Podcast Follow-Up: Notebooks for Fountain Pens

current notebooks in use

Yesterday, on The Pen Addict podcast, we talked a bit about notebooks for fountain pens and I wanted to follow-up and include a few other books that didn’t get mentioned.

This is what I’ve currently been using, from the bottom to the top (as they appear in the photo. I’m not ranking them):

  • Miquelrius Grid notebook: I’ve been using this for ink samples, product reviews and pen tests. Its an enormous book and a good value. The paper shows a little show through with dark colors or particularly wide nibs but its a good middle-of-the-road paper at a good price.
  • Paperblanks Weekly Planner: I liked the layout of the week on the left side and an area for notes on the right. I have reviewed this product in the past and will probably do a follow-up towards the end of the year about how well its held up to being toted back and forth to work. Its a warm ivory colored paper and works great with just about every pen I’ve thrown at it, fountain or otherwise. Paperblanks also sells journals and notebooks using the same paper if you’re not in the market for a paper planner.
  • Quo Vadis Habana: This is a slightly-larger-than-A5 notebook with narrow-spaced lines on a creamy paper. Like all of the quality products from Exaclair, this is top of the line. The cover is semi-flexible leatherette and less puffy than the Rhodia webnotebook. Its available in several sizes and cover colors. I purchased mine from Goulet Pens. (Full review)
  • Rhodia Webnotebook: I prefer blank notebooks to lined or grid so I was very excited that the infamous Webbie was available in a blank edition. The paper is excellent. It is available in lined, dot grid or blank and in several sizes in black or classic Rhodia orange. Rhodia recently introduced a 3.5×5.5″ sized Webbie in lots of different cover colors called Rhodiarama. (Full review)
  • Piccadilly Essential Notebook: This is the budget-priced notebook with slightly better paper than the Moleskine that I have come to love. For the price, I don’t feel so bad if some inks show through to the reverse of the page because the cost-per-page is so much lower than most books. I was only able to find lined and grid versions of the Piccadilly when I came across this book. I’ve heard that the binding an spine do not hold up as well as the Moleskine, Rhodia and other brands but overall, for the price, its a good option. See my full review for more information.
  • Clairefontaine 1951: I’ll have a full review posted by the end of the week but I wanted to include it here as well since it is something I’m currently using. It reminds me of an upscale composition notebook in size and format. I find the lines inside a little darker than I like and a little wider spaced than I prefer but its a good size, with top quality paper at a reasonable price.
  • (Not pictured) Luechtturm 1917 pocket notebook: This book lives in my purse or backpack for capturing lists, numbers and ideas on the go. (full review)

I find, like I’m sure you do too, that I like different notebooks for different tasks or projects. I no more want one notebook to rule them all than I would want one pen to rule them all. I need a Sharpie marker as much as I need a fine fountain pen. The same goes for notebooks.

For office meeting notes, I don’t want to commit those to a $20+ leather-bound notebook. The 1951 will be perfect for those tasks as it is good paper at a reasonable price. For saving quotes and recommendations from letters, I use the Quo Vadis. The Piccadilly Essential Notebook is my daily jotter for lists, things I hear on podcasts and other bits of information. Because its an inexpensive book, the Piccadilly is not precious to me. I can write, tape, cut and throw it around without feeling like it was meant for someone or something better.

How many notebooks do you have going right now? Which one is your favorite?

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  1. I’ve tried all of those except the 1951 and Miquelrius. I suspect the 1951 is similar to the Life.Unplugged notebooks also by Clairefontaine. I bought 5 of the Piccadilly notebooks when I saw them for $4 (large size). I figured I had nothing to lose. They do have some show through similar to the Fabriano notebooks but are built better.

  2. I use a Moleskine 18-month pocket weekly planner. The paper isn’t the best, especially with gel pens (which tend to both smear and show through), but I haven’t found any other brands that have the same page format (week on one side, notes on the other), the same size (I need something that fits easily in my purse), and can withstand the beating it takes through living in my purse (I had a teNeues Cool Notes planner that fell apart in under 8 months).

    My diary tends to be whatever’s on hand (I have a BUNCH of blank journals waiting to be written in) but right now it’s a Whitelines one that I got through Lost Crates (the late great stationery subscription service that I miss terribly). My “ideal” journal is very narrow ruled (lots of lines so I can fit lots of text on the page), hard-cover, and spiral-bound with lots of pages. I prefer spiral because I find it easier to write on my lap since I don’t have to hold it open.

    At work I use a regular old Mead spiral.

  3. Ana,
    Congratulations on the Pen Addict podcast. It was one of the best episodes I’ve heard so far, and I hope you do more. I’d pretty much agree with you down the line on notebooks. The Miquelrius line is definitely one of the better values out there. One problem, though: I have a couple of the small ones (flexible cover, grid pages), and the books are so thick–close to 300 pages, I’d imagine–that I simply cannot fill one up. It’s a nice problem to have, I suppose, but it can make the books a tad unwieldy. And thanks again for your defense of the benighted Pilot Metropolitan, although I have to say that His Bradness (a sobriquet I coined, alas) was decidedly more moderate in his evaluation of the Metropolitan with a peer like you in the room. I think it’s definitely the best value in the room. As you mentioned earlier, however, a new user would be advised to opt for the converter upgrade–or, if necessary, to go with cartridges. The stock converter is one of those items that could turn a person off on fountain pens. And we can’t have that now!

    Thanks again,
    Randy Schwartz

  4. LOVED you on the podcast. The podcast is already awesome and you just brought more awesome and some fabulous to it! And again, thank you so much for the kind words and mention 🙂 You all are so kind! This is a wonderful post – I will link to it this weekend. Lots of people will benefit from it!

    By the way, I picked up one of those green 1951 notebooks a few weeks ago – totally thought of you hehe.

  5. I have a Calepino No 3 Papier Blanc notebook in my pocket at all times and love it. Paper feels great and behaves well with fountain pens.

  6. I just stumbled across your website and your podcasts. Awesome! Love it! Now I need to catch up!

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