Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Review: Leuchtturm New "Ink Proof" Journal - Blank

New Leuchtturm Journal w/ Ink-Proof Paper

The Leuchtturm large journal - new "Ink-Proof" version. I'd always wanted to test these as an alternative to Moleskine, and Cynthia at JournalingArts.com graciously sent me this and one of the older versions to test and review.

*Of note - I tested this journal and took these photos several months ago and only now am I getting around to write the review. As I LOVE blank journals, I actually jumped right into this one and this is the first time ever I am writing a journal review after having completely finished it.

A Leuchtturm, Webbie & a Mole walk into a bar...

Top to bottom:

Leuchtturm: $13.99, 5¾" x 8¼", 250 (70g) acid free paper
Webbie: $19.99, 5½" X 8¼", 192 pages (90g) acid free paper
Mole: $15.99, 5" x 8¼", 240 pages (unknown weight) acid free paper

New Leuchtturm Journal w/ Ink-Proof Paper

Designed in Germany, made in Taiwan. Distributed by Kikkerland - Moleskine's old distributor.

New Leuchtturm Journal w/ Ink-Proof Paper

A whole bunch of stuff.... book labels, a thank you sheet, product flyer... Is this all necessary? Omission would surely reduce the cost....

New Leuchtturm Journal w/ Ink-Proof Paper

One more freebie that came with this blank version, a lined/grid template.

New Leuchtturm Journal w/ Ink-Proof Paper

Easy to see through the page.

New Leuchtturm Journal w/ Ink-Proof Paper

Not so easy to store... Would make much more sense to have it sized to fit inside the expandable back pocket.

Note - Last 8 sheets are detachable.

New Leuchtturm Journal w/ Ink-Proof Paper

3 pages of index at the beginning of the book. (Which follow an inner cover page with space for your personal information)

New Leuchtturm Journal w/ Ink-Proof Paper

Numbered pages... Woot!!! I LOVE this feature. While I use my journals for a lot of daily ramblings, sometimes I write a specific memory or story and being able to note the page numbers at the front is so much better than post-it flags that I can't remember what I marked & why....

New Leuchtturm Journal w/ Ink-Proof Paper

Ribbon bookmark which seems much more fray resistant than the one in the Moles.

New Leuchtturm Journal w/ Ink-Proof Paper

While the spine on this journal allows the book to lie flat, it does NOT open flat. (Moleskine still hold the record for the book that opens the flattest) You WILL be writing in/out of a hump and at certain spots in the book it will be better/worse. I find it extremely annoying to have to push a book down to flatten the pages and if I don't, I lose writing space near the inner crease.

Large Leuchtturm

I noticed something new (to me) while using this journal. I had never tried folding any of my hard back journals back onto itself and was surprised to find that the Leuchtturms (in pocket & large sizes) fold back neatly. Pulling out a Mole & a Webbie, I find that they too will fold back on themselves, but each of those two seem to be a bit strained while the Leuchtturm does not.

New Leuchtturm Journal w/ Ink-Proof Paper

Testing a pile of water based fountain pen inks in the new "Ink-Proof" Leuchtturm. These inks do take a little longer to dry on this paper. About the same as you would expect from Rhodia/Clairefontaine - but this paper is not as smooth as R/C. It's kind of smooth, but every now and then your pen nib will run over what feels like a tiny paper fiber, which to me, ruins the experience - I also get the impression that these are the same fibers which feather - as shown below.

New Leuchtturm Journal w/ Ink-Proof Paper

Despite the fact that fountain pen inks do not bleed on this paper, they still do feather.

New Leuchtturm Journal w/ Ink-Proof Paper

Though there is an occasional blood dot, fountain pen inks do not bleed through this relatively thin paper.

New Leuchtturm Journal w/ Ink-Proof Paper

Interested in how this paper would take a huge Sharpie, I placed a piece of copy paper behind it "just in case."

New Leuchtturm Journal w/ Ink-Proof Paper

Can you believe it? Sharpies bleed through everything.....

New Leuchtturm Journal w/ Ink-Proof Paper

Now here's the crazy part. I tested the paper with a variety of gel pens and at the time I tested them, (mid February?) they wouldn't stay dry for the life of me. Everything smudged minutes, hours, DAYS later... but wait, there's more....

New Leuchtturm Journal w/ Ink-Proof Paper

Faber Castel Pitt pens smudged, ball-point ink smudged... I had never seen anything like this!

New Leuchtturm Journal w/ Ink-Proof Paper

Everything I tested, I tested in during the winter in my house that is heated by forced air - it gets very dry in here. As I mentioned at the top, I jumped right into using this journal not long after I tested it and it is the same journal I recently took with me out to Ohio. (Mid April & rainy) As I don't travel with my fountain pens, I took a handful of gel pens with me -fully expecting them to smudge but you know what? They didn't! Nothing smudged at all and it all dried fairly quickly. I am now convinced that this phenomenon is directly related to humidity or a lack thereof.

Of note, I noticed something in the Leuchtturm journals that I used to experience in the Moles, and that is if you rest your thumb/finger/palm on the page as you write, it soaks up the oils in your hand and it becomes difficult to write over that spot and the ink starts to bead up.

New Leuchtturm Journal w/ Ink-Proof Paper

Artist grade watercolor paints look good on this paper but there was much buckling.

New Leuchtturm Journal w/ Ink-Proof Paper

Rear of watercolor.

All in all, I like the larger size of this book combined with the numbered pages and index, but I don't love the paper's texture and feathering with fountain pen inks.

You can buy Leuchtturm journals at JournalingArts.

9 comments:

Brian Goulet said...

Thanks for this review, Biffy! If you're wondering, the Moleskine notebooks have just under 72g paper, I did the calculations and you can see my video how: http://www.inknouveau.com/2010/02/episode-11-moleskine-paper-weight.html

In terms of paper, it sounds like the Leuchtturm is a step up from the Moleskine (better price too), but still can't touch the Clairefontaine paper in the Webbies. Maybe it's just me, and maybe I've just used too much French paper, but I absolutely will not tolerate feathering. I've had a few of my customers ask me about the 'new and improved' Leuchtturm notebooks, and I have to say after having seen your review, I'm quite underwhelmed. Clairefontaine is my gold standard, and aside from a select few Japanese products, there is nothing else that seems to come close.

Lanz said...

Interesting about the variable drying times on this paper, apparently related to the humidity in the air.
On a different note, why is a notebook/journal this size so often described as "large"? To me it's more like "medium" and is as small as I'm willing to go in a journal. Anything smaller isn't useful to me. The Everyman's Journal is about the size I want in a journal. Am I crazy?

Lanz said...

Strange about the different performance relative to the humidity in the air. Sounds like the paper might not be stable.
On another note, why is the 6x9-sized journal so often described as "large"? To me that size is more like "medium" and is just big enough to be useful. Anything smaller has sharply limited utility. "Large" to me would be more like 8.5x11 or so. Like this, for example. Is it just me? Am I crazy?

maquia said...

I'm really enjoying reading your blog and, of course, seeing your beautiful paintings! The red color in the second picture from the bottom is beautiful. What is the name of this ink?

Biffybeans said...

Thanks Brian! I forgot that you had measured the Mole paper...

Lanz - my guess on the use of "large" is maybe related to the idea of a portable book? As in Pocket, then large? I'm not sure. Never tried the Everyman's journal - looks to me like something that would be more apt to reside at a desk than carry around... but that's just me.

Maquia - which picture? And thank you for the kind words about my blog. :o)

Niki said...

Hello Stephanie. I didn't see a "contact me" location so I thought I'd just ask my question on your latest post. I hope you don't mind. My question is, how do you keep track of what color ink is in what pen at any given time, seeing as you have so many pens?
Thanks
Niki

maquia said...

Thanks for your reply Biffybeans!
The picture I mentioned is in "Review: Leuchtturm New "Ink Proof" Journal - Blank". That is the 21st one from the top and the second one from the bottom.

Biffybeans said...

Maquia - Now I understand.... I was looking for ink - 2nd image from the bottom was done in watercolor paint. Unfortunately I did that so long ago, I can't remember which kind... But I'm sort of thinking because there is a blue/red and then mixed purple, I think it might have been from my Windsor Newton Bijou Box. If you would like an ink that reddish color, it sort of reminds me of Diamine Maroon.

Biffybeans said...

Hi Niki! Very good question.... Quite honestly, I don't really keep track as I "usually" can remember what's inside a pen. Though I have tested over 100 or so inks, I haven't kept that many for myself to use in normal rotation, so I usually have a pretty good grip on what is in use. I also have started to not ink as many pens (though I still have about 11 inked...) and right now, I have the same black ink in 5 of them. I know some people keep a small journal and make notes when they ink a pen. Hope that's helpful...

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