This week, I'm really pleased to talk about one of my favorite notebooks: the Leuchtturm 1917 Soft Cover Large Notebook. I've had this particular book for about two years now, and it's always a joy to use. When this one is full, I'll buy a replacement or two (or twelve).
Look and feel
There's something about a simple black notebook that catches my eye. It's not trying to be fancy or flamboyant. I'm neither of these things either, so maybe that's why I like it so much – we're two peas in a pod.
The synthetic cover is soft and pliable in the hand. In my years of using it, the cover hasn't discolored or worn at all. It sill looks new. Of course, there's an elastic closure and a black ribbon marker to hold your place. The sides of the notebook are completely square, and by that I mean that there aren't groups of pages that are misaligned due to hasty cutting at the shop. From the outside of this book, you can tell that quality was one of the top three requirements.
One thing I don't completely understand is the length of the page marker ribbon. It extends about 4 inches below the book and tends to get in the way when open or closed. My guess is that this can serve as a dual page marker, meaning you can tuck the end into a different place in the book. This is a small quibble, but worth mentioning.
On the inside, the Leuchtturm has a page dedicated to your name and address, a blank page, and then another page that has a pre-printed table of contents. This is really useful, and I know that several people have mentioned that this is really handy when using the Bullet Journal method. The back cover has a sturdy pocket for holding loose pages, which I've never used. Pages 107-121 are perforated.
One of my favorite features is the page numbering. Yes, the Leuchtturm notebooks have the page numbers printed in the bottom corner of each page in a light gray ink. I number all my notebooks, and this is a huge convenience for me.
The book also came with a sheet of stickers that you can place on the front or spine to label the notebook. I haven't used them yet, but plan to once it's full and I store it away for reference. Another cool thing that is included is a ruled card that can be placed behind the blank page so that you can have a rule to follow on the page. I haven't used it, but it's a nice thing to include. I have a plan paper version, and I'm not sure if they include this card with the other types.
Like I said, my notebook has plain paper, but this seems to be slightly difficult to find sometimes. Goulet Pens has a softcover book, but only with lined paper. Amazon has the Large Squared Soft Cover, which I'm sure Brad is all over.
Now, on to the paper.
In my testing, this paper has worked splendidly with every pen and ink I've tried with it. It's an 80g ivory paper, so it's a tad bit thin and allows heavier inks or pens to show through, but I haven't seen any bleed-through. I also haven't seen any feathering or bleeding on the paper.
It's a thin, bright paper that is enjoyable to write on. The paper tends to have a small amount of tooth with some pens, but it's nothing that bothers me. It gives a sense of feedback, which is usually helpful. Any pens that caught a bit more tooth were somewhat scratchy on other papers anyway. Overall, it's an excellent paper.
Being thinner than other papers like Clairefontaine, the dry time is slightly faster. The color and properties of the paper also show what I think of as the "true" color of the inks being used. Some papers make inks appear more or less saturated, which can be annoying.
Overall, this is a fantastic paper. I don't have any complaints.
Leuchtturm 1917 look like Moleskines on the outside, but they're so much better in quality and writing experience that it's not even funny. What is funny, however, is that the Leuchtturm notebooks usually cost a couple of dollars less than Moleskine. Now, if only Leuchtturm were in every major book seller in the states...
If you haven't tried a Leuchtturm book, it's a worthy risk to take. They have larger and smaller sizes, soft and hard covers, as well as different colors.