Saturday, October 11, 2008

USA Scores a Goal with American Made Field Notes Memo Books

Field Notes, Cahier & Lamy Studio

Field Notes, Moleskine Cahier, and a Lamy Studio fountain pen.

Field Notes & Bonus Goodies

$9.95 for a 3 pack of 3 1/2 x 5 1/2 Field Notes, with 48 pages of white graph paper. Bonus goodies received included a Field Notes brand click pen and pencil, along with a cool sticker that missed it's opportunity to have it's photo taken.

Field Notes next to Moleskine Cahier

Similarities abound when sitting next to the Moleskine Pocket Cahier, but it ends once you get to the paper. Moleskines run about $6.99 for a 3 pack and have 64 pages. (plain ruled or graph.) the paper is ivory in color and is horrible to write on. (Like trying to write on dead leaves.) For a fountain pen enthusiast such as myself, the Moleskines are a waste of money.

Field Notes Behind

The rear of the packaging shows Field Notes company slogan, "I'm not writing it down to remember it later, I'm writing it down to remember it now." Good stuff. Completely applicable. I'm always carrying a small notebook (in addition to my regular journal) to jot down ideas and remember stuff that I need to do.

Field Notes

While I absolutely *love* the intentionally plain generic packaging. Some people may prefer the plain cover on the Cahier, which screams to be doodled upon. (I'll probably still doodle on the Field Notes.)

Inside Field Notes Back Cover

The inside back cover contains all kinds of useful information. No back pocket, but again - I'm always more concerned with paper quality that the *extras* that try to make a journal out to be better than it really is.

Field Notes : Made in America

Read closely and you will see: "PRINTED AND MANUFACTURED IN THE USA."; Yaaaaaaay!!!! Whooooo-hoooooooo! (Moleskines are manufactured in China)

Field Notes Pen Test

Inside shot of the front cover and my pen test. So let's jump to the quick - NO FOUNTAIN PEN INKS BLED OR FEATHERED ON THE FIELD NOTES PAPER. AT ALL. PERIOD. END OF DISCUSSION. :o)

Field Notes Fountain Pen Test

Sharpies & Lumocolor bled, but that's to be expected. I also decided to try my watercolors. On the upper right side of the page, I tried a few scribbles with my Neocolor II watersoluable crayons. I doodled a little, then ran over them with a Niji Waterbrush. They did just fine. Then I tried painting a bit with my watercolors. (All artist-grade tube paint.) The paper handled the paint pretty well - better than I expected. Colors remained pretty vibrant, and while I wouldn't necessarily specifically buy Field Notes for painting, I would say that they will definitely accept a light wash and so throw one in your portable paint box - why not?

Field Notes - in conclusion

An American company is making a fountain pen friendly notebook. No fountain pen inks bled here. Sharpie & Lumocolor bled as expected. Pilot Petit tried to push through ever so slightly. White paper with tan gridded ruling.

We have to convince Field Notes to make a 5 x 8 hard back book.

Paper similar to Rhodia Graph Pads, but ink seems to dry a little faster here.

I wish the covers were a little thicker, but I know for sure that I have no need to ever buy another pocket Moleskine Moleskine Cahier, EVER AGAIN.

Highly recommended.


Speedmaster said...

I think the comical notes inside the covers are my fav. part. ;-)

Jean-Bernard said...

Nice review, these seem to please everybody. I would like to hear you talk about your Lamy Studio. I would really like to read a review.
Great blog.

Biffybeans said...

Speedmaster - I love a company with a sense of humor.

Jean Bernard - you will hear about my Studio, I just need to gather some more information before I can write up the review. And thank you for the compliment. :o)

Felyne said...

This is a great review, I am going to have a look at their products. I'm not sure how I feel about squared paper or the pocket size, hopefully they do other sizes but I guess I'll find that out when I click their website.

And JB bet me to it - I want to read your review on the Studio! I was thinking "how did I miss that you had a Lamy Studio" - this is it's first appearance, right? (or are my observation powers really weak?)

Thanks for the blog comment, and yes I'm still drawing, but I've had a hard time finding the time this last week... I NEED to, you are very right when you say it's therapeutic.

Biffybeans said...

Good eye! Yes, this is the first actual appearance of the Studio, but I did mention it in an earlier post. I'm writing up the review right now, and will have it posted later today.

To the best of my knowledge, the Field Notes are coming in only one paper size & are all gridded. The grid pattern is light enough that it doesn't bother me at all, but I can understand other people's preferences.

Oz said...

Great post. I looked at these the other day while browsing around one of the online paper stores. They look pretty nice, good for just jotting stuff down.

Where did you get them?


Biffybeans said...

Hi Oz - I got mine directly from the Field Notes website. The link is in my post, under the second photograph.

A.J. said...

I just placed an order for the Field Notes 2009 wall calendar the other day. It looks totally cool. I have some Field Notes pencils coming my way as well.

stephen said...

99% plus of ruled paper uses green/blue spectrum ink for the rules - but Field Notes, just like Moleskine, are doing something different. (Which I like!)

Now carried at several retailers, I hope their range may expand to other formats.

Thanks for the review!

Donald Allen Lee III (Donald594 on fountain pen network) said...

I love field notes, moleskines, moleskine volants, cahiers, and clairefontaine. All of the moleskines that I have ever owned were 100% fountain pen friendly. (even with my friends BB Italic/stub hybrid). Field notes are cool... but I never understood writing on graph paper!

Biffybeans said...

AJ - have fun with them!

Stephen - you are welcome!

Donald Allen Lee III - I don't understand writing on graph paper either, but I do have a few Rhodia pads and I use them for notes & lists - not actual thoughts. (Does that make sense?)

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