Saturday, 24 October 2015

Review of Leuchtturm A4+ notebook

[Sorry for the absence of posts... who knew 'retiring' was going to be busier than being at work??]

Anyway, LONG overdue is this review of a Leuchtturm A4+ notebook. I've just started using it for writing more notes about the latest book and then realised I hadn't actually reviewed it!

Leuchtturm A4+ notebook

It's larger than A4, measuring 315mm x 225mm (page size = 313mm x 222mm; c.f. A4 = 297mm x 210mm) with a hard cover with leather-effect vinyl. There is a ribbon marker and a vertical elastic closure. There is no pen loop. According to the label, the paper is 100gsm.

Info on the label

When you open it, there is space for your name and address. I never fill that in but tend to write what the contents of the notebooks are (e.g. notes on book x). Inevitably, that name/address page is stuck to the page behind, but as that's another sheet of plain paper, it's fine.

Then comes the table of contents. It's got 30 lines per page and 3 pages, so 90 spaces to list the contents of 233 sheets (or more than 2.5 pages per index line). Maybe that will work out for me, but given the enormous size of each page, I'm not sure it will. I would have liked to have seen 4 pages of index rather than 3.

Table of contents layout

Each of the pages in the main part of the book are numbered (1-233) and have a top margin, labelled Date, then a broader line space, then 32 lines, with a margin to the outer edge of the page. The sizes of all of these are in the figure below.

Page layout

detail of the page numbering

I like the prompt to write the date on each page. I'm terrible for forgetting to date things and then years later, looking at them and thinking, "I wonder when I wrote this?" The broader first line/space below the Date margin is handy for titling the page/section.

The side margin hasn't been used yet, but I know I will use it for flagging where notes continue, or where I might need to cross-reference.
The line spacing, at 8.5mm, is a bit broad for me, though it has worked well with the two 1.1mm stub nibbed pens I have. When I've shifted back to a regular medium nib, my writing has looked a bit swamped by the line spacing.

The paper is lovely and thick, and very smooth to write on. With most of my pens, there is no feathering, no bleed-through and no show-through. That said, a couple of my 1.1mm nibs have bled through to the other side, which considering the paper is 100gsm and allegedly 'ink-proof' was a bit disappointing. But, it was an especially wet ink/nib combo and there was no feathering or show-through. Less wet combinations have been absolutely fine. A good friend of mine had said that he'd experienced issues with the paper in that the lines on the page had been almost glossy and been quite ink-resistant with the pen skipping on them but I haven't found that, so maybe we've experienced different batches or they've changed the paper at some point.

The last 8 sheets (pages 219-233) are perforated so that you can remove them. The perforations are very fine and there would be no chance of the paper becoming loose if you didn't want to remove them.

The ribbon marker is okay, but is thin and light and gets a bit drowned by the size of the book. I'm tempted to thread a charm or bead on to it so that it doesn't wriggle back into the book so easily. The elastic closure is fine - firm enough to keep the book closed but no use for trying to trap a pen with. This is a book that stays on my desk though, where there is a glut of pens!

As described on the label, the book lies pretty flat. The pages tend to spring up a bit, but the spine does open to a full 180 degrees.

At the back is a pocket which will take A4 paper, though the gusseting does get in the way a bit. There is a sheet of labels - two lined (92mm x 72mm), two plain (92mm x 72mm) and three for the spine (187mm x 17mm). The sheet says "Please use these stickers for labelling the spine of your Leuchtturm 1917 book when you want to archive it" which feels a bit bossy to me! But that's just me! I tend to write on the spines with a silver pen because I think the stickers look tacky and might peel off.

Other than the usual embossed Leuchtturm1917 on the back, there is no other branding on the outside.

I really like this book. The paper is fantastic and the acreage feels wonderful! It also makes me keep my desk a bit tidier, otherwise I can't open the book out! The line-spacing is a little wide for me but I do like the prompt on each page to date the notes. I'll reserve judgement on the index but I sense I will run out of lines in it before I've filled the book.

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