Sunday, April 26, 2020

UniNote Cloth Covered A5 Notebook

The richness of the cloth covering makes these journals look more expensive than they are.  There is a disadvantage to cloth though; dirt.

My 4B needs a platen and feed rollers.  The ribbon feed was acting-up today also.  I guess it works fine for being 93 years old.

I started, and continue, to leave the ink test pages as they scan. I do not edit or scale them so sometimes like here, on this page they look smaller than the covers, but once clicked open to a full size scan.  Feathering? What feathering.  A bit at the M in My, but I have not found any ink to feather.

I was completely amazed at the tiny bit of shadowing with this paper. It is the best paper I found. There is a reason I did not like Leuchtturm1917 beside being higher priced than many notebooks; it was this notebook and its paper. It is a bit smaller than the Leuchtturm1917, but for the price I'll use these for fountain pen.  Pages are not prenumbered. That has never been a notebook killer for me since I have been numbering pages manually since high school.

This just happened to be the center of a signature. I left it here because I thought the pages might be perforated. They are not, but I do not know what may have caused the mark.  These are the only  2 pages I found with the mark along the inside.

I like to measure the pages because of the confusion of vellum vs text vs book paper sheet weights.  This is 100 gsm paper and measures (I could feel it as soon as I opened the notebook) a whopping .0057 inches thick!
 If I am not mistaken even Clairefontaine paper is not this thick. I'll find out because I have one on order. I've never used one of their notebooks, and there are so many different styles I did not know what to pick.  You'll see it in a future post.

Lines are spaced about 1mm wider than the other notebooks: 7mm vs 6mm

This company does not hide the place of manufacture.

This typewriter has one of the best feels compared to all of my typewriters, even Underwood. Perhaps because I grew up with a very similar one that was made about 1929 or 1930, and it is still in the family.  Thanks to Richard Polt this one now rings its bell at the end of the line.
I really liked the journal in the center from Greenroom in Taiwan, but they no longer manufacture it.  It is a bit larger than A5 (same size as the Leuchtturm1917), and the lines are wide spaced.
Unless the price goes up, I'll be using more of these.  Even if the price goes up, as long as it is not much more than $10.00 I'll still use these for fountain pen.
The only thing that shadows is a Sharpie. I thought of that after I posted.  I tried a sharpie and it does ghost, but it does not bleed like with thinner paper.

Look for these on Ebay or Amazon.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Markings, By C.R. Gibson

I don't really know why, but I quit using these.  Maybe because I could not find them locally. I originally used these and Piccadilly for almost everything, plain old journalling, ham radio, work, travel, and in my garage.  I liked to get a new one of these and a matching pocket size every time I went on a trip, especially a business trip since they have a business executive look.  Since I was in Engineering I liked to have something nicer than a steno pad which I used to use for general notes.
Here's a link to C. R. Gibson.

I never knew of this company until I came to Kalamazoo. Here's a link to more information.

Very little feathering if any.

Ghosting is about the same as Piccadilly, but I could not find any bleed through on the page under this one, even with the fine nib Phileas.

Measures .00039" which makes it 20# or 75gsm. Those are typically .004 inches thick.

Typecast courtesy of my 1969 Olympia SM9 with Professional Elite typeface.

Matching A5 and pocket size.  The big one has 240 pages and the small one has 192.  Both are Smyth sewn and lay flat, have marker ribbons and elastic closures as well as a pocket on the inside rear cover.  Very nice notebooks for the price.  I've found the small one as cheap as $3 something and the large one for around $5.00 when they are on special prices.
I think I purchased this one in 2016 when we were traveling for my job interviews since most of the notes are of our travels and my thoughts on various employers.

There is still about 75% of the book unused. I will keep it for our next trip. I never used the pocket one. 

I buy notebooks based on price and quality. Many times I will choose a cheaper price over a more expensive notebook even if the more expensive is better quality.  I go for practical and utility more than fancy.

If there is bleed through on a notebook I use it with pencil and move on to a different brand when it is time for a new one.  I prefer those made in the USA or Europe, but they are getting harder to find or more expensive or both.

What amazes me is that many others on the Fountain Pen Network also find they like the less expensive notebooks over expensive ones if they work with a fountain pen.  The general criteria seem to be minimal to no feathering and no bleed through.

Audio level on the video is a bit weak.

Thursday, April 16, 2020


This is a ruled journal, but also available in dot, quad, and plain pages, and probably the most colors of any brand. Leuchtturm1917
These have a nice tight  closure band, and not shown is the two marker ribbons.  One is the same color as the cover and the other striped.

Using the same pens as before I found the page to be nice to write upon. However I don't know if it was the paper or the nib of the second Waterman that prevented it from working. I suspect the nib since Waterman nibs can be a bit stubborn, especially with Noodler's Bulletproof inks. Ink takes a while to dry on this paper; note the smudging of the Shaeffer ink. This was written about a minute before it was scanned and the scanner smudged it.

I was disappointed at the amount of bleed through even for non-fountain pens, and pencil.

The thin paper is also disappointing. Thinner than Moleskine at .0036 inches. At least thickness is the same on all the pages measured.

I really like the preformatted T.O.C.  too bad the rest of the journal does not measure up.

Predate line and prenumbered are real nice addition, but not enough for me to spend the extra money to get more of these.

I really liked the labels. It would be nice to have a shelf of journals all with the same spine label format.

Typecast sent from my 1953 HHP. 
I was disappointed with this journal.  First thing I noticed was it came from Taiwan.  I thought that might put it a notch above Piccadilly which is made in China, but not so.  I don't like expensive journals that don't give me a big bang for my buck.

I first saw one of these when one of the fellows had one at one of our book store typewriter gatherings (now on hold because of stay at home orders and the virus).  It looked like it would be a nice journal. I especially liked the page format with the date and numbers.  Neither of these are killers for not buying a notebook. I've been manually numbering the pages and adding my date to an entry from way back when I was in school and all we had (at least in a small coal mine town) was the famous three ring binder or a spiral wound binder.
Later I graduated to Composition books.

I did some scanning of this journal and set it aside until it was time for this review which is not all that much of an objective review yet, is it not that I should or should not state my likes/dislikes and why?

I do these reviews without any outline or draft. I should really work from at least an outline, but I did not start that way.  For this I don't want to change.

When I get through all the notebooks I review I'll do a summary that will be more organized with advantages and disadvantages of both.  Again, these will be my view as I know others will have different views on some of the same brands of notebooks.

I know many readers of the blog as well as some locals who love Moleskine. I also know some who run from them instead of to them. That's fine. I used to run into burning buildings and think nothing of it. I still would if I were still in the FD.

I also know some readers and locals who do not journal. Some use plain old pads. Others use different forms of notebooks, and still others use only their PC.

What do notebooks, fountain pens, typewriters, and other methods of writing have in common? We all have our favorite.

Since I posted this
...and now for some news…

For all those interested: Adwoa is back!

Check out Retro tech Geneva with the link on my bloglist.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Piccadilly Essential Notebooks

I've been using these for a few years with small entries almost daily.  I miss quite a few days.

Tried to use the same pens as on the other post rather than using my original Piccadilly image in an earlier post.

I started using these soon after I first moved to FL and found them in Books-A-Million on special price quite often.  Over the past 15 years I have not seen these increase in price when on special.  They run about $7.00 almost every place I've found them, mostly in grocery stores.  Normally,not on special, they sell between $12 and $15 locally.  Generally the large only cost a dollar or two more than the medium, and many times the same price.

Believe it or not part 1 and part 2 are scanned to the same size as are the Jpeg Horizontal resolutions, but typical old Blogger they will not display properly. I'm getting closer to moving to Word Press.

Large is on the left, medium on the right.

I decided to measure these as the Piccadilly site only lists an approximate dimension.

I will measure typical page thickness of all journals.
Hopefully all the important points have been covered. I'm sure I missed something on this as well as my other journal review post.

I tried to compare the flatness of this one to the green book, but it'll take a video and more work. I may do a video after I do all the reviews.  This brand has consistently laid flatter than any similarly bound journals I have used, yes, even the over priced Moleskine.  The only side bound that lays flatter are the sewn and staple bound soft cover pocket journals such as a Field Notes, Cahiers, and these that were my go-to pocket notebook until I discovered the one I presently use that will be reviewed later.

These are quite comparable to Markings brand, but I don't know if I have any that are not fully used and packed. Wal-Mart and Staple's used to sell the Markings brand. There is no Staple's here, and our Wal-Marts don't carry Markings as they only sell the store brand which I found quite inferior to good journals.  I have one, if I did not throw it in the trash.

Stay home & stay safe.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Notebooks Part One, Federal Suppy 7530-00-200-3521

Typecast from my 1964 Hermes 3000

Old issue is on the left. The next oldest, center. The new on the right.  Inside they are all alike. 96 sheets of college ruled white sulphite paper.  Pages are not pre-numbered.  Binding is sewn and almost lay-flat.  These are often referred to as the Green Books.

This is the back cover.  Covers are hard and the binding is smith-sewn, but the structure of the spline does not allow completely flat opening.  The binding can be forced without damage and then the notebooks do lay nearly flat.  I found Piccadilly lay the flattest.  I get to those later.

I found the mil-spec on these and it does not list paper weight or if it is acid free.  I have some  of these that are probably 40 years old, and not stored in a climate controlled environment, and none yellowed.  I measured a sheet of paper. It is .0041 inches thick. I think this is about the  same as 50 pound?  I lost my notes on weight vs. thickness.

Here's a Moleskine. .0037 inch thick.  0.0003 thinner, for whatever it is worth. I know it bleeds through more or about the same depending on the pen as the green books.

I tested the ink with the pens I have inked.  There is a smudge on the L in Pilot, but I have had this pen smudge or blot on almost every paper I used.  Feathering is quite limited until I use a wet nib such as seen with my desk pen.  I like the Noodler's.  It is the ink I generally use. Bullet proof and I like the color.  Uni inks are also temper resistant.

The bleed through is less than the Moleskines I've used. I have those reviews on this blog.

The covers of these books measure 5.125 inches by 8 inches and the pages 4.750 inches x 7.750 inches.

These notebooks are often described as having a cloth cover. I do not know how old the ones are with cloth covers.  I got my first on in 1972 from the Army. I don't remember the cover being different than the oldest one I have.  I don't remember where I got that one.  It may have been from the government or I may have gotten it when I worked in the Army Surplus store where we'd have gotten them on government auction.  All of the covers are nice and seem like cloth.  If it is, it is very very thin cloth. The oldest is the nicest.  It may be cloth.  They all seem more like embossed paper though.

I like that the covers are not too brightly or darkly colored, and I can write on them with a Sharpie or other felt tipped marker. 

I'll be reviewing some Chinese and one from Taiwan that are cloth covered hard bound A5 notebooks.

The white sulphite paper is nothing different from 3 ring binder notebook paper or the paper found in many spiral bound notebooks and the black and white cardboard cover Composition Books. I have some of those Composition Books since high school (Hey! I'm an old guy. It won't be long I'll be out 50 years) that were stored in attics and basements, and the paper has never yet deteriorated.  I guessing the paper is acid free since I have many other books and notebooks that have yellowed under those same conditions.

I have not had problems using a fountain pen with these notebooks. If the nib is too wet there is shadowing through to the back, but I seldom write on the back.  I may use the pocket Moleskine I have and compare the two.  I'd rather a plain page or a lined page though.  Quad paper makes bleed though a bit harder to see.

For the ink feathering and bleed through I do not change scanner settings or edit the image files.  Setting manipulation and file editing can make the ink look better and the bleed through lighter or even darker.

Overall these notebooks are very nice for what they cost, and the are nearly indestructible.   I've not had any where the binding loosens or the pages fall out or come loose.  I use these at home, in the garage, and out in the outdoors.

Stay home, get out in the yard for some fresh air (or open the windows if the outside temperature is ok, and stay safe.