One of my favorite things about Write Notepads & Co is that they can just drop a small batch of limited editions when inspiration strikes, since everything is actually made by them, in house, in Baltimore. This is not to minimize the work that goes into bringing these editions out. The last “just because” edition was the Keats, and it was a thing of beauty. This edition is no less well-planned or well-executed. I love it.
The latest is the 4th of July edition, dedicated to that day in 1776, when we, ahem, told George that we did not wish to play with him anymore. Or, if you will, when we flipped the British the bird. Being from Baltimore, where we fought off the British at Fort McHenry, feelings run a little…strong. (I’ve become an Anglophile as I hit middle age, and not just for the tea and the good TV, but I don’t advertise this around town.)
For this pocket notebook edition, we reprint parts of the 1823 facsimile of the engrossed copy of the Declaration of Independence on three notebooks. Each book was then hand sewn with red thread and trimmed and collated by us. Therefore, each book is identical yet slightly different in its unique way 鈥 a kind of perfect imperfection.An interesting fact to note: The second printer commissioned by Congress in 1777, was Mary Katherine Goddard, a publisher and postmaster in Baltimore, MD. Her reprints called the Goddard Broadside was the first to include the names of the signatories.
What’s really different this time around is the sewn binding. These are put together by hand right here in Charm City, in red thread. The result is gorgeous notebooks, with lovely belly-bands to boot.
Jon and Chris and Co. kept this run to a small 243 packs, and they went fast. Make sure you’re on Write’s mailing list for the next surprise edition. And, remember, their summer release is yet to come. (More images below, with matching Blackwings (Volumes 73 and 16.2 and the TWA collaboration).
[Disclaimer: While I bought these books with my own money (and they were even delayed because they fell out of Chris鈥檚 car on the way to the PO), I have been writing for Write鈥檚 blog and am, in some small capacity, on their payroll. This does not influence my reviews; I鈥檓 not sure that Chris and Jon read this blog. But I thought I鈥檇 put it out there. (See my first two pieces here and here.)]
The 15th limited edition (counting the Thoreau and Keats books) pocket notebook set from Write Notepads & Co is here. The Deep is, frankly, another example of the carefully-made notebooks that Write puts out.
The covers are a textured dark blue, ahem, a deep blue stock, with a silver octopus letter-pressed onto the cover. Hell, this is so pretty that I’d be interested in buying a sheet of this to frame. It’s creepy and lovely at the same time. It’s shame that a notebook requires a binding and that staples had to invade this image.
Notable here is the complete lack of branding on the notebooks. The bellybands (very cool, though I think a white background would have been a little more…marine looking — but that could be because the first look I got was a PDF of the band that had a white background) have the usual branding, but that’s it. It’s pretty gutsy to put notebooks into the world without branding them at all, in my view.
The paper is the usual Write paper. It’s close to perfect for pencil. We’ve talked about this before. There are no lines this go around. I don’t mind. This is the first time that Write has released a pocket notebook with saddle-stitching and blank paper. The available canvas feels huge, as is the case with their slightly-wider and wide-open books. Still, the blank paper enhances this feeling to some extent.
I did not write this review until I’d carried a book in my pocket for most of a week, and it held up well to my butt and chairs and lots of walking. These are books that are every bit as well-made and well-designed as the previous fourteen editions. It’s a great start to Volume IV, and you can still get some now. (Stay tuned tomorrow, as we share the real story behind this edition, if we can escape legal or mortal peril in so doing.)
[Disclaimer: While I bought these books with my own money (and they were even delayed because they fell out of Chris’s car on the way to the PO), I have been writing for Write’s blog and am, in some small capacity, on their payroll. This does not influence my reviews; I’m not sure that Chris and Jon read this blog. But I thought I’d put it out there. (See my first two pieces here and here.)]
Spring release season continues with Write Notepads & Co. and their latest release: Sakura. Since they have discontinued their membership/subscription plans, I had to order these manually. I’ll admit that I like when these types of things automatically ship, and it eliminates (or, at least, reduces) the anxious question of how many I should order, since two are not automatically shipped. On the other hand, ordering is always fun, too. Chris & Co. split the difference here with the deluxe pack; you save a buck with the purchase of two packs and get a cool treat to boot.
The specs from Write Notepads read:
Sold as a set of 3 notebooks
3.75鈥 x 5.5鈥 saddle stitched notebook with rose gold staples and graph pages
80# cover stock with tri-tone letterpress details
48 pages of 70# paper stock, selected to perform best with most writing implements
Printed graph size: 4mm, printed with vegetable based inks in our trademark blue-green
100% American made in Baltimore, MD
This release is the third (behind Chesapeake and Walden) to feature a belly band. It’s a Moleskine style, tucked into the first and last covers of the pack, rather than a Field Notes style, which works like a belt. But this release is a first in several ways.
First, the wrapping. This is a resealable bag, rather than shrink-wrap. I tossed mine right away. I have a feeling that the folks are Write Pads are thumbing their noses a bit, with a wink, at hoarders. While these are all sealed, they also are not; they could have always been opened. The easy solution is to just unwrap your damned notebooks when you get them. Always.
Second, the binding. I have read multiple times that folks like the themes/covers of Write Pads books and the paper but not the PUR binding. These are saddle-stitched with rose-gold staples. They open completely flat[ly]. The dimensions keep them from feeling like another notebook brand, though.
Third, the page-count. Instead of the usual 64 pages, here, there are 48. I’m assuming that the thick paper Write Notepads uses would be unwieldy if 64 pages were wrapped around two staples. I don’t mind this. With the flat binding and the graph running to the edges, there’s plenty of space on which to make marks.
Fourth, the covers are letterpressed in three colors. This is no small feat, and they look AMAZING.
So how do these work out? I have held off on reviewing them until I got through a book, and it held up super well. The thinner-than-usual cover stock did not pop off of the two staples, and neither did the center pages pop out. I prefer the lighter cover stocks because they keep the books flexible; the paper Write Notepads uses is a little stiff. I don’t think these need the reinforcement of heavy cover-stock. They carried well in my pocket, and even the baby failed to damage one when she got “stabby” with a heavy bullet pencil.
The paper is printed with a graph, a narrower grid than that featured in Field Notes books. I have used a black and white high contrast image to compare the Sakura to a Field Notes County Fair book.
In practice, the graph is a little narrow for my taste, but it hits just about right if I skip lines. Even better, this graph is printed very lightly, and it’s easy to ignore. Using softer pencils and writing quickly this past weekend, I found myself treating this almost like dot-grid in that I was aware of the lines (they kept my writing from going aslant), but I almost mostly ignored them.
The “extra” in the deluxe set is a letterpressed envelope containing two cherry tree seeds. Not having several years in which to plant and nurture them, I have not tested these out yet. But I know from talking to Chris that they are actually the real deal.
This is easily my favorite spring notebook release this year. You can’t get more spring-like than cherry blossoms, in my book. And I love the extra real estate I get from the wider pages that open flat. I am not going to start hating on the PUR binding, but I really do hope that Write Notepads puts out more staple-bound books in the future, even if they do not switch over entirely.
(These books were聽not review samples. We are聽 happy to support our hometown stationer.)
Our winter 2017 pocket notebooks take users on a journey to the turn-of-the-century jazz club at The Goldfield, the exquisite hotel in Baltimore owned by boxing legend Joe Gans. The outer box is foil-stamped in 24kt gold on a spot-UV pattern. Each notebook echoes this Victorian-era pattern in a spot-varnish and features letter-pressed gold ink on an 80# black cover. Inside of the books, you will find 70#, bi-color ruled stock. These sets are proudly made in Baltimore, hometown of Joe Gans.
The box of these books is very stiff, and they arrived in perfect shape. The gloss of the varnish is difficult to photograph (not that I know anything about photography anyway), and the image of the boxer is perfect. The flap to open the box is improved in this model, too.
Inside, you are greeted by a card featuring Gans in front of the notebooks. This is a lovely touch, reminiscent of Lenore.
The notebooks have a subtle echo of the varnish on the covers and a heavily letter-pressed image stamped in gold on the front. I really like the choice of 80# stock here. Write Notepads pocket books have an initially stiff PUR binding and have more pages than other pocket notebooks. The 80# paper provides some flexibility and avoids over-killing the beefiness of the notebook.
Inside, Comrades will find a new paper: cream-colored with two colors. The horizontal lines are blue, while the vertical margins are red. The effect is lovely here, where bright white paper might be jarring.
The pencils are bridge pencils, which are thinner and shorter than regular pencils. Made in the USA by Musgrave, they sharpen well in a crank sharpener prone to producing longer points and also in the KUM Masterpiece (shown). These came out beautifully, and the tiny ferrules are as bright as holiday lights.
The extra in the deluxe pack (which also ships to members) is something you might spot, but I won’t comment on it. I was tickled when I got it though.
There’s something very…BALTIMORE about this release. We are not a city that gets a lot of positive attention, when we get noticed at all. Crime statistics and TV shows skew what it’s really like here on the ground. We live in a place full of hidden gems (like Blackwing beer) and fascinating stories. Poe is buried here, and we have the most literary of any name for a sports team. If Comrades ever pass through, you might find someone (ahem) very happy to share a coffee/tea/beer/water with you over some pencil chat.
*I feel like it at least deserves a footnote to mention that this is the first release from the major subscription/seasonal/membership models that is dedicated to a person of color. We’ve had two Blackwing Volumes dedicated to women, which is fantastic. I hope the trend continues toward honoring folks of all identities.
(These products are part of a membership paid for from PR funds, not a sample from Write Notepads & Co.)
I have never reviewed a piece of Pencil Storage Gear before. I have a few metal and wood boxes, cups, jars, Longabergerbaskets, Ikea carts, and pencil cases storing pencils I keep in the rotation. These do not include The Archive.聽It’s daunting and a testament to my lack of self-control.
Last time I visited Write Notepads & Co. (about a month ago), Chris handed me one of these blue beauties, and I’ve been using it ever since: The Pencil Pouch.聽There’s not a lot of information about this item on the Write Notepads website, but this is what they say:
We’ve looked long and hard for a zipper pouch that keeps our pencils and utensils in one neat and tidy closure. In the Write vein, we’ve convinced America’s oldest (originator) producer of secure bank bags to produce a water-resistant pencil pouch for us.
-Made 100% in the USA
-5″ x 10″
-Duck cotton with a polymer liner for water-resistance.
-Navy Blue with White screen-printing.
I have been beating this up for a month, and I don’t think you can tell. This pouch is beefy, large, minimalist, and useful all all get-out. I love it.
The Pencil Pouch is made by A. Rifkin Co. in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania — a town with strong pencil connections. The material is much stiffer than the pencilcase I picked up for Charlotte’s back-to-school mountain of supplies this past weekend, but it isn’t much thicker. The tight weave and the interior coating give the sides of the case a nice body.
So while the construction feels really tough, it’s not a bulky case at all. And the coated interior will make cleaning up graphite residue much easier.
The zipper is heavy, glossy, and black. I usually have a little giraffe zipper-pull on mine, and it hasn’t taken off the paint yet. I haven’t gotten the zipper stuck yet, and the stiffness of the material of which the case is made holds the zipper teeth at such an angle that I doubt there will every be an issue with misalignment resulting in a Seize-Up.
This case holds it all. Comrades can fit an entire Blackwing Volumes set in there, subscriber tube and all. It can more than an unsharpened Blackwing, which is not something all pencil cases can boast.
Here it is with a set of Walden/Thoreau books and a crab mallet. You could easily fit 2-3 crabs in there with it this stuff. But make sure to zip it closed very quickly.
I like pencilcases that will also hold whatever notebook I am using — not to mention any Pencil Paraphernalia I might need or want or just have in there. I prefer not to carry a bag on the rare occasions that I get out of the house without a single kid in tow, and I like to just grab everything inside of one case for a quiet jaunt to the coffeeshop or park or just Place Without Yelling. To wit, this is what was contained in my case this weekend, though I most emphatically did not get out with this (it would have been on Instagram!).
The two Blackwings, WNP pencil, stub of General’s Cartooning pencil, pocketknife, notebook, and tiny eraser all fit inside, with room to spare.
However, extra room does not mean that the items were not well-protected. The stiffness of the case does not permit it flop around when it’s only half-full. I’ve taken this out with only two pencils, a sign pen, and a Field Notes (!) in it in the recent past, and it was fine.
This case hits the right notes for me. It’s attractive, durable, easy to clean, roomy (but also works 1/2 empty), made in the USA, and blue. The $15 price-tag is a steal in my book. I just paid 1/3 for a kitty pencilcase for my daughter that won’t last a 1/5 as long as this case.聽Go get one. After you place your order, be sure to check out Leadfast’s photo-shoot with the Pencil Pouch and Fred’s patch post.
[This pouch was provided as a gift for free, but we chose to impartially review it. All opinions are the author’s.]
While we reviewed Write Notepads‘s聽original pencils in early 2014, we never talked much about their subsequent pencil models, which were lovely and varied. But, personally speaking, I’m a sucker for pencils that come in a box in 2017. So I couldn’t resist these. (And resist them I did, being at the bindery and not stuffing any into my pockets before I left two weeks ago, before we could order them.)
These are full-hex, glossy, and all black — save the clean imprint and the erasers. The imprint is left-handed, as we’ve come to expect from Write Notepads, and the text is simple:
Write聽(2) WOOD + GRAPHITE
Unlike the last two limited editions, these pencils are neither cedar nor semi-hex nor matte. The basswood sharpens easily, though I miss the cedar aroma a bit this time around. If you do not enjoy the sharpness and increased diameter of a full-hex, these might not be the pencils for you.
Musgrave seems to send Chris and Co. better pencils than the ones they often sell with their own Musgrave label on them. The cores in the Wood + Graphite pencils are smoother than, say, a Bugle, feeling waxier and less prone to smearing. The darkness comes in at a pretty standard HB (think Ticonderoga or a Viarco Premium if you need fancy), with point durability to match.聽The paint is evenly-applied, even on the ferrule.聽The white eraser works pretty well, which runs contrary to my experience with Musgrave. Here, the eraser is a little stubby and oddly…cute.
A word on the box: it’s matte, white, and hand-made using a process I only partly understand. I’m not sure if I am allowed to talk about That Which I Witnessed at WNP HQ. But it’s made in Baltimore, in-house, in an unexpected (at least, to me) way.
Twelve smackers for Musgrave fare might seem steep. Four of mine had cores that were off-center to a degree that is just this side of usable. But, in my opinion, these are not the聽standard聽Musgrave fare. 聽Our Comrades at Baltimore’s Write Notepads & Co. must be getting some secret sauce from Shelbyville.
(These pencils were not provided as free review samples.)
On this day in 1817, one of my heroes was born. He made his family’s pencils into the greatest in the land and wrote millions of words in his lifetime. Most of all, he lived. Today, we honor Pencil Hero, Henry David Thoreau.
We have established that pencil is the perfect medium for preserving your writing for the future. We recently examined what to look for in a pencil for journaling and/or long-term writing and some examples thereof. Today we will look at paper for keeping your pencil writing safe.
There are several details on which to reflect when selecting a notebook or journal if you plan to fill it with pencil, and this is even more true when one wants to preserve the writing forever.
Spiral bindings 聽can allow聽pages to rub against other other, creating smearing and thereby affecting the legibility of your writing for the future. Write Notepads & Co. solves this with an enormous rubber band. Generally, if I am going to carry a notebook around for more than a week, I prefer something with an elastic closure like this or like a Moleskine. A staple-bound Field 聽Notes book lasts only a week; so there’s little time to smear. The Write Notepads pocket books are tightly-bound with the PUR spine, and they do not rub much either. Also, consider that an notebook crammed into 聽your pocket will not move very much against other paper, that聽the fabric of your pocket (and your butt/leg/etc.) will likely keep the pages together anyway. For bouncing around in a bag, I never use a book that can open a even a little on its own, allowing the pages to mingle. Graphite is not to be trusted in the open like that!
I avoid papers with too little or too much tooth. For instance, anything with more tooth than (and sometimes even including) a Scout Books pocket notebook will collect more graphite from the point of the pencil than the marks which one seeks to preserve. This results in dust and smearing and a generally untidy notebook. This is fine sometimes; pencil is not always tidy. But for writing which we seek to protect, smearing can render words, lines — even pages — illegible. Even worse is paper which is too smooth. The writing never even has much of a chance to stay put. The paper on Rhodia pads, for instance, is a lovely and smooth surface on which to skate a piece of graphite. However, I would not trust words meant for future generations to聽such glassy paper.
An overly-tight graph or narrow lines can cause one’s writing to bunch up, resulting in less crisp lines. Something around the line-spacing of a Moleskine and 1/4 inch is my own preference, though I often just forgo any guide whatsoever too. Try to go line-free with pencil and the intention that your writing with last forever. Be bold!
Archival Quality of the Paper
These days, most major-branded books (Moleskine, Field Notes, etc.) are bound with acid-free paper. Since graphite does not react with paper anyway, this is, I assume, slightly less of a issue than when using ink. However, brittle and yellow paper can cause an issue for any writing medium.
As in pencils, the key is balance. I like a paper with a medium tooth, light (or no) lines, and a binding that will not allow the paper to rub against itself. As with pencils, this is harder to explain than it is to give examples of.
Write Notepads & Co. – This is probably my favorite notebook paper right now. The 70# stock takes graphite wonderfully, and the minor stiffness of the paper combines with the PUR binding to hold the pages still. The texture is nearly perfect, and they use a nice 1/4 inch line-spacing which聽is a great balance of efficiency and comfort. Plus they are made in my hometown, and Chris is a friend IRL. But I still claim not to be biased. Their books聽really are that good.
Moleskine – I swear that Moleskine has been quietly (because loudly would be admitting the paper was inferior before?) improving their paper. The texture is lovely for your less soft pencils, and the elastic keeps everything in place. If you hit Target at the right time of year, you can steal one for a few bucks from the clearance section. I like to remember that a Moleskine in 2002 led me to being lucky enough to co-host a really fun podcast.
Paperblanks – I have not used one of these in a while, but the paper is very stiff for nice pencil lines. Some of the covers get a little…LOOK AT ME for my taste, but the subtly-designed ones work well. Ghosting/graphite transfer is very low on this paper, even without a blotter.
Baron Fig – In speaking with Joey and Adam, I learned that this paper was designed, in part, for pencil, and it shows. The texture is lovely, and the themes and special editions they produce appeal to me greatly.
Field Notes – The newer 60#T version of the Finch Paper Opaque Smooth is lovely for pencil. I’m not sure why it works so much better than the 50# version, which I find to border on too smooth. These do fall open and allow pages to rub together in a bag. I generally get only a week of pocket carry out of them, however; so I do not experience this issue.
What are some papers/books Comrades like to use for long-term writing and/or journaling in pencil?
Write Notepads & Co rounded out the first year of seasonal releases this month with their “In the Pines” edition. Considering that we are literally friends with Chris and Co, it’s hard to start writing about how great this edition is and not stop. So perhaps some staccato slowness will get the point across without my friendly and hometown gushing getting in the way.
When I think of winter, I think of dark green (pine trees) and a striking blue (the sky). These fit the bill perfectly, even evoking some sylvan coniferousness. It could be in my head; it could be that I talked to Chris; but I swear the packing material smelled like pine. The delay on these meant that they were released during the actual winter, not holiday shopping season when the cold really hasn’t set in yet. So I found them especially welcome.
Gorgeous. The packs arrived inside of a shipping box this time, which was a boon for such a beautiful package (the Royal Blues got dinged in their padded envelopes). The matte white聽board with silver stamping brings snow to mind immediately, and the design is just beautiful. I particularly like that “No. 4” is included on the box, clearly numbering the series that has just completed its first year.
You get three matching green books with a silver pine tree letterpressed over “In The Pines,” in what might be the perfect font for this cover. The texture and flexibility of the stock聽make it extremely easy to use and comfortable to pocket. The corners, binding and cuts are all precisely made.
Inside, there is WNP’s fantastic standard 70# white paper with a 1/4-inch dot graph that is ideally聽spaced for pencil writing. This is my favorite pocket notebook paper by far, even for when I sometimes occasionally rarely use pens (!).
Unlike the last two releases, you can buy the pencils that match this one right now. They seem like the usual Musgrave custom job at first: a medium quality pencil with top-notch custom design and left-handed printing. These feature a much more crisp silver stamp on their hexagonal face than the round Royal Blue (excuse the terrible photo). What’s really different about these is that they are made of cedar this time. I ordered another six (not only because my better half wanted some to match her books) as soon as I could, but I refrained from stocking up because supplies are extremely limited.
Included in members’ shipments is a heavy vinyl sticker replicating a pine air freshener. I haven’t had the nerve to stick it onto anything yet because I only have one, but I doubt I can hold out for long.
In conclusion, just go and get a set. I’d like to think folks might refrain from hoarding because of the extremely limited number of these packs. But I’ve seen folks who have saved them help out other people who missed them. So I’ll shut up. If you live in Baltimore, you can get them IRL at a few shops in town without the cost or wait associated with shipping.
In case you have either slept through the last ten days or are not hugely interested in notebooks, there were two reporter’s notebooks unveiled last week, on the same day.
The John Dickerson-inspired Field Notes Byline edition is the summer 2016 release. Subscribers also received a laptop sticker of the Byline logo. These books contain 35 sheets (70 pages) of Cougar Natural 70#T vellum, with college-ruled [0.28 inch] lines in the usual Field Notes innards聽color. There is a pocket in the rear and a concealed spiral binding. The notebooks come in at聽3.75 inches by 8 inches — a little more narrow than traditional reporter’s notebooks.
Write Notepads & Co.’s reporter pads are something I’ve been needling Chris to make for a good two years, after I saw the first Ledger prototypes. These contain the new paperstock Write Pads will be using: 60 sheets, 聽“120 pages of 1/4″ ruled paper printed in our trademark subtle non-reproducible blue-green.” (This paper will be in their own summer release, unveiled this weekend and coming soon to lucky mailboxes near you.) This book is the traditional 4 inches by 8 inches.
The Byline’s cover is made of Neenah Environment 120#DTC 鈥淲rought Iron鈥? There is a pocket in the rear of the book and Field Notes-style information all over the cover. I love the cheeky data, and the pocket is a great idea. In practice, things keep falling out of mine. This book is very flexible and surfs a pocket well. However, the odd concealed binding means that the cover material has to flex both when opening and closing the book, and the covers take a beating in your pocket. If this book had more paper, I am not sure that the cover/seams would survive life in a pocket. On the flip side, like most of my favorite offerings from Field Notes, the beat-on patina of this book looks amazing, especially with the grey cover.
The Write Notepads & Co. book is beefy. It’s the same recycled kraft coverstock we’ve come to expect, with the same bulletproof spiral. The cover is even oriented with the grain such that the book will flex vertically but not horizontally. There are few frills, in keeping with the Write Pads aesthetic. The included (and removable) rubber band is a welcome addition and kept my pages from getting bent up.
These two books have聽not been in existence long enough for me to fill them up completely and to really see how they will look/feel after the last page is full of dumb things from my head. But I suspect that the Write Pads book will survive intact longer because it is made of stronger materials and because the spiral is naked. The Byline’s cover doubles as part of the binding, and I wonder if it is up to the task.
These books have different strengths in their forms.聽The Field Notes book is easier to carry, but the Write Pads book is easier to write in and to read. I’ve been using them each accordingly.
Write Notepads & Co., while departing for their subscription series, has an aesthetic that is part of their branding. The reporter’s pad, ledger, and stenography pad (which I keep trying to get WNP to rename The Tablet) all have similar looks. On the other hand, the Byline is a complete departure for Field Notes. I feel stuck deciding which I enjoy more: the dependable gumption of the Write Pads book or the new-for-them look of the Byline.
These books both perform extremely well for graphite, and I think they serve to illustrate the difference that paper makes for the performance of a given pencil. I’m going to utilize my scanner to look at this more closely.
Interestingly (and I’m not sure if this comes out in the scans), I think that the Write Pads paper brings out lighter pencils, while the Byline brings out darker pencils. Both really shine in the way that they add an extra touch of contrast to mid-range pencils (think Cedar Pointe HB; Ticonderoga; Noris HB…). These are both papers that are a pleasure for pencils.
The Bylines has noticeably smoother paper, since it’s stocked with a nice, cream-colored vellum. I really like this paper, especially for the larger page of a Byline. Pencil still makes its mark, though, and the results are really surprising on such smooth paper. Even a Wopex leaves a nice mark on this paper. The tooth in the Write Pads book still renders it smoother than a lot of papers, and it is sized such that it certainly does not sand down a pencil point. To repeat myself a bit: these are both two very enjoyable papers to write on, and I am not going to call one better on texture alone.
Erasing is almost equal on these two papers. The Byline’s vellum has sizing that seems to make the pencil’s point leave a deeper indentation, and this affects the real erasure abilities here, just a touch.
Graphite stability is also close, but I think that Write Pads edges ahead of the Field Notes here. Vellum’s smoothness usually leads to smearing and ghosting (use a Blackwing MMX on Rhodia paper, and you’ll see what I mean). While the Byline’s paper is definitely better than Rhodia’s at preventing Graphite Soup (TM), it does smear a little. It is no worse than other papers, however, which surprises me for vellum. So the Write Pad’s paper is not more smear resistant聽than the paper in the Byline because of the vellum; it’s because the Write Pad’s paper is amazing for graphite. I’ll avoid waxing poetic, but Chris took graphite (not just fountain pens) into consideration when deciding on a new paperstock. Pencil stays put. Period.
Which Should You Buy?
Uh, both. For $13, you get two Field Notes Brand Bylines (70 sheets/140 pages total). For $12, you get one Write Pads reporter’s pad (60 sheets/120 pages total), and both are amazing books. If you’re looking for something to stick in your pocket, I’d lean toward the thinner profile of the Byline, though I am not sure how long the cover will stick together. For a bag or for your desk, the Write Notepads & Co. reporter’s pad is a heavy-duty notebook. In fact, I have had a “thing” for reporter’s books for a few years, and this is by far the beefiest I’ve seen (the Bob State “Harvard Square Reporter” comes in second and deserves its own post).
I’m happy to see two great new offerings from my two favorite notebook companies in an oft-neglected format that I enjoy and use more often than, say, a six by nine nook or a legal pad.