.

Blackwing Slate notebook branding

Upcoming: Moleskine Voyageur Notebook

Moleskine Voyageur

Moleskine recently announced a new addition to their notebook line, the Moleskine Voyageur, A Traveller’s Notebook. The notebooks start shipping this week so this seemed like a good time to take a closer look.

The Voyageur notebook does not follow Moelskine’s standard sizing. The Voyageur is 4×7″– a little smaller than the regular A5-sized “medium” and a bit larger than the “pocket”. Its also clothbound instead of leatherette. And currently, it is only available with a brown cover. I feel like this is Moleskine’s attempt to capture some of the enthusiasm that exists around books like the Midori Traveler. Even the name is awfully reminiscent.

Moleskine Voyageur

Inside the front of the notebook are pages with information about creating printable sheets to insert into your notebook as well as a map.

Moleskine Voyageur

The pages are color coded along the edge to visual indicate three separate paper choices: lined, dot grid and blank sheets for various projects or type of note-taking. There are three color-coded ribbon bookmarks that match the various sections in the book.

Moleskine Voyageur

In the back of the book are pages that are perforated along the vertical to make to-do lists.

Moleskine Voyageur

And finally, in the back is a pocket for storing ephemera. A sheet of stickers is included with the notebook as well. I’m not sure how useful the stickers would be but I appreciate the effort.

MSRP for the Voyageur notebook is $24.95 US but vendors like Amazon are offering the Voyageur a little under retail.

Is this a notebook you’d consider ordering? I’m intrigued and I like the multi-functionality of it. I don’t think the paper will be any better with fountain pens than standard Moleskines but all the little extras make it seem like its a better value than a plain Moleskine. What do you think?

Review: Pen & Ink Pocket Sketchbook

Pen & Ink Sketchbook cover I picked up the Art Alternatives Pen & Ink Sketch with medium weight paper in the pocket (3.5×5.5″) size. I chose the blank version though it is also available in graph and lined plus a heavyweight paper version. In the images on Jet Pens, the lines on the lined and graph looked much too dark for my liking. I’d rather use a blank book with a guide sheet. It’s described as medium weight (80gsm) paper, but it feels like the same weight, maybe a tiny bit heavier, than Moleskine’s standard paper.

Pen & Ink Sketchbook Pocket

From the outside, its pretty indistinguishable from a Moleskine pocket hardcover. It has a stiff leatherette cover, elastic closure and a ribbon bookmark. Upon opening the book, the paper is a soft white and there is a gusseted pocket in the back. If you like Moleskines but wish for a cheaper alternative, at first glance, this would make a great option at a mere $8.

Pen & Ink Sketchbook writing sample

Pen & Ink Sketchbook  reverse of writing sample

Comparing Moleskine to Pen & Ink Sketchbook

There’s a few things that actually make the Pen & Ink Sketchbook a better value than a standard Moleskine. First, the bookmark is sealed on the end so it shouldn’t fray. Also, the paper is slightly better quality than the Moleskine paper. Not epically better but, in a side-by-side comparison, there is less feathering and splining with the Pen & Ink paper than Moleskine (shown on the left). With everyday writing tools like rollerball, ballpoint, gel, pencil and fine-nibbed fountain pens, I found the paper totally acceptable. Yes there is a little showthrough but nothing that wouldn’t be expected at the paper weight and price point. The elastic closure also feels more durable. We’ll see how it performs overall but it feels like it will survive longer than a Moleskine elastic.

This is an everyday pocket notebook at a very reasonable price. It has 96 pages (192 sheets) which is comparable to three Field Notes for about the same price. So, if you prefer a hardcover pocket notebook with the classic good looks associated with a Moleskine, this is a good alternative. If you’re hoping for more substantial paper, you might consider the heavy weight paper version (145gsm) instead.


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Jet Pens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

 

Field Notes Colors Edition “Arts & Sciences”

Field Notes Arts & Sciences Edition

I finally got around to opening my Field Notes Color Edition “Arts & Sciences” notebooks.

Field Notes Arts & Sciences Edition size comparison

The Arts & Sciences edition really do feel like a Hagrid-sized version of the classic Field Notes. At 4.75″x7.5″ they are substantially bigger than the standard Field Notes’ 3.5″x5.5″ size but not as large as a standard A5 (6×8.25″) notebook. They live in a happy, in-between place.

Field Notes Arts & Sciences Edition

This Colors Edition, due to the larger size and slightly increased page count (64 pages compared to the regular 48-pages in a standard pocket Field Notes), came with two books instead of the standard three-pack. Everything about this edition seems to similar BUT different! And I like that.

Field Notes Arts & Sciences Edition Inside Pages

Inside, the pages are printed on the right hand sheets. The Sciences edition is printed with quadrille graph lines and the Arts edition is printed with lines. Both are printed in a pale “Academy” grey.

Field Notes Arts & Sciences Edition Back covers

Both the covers have embossed logos with metallic silver ink and a coordinating icon on the back. The red book is the Arts edition and features palette, paintbrush, ink, tape, pencil and more on the icon. The Sciences edition in the dark grey color with an icon with a DNA chain, beaker, celestial bodies, and amoeba and more. How long before someone gets one or both of these as a tattoo?

All in all, I love that Field Notes continues to experiment with each version of their Colors Editions. Now that they’ve added size as a variable, it seems like the possibilities are endless.

Remember, the Colors Editions are limited so order a set or two today ($9.95 per 2-pack). Or subscribe and receive the Arts & Sciences edition and future editions as soon as they are available.


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Field Notes for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Review: Plumb Goods Notebooks (& Giveaway)

Plumb Notebooks from Knock Knock

The folks at Knock Knock recently launched a new line of paper products called Plumb Goods. These are a collection of notebooks designed by artists to help inspire creativity. Every book in the collection includes a full-color card with information on the artist.

The products were each so different that this is a super image-heavy post. Every book deserved a full view so this is really a review of FIVE notebooks, not just one.

(more…)

MosseryCo Paper Goods

MosseryCo Pocket Notebook

Whimsical illustrations on the covers of the MosseryCo pocket notebooks are what caught my eye when I wandered into their Etsy shop. These 3.5×5.5″ rounded corners pocket notebooks feature 52 pages of acid-free 120 gsm paper. A set of 9 different, illustrated pocket notebooks can be purchased for $36 or individual notebooks can be bought for $6 each. Plain paper covers are also available, individually or in a set.

MosseryCo Pocket Noteboos

What really caught my eye was the hardcover, refillable notepads. The covers looks like vintage books with the quaint illustrations ($20 each) and refill paper can be purchased as needed in different designs ($7 each). The notepads are about 4.25″x6.5″ and are also filled with 110 gsm acid-free paper. There are 110 sheets in each pad and the pads are perforated for easy removal.

MosseryCo Notepads

MosseryCo Notepads

(via MosseryCo’s Etsy Shop)

Ask The Desk: Long-lasting, Archival Notebook

Ask The Desk Header

 

Brody recently emailed me this question:

Since I got back into pens, I have become really enamored with Fountain Pens. I have been burning through notebooks trying to find good fits for FPs. I also started journalling – one for my daughter, one for my son, and one for me. I started off with the Piccadilly leather-something… and now I realize that if I keep going with this journalling, when I start vol. 2 I might not find a good match. Piccadilly seems to be erratic and in odd supplies. Are they going down for the count?

Anyway – I want to find a good journal that is solid and will last a long time, as well as something archival AND in a format that is likely to be around over the years as I fill them up. Knowing that nothing forever, what’s a good bet? Although I don’t use Leuchtturm 1917, I thought maybe it would work well… many colors and solid paper. Other thoughts?

 

Piccadilly does cater to the budget market like overstock shops so it can be hit-or-miss to find their on a regular basis. Their web site lists retailers who stock their products. Some people have mentioned issues with the binding over time with Piccadilly so I wouldn’t rely on it for archival journals and keepsakes. I use a Piccadilly for work notes which are not relevant by the end of the week so I don’t plan to pass mine down to future generations.

If you are actually looking for multi-color pages, The Ciak Multicolor Journal might be to your taste.

fabriano-classic-blue-large-artists-journal-6.25-x-8.25-pfa503lg-2

Fabriano used to make one too, for years, but I can’t seem to find anyone selling them now which is sad. They do make a version with an array of white, cream and kraft colored paper but not the rainbow of colors they used to make.

Fabriano has made paper for centuries I think so they would be a good bet though I have not used the paper with fountain pens but it is designed for artists using pencil and pen so it might work well. You may be able to find some Fabriano sketchbooks in a local art supply store.

Rhodia Webnotebooks might be a good option. Excellent paper for fountain pens, well-constructed hardbound books and Clairefontaine has been around for awhile and people love the Webnotebook line so they should be available for years to come. There aren’t a ton of cover colors, black and orange at present but their smaller Rhodiarama line have many different colored covers.

Leuchtturm 1917 neon covers

I think the Leuchtturm1917 should be around for awhile, its good quality and reasonably priced. Its not super high end paper so some wider nibbed pens might bleed but it has the potential to be a book you’ll be able to find for years to come. They come is several sizes and configurations and have lots of cover color options, including a up-to-the-moment neon option at present.

The classic black, artists sketchbooks from Stillman & Birn, Canson or Cachet might also fit your needs since they are all similar sizes and designed for artists so the paper quality is good (usually 65lb or higher) and reasonable priced (between $10-$15 for a 8.5×11″ size). They are available in an A5 and a US Letter size no matter which brand you choose. Some offer a square or spiral bound option as well. And, to butcher a Henry Ford quote,  you can have colored cover you want, as long as you want black. Any art supply store will carry one of these brands (or something comparable) so you’d always have access. I’d recommend the Stillman & Birn to start — the Alpha series paper is not too thick and excellent with fountain pens — though its not as widely available as the other more widely distributed brands.

Cachet Classic Black Sketchbook

Most modern notebooks should have fairly low acidity paper, even if its not labelled “archival.” The artist-grade sketchbooks are definitely archival. I would recommend storing completed journals and notebooks in a dark, dry location (like an opaque plastic tub in  a closet or attic) after its completed to protect it from light degradation or moisture which will could be a bigger threat than the archival-ness  of the paper.

Out Of Pages Notebook Subscription Service

Out of Pages Notebook Subscription Service

Out of Pages is a subscription service that will send you a new notebook on a specified schedule — every month, or every 2,3,4, or six months or once a year. They break up the costs for the more frequent delivery to an initial fee plus a monthly charge spreading out the costs of the notebooks throughout the year.

They have a limited selection of notebooks: just Moleskines and Field Notes at present but if either of these are your notebook of choice, then this is a great way to keep a fresh one coming as you need it.

You can get a fresh kraft paper Field Notes sent to you every month for $4.20/month. Or a large (5″x8″) Moleskine hardcover can be delivered quarterly for $12.80 up front and $5.60/month. Or get a combination of notebooks on differing schedules.

I love the idea of subscription delivery of items you use regularly, be it socks or notebooks so I think there’s a lot of appeal to this. I hope Out Of Pages will add some other notebook options like Rhodia Webbies or Doane pocket notebooks for a greater variety or options in the near future.

Would you subscribe to a service like this?

Field Notes: Arts & Sciences Colors Edition

Field Notes Arts & Sciences Edition

Today Field Notes announced the newest edition of the Field Notes Colors series: Arts and Sciences. The books are most notable because its a set of two different notebooks– one for arts, one for sciences– and because these books are larger than your average Field Notes at 7.5″ x 4.75″. Isn’t that awesome?

Field Notes Arts & Sciences Edition Size Comparison

Both notebooks have Mohawk Loop 110lb covers printed with  silver ink. Inside are 64 pages of Finch Opaque 50lb paper, the same stocks used in many earlier editions of the Field Notes. The Arts edition has a brick red cover and features “Academy Gray” lined paper on the right hand side and blank sheets on the left for a combination of drawing and writing. The Sciences edition has a dark grey cover and engineering-style grid on the right hand side and blank on the left hand page in the same “Academy Gray”.

Field Notes Arts & Sciences Edition Paper Stocks

On the back covers are seals for the two houses of thought: arts and sciences in the same silver as the cover logos.

Field Notes Arts & Sciences Edition seal

Pack of two (one of each) is available for $9.95 or subscribe to the quarterly Color Subscription for one year for $97. Remember, the Colors editions sell out fast.

Stillman & Birn Paper Sampler

Sillman & Birn sketchbook paper sampler

At the Spectrum Live Art Event I was lucky enough to pick up a couple packets of paper samples from Stillman & Birn. I’ve always been a little flummoxed by their notebook naming system so actually getting a little 4×6″ bit of each paper available was such an eye-opener.

There are six different kinds of paper; three types of paper at the 100 lb/150 gsm weight (Alpha, Gamma and Epsilon) and three types at the 180 lb/270 gsm weight (Beta, Delta, and Zeta).

For the most part, the lighter 100 lb/150 gsm is plenty heavy enough for most writers. If you are planning to do more mixed media, collage or art journaling, you might want to consider the 180 lb/270 gsm papers. To me, these feel more like cardstock than paper.

Sillman & Birn sketchbook paper sampler

I used the same tools on all six papers from an assortment of pens to a brush loaded with ink and a Sharpie marker. All the papers performed admirably and I don’t think anyone would be disappointed by any of them. Even my flexible nib dip pen did not bleed, though on some of the papers it took several minutes to dry (not uncommon for dip pens though).

Stillman & Birn paper grades

The Delta (180 lb/270 gsm) and the Gamma (100lb/150 gsm) are both warm ivory stocks. The Alpha and Beta papers are both cold-press (which means they have some texture to the paper like watercolor papers). Because the Alpha is a lighter stock the tooth to the paper is less noticeable. The smoothest papers are the Epsilon (100lb/150 gsm) and the Zeta (180lb/270 gsm).

Sillman & Birn sketchbook paper sampler

The lighter weight papers were my favorites. I could see using them to write or draw and were thick enough to handle a little water color or ink washes. They would be more than enough for me under most circumstances. The Alpha sample got a lot of ink pooled on it and buckled a little bit as did the Epsilon. The cream ivory Gamma paper stayed flat. The Alpha and the Epsilon were my favorites. The Epsilon is smoother so my tools had very little resistance. The Alpha paper is a little toothier, providing a bit of friction which is helpful with rollerballs and slick gel inks. The Epsilon is probably the most comparable to Canson and other makers of the classic black sketchbook though the paper is a bit heavier weight (better).

Sillman & Birn sketchbook paper sampler

The heavier 180 lb270 gsm papers withstood all the inks and the Sharpie marker without being worse for the wear . The Zeta is smooth to the touch, the Beta has a little tooth to it and the Delta is the creamy ivory with some texture as well.

Sillman & Birn sketchbook paper sampler

From the reverse of the papers, you can see the top row is all the 180 lb/270 gsm papers and the bottom row is the 100 lb/150 gsm papers. There is the merest hint of the Sharpie marker but no actual bleed through.

All-in-all, these are excellent papers and I can see what all the fuss is about now. The best source for Stillman & Birn sketchbooks is Goulet Pens. They stock all six paper stocks in the 5.5×8.5″ A5 size and a few of the other available sizes of the Zeta (smooth, 180 lb/270 gsm). Prices start at $18, about the same as a Moleskine and the S&B books are considerably better for fountain pens.

GIVEAWAY: Oh, I have ONE sampler pack to give away. Its just a little thing with one sheet of all 6 grades of paper. Tell me which grade of paper you’re most interested in trying in the comments to be entered to win.

UPDATE: The kind folks at Stillman & Birn have offered to provide the winner of this giveaway with the notebook of their choice and I’ll still send you the sampler pack as well so now there is even more reason to enter!

FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 10pm CST on Friday, June 13, 2014. All entries must be submitted at wellappointeddesk.com, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winner will be announced on Sunday. Winner will be selected by random number generator from entries that played by the rules (see above). Please include your 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 30 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. I’m feeling generous today so, this contest is open to any reader, US and international readers!

Kickstarter: SketchyNotebook

 

Sketchy Notebook Kicktarter project

 

If you liked my post form yesterday of the template guides sheets, you’ll really like the SketchyNotebook Kickstarter project which is an A5 notebook that specifically focuses on providing an assortment of high-visibility page templates for more than just lined paper. There are templates for grid, film/animation storyboarding, 3D perspectives, and more — all printed on water-resistant vinyl stock for durability.

Sketchynotebook templates

One notebook plus your choice of three templates starts at $30 and there is about two weeks left in the campaign.

Sketchynotebook drawing sample

Hop over, check it out. Let me know what you think and if you’ll be funding this project.

(Shout out to My Pencil Draws Worlds for the tip)

Review: Rite in the Rain All-Weather Notebook & 3×5 Notecards

Rite in the Rain All-Weather Notebook and 3x5 notecards

Reader RJ recently retired from the Marines and sent me some spare Rite In The Rain products to review. RJ sent me a standard All-Weather Field Book in sand, a package of 3×5 Index cards and some pens that are recommended for use with the Rite In The Rain paper.

What I learned from my experience with the Rite In The Rain materials is that, if weathering the outdoors, this paper is the bomb. It is limited in the type of writing equipment that will work with the paper though. That said, when outdoor endurance is a factor, the tools that do work with the Rite In The Rain paper work great. I compare it to hiking gear. A good pair of boots, the right wicking fabrics and cushioned, wool socks are all important but may not be the same outfit you’d wear to your sister’s graduation. Rite In The Rain notebooks and notecards are not what you need if you work in an office park. But if you go spelunking on the weekend or need a place for game notes for your rugby team, you might want to consider Rite in the Rain a viable option. If its good enough for a Marine, its good enough for your weekend camping trip.

Rite in the Rain All-Weather notebook cover

The notebook itself is a clean simple design with a soft cover tan cover printed with brown ink branding. Simple and a little bit “retro cool”.

Rite in the Rain extra pages

In the back are all sorts of tactical keys for notetaking. I was fascinated by all the various symbols and diagrams and envisioned how I might utilize them for my own short hand. Could designing greeting cards benefit from being mapped out with range card prep graphics? Probably not.

Rite in the Rain tear test

The paper itself is tan to match the cover with brown solid lines running horizontally and finer dotted lines running vertically to create a combination lined-and-gridded paper. Because of its water resistant properties I wanted to test if the paper could be torn (as shown above). It can tear fairly easily with your fingers so its not indestructible but it will resist water and live to tell about it.

Rite in the Rain Notebook

At the bottom of each page is  a scale indicator “1 square = ________” which I found charming but probably not useful for most folks, most of the time. Also, I discovered that after I had opened and closed the book a few times, it did not close flat. The book does not include a ribbon bookmark or elsatic. The binding is pretty tight which will probably make it more durable but I’d definitely recommend a belt or elastic of some kind or smash it between stuff in your backpack.

There are no added pockets or accoutrements in this notebook. If any notebook had a right to be all business and no frills, Rite in the Rain would be it.

Rite in the Rain Recommended Tools

But let’s get down to the tools and how they perform on the paper. When I started testing the papers, I used a bunch of tools trying to see how many worked. In the end, I decided to show you what did work. If you want to invest in this sort of field book, use the right tools for the job. And a fountain pen, no matter what ink you choose, is NOT the right tool.

So here goes:

Rite in the Rain recommended markers

Markers with an alcohol base work great on the Rite in the Rain paper. Basically any plastic-tipped or felt-tipped pen advertised as permanent or waterproof should work. Sharpie markers, Zebra Mackee Double Sided Name Markers, Staedtler Lumocolor Permanent, Marvy LePen Technical Drawing Pens  and even the Pilot Envelope Pen (though its a rollerball, it seems to work okay once it gets going).

Rite in the Rain recommended pencils

Pencils are aces on the Rite in the Rain paper. I tested both wood-cased and mechanical pencils and they booth work fine. Softer leads like HB  and softer worked better than 2H pencils and harder. Partly because the paper is not a crsip bright white but a soft tan so softer leads show up darker and more legibly.

Rite in the Rain recommended ballpoints

My least favorite writing tool is the ballpoint but, for Rite in the Rain, they work well. If you’ve got a drawer full of neglected dime store ballpoints, Rite in the Rain paper will welcome them and withstand the elements.

I forgot to mention that the 3×5 notecards use the same heavy weight paper in the notebook (or just a tiny bit heavier). The notecards are only printed on one side, the backs are blank which I think made them extra useful.

Rite in the Rain reverse side

But the big “ah ha!” was that there was no bleeding, feathering or show through when the recommended tools are used on the Rite in the Rain paper. That’s right. If you love Sharpies, this paper is for you. The ink sits up on the paper and does not blur or feather like Sharpie markers normally do on most paper. The same could be said for all those wide, inky behemoths like the Copic Ciao brush pen. No bleeding. No show through.

Rite in the Rain, in water

And finally, what you’ve all been waiting for… how water resistant? THIS water resistant. I drop the two notecards I used in the earlier photo into a bowl of water. Plopped them in and fully submerged them. I even let them soak for awhile until they got limp. Then I pulled them out of the water wiped them with my hands and set them on the ledge on the patio to dry.

Rite in the Rain, dry

You can see the water droplets still clinging in some places but not a bit of the ink or pencil budged.

In the end, the notebook is probably a bit too rugged for most of my needs. My idea of outdoorsy is going to a yard sale but I really like the 3×5 notecards. I think keeping a stack of these in my glove box along with an all-weather writing tool like the Rite in the Rain ballpoint. It is a perfect emergency note kit. No cup holder coffee spills will mar my next grocery list!

Final note: The Rite in the Rain products definitely got me thinking about the advantages of all-weather paper and notebooks. Despite their pen-variety limitations, in the right circumstance, its more important to capture those notes, ideas or tactical maneuvers than it is to use your favorite fountain pen. It makes me want to go back and try the Expedition Edition Field Notes again with this in mind.

(Thanks to RJ for his kindness in sharing these products with me. Its readers like you that keep this blog going and I appreciate it immensely)

Link Love: Four P’s and some I’s

Link Love Link Mascot

Inks:

Pens:

Paper & Notebooks:

Pencils:

Penmanship:

Field Notes: Shelterwood Edition

Field Notes Shelterwood

Finally! Its the new Colors Edition of Field Notes called Shelterwood. I’m sure you’ve already heard about it already and probably already opened your order, but in case you haven’t… admire it here.

These memo books are covered with a veneer of real wood, laminated to kraft paper. Inside is the same 70lb Finch text weight stock that Coudal has previously used in the “America The Beautiful” edition, this time with lines in “Maidenhair Green”. The staples are gold toned and the logo is silkscreened on the covers in white.

Field Notes Shelterwood

Other people have mentioned it but once the shrink wrap is removed, the books don’t close completely. The covers still feel fairly flexible though I probably wouldn’t risk folding the cover all the way back on itself for fear of cracking the spine.

Since I carry my Field Notes in a leather cover, the not-quite-closed covers don’t bother me at all. If you’re inclined to carry them in a shirt pocket, this might be a little annoying.

Field Notes Shelterwood

Opening the package, the books smell so good. It was like the books were imbued with fresh pencil shavings.

Field Notes Shelterwood

You’ll notice the book in the middle has faint “tan lines”. I had the books in the shrinkwrap with the belly band on, laying on my desk for about a week. For whatever reason, that caused the uncovered parts to darken slightly. If you are hoping to keep your Shelterwoods MINT, keep them out of the light.

Field Notes Shelterwood

Since the paper is similar to America The Beautiful, I didn’t do an extensive writing test. I know that some, but not all fountain pens, pencils, gel and ballpoints work great and markers like Sharpies will bleed terribly. So this time, I just lined them up and gave them a quick test. Results were consistent with the America The Beautiful.

If you love Field Notes, you’ll want to grab this limited edition while you can. If this is your first foray into Field Notes, be aware this is very different product from the regular editions. Enjoy it, collect it but just know this is something a little different.

A Knitter’s Notebook

notebook_pic

All specialty skills have their own languages, knitting is no exception. In fact, it has its own codes to convey patterns and notes in a way that might baffle non-knitters. The new True Brit Knits knitter’s notebook provides a great place for knitters to track projects and pattern notes complete with standard pattern abbreviations and symbols on the inside front cover and a ruler in centimeters on the inside back cover, perfect for measuring your swatches. The kraft paper covers feature red, foil stamped knitting needles too.

It’s compact, A5 size is filled with 28 sheets (56 pages) of 100gms paper with clean white paper, alternating plain sides and 4:3 ratio graph paper printed in a pale blue.  £10.00

(via My Life in Knitwear, shoutout to Laura at The Corner of Knit and Tea for the tip)

New Sponsor: Gallery Leather

I wanted to let you all know that The Well-Appointed Desk has a new sponsor, Gallery Leather!

I reviewed their leather-covered journals and notebooks not too long ago. I wanted to welcome Gallery Leather to the site and hope that you check out all their products which are assembled in the USA in Maine.

Their sponsorship helps keep me in pens, paper and pixels.

Gallery Leather Journals

Link Love: Official Mascot and more catch-up

Link Love Link MascotFirst, I’d like you to all admire my new and fully customized Link mascot thanks to my pal and co-worker Adan who, clearly, is a fabulous illustrator. I think I need Link on a t-shirt!

Now, on to the links:

Paper:

Pens:

Inks:

Pencils:

Misc:

 

Review: Etranger di Costarica Memo Book

Etranger di Costarica Memo Book

The Etranger di Costarica memo book is a simple, little, pocket-sized notebook. The appealing thing for me was ,of course, the transparent plastic cover in a gorgeous lime green. I was really hoping that the cover would be the right size to fit over a standard Field Notes. Sadly, the Etranger di Costarica memo book is a tiny bit smaller than a Field Notes (or other pocket notebook) measuring at 3.3 x 5.4″.

The cover is printed with a little mail carrier icon and the words “mettre le courrier à la poste le courrier est arrivé”, which roughly translates to “put the mail in the post, the mail has arrived”. How can I not like a postally-themed memo book?

The book itself is a white gloss-coated cardstock cover, inside a transparent flexible plastic cover adding a little durability. The book has black paper end papers and a stitched binding (not staples, actual stitching). Inside the paper is white with grey lines and red margin lines, top and bottom. The lines are spaced at a snug 5mm, good for people like me who tend to write smaller than most. The book has rounded corners which I always think make a book look “finished”.

Etranger di Costarica Memo Book

In writing tests, I was pleased with the paper quality. There was no feathering or bleeding though my line widths looked a bit wider on this paper than in other instances. Ah, the strange and wonderful mysteries of paper!

Etranger di Costarica Memo Book

Despite a bit more absorption on the front of the paper, thus creating a but wider line, from the back there was no noticeable show through or bleed. I did not challenge it with a Sharpie marker as we can all assume it will bleed through as it does on any paper that is not corrugated cardboard.

At $3.30 per book, its only slightly more expensive than the standard pocket memo book and since is has a plastic cover, I assume that’s the additional cost. There are eight other cover colors plus clear and refills can be purchased for $1.65 each. Excellent value!

I like the size, the simplicity and the lines. While this won’t replace my Field Notes in the long run, its a nice addition to my notebook arsenal.


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Jet Pens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Review: Banditapple Carnet Notebooks

Banditapple Carnet

Banditapple Carnet

I recently got a selection of Banditapple Carnet notebook samples. I wanted to see the whole line so I got all the samples that were available. Two of the book were the “handy notebook” which is 11x21cm, the same size as the large Midori Traveler notebooks. The smaller book, the “peewee”, is the same size as the Midori Traveler Passport refill. The last book is a bit wider than the “handy notebook” approximately A5 (13x21cm) and is an undated weekly planner notebook.

Banditapple Carnet

Banditapple books are handmade in Vietnam and distributed by the Banditapple Company out of South Korea.

Each book features a card stock paper cover and a matching stitched binding. The books I received are in the Finland Pine, Gingerbread and Hanoi Red.

Banditapple Carnet

The inside papers are different. The grid passport-sized and the weekly planner had white paper while the blank and lined books have ivory colored stock. The ivory stock is described on the packaging as 3G Heritage NT paper while the white paper is just listed as Heritage Paper. All the stocks are 80gsm and printed with soy inks.

Banditapple Carnet

The Weekly planner has 52 weekly + blank pages and all the other books featured 64 pages of paper.

 

Banditapple Carnet

The grid paper is 5mm grid lines. There’s some debate at my house whether the lines are dark blue but I think they are. The paper is really pleasing to write on and there was no bleeding or feathering with any of the pens I tried.

Banditapple Carnet

From the flipside of the paper, there is no show through at all.  Not even a hint.

Banditapple Carnet

I also tested the lined paper of the larger “handy” notebook. The lines were spaced at 6mm and look more grey than blue. I decided to up the game and try the alcohol-based Copic Superbrush to see if the ink would bleed or showthrough since the stock is the same weight as the white grid stock.

Banditapple Carnet

The Copic Superbrush did bleed through but it was the only ink that did. From a daily use standpoint, I prefer the soft, warm color of the ivory stock. And I prefer the grey lines of the lined paper over the darker blue lines of the grid paper.

Banditapple puts its books through their own tests on their Tumblr page. But I am already sold. Especially if you are a user of Midori Traveler leather covers. The Banditapple notebooks area little less expensive than the Midori refills and I like the paper in the Banditapple Carnet notebooks much better. Now I guess I need a large Midori Traveler. Oh, darn.

The best US source for Banditapple Carnet notebooks is Goulet Pens, prices range between $3.50-$5.50. If you know of other shops or online vendors who are stocking Banditapple Carnet notebooks, leave the info in the comments.

Review: Moleskine Art Plus Sketch Album

Moleskine Art Plus Sketch Album

I spent the better part of the last week trying different tools on the new Moleskine Art Plus Sketch Album (large, 72 pages, $13.95) as well as comparing it to the standard Moleskine paper and the “Sketchbook” paper. The reason I spent so much time with it is that it is the first big push Moleskine has made to tout a “better” paper stock. It is listed as 120gsm/81lb paper. Moleskine has also started listing the weight on the Sketchbook paper. I think it says 165 gsm but its hard to see the label on the site.

Moleskine Art Plus Sketch Album Comparison

I purchased the A5-sized book. Its a horizontal or reporter-style format. The new Art Plus Sketch Album does not have many of the elements usually associated with Moleskine notebooks. It has cardstock paper covers, no elastic and only a slit pocket in the back cover. Every page is perforated. The Art Plus Sketch is only available in a few sizes, blank paper only.

Moleskine Art Plus Sketch Album

The first thing I noticed when comparing all three books and papers is that the shade of ivory paper is different for each book. The classic “sketchbook” paper is the most yellow, than the traditional plain paper is a little lighter and the new Art Plus paper is the lightest cream/ivory of all three.

Moleskine Art Plus Sketch Album Comparison

At first, I tested just the Art Plus Sketch Album paper and while the tools I was trying seemed to work well I couldn’t be sure how it compared to the original paper or the “sketchbook” stock so I had to switch to a head-to-head comparison.

Moleskine Art Plus Sketch Album Comparison

I wanted to test an array of materials as Art Sketch Plus somehow suggests an ability to withstand art-grade materials, possibly ink washes, markers and other tools. It’s more firepower than I would normally throw at a notebook but I really wanted to put it through its paces.

Moleskine Art Plus Sketch Album Comparison

Moleskine Art Plus Sketch Album Comparison

There was a little  feathering with my TWSBI Mini EF and the Pilot Iroshizuku Ku-Jaku ink. The Copic alcohol-based CIAO superbrush pen bled through to the back vividly but did not smear or bleed on the paper. The Noodler’s Creaper flex nib was all kinds of feathery mess. I had a bit of a drying issue with the Retro 51 though I did not time it, within the normal time it took to switch tools, my hand did smear the ink. I didn’t see any other notable dry time issues though.

Moleskine Art Plus Sketch Album Comparison

Moleskine Art Plus Sketch Album Comparison

In comparison, the traditional Moleskine plain paper (large reporter, 240 pages, $18.95) had similar results with most tools. The Noodler’s Creaper splines and feathered way worse but the results of the other fountain pens was consistent to the Art Plus Sketch Album stock.

Moleskine Art Plus Sketch Album Comparison

Moleskine Art Plus Sketch Album Comparison

The Sketchbook (large, 80 pages, $19.95) stock had the best results with pen and ink with the least amount of feathering or bleeding.

The bleed through and show through for all three books was as to be expected. The plain paper had the most show through and bleed through making the reverse of the stock useless. The Art Plus Sketch Album had visible show through with all fountain pen inks, the worst being the flex nib and the big, bold Copic brush. If you’re only using felt tips, gel pens and the like, you might be quite please with the usability of the Art Plus Sketch Album. The sketchbook paper had the best two-sided usage. Only the Creaper and Copic had show through on the Sketchbook paper.

After all the testing, I will admit that the Art Plus Sketch Album stock is a minor improvement over the original Moleskine paper but the sacrifices (no hard cover, lines/grid, no elastic or gusseted back pocket) don’t really validate the increased price and loss of features.

There will not be a bonfire after all but I’m not blown away by the new Art Plus Sketch album either. Can I rate it “meh”?

Ask The Desk: Stamp Pads and Federal Supply Service Notebooks

Ask The Desk Header

 

Federal Supply Service Notebook

Zack was curious:

Re: Federal Supply Service Notebook
I was wondering if you have ever seen one of those books in a golden color? I have one ins the green but would love to have a few golden colored ones.

It appears that like Henry Ford might have said, “You can have any color Federal Supply notebook you want as long as its green.” That said, if you’re looking for a durable notebook in a golden color, you might want to try Rite in the Rain.

the stamp pad fairy visited today. let the nerd testing begin!

Rachel asks:

 I love the stamps I bought at your store!

I’m a stamping neophyte and have two basic questions about care and storage.  What is the best way to clean a rubber stamp when I want to use a different color ink?  How should I be storing my stamp pads?  I have rubber bands around them now to keep the lids on, but wonder whether I should have them in some sort of air-tight container to keep them from drying out.

Thanks, Rachel! I’m so glad you like the stamps.

To clean stamps, I use a damp paper towel on a ceramic plate to clean my stamps between colors. After stamping, I wipe the stamp gently on the wet towel and then use a dry towel to remove any excess moisture. If a stamp gets left with ink on it, I will add a drop of dishwashing liquid to the wet paper towel to loosen up and remove the dried ink.

I do not recommend submerging the stamps in water or ever using any harsh soaps or detergents to remove ink.

On a particularly crusty stamp, dip an old toothbrush into a cup of water with a couple drops of dishwashing liquid and then gently scrub the stamp to remove ink build-up.

If you use a stamp pad regularly, keeping the lid closed and stored flat, should be enough to keep the pad from drying out.

As for storing stamp pads, I either use a rubber band to keep the lids sealed or bits of tape, depending on how often a particular stamp pad is used. I store my large stamp pads on their ends so tape or rubber bands are a must for keeping them from drying out. But stamp pads, no matter how they are stored, will not stay fresh indefinitely so use them up and re-ink when possible. Happy stamping!

PS: You might enjoy my post about different types of stamp pad ink.

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