Last weekend was the annual Ric Rac Roundup hosted by Bon Bon Atelier here in Kansas City. The event features lots of local artists and craftsman in the nearby parking lot and I got a chance to meet Chuck of Craft Boy Workshop who makes exquisite handbound blank books. I was so smitten I purchased two books. This will be the first of two reviews in the coming week.
I’ll start with his take on the classic Moleskine notebook. Its available in both a comparable pocket size (approx 3.5×5) and large size (approx 5×8.25) sizes. The prces on his books are competitve with a Moleskine which makes them hard to resist. Craft Boy hand stitches his books and covers them in Japanese linen textiles and papers. All his books contain unlined paper (which is my personal preference anyway).
I picked this lovely Japanese linen covered book with a green apple print. It has coordinating brown elastic and page marking ribbon.
The Craft Boy books have a slightly flexible cover and do not include the Moleskine-style back cover pocket but the paper is a warm white felt paper with decent tooth and weight.
I love the easy way that the pages fall open and the classic hand stitching is visible between the signatures. He even seals the ends of the ribbon marker to keep it from fraying — the true sign to his attention to detail and craftsmanship.
Of course, the big test is how it performs under the pen tests. Every tool I applied to the paper performed smoothly with no drag.
The view from the reverse side of the stock show only slight bleed-through from the Pilot Envelope Pen and the noticeable bleed from a standard Sharpie. Most notebooks I don’t even attempt a Sharpie because the paper is so thin I just know it will bleed but the Craft Boy books paper was toothy enough I thought I’d give it a shot to see how well it did and I’d say quite well.
If you are interested in purchasing one of his notebooks, I would recommend emailing him via his website.