Sunday, 25 May 2014

Review of the Leuchtturm 1917 notebooks

New Leuchtturm 1917 notebooks
I have SO many reviews owing. Let me begin to make amends and review the Leuchtturm 1917 for a start – I bought two of them in The Paperie’s 3 for 2 sale (the 3rd book was the Paper Thinks notebook, reviewed here). No affiliation - just a happy customer.

The Leuchtturm notebooks are nicely designed books in my opinion. They have hardback covers (in a series of bright, cheery colours), with ivory/cream paper, numbered pages, a table of contents at the front, detachable pages at the back, an expandable pocket in the back, matching ribbon marker and a vertical elastic closure. The paper is lovely to write on. Notebook size is 208mm x 147mm. There are 249 numbered pages.

The Cover:

I bought two – an emerald green cover and a berry red one. I have only opened the berry red (I assume that the innards of the emerald green one will not differ significantly!). The colours are vibrant and intense and a welcome cheer on a rainy May weekend up here in Scotland!

Back cover

The cover is PVU with a leather-effect and no plasticky smell, thankfully. There is no branding on the front or on the spine, and just ‘Leuchtturm1917’ embossed on the back. The cover is rigid.
As a comparison with other notebooks/my filofax, here is the emerald green next to a Sea Green Cartesio notebook...

Leuchtturm on the left, Sea Green Cartesio on the right

... and the berry red next to my pink Baroque filofax...

The first page has a space for name and address. Personally, I would prefer just to have the lines and no instructions over what should go there, as I don’t put either my name or my address in most of my notebooks as they never leave my house.

Name/address page; booklet on the left
 There was a small card saying ‘thank you for buying this product’ inside and a leaflet about the notebook and the history of Leuchtturm. There was also a set of stickers for labelling the books (though personally, I have never used these and think they would detract from the exterior of the notebook. I might use one on the inside).


After the name/address page is a blank fly-sheet, then there are three pages of index.

First index page
Then a double spread of them

This is followed by a blank side (the reverse of the last index page) then the main notebook.
At the top of every page is “Datum/Date:” and at the foot of every page on the outer corner, is the page number. I like this, as I always number my notebooks and I always produce a list of contents at the start of the book, so for me, this detailing is a bonus. I’m not so convinced about having the date at the top of every page – that might grow on me!

The paper is ivory/cream, with a line-spacing of 6mm. The lining is feint (very light, actually – I like how subtle it is!). The lines go edge to edge of the paper and there is a top margin of 12mm and a bottom margin of 7mm. The outer corners are rounded.

The last few pages of the notebook are perforated so you can remove them (I removed the last page to test how easy this is and also to do the fountain pen tests). Initially, the idea of the last few pages being removable hadn’t appealed, but in fact, these are very subtly perforated so it isn’t obvious that they are, nor would it be easy to accidentally remove them, so if you didn’t want to take out sheets, the book would stay intact. The perforations are incredibly fine and the paper came out okay (though it was a bit of a tug to get it started).

The back, expandable pocket covers the entire back cover and is pretty gusseted – you could cram a lot in here if you wanted to spoil the look of your notebook!!

Pocket in the back. (the white thing on the RHS is the book label)

The ribbon marker is a good match to the cover and to the elastic closure (yes, we all know how picky I am about these things!). It is a relief that this all matches so well on a notebook whose strap-line is “Details make all the difference”!

I personally prefer a horizontal elastic closure so that I can tuck a pen in to it, but if you wanted to carry a pen, Leuchtturm do matching adhesive pen-holders and you could stick one to the cover very easily.

Fountain Pen Tests:
Again, I don’t have as many inked up as normal. I used three italic-nibbed pens (by far my favourite pens to use) plus one standard nib plus a couple of Pilot V5 pens.
The paper was a little bit ‘grabby’ on the italic pens and made them feel a little scratchy, but the non-italic nib flowed smoothly over the page and it was a dream to write on with it. The two Pilot pens were okay (but not my favourite to write with anyway). There was no feathering and ink dried quickly, so lefties would be absolutely fine (assuming my inks are representative).

Crisp - no feathering

Hmm. A little disappointing considering they go on about ‘ink-proof’ paper. I could read everything on the other side of the page very easily. I’m not sure if I would want to use fountain pen in the books as a consequence. Maybe. I was expecting better though.

This is looking better than the reality...

Gorgeous colour cover and well thought out interior. Good little notebook and one I am sure that I will use for book-plotting/writing. It’s just a shame that there was so much bleed-through with my fountain pens and that the page is a bit grabby on italic nibs.

I would award it **** (out of 5)

1 comment:

  1. This is a neat little blog post, and seems you put a considerable amount of effort and love into it. This has been helpful for me in choosing a Leuchtturm for myself, so thank you!