Posts filed under paper

Review: Nock Co A5 Notebook

Nock Co A5 notebooks were launched as part of Nock Co’s Lanier Briefcase Kickstarter’s stretch goal. I didn’t back the Kickstarter for the briefcase but I did jump on the chance when the option was open for the notebooks only. It took a while but I got the notebooks in my hands since late May this year. Then I got bogged down with reviews for other products, it was only recently I broke one out for a test drive. My idea of a test drive is usually a trip with it with friends at a mini pen meet. There, any notebook will be put through its paces via juicy, broad nibs and wet inks.

Normally, Nock Co paper products are usually top bound or loose. The Nock Co A5 notebook is the first that breaks this mould. The notebook comes in a pack of 3 and retails at USD$15. It is A5 sized and triple side stapled bound. The exterior is a 100# French Paper Co. Chipboard Kraft with the Nock Co logo embossed on the bottom. I like that branding is so subtle and unobtrusive. Inside is 48 pages of 90 gsm 60# white paper with the Nock Co’s DotDash format in brown.

Nock Co’s DotDash is something unique to them as far as I know. It’s a hybrid between the dot grid that I love and the standard grid format I prefer for my to do lists. Somehow it provides the illusion of having lines to write on but breaks it enough to allow me to ignore them at the same time. It’s really hard to describe. The A5 size is a tried and true format. Personally, as a lefty I like the Traveler’s Notebook regular size because of its narrowness but the A5 is my next favourite format. The notebook is great as an everyday carry beater notebook. It’s not something you might want to baby like say a Baron Fig Confidant. It’s something for daily use in the rough tumble of life.

The paper is certainly fountain pen friendly. I’ve tried it with a friend’s Visconti Homo Sapiens Crystal in B. Visconti nibs by themselves are pretty wet writers, having it in B is really overkill for me. Then it’s inked with KWZ Turquoise, which if I am not wrong is a lubricated ink. Imagine my surprise when the paper stood up to the juicy B nib just fine. No feathering, no bleed through just some ghosting visible from the other side of the page. The ghosting can be a little hard to see past if that’s something that irks you. One of the pen and ink combination that had a little trouble with bleed through was my Montblanc Heritage 1912 EF with Robert Oster Signature Blue Water Ice. I suspect the sharpness of the EF nib was the culprit than anything else.

Overall, USD$15 for a pack of 3 can be a little pricey for non-US buyers especially once you factor in international shipping costs. However, if you buy one, I am sure the notebook will stand up to the test.

Posted on October 6, 2017 and filed under paper, review.

Review: Baron Fig Confidant - Flagship (Metamorphosis)

My thanks to Baron Fig for sending me the Confidant Flagship Metamorphosis for review.

I’ve reviewed the Baron Fig Confidant in the Pocket size a few weeks ago. I had basically praised their paper quality but found issues with their choice of having a fabric exterior.

The main difference between the Pocket and the Flagship is the size. The Flagship is basically the A5 size, though slightly smaller. The Metamorphosis is one of Baron Fig’s limited edition Flagship model. Thus, it has a radically different exterior and bookmark colour. The peach fabric exterior is a nice soft colour that’s not too girly. Personally I never enjoy the pastel pink sort of colour but that’s my personal preference. The bright blue bookmark stands out well against the peach exterior. It comes in a box with a similar colour scheme. The colour scheme continues on the inside with a custom graphic art.

I love the colour combination Baron Fig had picked for this particular release. It’s different and it definitely stands out from the crowd. However, my complain about the fabric cover still stands. I took it out for one pen meet and it came home stained. The peach exterior makes stains stand out more than the regular grey ones. The paper quality is similar to the ones I’ve tested in the Pocket size and the Mastermind.

The Metamorphosis comes in only one size with 192 pages of fountain pen friendly paper. It’s available either via Baron Fig’s website or via their subscription. However Baron Fig have terminated their subscription services a while back. It seems that this particular limited edition Flagship is still available on Baron Fig. Retailing at USD$20, I think it is a pretty good deal but do factor in shipping costs if you are not residing in the US.

Posted on September 22, 2017 and filed under paper, review.

Review: Baron Fig Nomad

My thanks to Baron Fig for sending me the Nomad for review.

Post-It notes is something that is very common in offices all over the world. However, from my experience, the ubiquitous yellow sticky paper do not work all that great with our beloved fountain pens. That’s where the Baron Fig Nomad shines! The Nomad is a sticky note pad made specifically to be fountain pen friendly.

It comes in a pack of 3. Each 3” by 3” (7.62cm by 7.62cm) pad has 70 sheets. It is neither yellow nor plain. It’s the same off white dot grid paper that can be found in the Baron Fig paper products. Though visually the paper used is exactly the same as the one used in other Baron Fig paper products, I found it performs slightly poorer than in the Confidant, Vanguard and Mastermind. It is more likely to suffer from bleed through. In terms of feathering, it is on par with the 3 other Baron Fig products that I’ve reviewed so far. Personally, I don’t think the bleed through is a major issue. I do not use the back side of any regular sticky note and these notes are meant to be disposable anyway. A little bleed through in my sticky note is hardly a major issue.

It functions exactly like a regular sticky note. The stickiness of the paper is just right to hold on to surfaces and not leave a mark after being removed. However, I found the note prefers glass like surfaces over laminated wood. It adheres to another surface easily enough when I re-arrange my sticky notes.

A pack of 3 pads comes in at USD$8, personally I found it a little pricey. Maybe that’s because I do not use any sticky notes on a regular basis and this isn’t something I have been needing in my day to day life. I dare say if you are someone who depends a lot on sticky notes, the Nomad will be a better investment for you. For me, I will be sticking (pun unintended.) to my random scraps of paper.

Posted on September 15, 2017 and filed under paper, review.

Review: Baron Fig Mastermind

My thanks to Baron Fig for sending me the Mastermind for review.

Here I am back again with yet another Baron Fig product review. This time I am reviewing the Mastermind. The Mastermind is basically a desk pad. I remember my father having a desk calendar which he used to dot down notes and events as the month passed. The Mastermind functions similarly but without the constrains of an actual monthly calendar format.

The Mastermind comes in only one size. It measures 12" X 8" (30.48cm by 20.32cm), that’s slightly longer than the length of my Apple Wireless Keyboard. USD$15 gets you 2 pads of 35 sheets each. They only come in the dot grid format.

Personally the Mastermind desk pad took me by complete surprise. I didn’t expect to have much use for it since my table at home and the office are littered with notebooks, Post-Its and scrap paper. I have no want of more paper, or so I thought. However, just by the virtual of having the desk pad right in front of your keyboard or underneath it as the case maybe, it changes everything. I take notes faster, I don’t have to keep track of my fluttering Post-Its or random pieces of paper. Anything that I needed to know is all written down right in front of paper. I don’t have to flip my notebook to an empty page thinking if this information should be here or there. The Mastermind gives me the freedom be productive without the constrains, it allows me to doodle if I’m bored, remind myself with my to-do list written right in front of me.

Personally I found the Mastermind works best with I am in the office. My desk there is larger and it can accommodate the Mastermind and a full keyboard without problems. At work I am expected to keep track of the hours I spend working on each individual project for billing purposes. I note down the relevant information as the day goes by. I run through my Mastermind at about 1 sheet per week becasue I use both sides of the paper.

At home, I have my Mastermind sitting under my keyboard. However this setup only allows half the Mastermind to be visible but due to space constrains that’s the way it has got to be. However, the other half of the paper isn’t wasted, I fill up half the page then I rotate it 180 degrees and I get a fresh space to write on. I notice that the pad at home is more prone to get dog-eared quickly but that’s probably due to the shifting of the desk pad on and off the desk whenever I need more space.

The paper is the same found in Baron Fig’s notebooks - Vanguard and Confidant. And it performs admirably as the paper found in them. There is no bleed through that I’ve encountered with my pen and ink combination and this allows me to use both sides of the paper. However, note that the dot grid pattern is only printed on one side of the paper. The dot grid is the same size on the Mastermind as they are in the notebooks.

The Mastermind is one product that I heartily recommend. It isn’t so large that it is hard to find space for on a regular desk and it is format to constrain you to date boxes or lines. Use it to doodle or jot down important information and everything else in between and the best thing? It is all fountain pen friendly paper.

Posted on September 8, 2017 and filed under paper, review.

Review: Baron Fig Confidant - Pocket

I’ve written a review of the Baron Fig Vanguard a few weeks back. Today I’m back with a review of the Baron Fig Confidant. The difference between this and the Vanguard is the cover. The Confidant is the hard cover notebook line while the Vanguard is the soft cover line.

The Confidant comes in 3 sizes similar to the Vanguard. They are namely the Pocket, Flagship and the Plus. They come in 2 colours the Light Gray and the Charcoal with an option of dot grid, lined or blank. They are sold at USD$12, USD$18 and USD$22 each the Pocket, Flagship and Plus sizes respectively. There are 160 pages in the Pocket size.

Personally I went for the Charcoal in the Pocket size with dot grid paper. The Confidant has a fabric cover exterior and a yellow ribbon acting as a bookmark. I like how the yellow ribbon matches well with the charcoal grey exterior. The fabric doesn’t feel too rough but there is a definite texture to it. A fabric exterior is definitely different from other notebooks though by no means unique. One problem with the fabric exterior is it gets dirty, easily. The Confidant has only travelled with me in my bag to a pen meet once and I came back with a stain on the cover. I guess that’s why Baron Fig sells a leather cover - the Guardian. However that’s only available for the Flagship size. If you are really keen for a leather cover for your Confidant, I will recommend the countless Etsy leather masters, it’s not hard to get a custom made leather cover.

With a little breaking in, the Confidant can lay flat on the table. This makes it easier to write with. The paper is a off white colour with the a-little-too-large grey dots. This complain is the same that I had with the Vanguard. Size of the dot grid aside, I was very surprised with the paper’s ability to take the wettest and broadest nib I tried at a recent pen meet. The nib in question was a Pelikan with a IB nib. No feathering, no bleed through even show through was very minimal. Serious, count me impressed.

For the price of USD$12 to get 160 pages of excellent fountain pen friendly paper, it is a pretty good deal. A notebook of that capacity will last me a long time. The fabric cover is a little of a double edged sword, yes it is nice and different but it gets dirty easily. I don’t think I would mind if the exterior cover was just a standard thick card stock. Shipping is the only issue for Baron Fig notebooks for me. Shipping paper is expensive and there are other brands available locally, so there is that to consider as well. However, if you were to give the Confidant a try, I don’t think you will be disappointed with the paper.

I purchase this item with my own money.

Posted on September 1, 2017 and filed under paper, review.

Review: Baron Fig Vanguard - Pocket

Baron Fig is an American stationary company that had its start on Kickstarter back in September 2013. The Confidant was launched then subsequently they launched their web store and many other paper and non-paper products were introduced to the market. I must say Baron Fig is one of the few young companies that have been rather successful in the recent years. I had been aware of them since the Kickstarter but I was always reluctant to buy paper from overseas since shipping cost is going to be a factor. However with the introduction of cheaper 3rd party shipping, it has open up the opportunity to try such products.

Baron Fig has a number of paper products. Today this review will be concentrating only on the Baron Fig Vanguard. The Vanguard is basically a soft cover notebook that comes in 3 sizes, namely the Pocket, Flagship and the Plus. They come in 2 colours the Light Gray and the Charcoal with an option of dot grid, lined or blank. They are sold at USD$9, USD$12 and USD$15 for a pack of 3 for the Pocket, Flagship and Plus sizes respectively.

I went with the dot grid which is my favourite. The Pocket has measures 3.5" X 5" (Basically Field Notes size) and it has 48 pages in each notebook. I opted for the light grey cover. The Vanguard is stitched bound with yellow thread. I like the choice of the yellow thread as it is a nice colour against the light grey cover. The stitching is secure and I believe it will stand up to the stress of day to day use.

The exterior is a light grey card stock and the interior is acid free fine grain paper that is fountain pen friendly. The paper itself is not bright white but I’d say it is white enough to consider it such. The dots are grey and somewhat on the large side. Personally I found the dots a little too obtrusive, I would have preferred them smaller and/or lighter in colour. The soft cover is nice and pliable and it fits in the Nock Co Sinclair easily. Given that it’s dimension is identical to the Field Notes’ you won’t be hard pressed to find any cover or accessories for it.

The paper is probably the most important quality for me as a fountain pen user and I’ve tried the paper with a variety of ink and nib combination. I’ve yet to encounter any feathering or bleed through. Of course I am not a user of super board and wet nibs. My wettest and broadest is probably the TWSBI Eco with the right foot oblique medium nib, there was no bleed through or show through. The paper impressed me but I don’t think this is the type of paper that show off the quality the ink used in terms of sheen.

I purchased this item with my own money.

Posted on July 25, 2017 and filed under paper, review.