The Beech Tree Paper Small Notebooks come in a variety of sets for the plain or lined versions. The blank notebooks are available in a variety of options from single books up to 100 book packs ranging in price from $1 to $100. There are also lined notebook options but not quite as many options as with the blank books.
All the small notebooks are 3.5″ x 5.5″ with 40 pages of 24lb white paper and 100lb covers. The blank books are available with black, white, gray or kraft covers and are available with square or rounded corners.
The lined books are only available with kraft covers and square corners. They feature 0.25″ (6.5mm) lines and a 0.5″ (12.5mm) margin at the top. The lines are a medium grey. The lines are a little darker than I prefer since I do like some lighter and brighter inks and pencil but if you are using standard black or blue ink, the lines should be fine. This is why I tend to choose blank paper and place a piece of guide paper behind my working page rather than use pre-printed lined or graph paper.
Beech Tree Press mentions on their site that their notebooks are unbranded. When they arrived for review, they were wrapped with a plain paper band. Since I received mine for review I wasn’t sure if the plain paper wrap was standard or if all orders were shipped this way. As such, once the band is removed, there is no indication as to where the notebooks were purchased. If you use your notebooks quickly, and decided to order more, you may remember where you purchased them. If it takes a bit longer to use them up, you may not remember so I recommend writing in the back cover, the name of the company so that you remember that these are Beech Tree Paper notebooks.
I’m all for minimal exterior branding so that, as users, we can draw, sticker or doodle on the books to our heart’s content. However, I also appreciate being able to flip open a notebook and have some indication of who made it should I want to buy another one or should someone ask me, “Hey, where did you get that notebook?”
I knew the 24lb paper was not going to perform as well as Clairefontaine or Tomoe River but for notebooks that cost less than $1.50 each, it was worth testing these for a good option for the budget conscious.
Some wider or wetter inks showed a little bit of feathering but not as bad as I was expecting. Once I got to a stub nib though, it became much more noticeable. Fine and extra-fine nibs seemed to do okay though. Gel pens and water-based brush pens performed well too. Of course, pencils performed beautifully.
Showthrough was visible with stub nib, flex nib, parallel pen and a tiny bit with the rollerball. There was bleed through with the parallel pen and the flex nib to the next page but only dots of ink.
I tested these heavier tools only because I sometimes write or draw with whatever is in my bag or on my desk which is not always the most appropriate tool. I try to carry a gel pen and pencil in my bag for sketching and for using on papers that are not fountain-pen friendly but occasionally, I turn to my pocket notebook and jot the name of a pattern, something I heard on a podcast or and idea I had while working before I forget what it is with whatever I was last using.
The brush pen had no showthrough at all.
These were the pens and pencils used in the test, in case you were curious.
Overall, these notebooks are on par with many of the pocket notebooks available on the market at a fraction of the price. I prefer blank notebooks over lined so I appreciate that but if you like graph or dot grid, you may be less inclined to purchase these. Rounded corners are only available in the blank notebooks as well so I definitely think they are the more flexible option with a guide sheet. While the paper is not 100% fountain pen-friendly, it’s on par with many pocket notebooks.
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