Friday, July 17, 2009
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.
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.
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.
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.)
The Chelsea leather cover is soft, flexible and lies flat.
It has a slit in the inside flap where you can store business cards.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Stabilo markers loved this smooth paper.
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.