Friday, July 17, 2009

Review: Exacompta Forum w/ Chelsea Leather Cover

Exacompta Forum with Leather Cover

Looks like Inkophile beat me to the punch on reviewing the Forum. :o)

This is the Exacompta Forum journal with a red Chelsea Leather cover. The Chelsea soft leather cover can be filled with the Basic Forum refill #'s 1401, (365 undated pages & info) 1400, (blank) & 1404. (graph) When you buy the cover, it comes loaded with one refill.

Additional cover options include Club Leatherette & Nostalgie which are available in many colors and designs.

I've noticed on different sites that the Forum is sometimes referred to as "Basics" or as "Nostalgie." Be forwarned that the Livres d'or (also sometimes called "Basics") is a different product, in a different size. It will NOT fit the above mentioned covers.

Exacompta Forum with Leather Cover

The covers are 5x7" with the refills being slightly smaller. The Forum refills that have a "1" after the number, such as 1401/1 come with an elastic closure.

Exacompta Forum with Leather Cover

I'm not crazy about the elastic closure option on the refills. It's super loose. The refills have a stiff cardboard cover and they could be used without a protective cover.

Exacompta Forum with Leather Cover

And it has these metal ends that would make the book wonky to write in. I don't find them useful at all and luckily, they are quite easy to remove. (Refills without the elastic cost less.)

Exacompta Forum with Leather Cover

The Chelsea leather cover is soft, flexible and lies flat.

Exacompta Forum with Leather Cover

It has a slit in the inside flap where you can store business cards.

Exacompta Forum with Leather Cover

The refills simply slip into the cover, (remove the elastic first if yours has one) and you can also use the inner cover section as a pocket.

Exacompta Forum with Leather Cover

Pages are signature sewn.

Unfortunately, the forum does not lie flat. You will be writing in/out of a hump. If you only write on one side of the page, you will be fine.

Exacompta Forum with Leather Cover

The Forum journals have these little tearaway corners that you can use like a book mark. Finish the page, tear off the corner. I'm not a big fan of this feature. I tried it for a while and for whatever reason, the little paper bits never found their way to the garbage can and they were all over the place... I do love that the refills have rounded corners, but it would have been much better if the covers also had rounded corners. Chelsea and Club Leatherette covers have square corners, and some of the Nostalgie covers are rounded and some are square.

Exacompta Forum with Leather Cover

The paper in the forum is a smooth, satin finish, ph neutral white 80g paper. While this paper feels very thin to me, I tested a ton of fountain pen inks and there was NO feathering or spreading. Only the tiniest of bleeding and that was only at the beginning of a line, near the inner crease of the book. However, you wil notice a good deal of see-through on the other side. if you use highly saturated inks, it could be a distraction.

Exacompta Forum with Leather Cover

More fountain pen inks tested in the Forum. Note that fountain pen inks take a little while to dry on this super smooth paper. When in doubt, use a blotter.

Exacompta Forum with Leather Cover

Stabilo markers loved this smooth paper.

Exacompta Forum with Leather Cover

The paper took watercolors just ok. Most super smooth paper is resistant to ink/water and that makes painting a little difficult unless you use a limited amount of water.

All in all, the Forum is a good product and the Chelsea cover appears to be well made. IMHO, the only real downside to it is it's inability to lie flat.

5 comments:

Beth T Irwin said...

Unfortunately for those of us with B, BB or large stub nibbed pens, there IS bleed through onto the next page, even with lighter colored inks. I believe this paper is 60g instead of the better 90g of their other products. I love the covers available and the refills, but these turned into one sided notebooks and I had to watch the nibs I used.

Biffybeans said...

I hear you Beth... The Exaclair website states that these are 80g, but they do feel thin.

Steve said...

I use the black with silver edge blank sketchbook--love it. Mine have a grey fabric binding and lay flat! They also do not have the perforated corners and it is a dream for fountain pen drawing and light watercolor washes.

Biffybeans said...

Steve - those are a completely different model - with beautiful laid paper. I like those as well - very much. I just wish they wouldn't call them both "Basics" it's confusing.

inkophile said...

So I'm not the only one who found the naming conventions confusing. It was a struggle to keep things straight when I wrote my review.

I would agree with Beth about wider nibs on this paper though flow is more the issue than nib size IME. The only bleed-through in my tests happened with a flexible nib and that was a flow issue.

Extra-fine through medium nibs should all work well with varying degrees of show-through.

Thanks for the mention, Stef. Shocked I reviewed anything before you pumped one out. You are the speed queen when it comes to reviews. :)

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