Central Crafts Bellagio Journal Review

Bellagio JournalI spend a lot of time in the United States, ok all my life, all the time, but I really do appreciate the products from other countries that are passionate about their quality and reputation. Germany has their cars, Switzerland has their watches and I’m sure there are many other examples. From Italy I enjoy what I know as Italian food, Italian cars are some of the most beautiful in the world and Italian wearables have a reputation for fine quality. Recently I got the chance to review a handmade Italian leather journal from Central Crafts called the Bellagio.

Central Crafts is based out of the UK and has been building relationships with small artisan product makers since 1999. The journal I spent time with is from a small family run leather workshop in Florence Italy. The Bellagio is one of many variations on the classic A5 size journal that Central Crafts offers on their website.

  • Material: Italian Calf Leather
  • Price: $33 US – dependent upon exchange rate
  • Size: 6” x 8 ½” x ¾”Length Overall
  • Colors available: Aubergine (Dark Purple), Black, Chocolate, Fuchsia and Red
  • Paper: Blank cream colored acid free paper

140 Character Review – Italian leather cover in rich chocolate brown with a cool paisley pattern and great paper makes for an enjoyable holder of ink and words.

Construction Fit & Finish
A well-made journal with a little bit of cover flex and corners that are tastefully unadorned. The paper binding is tightly sewn so when using about the first 25% of the pages you get a slight spine hump to work around when writing on the back of the pages. I did not experience the annoyance of any pages flopping over on their own, regardless of where I open the journal up to. A good balance.

Bellagio Journal Bellagio Journal Bellagio Journal

Bellagio JournalCover

The cover is a beautiful chocolate brown with an embossed paisley design on the front and back. The calf leather texture is quite grippy which helps me carry the journal safely and a side benefit this surface texture is it doesn’t slide around on the desk at all.

Bellagio Journal Bellagio Journal

Paper

The paper is cream colored, acid free and Italian sourced. I am not sure of the actual GSM weight but it feels heavy enough, maybe 90 gsm if I had to guess. My broad wet nib fountain pens performed very well with no feathering or bleed. There is some slight ghosting but I’m not a both sides of the paper person so I was ok with it. My gel, rollerballs, ballpoints and pencils worked fine with similar ghosting.

My experience says when a maker thickens the paper up much more to help remove all ghosting then they usually reduce the page count quite a bit for weight and thickness targets. Which speaking of page count I don’t know exactly how many pages there are and I tried to count a couple of times but my fat fingers kept slipping up so I’m going with ALOT of pages. The Bellagio comes in at just over ¾” thick.

Bellagio Journal Bellagio Journal

Bellagio Journal

What I would like to see in the Bellagio

  • More paper options across Central Crafts’ entire journal lineup. The Bellagio only comes with blank paper. A choice of blank, ruled or dot grid would be nice.
  • A ribbon page marker, some use them some don’t, I’m a user and I miss it. A sticky note is just out of character for this journal.
  • A maker’s mark or some other ornamentation on the front or the back so I can quickly orientate the journal when I take it from my briefcase to take down a few lines or notes
  • A few more technical specifications on the website for the various models. Paper weight and page count come to mind.

Conclusion

None of above nit-picks take away from the quality of the paper or this journal overall. At $33 US you get genuine Italian leather, wonderful paper and a very high quality build that is a pleasure to write in.

Thanks to Alma over at Central Crafts for sending me over a Bellagio to try out.

Remember: Write something nice……

Thanks for stopping by and if you enjoyed this post I would love to send you an email every time I have a new post. Click Here to Subscribe

Click here for some great deals on pens and ink I have for sale

MPNI FTC Disclaimer For Free Products

Franklin-Christoph Notebook Cover Review

For a guy who can barely match his socks, much less his belt and shoes, Franklin-Christoph has really elevated my style the last couple of months with a pair of matching notebook covers.

They carry a great product line catering to our hobby. Pens, pen cases, paper, notebooks and notebook covers. I have several of their exceptional quality pen cases and one of their pens. At my last pen show I had nearly filled my daily journal and was set on buying a new A5 journal. I don’t like to get too many extra journals in stock and it gives me a chance to always try something new. I wiggled my way up to the FC table and picked up one of their journals that I didn’t realize was wrapped in one of their own journal covers. I was impressed with the journal and the cover so I picked up one of each. I got back to the room that afternoon and after looking over my purchases I really liked the cover so I went back downstairs and got the matching pocket notebook cover. They call it their Linen Brown Fabric Notebook Covers.

The material is a thin fabric with good weave texture for grip and just enough stiffness. The notebook stays open and doesn’t require an extra hand like some of the thick leather covers I have used. Thin and protective without being bulky.

Pocket Notebook Cover

The pocket notebook version has a 1” x 1” Franklin-Christoph patch on the front cover and a smaller version of the same patch at the bottom of the back cover. The front patch is a good reference point for my eyes, picking up the notebook I will always know what the front is. Sounds simple but it helps me when I’m trying to jot down a quick note. The cover has notched corners and stitching in contrasting beige. A really great looking cover to me. They run $20.

Inside pockets are notched and with a slight over sizing of the pocket. A standard 5 ½” notebook change is quick and easy. It’s the little things that make this cover a joy.

A5 Size

Similar in look and construction with a little different pocket design on the inside. I think the material is a little bit thicker on the A5 size but nothing that makes it bulky. FC logo patch is a black vinyl or leather variation at the bottom of the back cover. My perfect cover would do the same as on the pocket version with some type of logo patch on the front as an easy visual but that’s a real nit-pick, I’m spoiled by the pocket version. At $34.50 a quality product at a good price.

Conclusion

After several months both covers have held up well and I normally change my covers up just for a spice in my everyday routine the Franklin-Christophs have worked so well they have become a staple. Thin, light and durable showing no signs of wear or dirt. Love them!

Additionally the A5 journal that Franklin-Christoph calls the Firma Flex Journal has been a wonderful insert and by itself has a beautiful cover that I was tempted not to cover up. That may be a later review.

Remember: Write something nice……

Thanks for stopping by and if you enjoyed this post I would love to send you an email every time I have a new post. Click Here to Subscribe

Click here for some great deals on pens and ink I have for sale

MPNI FTC Disclaimer For Purchased Products

Herbin Amethyste de l’Oural Ink Review

I have never really thought about how long ink has been around. I figured a long time but 340+ years was a bit of a shock when I read the promotional literature on a brand new collection from Herbin. With the introduction of this new ink comes a few changes for the company. Formally known as J. Herbin they are going back to their roots as just the Herbin company. In 1670 founder, Jacques Herbin, was a sailor traveling through India supplying sellers in Paris the ingredients for the manufacture of waxes and inks. The company continued to prosper and in 1798 they embraced the introduction of the steel nib dip pens that was replacing quill pens for writing.

To commemorate this pivotal year for us pen nuts Herbin has introduced their first ink in the Herbin 1798 Collection. Exaclair, the exclusive distributor for Herbin in the US, gave me an opportunity for a first look at it. A beautiful purple with silver sheen called Amethyste de l’Oural or Amethyst of the Ural Mountains. The 1798 Collection is an additional collection for the company and the 1670 Collection will still be available.

  • $26 / 50 ml or $.52 / ml
  • Color Family: Purple
  • Bottle opening Diameter: 13/16” plenty large enough for any nib
  • Pen I Used: Wet writing medium nib in a Pelikan M1000

Bottle
It’s beautiful, it’s from Paris, and it has its own wax seal. Definitely one from the looker department. With a wide square stance this one is a safe fill even for shaky hands. I like that. I like the cap too, it has somewhat of a grippy texture to it.

Sheen & Shading
The silver sheen is prominent, it takes a little more light angling than some of the gold sheening inks but when it comes out its striking. I think the silver is a better fit for a purple base than a gold would be, but that’s a personal preference only. The shading is faint with my wet writer. Lighter shade at the top of my stroke to just a little bit darker at the bottom. Maybe it would be more pronounced with a drier nib. Sheen is the strength here and the silver specks is what gives this ink the character. Here is an ink spider that shows the character.

Conclusion

I enjoyed the ink and if you’re a Herbin fan or purple ink enthusiast this is a good add to your collection. Thanks to Karen and Sunny over at Exaclair for sending it over. Look for Amethyste De l’orul at your favorite retailer soon.

Writing Samples

HP Premium Choice Laser 32 lb 98 Brightness

Nock Co Dot Dash Card

Big Box Store Copy Paper

Crown Mill Pure Cotton 100 gsm

Tomoe River

Clairfontaine

Remember: Write something nice……

Thanks for stopping by and if you enjoyed this post I would love to send you an email every time I have a new post. Click Here to Subscribe

Click here for some great deals on pens and ink I have for sale

MPNI FTC Disclaimer For Free Products

Diamine Shimmering Purple Pazzazz Ink Review

I have fallen hopelessly in love with shimmer inks. To heck with pen maintenance and clogged feeds with hail size pieces of gold, this stuff makes my writing come off the page. Ok not a single non-pen person has said anything about it when looking at the output but I’ve enjoyed the surprises when it dries on some paper as the gold flake can really pop out.

My favorite has been the Diamine Shimmer Cocoa so I decided my next bottle would be from the same family in the Purple Pazzazz variant. I was not disappointed with the behavior and output of the ink.

Diamine Shimmering Purple Pazzazz

  • Price: $20 for 50 ml or $.40 per ml
  • Color Family: Purple
  • Bottle opening Diameter: 5/8” which is more than sufficient for dipping any nib that I tried
  • Pen I Used: Carolina Pen Company Charleston with a steel broad nib

Bottle
Glass, round and plain with a deep profile for making it easy to get the most ink out of the bottle. Nothing really to save here or display worthy. All the money went into the ink which is fine with me. Fine with me.

Sheen & Shading
The signature of shimmer inks is the sheen and Purple Pazzazz does not disappoint. Best seen on the Col-R-Ring sample here.

I was using a wet broad nib so maybe not a characteristic of the ink but it goes on really wet so you won’t see the true character of what you’ve written until it dries. I kind of liked the surprise factor.

Conclusion
I love the ink and though I can’t consistently replicate the extreme gold sheen at will I smile when it happens. I have gone through 3 refills already. Oh and ink spiders are fun as well:

Writing Samples

Remember: Write something nice……

Thanks for stopping by and if you enjoyed this post I would love to send you an email every time I have a new post. Click Here to Subscribe

Click here for some great deals on pens and ink I have for sale

MPNI FTC Disclaimer For Purchased Products

Robert Oster Fire & Ice Ink Review

Inks From Atlanta Tour Part 3. I am way late to the game on this one, the Robert Oster Fire & Ice. This is the first Robert Oster ink I have tried and it did not disappoint. I bought the first bottle I saw Friday when I arrived at the show as I mistakenly assumed supply and demand was not working in the buyers’ favor. By Saturday night it was still selling all over the place so looks like supply has caught up.

  • Price: $16 / 50 ml or $.32 per ml
  • Color Family: Blue
  • Bottle opening Diameter: 11/16”
  • Pen I Used: Kanilea Pen Co Kilauea with a Broad nib

Bottle

Robert Oster uses a small diameter bottle to hold 50 ml of ink. I would describe the container as utilitarian. Labeling is simple and clear and credit should be given to the Robert Oster camp for saving us money by not investing in more elaborate packaging. My preference is a bottle that is a little bigger in diameter for stability when I’m filling a pen with a stiff converter. My hands tend to make the pen jump around a little more than it should. Without a wide base there is more risk of an inky mess from a toppling bottle. That is in no way a reflection of the quality of the ink or the packaging, just a preference. The good part of this style is you can draw more ink out of the bottle without having to resort to syringe extraction for the last remnants.

Sheen & Shading

The blue is bright and vibrant. A strong color family resemblance to blue is an easy ID. Some have considered it a turquoise but I think it’s a bit darker than a traditional
turquoise.

Shading is prominent with my broad nib giving consistent gradual shading from dark to light, on some paper you get no defined color cut off points in the ink line. I like this gradual shading because the sharp cut off of color sometimes looks like a pen is running out of ink, again a lot of personal preference there.

Speaking of running out of the ink here is a shot of my pen running dry unintentionally but I was pretty surprised at the second tone sheen looks red in person. I never saw that coming. With a full fill I see nothing but blue.

I have several other blue inks that I like but you are probably better served with the two excellent ink side by side tools here than any comparison I could provide.

Conclusion
I’m sure there will be more Robert Oster ink in my future. I like how it performs, the color is beautiful and I can sound really cool when I tell people I only use ink that is imported from Australia. Seriously though, good ink and I’m glad I picked up a bottle.

Writing Samples

Remember: Write something nice……

Thanks for stopping by and if you enjoyed this post I would love to send you an email every time I have a new post. Click Here to Subscribe

Click here for some great deals on pens and ink I have for sale

MPNI FTC Disclaimer For Purchased Products

Akkerman 28 Hofkwartier Groen Ink Review

Part 2 of the Inks From Atlanta tour I’m embarking on. This one is the Akkerman 28 Hofkwartier Groen that I’ve heard many positive reviews about. Number 28 is my first bottle of Akkermann ink and I still have it inked up from the Atlanta pen show enjoying it.

I added the bottle opening diameter because some smaller bottles will not allow certain large pens to get a full fill because the nib and section will not fit inside the bottle. That wouldn’t rule out the ink but it would force you to a syringe type fill into another container. No problem here at all with the 1″ + opening of the Akkerman bottle.

Bottle

The Akkermann bottle is beautiful, another one almost like an antiquity or art that really should be appreciated sitting out on a shelf or a desk. I need to study up on the ink exposure risk to lighting over the long haul or is it a myth that it’s harmful.

Akkerman uses a rubber washer for sealing which serves its purpose very well but I found that it sticks to the lip of the bottle and removal usually results in inky fingers. It would be less messy if it stayed with the cap which I think is the design intent. In my practice it just didn’t work.

The bottle is the type where you turn the sealed bottle upside down which fills a reservoir at the top of the bottle so your nib can go deep enough for a fill. This helps you get the nib deep enough to fill when the ink supply gets low and shallow in the bottle. Without this second reservoir some bottles are hard to fill from without resorting to a syringe to extract the last bit of ink. The Akkermann implementation of this dual chamber works great.

Sheen & Shading

The green is light and bright. You won’t mistake it for any other color. I don’t see any other tone or color coming out of it even with the big Col-o-Ring swab I brushed on. There are several good tools online to compare the color side by side.

The only other green I have is my favorite Diamine Delamere green which is much darker.

Conclusion

This is a saturated but light colored ink. I will keep it even though my personal favorite green will lean more towards the darker tones. The properties of the ink gave me no problems at all and I wouldn’t hesitate to buy another bottle of Akkerman.

Writing Samples

Remember: Write something nice……

Thanks for stopping by and if you enjoyed this post I would love to send you an email every time I have a new post. Click Here to Subscribe

Click here for some great deals on pens and ink I have for sale

MPNI FTC Disclaimer For Purchased Products

Diamine Cocoa Shimmer Ink Review

Readers of my little space in the blogoshpere probably don’t come here for ink reviews.  My few ink reviews are few words. I like this ink, I don’t like this ink is about the extent of it. I know there are many more properties to an ink that are important to a lot of people and I have some really esteemed colleagues that write about them and give a lot back to our community in that area. I’m publicly thanking you Inkdependence :). Today I’m typing out one of those short ink posts as I begin working on reviews of some of the treasures I picked up at the Atlanta Pen Show.

I have been intrigued throughout the past year with some of the boutique multi colored inks that sheen and shine different colors or shimmers of gold. The most talked about was probably J. Herbin’s 1670 Emerald of Chivor, though I learned researching for this post that they have a whole line in that series including Rouge Hematite, Bleu Ocean, Stormy Grey and Caroube de Chypre that sit alongside Emerald of Chivor.

I like all the J. Herbin inks I have tried but I seem to have an affinity for Diamine inks, mainly because of their color selection. I’ve never had a bad experience with ink, or at least any that could be attributed specifically to the ink.  After trying at least one bottle of all the major brands, and yes I paid $32 for Edelstein Smoky Quartz (uuugggh!), my staple inks will probably remain Diamine.

Diamine jumped into the game with their shimmer inks a little while back with what they call their shimmertastic colors. Being the Diamine fan and not being able to find a bottle of Emerald Chivor at the show I picked up a bottle of  Diamine Cocoa Shimmer from the Andersons. The Cocoa is a brownish burgundy with prominent flakes of gold showing through. There is some feedback online that says the gold flakes could cause a bit more gunking problems with the pen feeds but I didn’t find proof in any review so I’m not sure if that is speculation or if there is evidence of it happening. I have not experienced that yet but I’ve only been a user for a couple of weeks now and I’m a well disciplined pen hygienist so I’m not too worried.

First thing I noticed is all the gold flakes resting at the bottom of the bottle:

I have read about this and yielded to the tip of shaking the bottle well to disperse the flakes throughout the ink so some of it gets into the pen.  I suspect these heavier flakes would be some of the basis for the gunking concern since they are particles that have a tendency to separate themselves from the liquid part of the ink.  I’m watching it closely in my pen.

Here’s the bottom of the bottle after shaken and dispersed:

I inked up my Ryan Krusac Legend with a full fill and I’ve enjoyed seeing the gold show through on almost anything I write on.  This is not a big shading ink despite the wide wet nib I was using but the character REALLY comes out with the gold flakes and especially when you move the paper around to let the light hit it differently. I also did not experience any more feathering or bleed through than normal. Overall a well behaved ink that gives me something more than just a new color shade. I’m enjoying it. Here are the samples I did:

For my next purchase I may try J.Herbin’s entry with the Purple Pizzazz. I’m a deep bright purple ink kind of guy so that one intrigues me. Until then I need to write more and enjoy all this ink.

What about you?  Any shimmering, glittery inks in your collection?

Remember: Write something nice……

Thanks for stopping by and if you enjoyed this post I would love to send you an email every time I have a new post. Click Here to Subscribe

Click here for some great deals on pens and ink I have for sale

MPNI FTC Disclaimer For Purchased Products

 

Atlanta Pen Show Haul Mini Reviews

I had a great show in Atlanta this year and though I didn’t really have a budget to spend going in I did have a well thought out list of things to see. I saw most of them and changed my mind on quite a few. They just didn’t speak to me and I don’t buy stuff for the sake of ownership and checking off a list. In the end I am happy with my haul.

My social acumen was better this year. I know a lot of people talk about this phenomenon, or borderline fear, but I have never had one bad experience interacting with other pen people at shows. Granted not every conversation takes off into an all night gab fast but we’re all different. I’m hoping I continue to mature in this area with the more shows I’m able to attend. This year I met some new friends and connected with others I only get to see in person at pen shows.  I was very fortunate to score a late Saturday spot for nib work by the great Mark Bacas @nibgrinder.  He does incredible work and I have a better writer because of it. Thanks Mark as always.  My only regret from the whole show is missing my good friend @gentlemenstationer. We were even in the same room together, how do we do this GS?. The loss was mine.

Below is my haul from a couple of hours on Friday and a full day on Saturday. I missed Sunday due to travel home but my wallet protested when I tried to delay departure and sneak one more round of the show floor in.  I plan to do full reviews of a some of these new treasures in the future but until then here are my first impressions:

Franklin-Christoph Notebook Covers – Starting at the top left I picked up two fabric notebook holders from Franklin Christoph. Always love their stuff and these are a nice break for me from my usual leather products. I got the pocket notebook cover and an A5 journal cover, both in Linen Brown Fabric. Also got a set of the pocket notebooks and the A5 notebook itself has a nice cover that might be a shame to cover up.

Robert Oster Fire & Ice – This is my first Robert Oster ink and I had a bit of FOMO when I saw a bottle of it. I like the blue hue and with the broad nib on the right paper the ICE portion does pop out.

Akkermann # 28 Green Ink – I have a green ink l really like but Brad and Mike talk about #28 so much that I had to try it.   This does rank as the prettiest ink bottle I have ever seen though. I so much want to put it on display.

Pelikan Edelstein Smoky Quartz – Late last year I sold my one partial bottle of brown ink, Caran D’ Ache Grand Canyon.  I loved the color but the small bottle made it such a pain to refill the larger size pens that I prefer.  I never replaced it so I set out at this show to get another brown ink. The Pelikan Edelstein Smoky Quartz landed in show bag. In hindsight I think I was more enamored with it’s status as ink of the year and there was probably something else that would have worked for less money.  Lesson learned but it’s still a very nice color and well behaved ink.

Diamine Cocoa Shimmer – I have a lot of Diamine ink and the brand has never disappointed me so I had to get their version of the glittery en-sparkled ink.  Andersons Pens had a good selection and I landed on the Cocoa Shimmer. It needs the right paper to really see it’s shimmer but when you do it’s really something. I have read different reports on what this glittery stuff will do to your pen but I will watch it closely and flush soon just in case.

Col-O-Ring – I have tracked my ink samples on index cards for several years now. I always knew the big box stores’ index cards would not perfectly depict the ink color but it has worked for comparing two similar shades.  The Col-O-Ring is a bunch of small very fountain pen friendly cards held together with a ring. I’ve only been back from Atlanta for a couple of days and I have had a lot of fun opening up all my inks and spilling big blotches on Ana’s creation. Ana Reichert of Well Appointed Desk may not have invented the idea but she did perfect it with her version.

Story Supply Pocket Notebooks – I love love love what Vito and Gabe are doing with their company, giving back to kids. Read about their goals here.  I’m always on the hunt for new pocket notebooks with fountain pen friendly paper. My quick test filling up a page says these are a home run.

Nock Co Dot Dash cards – I originally bought some of the Dot Dash index size cards to really support Nock. With the pack sitting on my desk I found myself using them for more and more little tasks until now I’m hooked on them.  I got a refill of the 3 x 5 size and picked up the new business card petite size.  I plan to use the business card size for making notes to put in the boxes of stuff I buy that shows when, where and how much for the item.

Ryan Krusac Legend #16 Fountain Pen – I wanted an all wood pen and I got a beautiful all wood pen. Ryan’s a cool guy, a talented artist and was a joy to talk with and deal with. He has several models in a variety of wood species. I liked the 16 mm diameter version of his new Legend series.  He has a slightly smaller 14 mm diameter model as well.

Kanilea Pen Company – In a short couple of years Hugh and Carol have really made an impact on the custom pen market and our community.  Their designs, company focus, packaging, conversational exchanges and everything about them carries a Hawaiian vibe.  This was a purchase I was on the fence on, for me the price of entry was stiff for an unknown brand, again, unknown to me. I read many positive reviews on their product and everyone said go see it in person.  I went to see them as my first stop when I got to the show on Friday. Hoping for the best  selection.  I can confirm the best photography cannot prepare you for what you experience in person. Within 30 seconds I fell off the aforementioned fence and knew I was going home with one. The harder part was picking which one.  Especially as they sold two others while I was standing there!  The model that took me awhile to decide on was the Kilauea.  It’s a stunning orange, grey and red swirls. Everyone I have show in to loves it and by mid Saturday all the Kilaueas they brought had been sold. I scored!

Carolina Pen Company – The now famous Jonathon Brooks @brooks_803 creates some of the most beautiful and creative use of color in resin pen blanks available today. So much so that several other custom pen manufacturers use the blank resins that Jonathon makes. He is also a very accomplished pen maker himself. I got a Charleston model fountain pen in a beautiful off-white color with some grey swirls and gold specks that you can see when you spin the pen. A very interesting finish. Jonathon also gets credit for the best line at the whole show “I own lots of women’s makeup”.  It brought the house down at the live Pen Addict podcasts.  He was referring to how he gets much of the color into his pen blank creations but you can imagine the context of the comment.

Wrap up

I brought home more than I expected to. I will need a better plan for DC or restrict my visit to fly in grab what I can in 15 minutes, hug Brad and leave.  I already look forward to next year and I might even do the weekend trader pass!  If you have a show in your area or have the means to get to one I encourage you to make all efforts to go. If you’re not a big social person that’s ok, you WILL still enjoy the show. If you like chatting with other pen nerds, count on learning something and gaining new friends in this wonderful community.

The links above are for reference only. I tried to link to the product and dealer that I bought from at the show. I would purchase from all of them again but there is no affiliation other than that. Pricing should not be assumed the lowest available.

Remember: Write something nice……

Thanks for stopping by and if you enjoyed this post I would love to send you an email every time I have a new post. Click Here to Subscribe

Click here for some great deals on pens and ink I have for sale

MPNI FTC Disclaimer For Purchased Products

Cognitive Surplus Journal Review

I am in a comfort zone with paper. I have my brands that I like but I’m always open to try new things. Cognitive Surplus is a company that offers recycled paper journals in some really cool covers and 4 different configurations. Besides being a unique name I had not heard of them before as a force in the paper or journal space. I’m glad they found me. They were kind enough to send over a couple of their journals for me to try out. A Hypothesis and an Experiment. I love the names and they offer two other variants as well called Test and Theory. See the whole line here.

I hope you’ll stay a minute and read about my experience with these two.

Size

Both of my review samples are slight variations of the A5 size. The hard cover is a little bigger than the paper itself and the soft cover is flush with the paper measuring in at 6 ¾” x 8 7/8”.

The soft cover Experiment is 112 pages coming out to ¼” thick and the hardcover Hypothesis with 192 pages pushes out to 5/8” thick.
Price

  • $18.95 Hard cover Hypothesis
  • $10.95 Soft cover Experiment

Covers

I’m not a flashy guy and typically I don’t buy printed cover journals but I’m glad the Cognitive Surplus team jolted my norm a little bit. They have a big selection of attractive covers with a wide appeal that does not really cater specifically to a masculine or feminine style. I would have a hard time selecting just one from their selection but I will admit to an affinity to bicycles from fond memories of my youth. Nice catch here. My other cover was Crustaceans & Echinoderms with an ocean theme in a pleasant greenish blue tone. They don’t do plain and now that I have carried the Bicycle version around for a couple of days I recall some comments from others about me stepping up my fashion game a bit. Although if you’ve seen my wardrobe you would have doubts, but a cool looking journal can’t hurt.

Construction, fit and finish are excellent and I tested the advertised waterproofness on the hard cover Hypothesis. The small puddle of water I put on the cover and let sit for a minute or two wiped right off with no trace.

Binding

The Hypothesis is a classic book bound style. It’s promoted as lay flat and it lays as flat as any similarly bound journal that I have used. Don’t expect spiral notebook type lay flat with any of them.

The Experiment soft cover model is 4 groups of pages folded over then those groups looked to be glued together. This type of binding construction helps it lay flatter I’m sure. You also get a little slimmer and lighter weight journal with the soft cover if space and carry weight is a consideration.

Paper

Cool covers are nice but the paper is where any journal has to deliver for me. I like purchasing recycled products in multiple consumer product categories but writing on recycled paper usually is not pleasant with anything wetter than a ball point.

Cognitive Surplus says their product is fountain pen friendly and I would agree. They suggest, with printing on the vertical belly band packaging, For best results use a small to medium tip fountain pen. That’s a good suggestion but by no means a requirement. You can see in my writing sample everything worked very well. The only ghosting I got was from my fire hose writing broad Faber-Castell Ondoro. Some thicker paper has fallen victim to it before so I will give kudos to Cognitive Surplus for their 80 GSM choice. Common with recycled paper is the off-white color. No surprises here and the tone is pleasant enough.

An additional feature of the paper is it’s FSC-Certified. The (FSC) Forest Stewardship Council is an organization that promotes and educates in the area of maintaining sustainable forestry. There are different levels of certifications within the FSC and I applaud Cognitive Surplus for their environmental contribution.

My review samples came with college ruling with 9/32” spacing. The line printing is consistent all the way to the edges and they looks like a medium shade of a forest green. It’s pleasing to the eye and well defined. The Experiment is lined on the front and the back. The option I tried on the Hypothesis is lined on the right, blank on the left.

Writing

Cognitive Surplus has done their research and produced the best recycled paper I have ever written on. The paper they have chosen has texture and you can feel it when you write, not nib drag or friction but a tactical feel that’s different from some of the popular brands’ coated paper. I liked it, coated paper is nice for its slickness and near impenetrability but drying time almost always suffers. The drying time for the Hypothesis and Experiment, with no smudging, was at 15 seconds. I have waited minutes for coated paper.

Conclusion

Thank you Cognitive Surplus for sending me out of my comfort zone with a splash of color in a quality journal. If environmental support is a passion for you I don’t think you’ll do any better with a recycled paper product that these. If the recycled thing is not a hot button for you I would still encourage you to give these a try. A quality product, at a fair price, with a wide array of cover choices and just enough customization on the inside to help you work like you want to.

Thanks again to Cognitive Surplus, I am still enjoying my time with the Hypothesis and Experiment.

Remember: Write something nice……

Thanks for stopping by and if you enjoyed this post I would love to send you an email every time I have a new post. Click Here to Subscribe

MPNI FTC Disclaimer For Free Products

Kaweco Traveler Case Review

Besides great pens Kaweco continues to venture out with accessories and products for the writer in all of us. Most of us don’t carry just a single pen so we end up with some type of pen case. The Kaweco Traveler Case I recently tried out proved to be a quality participant.front-closed

  • Weight 5.5 oz.
  • Depth: 1.5”
  • Length: 4.5”
  • Width: 6.25”
  • Price: $115

CONSTRUCTION

The leather construction is typical Kaweco high quality and surrounds a well-executed design case. The finish and feel is rich and should hold up well. The light color will probably show some daily travel patina but your pens will stay healthy inside. The zippered closure on three sides allows the case to open completely flat

back-closed

branding

flapWHAT’S INSIDE

Inside there are 6 elastic loops to hold a good collection of daily carries securely. The loops are close together and to fit 6 pens in a compact footprint your pens are snug. That’s good but if you are particular about your pens rubbing and you carry clipped or larger diameter pens you might consider taking a little bit of time in positioning each pen. Not a big deal or a negative of the case just a design consideration. A leather flap adds further protection in the event you want to stuff the case with other supplies.

full-openThe mesh pocket on the inside front cover is perfect to add that one other pen you need, ink cartridges or other small items that might help you prevent carrying another case or reducing the load in your pockets.

mesh-pocketIN USE

6 Kaweco Sports look great in this case and Kaweco was smart, they kept a small profile product that will carry other small to medium size pens in this case. The largest I see fitting is a Karas Kustoms Retrakt. That covers a broad selection of pen brands and model sizes to meet your daily carry needs.

6-kawecos-no-flap 6-kawecos-with-flap 6-other-pensCONCLUSION

Kaweco has put together a quality leather case that should stand up to daily wear very well. If your needs are carrying 6 pens or less, a compact design and a classy look and feel the Kaweco Traveler’s Case would fit you very well. Thanks Kaweco for sending this loaner over for me to try out.

Remember: Write something nice……

Thanks for stopping by and if you enjoyed this post I would love to send you an email every time I have a new post. Click Here to Subscribe

Click here for some great deals on pens and ink I have for sale

MPNI FTC Disclaimer For Free Products