When the fine folks over at Write Notepads sent me a Traditional Brass-Ruled Notebook to try out, I was intrigued, but it wasn't until I saw and felt the notebook in person that I fell in love with the aesthetic. It doesn't take long to realize that this notebook is crafted with care. Also, I'm a big fan of brass in just about everything, so that's an easy bonus point.
To give you a little background on the company, Write Notepads is based in Baltimore, Maryland. All of their notebooks are made in America from recycled materials, and the inks used in the notebooks are vegetable-based. What's even more awesome is that for each notebook you buy, they donate a notebook to an inner-city school in Baltimore. This is a great practice that shows that these guys are just good people. If you're interested in knowing where your companion donation book ended up, they include a 5-digit code that you can use on their website to find out which school you helped out. Nice.
Another thing that's worth pointing out: they also sell a left-hand version of this notebook. Yep, same notebook, but laid out for a left-hand writer. You know, with the spiral binding on the right side. I'm not a lefty myself, but I think this is an option that should be standard in all notebooks.
Now, down to brass tacks. The notebook is 5.5 by 8.5 inches and contains 120 pages of 70# paper with college ruling. The pages are perforated and held in place with a dual ring brass wire coil. The front and back covers are a thick, sturdy card-stock with lovely red embossing that really puts the finishing touches on the notebook. Along with the notebook, you get a large red rubber band to hold everything together. All in all, it's a fantastic product.
The notebook is well-made and I think it could take a serious beating over the weeks, months, etc. For a spiral-bound, perforated notebook, it feels sturdy. Another benefit of the sturdy covers is that you can use this notebook on uneven surfaces with no problem as the covers act as a writing surface.
And now for the big question: How does the paper hold up against different pens and inks? In a word: fair. If you discount fountain pens and markers, the paper is stellar. Once you get into fountain pens, your mileage will vary based on the ink properties and the width of the nib. If the ink has a tendency to feather on some papers, it will definitely show on this paper. However, if you're using a small nibbed pen with well-behaved ink, it's a pretty good experience. Again, wet or large nibbed pens will cause significant show-through on the opposite page. In some cases, I'd say you couldn't use the opposite page based on the amount of show-through.
With that said, consider how you might use this notebook before picking one up. This isn't your go-to notebook for your fancy fountain pens — there are plenty of other notebooks for that. If you're using a small/dry fountain pen, or any kind of gel, ballpoint, or hybrid ink, this notebook will shine. Oh, and, of course, pencils do a fantastic job with this paper.
Several of the images on the Write Notepads website feature the notebooks alongside other craftsman tools like hammers, rulers, awls, etc. To me, that elicits a feeling of using this notebook to build things and get dirty. It's for sketching up hair-brained ideas for that backyard shed you intend to build one day or measurements for the shelving you want to install in the closet. Whatever it is, this notebook is conveyed as a particular kind of tool that needs to be used in a certain way. With that understanding, I can highly recommend this notebook. Just don't expect it to handle all your fountain pens with grace — it just isn't meant for that. Like all tools, use it how it was intended and it will treat you well in return.