This review has been in the pipeline for a while. I had the luck of winning this teNeues cool notes notebook in one of teNeues Twitter give-aways a couple of months ago – thank you teNeues – and was very anxious to try it – as always looking for the perfect notebook. The basics for my perfect notebook is that it has blank or discreetly dotted sheets that are smooth and neither too bright white nor too creamy. A rubberband is a must – how could I otherwise keep loose sheets and envelopes and cards, that are too big for the pocket, in order? A pocket is also a must – where would I otherwise put stamps and postcards and small notes and other small, flat things that I need when I carry the notebook with me. I almost always carry my personal notebook (journal) with me. I feel odd going out without my notebook and a couple of nice pens. I also want it to be the size (roughly) of an A5 – easy to put in even a smaller bag and big enough for longer writing sessions. Optimal is a bunch of detachable sheets in the back – I’d happily see as many as 20 detachable sheets. Then I don’t have to bring along an extra pad – just in case I want to write a letter.
That is the basics. To be a candidate for buying another when the first is full, it simply must handle fountain pens in (at least ) a decent way and I want it to be overall pleasant to write with. It means:
- No – or very minor feathering with most inks
- Not too translucent paper
- No – or very minor bleedthrough with most inks
- It must be possible to use even broader nibs without causing a major bleed or feathering. I love writing with all my pens and I don’t want to be confined to use fine or extra fine nibs only.
- I also like the paper to have a nice feel to it – and what that is depends from case to case.
- It is nice if it is possible to choose between different sleeve colours
The teNeues is equipped with a rubberband and a pocket. The paper is discreetely lined on every other page and is blank on the other. I think this is a good feature for those who like to draw in their notebooks. This kind of use, however, makes it important that the paper isn’t prone to bleed through – to be able to use it fully and flexibly.
As some might remember I find Sweden quite retarded when it comes to writing culture and most interesting brands must be bought abroad or on the web. teNeues is an exception since they are quite well represented here. They are rather expensive ~$25 bought in store, but since our stores don’t offer the opportunity to test write in different notebooks (which would be really easy) the only good real advantage of buying in-store here is that it is fast and easy and that one doesn’t have to pay shipping costs. So, I was happy to get a free opportunity to try this notebook. I simply made samples with all my currently inked pens to get a broad range of nibs and colours and my first thought after writing around half of the samples was that I was surprised that the paper was better than I had expected. I had expected something like the Moleskine, but it was definitely better – particularly in regards to feathering.
The paper is not as good as Rhodia webbie standard or Habana standard (keep your eyes open for the coming review…) but it almost equals the Leuchtturm and and is a hinch better than the Letts of London. The feathering is not excessive. It does show some moderate feathering on some inks, but in most cases the feathering is minor. Since I only write on one page the bleed through isn’t much more than an aesthetical issue – but even so massive bleed through annoys me and I prefer non-bleeding paper. The bleedthrough is not more than moderate in most cases, but it is definitely there in almost all cases (see note beside each tested ink). Not even the F/EF japanese nibs wholly avoid bleedthrough, which I consider a quite big minus.
- Smooth and nice paper to write on.
- Minor feathering for most nibs.
- The not too bright and not too creamy paper
- Aesthetically pleasing. I love the pink/orange pattern inside the cover. A nice variation of the classical theme.
- It feels well put together
- Too much bleedthrough with most inks,
- A little too much feathering for real broad nibs (read: Conway Stewart Bold Italics)
- No detachable sheets
- Only one layout option as far as I know – the odd/lined even/blank concept. It is good, but I’d love to see notebooks with different settings: blank, dotted, graph etc, as well.
- The paper ought to be improved – then it has the possibility to compete with the others.
In all: I like it a lot – especially the design, but it will not be on my top three before the paper has improved and there is a possibility to chose between different page options like blank and dotted and lined pages.