The Clairefontaine Back To Basics Le Carnet 1951 notebooks are cardstock-covered and a cahier style. The covers are flexible cardstock, perfect for folding open or back as needed. This book is 5.8″ x 8.3″ and contains 48-pages. It’s staple-bound in two places and is filled with 90 gsm paper.
They remind me of composition notebooks. I love this size for office notes especially with its diminutive page count that is perfect for one project. Sometimes, larger notebooks have too many pages and I have to put multiple projects in the same book. Sometimes I just want the old project GONE. So this notebook is a good option.
The only real rub for me is the wide line spacing and the slightly darker-that-I-prefer lines. One or the other issue wouldn’t be so bad but both wide ruled and dark lines make me sigh — I wanted to LOVE this notebook with abandon but now… I just hope the paper quality makes up for it.
The paper inside is smooth, bright white. There was little to no show through on the reverse side of the paper. The Parker 21 with the Noodlers Violet had a tiny bit of bleed through but everything else had no ill effects on the reverse. I could defintiely use both sides of each sheet without issues.
Once I got ink on the page, the lines didn’t bother me quite as much. I did discover that some inks did not dry fast enough on this paper — at least not fast enough for a messy lefty. I think if I stick to some of the inks that pride themselves on quic-drying, this would not be an issue. Pencil handled beautifully on this smooth stock — a Blackwing on this paper is a fabulous combination!
I did a series of drying time tests just to get a better idea if all, or only some, inks took a long time to dry. None of the inks I tested were specifically formulated to be “quick-drying” so I think I shouldn’t have too much trouble once I try a quick-dryer. At this point, the Lamy Blue Black performed best so as long as I’m not too impatient, I should be okay with this notebook.
As I’ve said before, being a lefty can be a pain. Sometimes, I have to decide between really good paper that might not allow for quick ink drying and cheaper, more absorbet paper that might bleed through or spline. This book, since the price point is so reasonable, is a good chance for me to have good paper, even if it might not become my everyday notebook. Is it everyone’s dream to have the perfect all-tool notebook?
A set of two Clairefontaine 1951 notebooks are a mere $8 a set so its totally worth it to try them out.