Review: Federal Supply Service Notebook

Federal Supply Service Notebook

When I spied this perfect-shade-of-green, hardcover notebook with plain white, lined paper for a mere $9, I thought I may have found notebook nirvana. It is totally no-fuss. There is no pocket, no ribbon book mark, no elastic on the spine. Its just a simple green notebook.

Federal Supply Service Notebook

Printed (industrially) on the cover were the words “Federal Supply Service (GPO)” and a long code. I did some internet research to discover that federal means FEDERAL. This is a notebook used by the US Government, usually purchased by contract for military troops. So that code on the cover is totally official. Which made it even cooler to me.

Federal Supply Service Notebook interior page

The book measures 5″x8″. Inside, the paper is a simple white with notebook-style blue lines. I’d compare them to American collegiate width lines (6mm). I get a warm, sentimental vibe from the blue lines. It reminds me of the spiral notebooks and loose leaf paper from grade school in a pleasing, grown-up hardback book.

Federal Supply Service Notebook writing sample

What made me cry a little was that this paper was about the same quality as school notebook paper. Fountain pen ink soaked in like Kleenex. Felt tip pens blurred. Luckily, gel pens, ballpoint and pencil performed fine.

Federal Supply Service Notebook writing reverse side

Despite the iffy ink endurance, I still like this notebook. Its sturdy, inexpensive and all-business.

I purchased my copy of the Federal Supply Service notebook for $9 at Hammerpress in Kansas City. Army Navy Surplus shops or eBay may be good sources to pick up your own copy and probably a bit cheaper than I paid.

Check out what other people have said about the Federal Supply Services notebook:

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13 comments / Add your comment below

    1. must…have…that…pen…
      I have several Kaweco sports, but hadn’t seen the Art series until this post. I love it. I want it. I’ve been looking worldwide on the web but everywhere that stocks it is sold out of the amber.

  1. Funny, I was using mine just today. It is my ink inventory book and I got it from the government. They were standard issue for notes at the CDC. And I love the look of the book, but you are correct…paper is awful.

  2. “This is a notebook used by the US Government, usually purchased by contract for military troops.”

    This is news to me. As a former Fed, I can say that this type of notebook was ubiquitous across the government, and not necessarily purchased for military troops.

    As for the quality of the paper and its ability–inability–to play nice with ink, it’s entirely to be expected when the purchaser is the government (Federal Supply Service) and budget constraints are a paramount consideration in purchasing decisions.

    Perhaps if the principal purchaser WERE the Defense Department, as the reviewer seems to suggest–“usually…for military troops”–then we might expect the notebook to be a bit more, perhaps even a great deal more, than was found to be the case here. You know what I mean: capable of being written on in zero gravity; capable of withstanding high G-forces; able to withstand rain, and other adverse climatic conditions.

    Sort of the stationery-store equivalent of the $600 toilet seat of fabled memory. Sadly, it’s just a bound collection of sheets of paper, contracted for on behalf of Uncle Sam and all his nephews and nieces by some poor purchasing officer in some anonymous cubicle in some dingy basement somewhere in DC.

    Now maybe if they could persuade the Pentagon to become the contracting entity, then we could expect to get a notebook truly worthy of our Iroshizukus and our Diamines. There’s a plank in a party platform we scribblers could get behind, eh?

    1. Old Federal Supply books from the Sixties and Seventies are better with FP ink. The ink doesn’t bleed through like in the photo above.

  3. As an active duty Marine, I can tell you these are ubiquitous. They are used for log books of all kinds (Everything in the military has its log). I have two that I use in my day-to-day work. Also, woe betide the officer who doesn’t carry one of these around all day.

    1. I don’t know how Hammerpress ended up selling these notebooks. As far as I can tell, these are sold only to government and military bases. Maybe you can ask a friend or family member who works in the military or government office if they can acquire one for you.

  4. I know this is a 5 yr old post, but I just came across it looking for an alternate supplier of these notebooks.
    I’ve been using them exclusively for about 5 years. I find the paper about equal to the over priced Moleskines. The paper in these green notebooks though does not have the same finish as Moleskine or many other notebooks, but the bleed through in a Moleskine is just as terrible. I have found these green notebooks to not bleed through when I use a fine or extra fine nib fountain pen.

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