Maruman 3Feet Notepad – A7

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This was a little bit of an impulse buy because I had run out of Field Notes and didn’t want to buy another pack as I found myself using them less frequently now that I had gotten my hands on the legendary Hobonichi Techo planner(review coming soon 😉 ). At the same time, I needed a small notebook to quickly jot down some notes occasionally if I think of something interesting. Enter the Maruman 3Feet, an A7-sized, 7mm grid ruled notepad with some great features that I found really made using it fun.

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This is one feature that I really feel changes the game when it comes to comfort when using a Rhodia style notepad. With the Rhodia, the front cover has notches the help it bend exactly the way to it needs to lie flat, but if not used on a relatively flat surface, it starts to flop around. Maruman fixed this problem by adding a small tab at the back of the notebook that allows you to tuck the front cover into it and holds it securely in place. Now this may not seem like a big deal for most people, but as someone who is usually walking, pacing or generally standing up when my ideas come, the ability to quickly jot down stuff while on the move is important to me and a cover that doesn’t flop around makes writing stuff down easier for me. Now most of you might not be like me, but if you ever want to move around with a Rhodia, due to not being secure, you can’t just lift it by the front and you have to mind the cover coming back around. With the Maruman, moving around is super easy and you don’t have to worry about the cover coming down on your freshly inked page and ruining your writing (If you couldn’t tell by now, this has happened to me several times and I am always annoyed by it).

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With that amazing, highly functional and useful feature properly getting the praise it deserves, let’s talk about the paper. Being an A7 sized notebook, I was initially a little surprised that Maruman didn’t opt for a 5mm grid because it would allow for more lines, but eventually saw why they stuck to 7mm. As someone who’s handwriting is pretty small, I was a little bothered by how big the squares were, but grew to appreciate them when it came to creating flashcards, which is now the main usage of this notebook. To understand some concepts and terms, I find that having a physical flashcards really helps with memorization as it involves writing down the terms, thereby increasing muscle memory.

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The paper is also very smooth when tearing. I am not prone to hyperbole, but this is by far the greatest perforation I have ever experienced. The paper comes out smoothly and without a fuss every single time. I often experience ragged tears when dealing with smaller Rhodia DotPads and it drives me nuts due to my OCD when it comes to having straight, even tear lines. After nearly 3 weeks of usage, not a single time have I ever experienced a misguided tear. I’m pretty much addicted to this feeling now and will hold this as the benchmark for all future perforated notebooks I review.

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The biggest drawback to this notepad is the paper, specifically how thin it is. While it took ink well and for the most part didn’t bleed through, there was a rather noticeable amount of show-through on the backside of the page. This was something that I feel can’t be helped as the size of the notepad constrains how thick the paper can be, but by far, it turned out to be my first negative experience with Maruman paper.

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One of the other things that I found out very quickly was the 3Feet reacts badly to sharper, thinner sizes of pen tips. The Uni Jetstream that I used for the paper test ended up scratching through and indenting nearly 4 sheets of paper, so I would recommend only using pens that have tip sizes of 0.5 and above. At those sizes, the paper will perform just fine.

The Maruman 3Feet is an adorable little notepad with a great feature that I hope more notepad makers will adopt. The paper is thin, yet surprisingly adept at handling larger nib sizes. The main drawbacks would be the limitations with sharp tipped gel pens and the show-through on the back of the paper. If these two things don’t bother you as much and you’re in the market for a pocket-sized notepad, give the Maruman 3Feet a try. For a mere $2.10, I feel it’s definitely worth the price.

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J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche

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I’ve had this ink for a long time and just got around to writing a review now. I saw that J. Herbin was selling tiny bottles of ink for very affordable prices and couldn’t resist getting some. When it comes to reviewing, one thing I have to worry about is the cost of the inks. I have to constantly decide whether a whole bottle of ink is worth it and if I’ll even be able to use all of it. I really like using the ink for at least a minimum of 2 weeks mainly for writing notes. With the amount of notes I write, an ink sample is not enough at all to experience and then review.  That’s mainly why the tiny bottles of J. Herbin were perfect to get a good amount of writing done and not break the bank.

That being said, it is a little inconvenient to fill up a pen with a bottle this tiny. The opening is barely enough for the Lamy 2000 and only smaller pens would be more easy to fill up. The TWSBI Eco was pretty easy to fill, but I’m predicting it won’t be as easy once the level of ink goes below a certain point. Then it will be an interesting experiment to find an efficient way to fill up my pens without creating a mess.

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One thing that really appealed to me right off the bat was the vibrancy of the color. When filled up inside a demonstrator pen like the Eco, the ink looks much darker and its a surprise when the nib touches the paper and a bright blue is all you see. I used this ink in multiple pens from the TWSBI Vac Mini, Lamy 2000 and the Pilot Custom 823 and it was well-behaved in all of them, as I’ve come to expect from J. Herbin inks in general. The ink is decently lubricated and flowed well out of all the pens I tested it in. When writing with some different nibs, I noticed that there was good shading from an EF to M nib and while it may not be apparent from the photo, the sheen on the ink is slightly red in places where it pools. It might be my eyes playing tricks, but I also see hints of green too. It’s a pretty looking ink that any lover of light blue inks would like.

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While Bleu Pervenche has all those great characteristics, it also has some drawbacks. The one I experienced the most frequently was feathering. This ink is very finicky on the type of paper you use it with and the only type that worked perfectly for me was Rhodia. Even the Maruman Mnemosyne notebooks which I absolutely love and are tanks when it comes to inks, showed signs of feathering when I wrote notes. This was most prevalent when I adjusted the amount of ink due to some skipping with the TWSBI. With that, the dry times I experienced were north of 15 seconds on Maruman paper, which became a huge hassle as I had to wait for the ink to dry before turning the page to continue taking notes. I had made the mistake of not waiting a couple of times in a rush and the back of the notebook got stained and the letters got obscured.

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Overall, Bleu Pervenche is a very well-behaved light blue ink that has decent lubrication and great shading. It works really well with Rhodia paper, but if you don’t mind some feathering, most other notebook brands like Maruman and Kokuyo will work fine. Depending on the nib you use, your dry time may differ, but I would recommend for those using M nibs and above be aware of the slightly longer dry times and compensate for them accordingly. Other than that, I recommend picking up a small bottle of J. Herbin’s Bleu Pervenche to try out.

January Makeup and February Reviews

Hello Everybody,

I wanted to update you all on how things are going. The semester is going great so far. I have been busy with a lot of homework and long-term projects and I just could not find the time to write-up a review in January. Not to mention, there was nothing new for me to review. This was fixed in late January when I had ordered some supplies from JetPens due to running out after my first semester. It arrived early February, so I decided that I would make up the missing reviews for January around mid February.

Little did I know that once midterms neared, the amount of work I had to do would double, causing me to spend many hours in the library studying until 1 and 2 in the morning for several days straight. I had multiple exams this week and I made sure to study hard and do well on all of them. That being said, with such a strenuous studying schedule, I didn’t get to post the reviews last week like I wanted. Now that the mid semester crunch is over, I was able to sit down yesterday and properly put my thoughts together and write a couple of reviews. I’ll be releasing them shortly to make up for the month of January.

With the month transitioning to March this week, I’ll be releasing the reviews for February come this Saturday, March 3. Thank you all for your patience and dedication. My schedule will go back to normal for a while and won’t be as difficult until finals week in May. I’ll make sure to keep you guys updated with the latest news.

Sincerely,

Anchit, The Passionate Penman