I found a display rack full of the Leuchtturm 1917 notebooks today at the new art supply shop in Kansas City, Artist & Craftsman Supply, and I’ve been itching to try them for sometime so I grabbed one. I chose the plain, pocket-sized book with a simple black cover ($8.10). From the outside, its almost indistinguishable from a Moleskine pocket notebook from the outside. I didn’t have a pocket-sized Moleskine handy for comparison but I grabbed my husband’s large Moleskine to compare paper and color. Based on the cover measurement, the pocket-sized Leuchtturm is listed as 0.5” taller than a comparable sized Moleskine.
Inside, the paper is a warm white but not as ivory as Moleskine’s paper. The stock itself is a bit toothier but not much heavier weight to the touch. What sets the Leuchtturm 1917 apart from the other leatherette notebooks in a similar class is the index pages in the front of the book and the page numbers printed in the bottom corner of each page to make it easier to reference notes at a later date.
The ribbon marker is black and sealed on the ends from the factory which is a big plus for me.
In writing tests, the Luechtturm paper has just enough tooth to provide some friction but not so much that is would cause ink to feather or resist.
From the reverse, not even the Pilot Envelope pen bled through. There’s a touch of show-through but with most of the pens used, its not so bad that you would be unable to use both sides of the paper.
I purchased the plain notebook first as they tend to be my favorite but I’m keen enough on the quality of this book to consider purchasing either the dot grid or the lined version soon. Office Supply Geek did a nice review of the lined version and Writer’s Bloc Blog and Gourmet Pens have some writing samples of the Dot Grid version.
For the quality and price, the Leuchtturm1917 is a much better value than Moleskine coming in several dollars cheaper with higher quality paper and a bookmark ribbon less likely to fray. It’s also available in an array of colors including white which is not particularly common in notebooks.
Other notes on the Leuchtturm:
Acid-free, bleed proof, 80gsm paper. The Master A4 sizes contain a heavier 100gsm paper.
Expandable pocket. All notebooks have an expandable pocket in the inside back cover. The Master A4 size notebook has a pocket that is big enough for letter size documents .
I had heard about the legendary Paper Mate Black Pearl eraser — the distant cousin of the old faithful Pink Pearl — but I had never located one to see for myself if it was all it was cracked up to be. I was visiting my local office supply superstore and lo and behold… the Black Pearl! It is black and a smooth, flat-like oval, like a polished stone. The shape alone is worth the price of admission. It feel delicious in my hand. PaperMate kept the delectable script lettering like the Pink Pearl as well so I was sold on these before I took them out of the package. If they even erased a little bit, I’m buying them in a gross. They sell in packages of two at the office superstore for about $2 per blister pack. The package claims that the Black Pearl produces less eraser dust. I took it out for a test drive today. I compared its erasing powers against my gold standard, the Staedtler Mars (well-loved) on standard sketchbook paper using a Zebra 0.7 mechanical pencil loaded with standard HB lead. The photo below shows the very faint remains of both erasers. The Black Pearl did not smear as much as the Staedtler and I think even erased more completely. I’m sold.
Don’t forget the other Pearl — the White Pearl, latex-free.
[previously posted on my personal blog but it seemed appropriate to move it here, amongst other papery-related bits]
The Pelle Journal is the American answer to the widely-coveted Japanese Midori Traveler’s notebook. I got the medium-sized notebook which does not align with either of the two sizes available for the Midori books. The small “passport-sized” books seem too small to be truly useful at about 3.5”x5”. I’m curious about the classic “traveler-sized” which is taller at approximately 8.5”x5” which is a touch wider than the Midori edition which is wildly revered by Patrick Ng of Scription. I think the medium-size is a fine place to start on my journey with leather, elastic-bound, multi-book notebooks.
First, I must say that the packaging is lavish with a similar level of fanfare to the Midori, with a folding paper wrapping held closed with the signature orange elastic band.
Inside, the book is within a cotton, drawstring bag and a note from Pelle is included as well as an extra elastic.
The cover is an unlined, supple brown leather with an elastic around the cover in bright orange. Its absolutely yummy to the touch.
I put the Pelle next to my daily-use notebook, an Ecosystem Life, which is comparable to a large Moleskine (approx 5.5”x8.5” in size). Overall, the Pelle medium is only about an inch smaller overall.
The bead holds the ribbon bookmark in place and its attached to the leather cover, not to the individual booklets. The ribbon bookmark seems a tad bit too short to be really useful but I’m hoping it can be altered or replaced.
The journal contains a cardstock covered booklet that is staple-bound with 64-pages of cream paper. The internal notebook is 4.25”x6.75”.
There are three elastic bands running down the spine of the leather cover so that multiple booklets can be carried at once. Additional booklets can be purchased for $8.99 each, available in lined or plain.
Of course, the most important point to cover with any notebook is how well the paper takes ink or pencil.
The only pen I had trouble using on the paper was the Copic Drawing Pen. I don’t know if the ink was drying and sticking or if the paper was so smooth that it didn’t provide enough friction for the inexpensive fountain pen. In writing tests, the paper is silky smooth which is great for very fine point gel pens and the Le Pens. Pencils are also very smooth on the paper.
On the reverse side of the paper only the fountain pen ink has a tiny bit of show-through though the Flex nib showed the most bleed-through. And of course, Sharpies bleed though but that’s not unexpected. The paper performs extremely well overall.
In conclusion, the leather cover is understated and beautiful. The ability to customize the contents of your book with a variety of paper stocks, including drawing paper, is a great option. Being able to keep the same cover seems like a good environmental option as well. The paper is good quality, more opaque than Moleskine. At the moment, Pelle does not offer the range of accessories that Midori offers that is part of the appeal (stickers, pockets, extra charms, calendar inserts, etc.). Some of Midori’s extras may fit into some of Pelle journals if you want to try to get the “Midori look”. On the upside, the Pelle books are made in the US, available through Jet Pens (read: FREE SHIPPING!) and $20 less expensive than Midori.
If you have had trouble settling on the perfect planner, why not try droplet’s DIY planner kit. For $10, you can download the PDF files for letter-size and half-sized templates and either 3-hole punch or bind the pages into a book. The PDF comes with monthly calendar pages, weekly pages, notes pages and a contacts page so that you can build just the sort of planner you need.
I owned the files at one point but in the security debacle of 2010, I lost the files along with everything else I had stored digitally. And just when I was getting itchy to make my own planner!