Bull & Stash has been on my radar since their Kickstarter campaign in 2014, and they reached out to me recently to see if I wanted to check out their notebooks. My answer was undoubtedly yes.
Upon first opening the package from Bull & Stash and taking hold of the notebooks, I noticed immediately how soft the leather is. It feels thick enough to make a shoe upper from, but is flexible enough to fold the leather back on itself and not leave a mark. The logo stamp in the lower right is a nice touch.
On the inside, the cover is filled with 50 pages of 60# paper, hole punched to fit through the Chicago screws punched through the back of the cover. Bull and Stash markets the paper on their website as bleed resistant, and I think that is being too generous.
This paper is textured, so almost any water-based ink I tried instantly seeped into the page. Sometimes it didn’t bleed, like with the Schmidt P8127 rollerball, but almost any fountain pen nib and ink combo was a no go. You can see it with the drawing pens too, where if you aren’t moving your pen quickly across the page the ink starts to spread. Ballpoint, gel, and pencil were no issue. Pencil, in fact, was wonderful on this paper, and by far my favorite to use.
You could also solve any paper quality issues by punching your own.
The other issue I had is that the pages are not perforated. This would make a huge difference in functionality, allowing you to cleanly tear out pages while also solving the lay-flat issue. With two posts used to secure the paper, it tears out randomly. You can remove the pages cleanly by unscrewing the posts, but that will get old. If you don’t tear out or remove the pages, you end up with a huge bulk of sheets you have to hold down while working your way through the notebook.
Also, be careful tossing this notebook in a bag. The back side of the screws will rub up against and possibly scratch anything it comes in contact with. Like a MacBook Pro, for example.
This is a very divisive product for me, with almost no middle ground. I can see the leather and the layout being absolutely perfect for some people, while the paper quality and lay flat challenges being a non-starter for others. $50 for The Stash is completely reasonable, and $25 for the Travel Stash even more so. You will need to decide if and how this product fits into your arsenal before taking the plunge.
My thanks to Bull & Stash for sending me this products at no charge for the purposes of this review.
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