Kyokuto Guildford Notebook

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Whenever I find myself in need of notebooks, it’s usually mainly for note-taking and assignments. I found my best notebook ages ago when I first got a 5 pack of Maruman Mnemosyne B5 notebooks from JetPens. Writing with those notebooks was a cathartic experience and no other notebook has ever given me the same feeling whenever I write. To me, the Maruman Mnemosyne line has become the bar I set whenever I write paper reviews. With that in mind, I felt that the blog was really lacking some paper reviews and decided that I needed to try out some new products. So as I was shopping for my spring quarter in early 2016, I stumbled upon the Kyokuto Guildford on JetPens. HAving never heard of this notebook before, I was curious and decided to do some research on it. As it turns out, there weren’t too many reviews from the mainstream stationary blogs I follow, so I decided to get it and put out a review myself.

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The notebook has a very simple design, yet within that simplicity is the sophistication as seen through the ornately embellished patterns that decorate the index page. The color scheme of the notebook is tasteful and bright.

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In regards to the paper, I have to say for such thin paper, I wasn’t expecting it to be so resilient against some pretty wet inks. I used many different inks in this notebook before I wrote this review and the paper withstood all of them, all while providing a smooth writing experience. This particular review was written with a Lamy 2000 M nib inked with Iroshizuku Shin-Kai. The paper simply soaks it up, resulting in quick dry times. This holds true for even inks with longer dry times like Sailor Kiwa-Guro Nano Black. With all the inks, I also noticed that none of them feathered regardless of the nib size of the pen. All of these make the Guildford a solid choice for someone who requires a decent notebook for simple note taking and the like. However, there were some drawbacks that came with these positive aspects. Due to being thin, the paper has a tendency to be affected by the indentations on the opposite side. Ever since picking up pointed pen calligraphy, my writing pressure has gone down significantly, yet it still cause indents on this paper. Along with the indents, come the ghosting and with some inks like J. Herbin emerald of Chivor, it really posed a problem. One reason I simply could not use the Guildford for school more often was the lack of pages and perforation. I usually end up writing about 4-6 pages of notes every day I’m in class. I take a lot of technical courses that require notes to be numerous and comprehensive for future studying. With only 38 sheets, the Guildford would not be able to accommodate the amount of notes I take. Even when I use front and back, with 32 lines of 6mm per page, the notebook would still last less than a month of classes. Also, the lack of perforation means I can never do assignments on this paper and turn it in, as it would both look like and leave a mess.

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The binding is sturdy and does a great job of securing the pages within the notebook. This would be the one thing that I would admit that the Mnemosyne line can improve on. When turned all the way, the cover of the Mnemosyne tends to come loose of the binding and it’s a bit of a pain to realign it again every time. This binding has never failed me even once and is very resistant to bending, unlike the plastic ones present on the Mnemosyne notebooks.

With a tasteful color scheme and classy motifs, the Kyokuto Guildford is a functional and stylish notebook that can take on just about anything you throw at it. The thin paper saves on space and allows the notebook to have a compact form, while the durable covers protect them from wear and tear. The binding is strong and resistant to bending ensuring that you notebook will keep its shape and the pages inside will be protected. While it might not be ideal for doing assignments in with its lack of perforation, it still holds its own against other notebooks out there. I recommend everyone give this notebook a try.

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Nock Co. Sinclair

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From its inception in September 2013, Nock Co. has become a household name in the pen case industry. Though there are numerous offerings from well-established pen accessory companies, Nock Co.’s unique and well-designed cases always manage to make them stand out in the crowd. They have since expanded into paper products and have increased the various colors they offer their cases in.

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The list of materials that all the Nock Co. cases are made of simply ooze quality. All cases are made from 1000D Nylon with DWR (Durable Water Repellant) Coating. The coating makes the fabric hydrophobic, simply put, it makes water roll right off. A welcome addition as my clumsiness has led to water being spilled on my case many times. The inside material is Nylon Pack Cloth, which protects the surface of your pens and is durable enough to withstand constant friction from taking out and inserting pens into the slots. There are 3 pen slots provided, allowing for storage of up to 3 fountain pens, six non-fountain pens or a mix of the two. As shown in the last picture, I opt for 2 fountain pens, usually one with black ink and blue ink, a standard ballpoint and a pencil for scantron tests and the like. There is also a dedicated slot for a pocket notebook, which I often use to store my Field Notes notebooks, though this can be used with any pocket notebook of that size. I recommend keeping only one in there as it gets rather difficult to store and take out if there’s more than one. The zippers are YKK, which means that they will last a very long time. Overall, a huge win for those who desire a case made from quality materials.

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The Sinclair is one of the later additions to the line, as it was developed well after the original Kickstarter campaign. From the moment it was announced, I knew I had to have one. The zippered design and compact form attracted me away from my Hightower which I often had retention problems with the pocket notebook. It managed to slip out numerous times and I had to make a conscious effort to put it in my bag right side up. Now that I have a Sinclair, I can throw it in however and not have to worry about a thing.

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A real winner from Nock Co. Ever since I backed the initial Kickstarter, Nock Co. has grown into a well-known brand that is designing some awesome cases and paper products (I have their note cards!). The Sinclair is hands down my current favorite offering from the guys at Nock. However, with the blistering pace they’re setting and the innovative designs their showcasing, this might change in the near future. I highly recommend this case to anyone who likes colorful, well-designed and amazing pen cases. If you’re reading this, keep up the great work guys!

Sailor Souten Review

So sorry for not being active for the last month almost. After Spring Break, the amount of work I had to finish went up drastically and there’s still lots more to come. I just finished my exam week and only have a month to prepare for finals. This weekend is a small respite, as I finally had time to sit down and finish a couple of reviews. This will be number 1 of 3, to make up for the end of February. The second and third will come tomorrow, officially finishing the quota for March. I don’t know if I’ll be able to put any out until after the semester’s over in May, but I’ll try my best to keep you guys updated. Please follow me on social media for quick updates. You can follow me through the buttons on the right for Twitter and Facebook, and my Instagram feed gallery is linked to my profile.

DSCF9034As you all may know after all this time. I love me some blue inks. Any shade, any brand. You name it, I’m willing to give it a try. I’ve had this ink for almost 2 years now. The ink is almost finished, so I knew I needed to get a review in before it ran out.

DSCF9037By the time I got onto the Sailor bandwagon, I found that some of the inks I really wanted to try had officially been discontinued. I could no longer find Grenade, Epinard and Sky Blue. I was immensely disappointed at not getting the chance to review them, but perked up when Sailor announced that they would be revealing a new Four Seasons ink line that would be the future of Sailor inks. Excited, I waited with bated breath for the Los Angeles International Pen Show to get my hands on some. When I reached, I went straight over to the Anderson Pens booth and got this bottle of Sailor Souten (Azure Sky), the touted successor of the Sky High. I have to say, I was not disappointed at all with my purchase.

DSCF9043The performance of Souten is about as expected of any Sailor ink. It behaves well in every pen I ink it up in and shades differently based on the nib size and any special characteristics. While I wrote the review with my Lamy Safari M, I usually used it with my TWSBI 580 Pendleton BLS grind fountain pen. The unique grind on the nib allowed for the shading to really show through.

DSCF9039The ink also has a beautiful red sheen when used in a broad or wide italic nib. The red is concentrated around where the ink typically pools inside the letters. However, if you’re using this ink with a fine or extra fine nib, don’t expect any real shading or sheen to show when writing.

DSCF9046Now for the Sailor performance, you’re going to be paying a rather premium price. This ink typically retails for around $18 at Anderson Pens and other similar retailers, I’ve seen it go for $14.25 on JetPens, which is by far the cheapest I could find it going for. If the price doesn’t bother you, then this is a solid, well-behaved blue that will perform well in any pen you use it in. I recommend this to anyone who likes Sailor inks and wants a nice blue to add to their collection.