Review: Nanami Seven Seas Writer

Nanami Seven Seas Writer 6

Tomoe River Paper has really taken off in the last few years. Starting as loose leaf only, then the Hobonichi planner. Seven Seas was the first notebook provider of this glorious paper. Tomoe River Paper is such a marvel for its Bible-thin paper, and its capacity to take ink so well. Tomoe River Paper handles fountain pen ink very well. I’m not a fountain pen user myself, but I hear all the ravings. The paper takes my pigment liner pen just as well.

Nanami’s amazing product coupled with its inconsistent supply creates a devout following. A batch of notebooks comes into stock, and then goes out in a flash. And notebook lovers eagerly hum about when they will come back in — in a few months. At times you can catch them on Amazon, as well as on the Seven Seas website.

Nanami Seven Seas is my current notebook! I started it in 2016, and am about halfway finished with it. It is also worth mentioning that the photos in this review are of a half-used product. The notebook is not new and shiny anymore, but it is helpful to see how well the Nanami wears.

Nanami Seven Seas 1

The cover, made of a sturdy and stiffened woven material, gives the appearance of being a humble notebook.  Lose the slip cover, and it’s a no-name brand notebook, with no sign of Seven Seas anywhere. This notebook speaks for itself in its beautiful luxe Tomoe river paper. I appreciate the understated visual of the notebook.

Nanami Seven Seas Writer 5

While the notebook visually is understated, the smoothness of this paper is hard to overstate. It takes my pigment liner ink extremely well. The slight ghosting is aesthetically pleasing. The lines are extremely faint, and disappear once you fill the line, even better the whole page.

The binding not only allows for the notebook to lay flat, but allows for the cover to bend the front cover behind the back. I’ve had success with this only at the 1/3 to 2/3 page range.

Nanami Seven Seas Writer 3

Nanami Seven Seas Writer 2

The slip cover the Seven Sea notebooks come in is highly utilitarian. I do not like covers, and have never used a cover with any of my notebooks. While protective, they feel unwieldy and awkward to write with. Always slipping off, creating gaps when open but taught when closed, getting in the way while writing. You can use a cover with Seven Sea’s notebook if that’s your flair, but the slip cover has served that protective function just fine for me. It’s always in the slip case and in my bag when I’m not writing in it. And it has held up well! The corners have become a little gouged. The cover appears worn in a daily wear-and-tear sense, but in good shape. Seven Seas Writer 8

My only complaint, and it’s hardly a complaint, is that there are too many pages. This notebook is slow to fill for me. I started this notebook in 2016, and I expect it should take me 2 more years (4 years in sum) to finish. As a notebook addict, I’m itching to move on to another notebook, but that won’t be for a while from now.

On this point, I’ve observed a huge range in in tomoe river paper options, with a big gap in the middle. There are handful of 400+ page tomoe river paper notebooks (like Seven Seas) and many 30 page carnets. Can I get a 192 page Tomoe River Paper notebook?

Specifications

  • 480 Pages
  • Size: A5
  • Lined — 7mm
  • Weight: 52 gsm

Review: Paper-Oh

Favorites - 9 of 10

Paper-Oh is a design-focused notebook maker. These are well-designed, fun, tasteful, and high-quality notebooks. Paper-Oh designs are different from what other notebook producers are offering. They’ve really thought and rethought notebook bindings and materials used in designing their notebooks.

The biggest hurdle was trying to find where I could even purchase one of these notebooks. I first tried using their store locator tool. Which was helpful in finding cool book and stationary stores, but not helpful in finding their product in brick and mortar stores. I went to 3 stores in Wisconsin, and found only 1 notebook (that was not one I really wanted). Some stores had sold out of their Paper-Oh notebooks long ago, some had slim pickings. I finally emailed their customer support, who pointed me to lovenotebooks.com. If I was not so enamored with the notebook, I would not have been so tenacious. Not all potential Paper-Oh notebook lovers are going to be as tenacious in tracking down their product. I’m so rooting for Paper-Oh!

The Paper

Paper-Oh - 1 of 1

  • 100% sustainable forested paper
  • Uncoated
  • The paper is the same for all of the different notebooks.
  • 6mm line spacing
  • Lays flat

Gourmet Pen’s reviewed Paper-Oh notebooks, and determined that these notebooks are not fountain pen friendly. So, if you’re a pencil, ballpoint, gel, or felt-tip pen user, these could work for you.

Buco
Favorites - 2 of 10

The Buco is my favorite of Paper-Oh’s offering. This notebook has a unique design without impeding the functional use of the notebook. That’s a tough line to walk. The unique design features of this notebook are delightful: the holes cutout of the spine, like the beginning of a paper snowflake, the striped gilt-edging, and the horizontal elastic closure.

Favorites - 1 of 10

Favorites - 7 of 10

When fully open, the cut holes remind me of Swiss Cheese. Closed, the notebook looks reminds me of a cookie. It looks delicious.

All of the Paper-Oh notebooks lay flat in the photo above. The joint of the spine creates this gap, and allows for the notebook to rest open flat.

Buco, much to my disappointment, is unavailable in North America. This is my favorite notebook by Paper-Oh! However, I was able to purchase it through amazon.de with reasonable shipping to the States.

  • Above is B6. Also available in B7
  • Elastic enclosure
  • 112 pages

Yuki-Ori

Favorites - 4 of 10

The Yuko-Ori notebook line was designed collaboratively between Paper-Oh designers and artist Yuko Nishimura. Nishimura is a paper sculptor, fusing origami into her pieces. The double wave pattern on the cover gives the illusion of aliasing in photography.

This notebook is in a B6.5 size! A clever way of saying a slimmer version of a B6 size. I prefer slim notebooks, to more square notebooks.

  • Above is B6.5 (~7″ X ~3.5″). Also available in A5, A6, B6.5, A7.
  • 112 pages

Puro

Favorites - 3 of 10

The Puro cover has a shimmering material with three swish marks embossed.

  • Above is A5 size. Also available in A6 and A7.
  • 112 pages

 

Favorites - 5 of 10

Circulo

  • Magnetic flap closure
  • Above is A5. Sizes A4, A6, and A7 is also available
  • 112 pages

Favorites - 10 of 10

I will eagerly look forward to any addition in their line. But don’t take my word for it. Check out these other reviews on Paper-Oh notebooks:

Where to Buy

Review: Choosing Keeping Notebook

Choosing Keeping is a stationary store located in London, with a well-stocked online shop with familiar and unique notebook offerings. And such beautiful product photos! They also create their own line great line of notebooks.

Choosing Keeping
Choosing Keeping

These two featured here are the Blue and Black Spanish Ripple Marbled and Black Hand Decorated notebooks. The cover is a stiff but thin cardboard, I would put in the softcover category. Textured vinyl tape is wrapped around the spine. It reminds me of the tape on the spine of composition notebooks.

Choosing Keeping

The paper is smooth, and advertised as fountain pen friendly, which is important to a lot of notebook and stationary lovers. I, however, use pigment pens. The paper is lined, with wider ruling (7.5mm).

Choosing Keeping

Above is the comparison of the two notebooks with an A5 Moleskine. This notebook line has black gilt edged, which I have a particular penchant for in the notebooks I pursue. The appeal for me is creating the look of a monolith (if the notebook cover is black). Gilt edged notebooks have a bit of aesthetic flair without adding some unnecessary function.

Choosing Keeping

Specifications:

  • 160 pages
  • 7.5mm line spacing
  • Fountain pen friendly

Where to buy:

Review: Handle Note 01 Grey & Brass

Handle is a new notebook company, and I had been waiting in anticipation for these to be released. The price point is somewhat steep (€25.00 + €7.50 for shipping). Currently they have a 20% off coupon (NOTE01LAUNCH), so my total was about $30.95. While on the higher end for notebook costs, I think it’s worth it. This notebook is my favorite, my new #1, and the next I’ll be using.

The notebook comes in a sweet box, much like Baron Fig products. It served its purpose, and protected my notebook in the post.

Handle Note01

The cover is advertised as gray leather. I’m unsure if that means genuine leather, bonded leather, etc. Nonetheless, It’s beautiful.

Handle Note01

The back cover has “Handle” embossed on the bottom.

Handle Note01

The notebook has gray leather cover, with brass gilt-edging. I find the color combination very pleasing. I have a thing for gilt-edge notebooks. You can see the Handle Note 01 above a Moleskine notebook (for reference)

Handle Note01

The promo pictures on the Handleware website include no pictures of inside the notebook and the paper. So I was in for a surprise. And it was a pleasant one! The paper feels a lot like Moleskine paper, but slightly thicker. They don’t specify anything about the paper, so I can’t say what the weight is. The line spacings are 6mm, and bronze.

Handle Note01

The biggest pleasant surprise was the amount of stitchings per signature: 20 stitchings! Basically, the more stitchings the sturdier the notebook. To see how many stitchings a (smyth-sewn) notebook has, open to the middle of any signature, and count the number of holes, which is where the thread goes through. Most notebooks have about 4-10 stitchings. (a Moleskine has 10 stitchings). My current Nanami Seven Seas Writer has 8.

In the below picture you can see the plentiful stitchings, the bronze lines. You can also see that when the notebook lays open in the middle, the leather bunches together and creates a little divot. That is my only complaint, and very minor.

Handle Note01

Specifications

  • 200 pages
  • lined
  • 6mm lines
  • gilt edge

Where to buy:

Review: Labrador Paper Notebook Triangle

The Notebook Triangle is made by Labrador Paper, based in Thailand. I was attracted to this notebook for the unique design of the cut corners. I love the aesthetic and the way it looks. This notebook is one of my favorite designs.

Triangle Notebook Labrador Paper

The notebook is bare cardboard dyed a camel color, with a vinyl spine. The elastic band is a quality rubber band. I’m careful with my notebooks, but I do worry about the long-term durability of the cardboard cover. The company’s philosophy of sustainable and ecological design is embodied in the materials: bare cardboard, rubber band and green read paper. And they execute it really well.

I love the unique design of the notebook, the cut corners, and the asymmetrical elastic closure. However, since the elastic closure is also asymmetrical and doesn’t press evenly on the cover, as you can see, the cover stays somewhat lifted at the bottom. After keeping the notebook on my bookshelf tightly pressed between books on a full shelf, it went away.

Triangle Notebook Labrador Paper

The paper is billed as Green Read Paper, which is designed to reduce light reflection hitting the paper, and this reduces strain on the eyes. The paper has some slight texture to the touch. Writing on the paper is nice, however. The description states the notebook will lay completely flat, which I did not find. The binding is pretty tight, but perhaps over time the binding will loosen up and lay flat.

Triangle Notebook Labrador Paper

There’s a small pocket in both the front and back cover. Included in the back pocket is a set of colored cardboard bookmark tabs.

Triangle Notebook Labrador Paper Triangle Notebook Labrador Paper

I don’t think I’ll be using these bookmark tabs, but I they’re pretty cool.

Triangle Notebook Labrador Paper

The Notebook Triangle below an A5 Moleskine Notebook for reference.
Triangle Notebook Labrador Paper

Specifications

  • A5
  • 144 pages
  • 8mm lines

Where to Buy:

  • Homu Store (if located in Southeast Asia)
  • Stickerrific (if located in US. They were so helpful and wonderful!!)

Review: Whitelines

Whitelines is a Swedish notebook manufacturer that takes a unique approach to their paper. All of their paper is grey with white markings (lined, grid, dot grid, isometric etc). Their approach is “Dark lines distract, Whitelines don’t.” I love the concept. They also advertise that the lines will disappear when you copy/scan the paper. Whitelines offers a wide array of bindings, cover fabrics, paper formatting.

Whitelines

This notebook is gorgeous.  The cover has this great buckram linen, with the Whitelines logo embossed on the cover. Their color palette includes this vibrant signature orange. The construction of the notebook is well-designed. Personally, I favor a notebook with a joint, the small groove that runs along the spine. It feels sturdier to me.

Whitelines

The paper is 80gsm, but it feels similar to Moleskine weight (~71gsm). In my ink test, there was some show through of my pen-of-choice, pigment ink pens, but not much.

Some of their notebooks have built in digitization formatting to be used with their smart phone app. However, this notebook does not have that feature, which is ideal for me. Some of their notebooks have alternating page layouts, for example one page has dot grid, and the other ruled. There is a lot of variety in their notebook offerings!

Whitelines

In the above photo, you can easily see the unique coloring of the gray paper/white lines, contrasted against Moleskine paper.
Whitelines

Whitelines notebook on top of an A5 Moleskine for reference.

Specifications:

  • 160 pages
  • 80gsm paper
  • 6mm line spacing

Where to Buy

Review: Miro Notebooks

The Miro Notebooks, made by Franklin Mill, are a nice contribution to the black cover notebook market, with a great price point ($13.99).

Miro
The cover is vinyl and feels very similar to moleskine, with more grip. Mine already has a few gouges and a small tear, but I don’t mind.

Miro

The paper is advertised as Mohawk Paper. It feels and writes very well. The paper is the best part of the notebook, which is ideal. If you look closely at the above picture, the line layout is unique: the line has a slight break about an inch into the paper, along the spine (so it alternates). This would be useful for checklists, and is not intrusive and easy to ignore.

Miro

There is a small pocket in the back, but it is not gusseted like a Moleskine notebook. It is large enough to fit a few small pieces of paper.

Miro

Moleskine A5 notebook on top for reference, Miro notebook on bottom. I really love gilt-edged notebooks, which started with the Nuuna notebook, and I’m out to collect them all. The Miro Notebooks are a nice offering in this niche-aesthetic. There are 6 colors available, in both a black and white cover. The one I’m reviewing is A5 (6 x 8), but they also have pocket and large sizes available.

Miro

One complaint is that the text block is not set evenly in the cover. In the above picture, you’ll notice the overhang is noticeable on the side, and flush on the top. Even more of a concern is that on the top it’s slightly more flush by the side than by the spine. I don’t mind an overhang, but being variation from side to side, and unevenness on the top makes the notebook look sloppy.

Specifications:

  • A5 (6″ x 8″)
  • $13.99
  • 160 pages
  • lined, 6mm line spacing
  • gilt-edged

Where to buy:

 

Review: Front Notebook

Front is a Chinese office supply manufacturer. It appears they do not have a Western distributor, which is too bad because their notebooks look awesome. Navigating their website is easier using Google Chrome, which automatically translates — unless you read Chinese, of course. It appears their webshop (hosted on Taoboa, a Chinese version of ebay) does not ship overseas. I found this notebook through ebay, and there are a few more copies left.
DSCN0229

The cover is a faux-leather material, feels kind of waxy and vinyl-like. Similar to a softcover Moleskine. There’s no elastic band closure, but the cover stays shut without it.

DSCN0233

The paper has a smooth touch, somewhat smoother than Moleskine paper. They don’t advertise the paper weight, so I’m unsure. I use a Micron Pen 01 and there was no show through. This notebook has colored/gilt-edging that matches the cover, which I particularly fancy.

DSCN0235
On the top of the page, they have some organizational formatting, including date entry space and circular checkbox next to the day of the week. I won’t be using it, but it doesn’t bother me,  it’s easy to ignore, and doesn’t take up too much space. The last 18 pages are perforated at the side, and in half. The perforation lines are easy to see in the picture.

DSCN0236 DSCN0237

A5 Moleskine on the bottom for size reference.

Specifications

  • Model: D66-A501
  • $14.99
  • Lined, 8mm
  • 308 pages
  • Last 18 pages are perforated (on the edge and in half)