The Puggy’s Best High Stationer Notebook from Hightide had a lot to recommend it when I found it. It’s approximately A6 sized (4.1×5.7″), it was filled with blank, recycled paper, and cost just $7 (600¥). It has a kraft paperstock cover and has a smooth, glue-bound spine. Everything about it says “understated Japanese stationery”.
The notebook I ordered has 100 sheets of paper but the Hightide web site indicates the “small” notebook only has 66 pages now. Either way, at $7 it’s still a steal. But remember that old adage “you get what you pay for”? In this case, it very much applies.
Upon opening the notebook, I cracked/tore the spine from the text block. Clearly there was too much glue along the spine.
In testing the paper, most of my favorite writing tools did not perform well on the slightly toothy, natural white paper.
I tested several pages using a range of tools. Above, you can see on the left that the page behind it can been seen through the paper. Even though the paper feels fairly thick (no paper weight info was given), there is still evidence of show through.
The page above is the back side of the righthand page from the previous photo. Most fountain pens bleed through but worse than that, fountain pen ink splines! I haven’t tested a notebook in a long time that had this level of bleeding and feathering that the Puggy’s Best suffers from.
Even brush markers look splotchy in the way color is absorbed into the paper.
This close-up above will more clearly show the splining issue. At the bottom of the photo is a fine nib that looks slightly spline-y and splotchy. The TWSBI 1.1mm stub really shows the issue.
Above is a fine nib WingSung S and you can see where the ink travels through the fibers creating the splines. This is my biggest pet peeve with paper. Bleed through and show through I can live with as long as the ink does not spline. It’s a travesty.
Shown above is the back of the tests with the TWSBI, Traveler’s Notebook FP and the WingSung. Two are fine nib pens and the other is a 1.1mm and all resulted in dots of show through.
Not wanting to completely write this notebook off , I thought I’d try some brush pens to see if the notebook might be used with pencils, gel or rollerball pen and pencil — a budget travel sketchbook.
Unfortunately, I noticed the same blotchy color when using brush pens that I had noticed earlier.
Puggy’s Best, despite the name, really isn’t the best for much. If you exclusively use pencils, ballpoint or gel pens, then you may get some use out of this notebook but I prefer a notebook that can at least tolerate a larger array of tools. Save your money and put it towards a better notebook.
Purchased with my own money.