Tuesday, August 10, 2010
I present to you the much sought after Allan's Journal which was provided by Bibles-Direct.com for the purpose of review. Every now and again someone tells me about a journal that they have but are unable write in it. That the overall beauty of the book intimidates them. I've never really felt this way, I'm willing to just dive into any book and start making a mess... Until I received this one.
A high quality personal notebook with 256 pages of lightweight lined writing paper. Bound in Morocco goatskin leathers and now in two page size formats. With red under gold page edges and ribbon marker.
20-25 GBP ($33-$41 US) Free international shipping. (They ship from Scotland)
Large version: Page size: 7 3/4" x 5 1/16" : 3/8" (200 x 130 mm)
Pocket version Page size: 6 1/8" x 4 1/2" : 3/8" (155 x 115mm)
Rounded corners on the cover & pages. Flexible leather cover. (Which smells fantastic!)
End papers are a sturdy plastic-ish material.
Line width is extremely narrow in this pocket version. (4mm) I am unaware if the line width is the same in the larger version. Book both opens and lies flat, and it can also be folded back upon itself.
Ribbon bookmark of sufficient length.
Pale blue ruling combined with the red under gold ink on the page edges gives the book a vintage look.
I tested the journal with a plethora of water based fountain pen inks and despite the incredible thinness of the paper, there was only very minor feathering with a few of the inks and almost no bleed through with the exception of the occasional blood dot. (Broad nib users may experience different results. I used EF, F & M nibs to test.) There will be see-through, but I'd call that pretty typical for a paper so thin.
Reverse of page. The paper is pretty smooth to write on, and my only issue with it is that as I can't contain my writing to a 4mm line, and as I write over the lines, the ruling shows through with certain inks.
Watercolor paints worked decently with no bleed through but the page did buckle.
The journal I'd most likely compare the Allan's to would be the Small Quo Vadis Habana- shown on left, Allan's Journal on the right. The books are similar in size and each has a narrow line ruling. (Habana has 5mm ruling)
Similar, though the Habana costs about 1/2 the price of the Allan's Journal.
The Allan's Journal has more pages (128/256) than the Quo Vadis Habana (96/192) which has 64g paper. I can't imagine how thin the paper weight must be on the Allan's. I've tried asking questions about the paper but haven't received a response of where it's made or it's weight. When I first wrote asking for a review sample, Nicholas Gray of RL Allan Publishers stated that the journals are made by a very classy London label (which he wouldn't mention) and that if they were sold in their shops with their name on them, would be 3x the price. Yipes! (I'm thinking Smythson)
*Note The small Habanas currently have either 64g (lined) or 90g (blank.) The 64g lined version is being used here for page comparison.
Slightly wider and a smidge taller then the small Habana - each would work well as a pocket style book. (Though each is larger than a small Moleskine.)
In conclusion, there is no doubt in my mind that this is a well made book. It looks good, feels good and smells good. But 4mm ruling would drive me insane. My handwriting is much too big for that. Now if there was a blank version available... But I don't know... Since I don't know where the paper is being sourced, I have no way of knowing if it would remain consistent from book to book. For its price, I'd like to think so.