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#1 a11en

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Posted 21 April 2007 - 05:48

This review has been a long time coming. I find myself almost to the end of my first Apica Journal, and I want to share with you guys my take on these great skinny journals with fantastic paper.

I found out about these journals through an earlier post requesting a Smythson alternative- Jsonewald tipped me off to Apicas. The goal- a thin paper that takes FP ink well. [I had previously focused on thick paper that was excellent, but thin now attracted me for some strange reason.] Of course this was one of the nice aspects of the Smythson blue paper, although horribly expensive. [I'll hopefully get to Smythson in a future post.]

The Apica journals that I have are the CD series- in specific, I purchased (if I remember this right) the CD5, CD11 and CD15.


It's hard to explain just how thin and floppy these notebooks are. I thought at first I would hate them because of it, but I quickly found the thinness of the notebooks to be a wonderful advantage. It would easily slip into a bag that was stuffed to the gills, or my slim computer bag where only a lightly used file-folder would fit. After writing in it the first few times, I was hooked. The paper inside is wonderfully smooth. It's not as smooth as Triomphe, but it's much smoother than BnR and Miquelrius, etc. At least to my touch it feels this way. [Please feel free to get me to recheck this if you are wondering before purchasing yourself.] I loved the paper so much, I switched over to using the larger CD15 notebook for my everyday work notebook as I made notes on my calculations and writing.

I think there is a slight difference in paper between the larger notebook (CD15) and the mid-size (CD11). The CD11 seemed to have a slight bit of bleed and seethrough with wet nibs. The day I took these I had only written in the 11, so I'll have to take some more tomorrow from my work notebook, the CD15. It has no discernable feathering and no bleedthrough that I can see.



Apica journals weren't very easy to track down. I found only 3 places that sold Apica journals online. They were as follows:

The Daily Planner (Apica Section)
AsianFoodGrocer.Com (I think most are made by Apica on this page, but I can't be sure.)
TaylorsInTheRockies on Ebay

Being a poor grad-student, I took my chances with ebay after asking a few questions of the seller. [Disclaimer- I'm not associated with her in any way- just a very happy customer.] TaylorInTheRockies turned out to be another lover of Apica notebooks. She loved them so much she decided to import them because they were so hard to find over here.

All in all, I loved this first notebook so much that I'll have to buy a number of them just so I won't go without in the future. So, a hat-tip to Jsonewald for telling me about Apicas! smile.gif



Edited by a11en, 21 April 2007 - 06:00.


#2 a11en

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Posted 21 April 2007 - 18:22

I'm sorry if the pics aren't that good- I don't have a light tent. sad.gif

I'll take a few more pictures today in good light to show the backsides of the test pages and also the thickness and page count etc. in comparison to a moleskine.

Update coming soon!
-Allen

Edited by a11en, 22 April 2007 - 05:00.


#3 jsonewald

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Posted 21 April 2007 - 19:24

I'm glad the tip worked for you. I was turned on to Japanese paper by my wife, who was born in Tokyo. Every Japanese made paper I have is at least good with fountain pens, most are really, really good.

If you like these, try tracking down a Japanese ring binder. They are multi-ring, with a pitch similar to what we see in wire spiral bound books. The rings are smaller diameter, typically 1/2 to 3/4 inch. The standard size is slightly larger that 8 1/2 X 5 1/2.

#4 Tricia

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 00:42

Thanks for the review! I've looked at these over on The Daily Planner but never bought any. I may indulge myself soon.
"He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad." - Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini

#5 Samovar

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 01:01

Thanks for the review.
I've been using Apica notebook for a while now and they are my favorite. I carry a small CD-5 in my shirt pocket all the time and I use the bigger 5B4 (10.5x14.8 cm) for daily writing. The quality of the paper is simply amazing, no bleed through, etc.

My source of Apica is Nota Bene in Montreal, they will soon sell them on the internet http://www.nota-bene.ca
Russel is waiting for a big shipment of Apica, I cannot wait, but I still have five 5B4, but I'm up to my last CD-5.

I strongly recommend this brand, a real pleasure.

Samovar


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#6 Taki

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 01:53

Thank you very much for the nice review. Apica is one of the most popular notebook manufacturer in Japan, and I used mnay of their notebooks from grade school to university years. Never used with FP's, but nice to know that they are FP friendly smile.gif

#7 a11en

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 04:59

Ha ha ha! smile.gif Great to see so many other FP users have found out about Apica notebooks!

I really need to scan in those pages as I mentioned, but it's late, and my SO is asleep, so I can't get to it this evening. sad.gif But, will do so- I'm putting a post-it on the computer to remember. The CD15 I use for work has absolutely no bleedthrough that I've experienced (with the possible exception of sitting the nib on the paper for a number of seconds- but I doubt any paper would survive that). It's wonderfully smooth.

Samovar- Interesting- the 5B4 notebook, eh? Is that the one which has 100 pages- the thicker version? Still floppy cover and clothbound edge? Those little CD5 notebooks are cute and useful- I agree! I am still stuck on 3x5's, but might have to seriously consider a CD5 in the shirt-pocket- great idea!

Taki- The paper is fantastic! You've got to try your FP's in some if you still have a few lying around home!

Thanks for the thoughts, guys, I really appreciate it! Sorry I jumped the gun on my comment immediately after my post. I'll be back with more images of the paper- the ruling is really interesting on the larger notebook- well, perhaps it's a Euro-Asian standard. wink.gif I don't get out much. ha ha ha. My best, guys! Thanks for the smiles today with your replies!! smile.gif
-Allen

#8 Samovar

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 05:14

QUOTE(a11en @ Apr 22 2007, 12:59 AM) View Post
Samovar- Interesting- the 5B4 notebook, eh? Is that the one which has 100 pages- the thicker version? Still floppy cover and clothbound edge? Those little CD5 notebooks are cute and useful- I agree! I am still stuck on 3x5's, but might have to seriously consider a CD5 in the shirt-pocket- great idea!


The 5B4 is indeed 100 pages, I don't know if it's thicker, but the cover is floppy.
I find the small CD5 better than a Rhodia pad to carry in my shirt pocket, kindda slim and pretty resistant to daily usage.

Samovar
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#9 Margana

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 08:35

The 5B4 sounds perfect. I've only tried the thinner ones before and the paper is terrific. Where did you buy the 5B4 notebooks? I didn't seen them on any of the sites mentioned.
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#10 Samovar

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 13:45

QUOTE(Margana @ Apr 22 2007, 04:35 AM) View Post
The 5B4 sounds perfect. I've only tried the thinner ones before and the paper is terrific. Where did you buy the 5B4 notebooks? I didn't seen them on any of the sites mentioned.


You can get the 5B4 at Nota Bene in Montreal. Russel Hemsworth is setting up his website and I'm sure he will accomodate you if you send him a message at dakar@qc.aibn.com
He told me that he can ship to the US.

Note Bene will soon distribute the Whitelines journal from Sweden. I saw a sampler and it's a beauty, the paper is greyish and the lines are white. http://www.whitelines.se/eng/ I wrote in it with my Densho with no bleeding.

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#11 a11en

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 02:14

Hi guys!

One half of an update tonight- the scans of the CD15 front and back. The only one with any bleed is the B nibbed TrueWriter in this test. The others have some see-through (the paper is quite thin), but no bleeding. BTW, the ink was a bit dry on a few of those- the skipping is not due to the paper.




Margana- one of the notebooks I hope to check out Taylorsintherockies also sells- it's a 100 sheet 7x10" notebook, clothbound like the CD series... 6A10 is the model number I believe. I'll be adding that to my next order. Although, I'm really lovin' the thinner notebooks for ease of carry.

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!! thanks for telling us about Notebene and the larger notebooks, Samovar!!
-Allen

ps- sorry for the color issues- the legal lapis and hunter green really doesn't make it through very well.

Edited by a11en, 23 April 2007 - 02:15.


#12 Margana

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 06:46

Found it here. Very tempting... smile.gif
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#13 a11en

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Posted 24 April 2007 - 02:20

One last one for you guys- it's a thickness comparison between the larger Moleskine ruled and the CD15 I like to use. Sorry about the focus on this one, I only took one shot, and didn't blow it up before deciding not to take more.



If I try out any of the others, I'll let you know! Again, tip of the hat to jsonewald for telling me about these Apicas!!
-Allen

#14 seikoguy

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Posted 24 April 2007 - 02:58

I'm always on the lookout for good, fountain-pen friendly notepads and after reading through the rave reviews of Apica, I just couldn't resist getting a few. Ended up getting an assortment of 23 notepads from "Taylorsintherockies." My emails were promptly answered, and Molly Taylor is simply wonderful to deal with. I can't wait for the notepads to arrive.

#15 a11en

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Posted 24 April 2007 - 03:23

QUOTE(seikoguy @ Apr 24 2007, 02:58 AM) View Post
I'm always on the lookout for good, fountain-pen friendly notepads and after reading through the rave reviews of Apica, I just couldn't resist getting a few. Ended up getting an assortment of 23 notepads from "Taylorsintherockies." My emails were promptly answered, and Molly Taylor is simply wonderful to deal with. I can't wait for the notepads to arrive.

Wow- Seikoguy! smile.gif Let us all know how you like 'em! I'm really interested in whether there's a difference from batch to batch, or say between the smaller and larger. The difference in paper between the large and the small is minor, so I can't be sure I'm seeing any at the moment.

I guess my orders may pale in comparison. wink.gif

Cheers!
-Allen

#16 seikoguy

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Posted 24 April 2007 - 04:12

Well, I, errr, got a little carried away when I was picking/choosing the notepads. embarrassed_smile.gif I was up to 15 already when I read that a discount was to be had on the shipping charges if one bought 20 notepads. I ended up at 23. blink.gif Anyhoo, I did order a couple of those 100-sheet 6A10 that you mentioned just to check them out. My thanks to you for the fine review, and for posting those pics. Err, my wallet thanks you too. blush.gif

Edited by seikoguy, 24 April 2007 - 04:13.


#17 Latro21

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 06:06

just a quick question: are all apica notebooks plain ruled paper or are they available in blank and/or squared?
-Nick

#18 a11en

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 06:20

QUOTE(Latro21 @ Apr 29 2007, 06:06 AM) View Post
just a quick question: are all apica notebooks plain ruled paper or are they available in blank and/or squared?


Hi Latro!

Ha- that's an excellent question! The ones that I have seen are all ruled... no plain or squared... but, I certainly don't know everything about these Apica journals... that's for sure. I think there's a website for the company somewhere (of course all in Japanese)...

Apica's Japanese Site
Google's Translation

Sorry I don't know the answer off-hand!
-Allen

ps- it looks like Apica makes a ton of stuff... but it may be hard to find various books/looseleaf etc., over here.


#19 Latro21

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 07:34

QUOTE(a11en @ Apr 29 2007, 01:20 AM) View Post
QUOTE(Latro21 @ Apr 29 2007, 06:06 AM) View Post
just a quick question: are all apica notebooks plain ruled paper or are they available in blank and/or squared?


Hi Latro!

Ha- that's an excellent question! The ones that I have seen are all ruled... no plain or squared... but, I certainly don't know everything about these Apica journals... that's for sure. I think there's a website for the company somewhere (of course all in Japanese)...

Apica's Japanese Site
Google's Translation

Sorry I don't know the answer off-hand!
-Allen

ps- it looks like Apica makes a ton of stuff... but it may be hard to find various books/looseleaf etc., over here.



thanks allen. i think you are right in that from what i can tell, apica does make squared and blank notebooks but i only see them on their website. im assuming that the style of notebooks available from taylorsintherockies on ebay are all plain ruled, which isnt that big a deal since it sounds like these are good cheap notebooks.

i really wish i woulda had time to ask my grandma and cousin to look for these notebooks [not to mention a black stealth VP] while they were in Japan but it was too late [the just got back on saturday]. unfortunately i wasnt able to go back to Japan again with them this time, otherwise i woulda been hitting up all the stationery stores i could manage. no matter, next time i go back ill be sure to do just that before meeting up with the family in Moji-ko as per the usual routine. smile.gif

Edited by Latro21, 30 April 2007 - 07:35.

-Nick

#20 a11en

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 18:11

QUOTE(Latro21 @ Apr 30 2007, 07:34 AM) View Post
thanks allen. i think you are right in that from what i can tell, apica does make squared and blank notebooks but i only see them on their website. im assuming that the style of notebooks available from taylorsintherockies on ebay are all plain ruled, which isnt that big a deal since it sounds like these are good cheap notebooks.

i really wish i woulda had time to ask my grandma and cousin to look for these notebooks [not to mention a black stealth VP] while they were in Japan but it was too late [the just got back on saturday]. unfortunately i wasnt able to go back to Japan again with them this time, otherwise i woulda been hitting up all the stationery stores i could manage. no matter, next time i go back ill be sure to do just that before meeting up with the family in Moji-ko as per the usual routine. smile.gif


Hey Latro!

Oh, yes, I should have mentioned that from what I can tell of TaylorsInTheRockies' current ebay offerings, it appears she may not have any that are blank or square ruled. [If I chat with her and hear differently, I'll come back and post.]

It's interesting how many different products that Apica makes and are likely available somewhere in Japan. Ton of stuff! smile.gif My guess is that if you were to hit up even a normal store that carried note-books you'd find some. Since it appears more Japanese and Chinese are familiar with fountain-pens, it's quite likely that most Asian countries produce papers that are excellent with Ink. Since Apica seems to be a larger producer, this might hold true for other Japanese paper companies. Should be interesting to find some and try them out. smile.gif

One of the reasons I went on Ebay was the cost... they're not horribly cheap, but the paper is excellent. I have noticed that it depends a bit upon the moisture content in the air. The other day was a bit muggy, and the paper was performing a bit differently, not horrible, just not the same as during December etc. So, the seasons likely alter our paper behavior as well. I'll have to do some tests when things get really really muggy.

How cool that you may have an opportunity to do more pen-related shopping in Japan in the future!! Totally awesome. smile.gif Hope your Grandmother and Cousin had a great time!! One of these days I hope I can go there as well! smile.gif
-Allen

#21 seikoguy

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 22:55

Well, my order from Molly Taylor of "taylorsintherockies" arrived today and I'm more than pleased! Thanks to Allen for his post, I've now discovered writing paper that has easily met my expectations, and then some. I bought an assortment of notepads, and Molly was kind enough to even include a few extra complimentary samples for me to try. (Thanks, Molly! biggrin.gif) I could not resist getting a couple of the 100-sheet 6A10 notepads mentioned in the first post and tried it with a small selection of my favorite daily writers (all Japanese, I might add!) that were loaded with an assortment of ink by Private Reserve, Waterman, Pelikan, Noodlers and J.Herbin.

From left to right, Danitrio "Mae West" polished ebonite, Pilot Bamboo, Platinum Very Presidential, Pilot Custom 823 and Sailor Rhodium Professional Gear.



Ok, at first glance, the photo below might appear to be a pic of a blank page. Err well, you're right. It is! I had filled up the previous page with loads of scribbling and doodling with the pens above. When I turned the page over, I was surprised at the complete lack of bleedthrough. If you were to click on my photo and examine the fullsize image, you can see the physical impressions that my pen nibs made on the page, but no bleedthrough. The pens also wrote wonderfully on the smooth paper, putting down ink with just the weight of the pen alone, nary a skip. I didn't notice any feathering either.



Yup, I'm happy! thumbup.gif

Edited by seikoguy, 01 May 2007 - 00:50.


#22 Freeloader

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Posted 30 April 2007 - 23:05

Very cool! I may have to pick up some of these.

#23 a11en

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Posted 01 May 2007 - 00:45

Fantastic!!! biggrin.gif Really glad you liked your purchase. I'm also glad to have the other inks and pens tested out on the paper- nice to see the paper is good with a variety of inks. smile.gif

Your pictures are wonderful also, Seikoguy!
-Allen

#24 Latro21

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Posted 01 May 2007 - 02:24

QUOTE(a11en @ Apr 30 2007, 01:11 PM) View Post
How cool that you may have an opportunity to do more pen-related shopping in Japan in the future!! Totally awesome. smile.gif Hope your Grandmother and Cousin had a great time!! One of these days I hope I can go there as well! smile.gif
-Allen


yea, they had a good time there. it seems a lot has changed since i was there last with regards to my family, but all in all things are well. their only gripe was how much more packed the train cars are now that there are the women-only cars. ohmy.gif
-Nick

#25 seikoguy

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Posted 01 May 2007 - 17:04

QUOTE(a11en @ Apr 30 2007, 08:45 PM) View Post
Fantastic!!! biggrin.gif Really glad you liked your purchase. I'm also glad to have the other inks and pens tested out on the paper- nice to see the paper is good with a variety of inks. smile.gif

Your pictures are wonderful also, Seikoguy!
-Allen

Thanks, Allen. Glad I could contribute. I am also surprised that the heavier 60-lb bond paper that Levenger uses on their premium pads experience enough bleedthrough that I won't ever use both sides of it, whereas this thinner and lighter Apica paper can easily be used on both sides. Heck, I just doubled my savings! smile.gif



#26 a11en

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Posted 05 May 2007 - 04:58

QUOTE(seikoguy @ May 1 2007, 05:04 PM) View Post
Thanks, Allen. Glad I could contribute. I am also surprised that the heavier 60-lb bond paper that Levenger uses on their premium pads experience enough bleedthrough that I won't ever use both sides of it, whereas this thinner and lighter Apica paper can easily be used on both sides. Heck, I just doubled my savings! smile.gif


Interesting to hear your experience also! I just recently picked up another Levenger pad (letter sized) to jot some notes in a meeting this week (quick carry)... and noticed as soon as I started writing a lot of bleed. It's not horrible, but it's not great either. So, I'm glad to have tried the Levenger pad again. Apica's paper certainly is fantastic- yes, it's quite thin, but you're absolutely right- the bleed is almost nothing- only if I rest the tip on the page for a while or use an extremely wet writer have I noticed an issue. Glad to have my experience confirmed by at least one other person! smile.gif

Molly's a great gal also! Will be guying from her in the future! smile.gif

I hope you're having a great weekend, Seikoguy (and everyone else in the thread)! I'll let ya know when my newer 100page journal comes in. smile.gif

Cheers!
-Allen

(who's still a bit envious at the gorgeous pictures you take, seikoguy!) smile.gif

#27 elena

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Posted 18 May 2007 - 01:31

I just bought the smallest of these from Flax in SF in February. I decided on the smallest because I didn't want to invest in more notebooks that end up in the give-away drawer, and because it looked cute. After reading all the rave, I can't wait to put pen to it.



#28 donwinn

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Posted 18 May 2007 - 02:13

QUOTE(a11en @ Apr 21 2007, 05:48 AM) View Post
This review has been a long time coming. I find myself almost to the end of my first Apica Journal, and I want to share with you guys my take on these great skinny journals with fantastic paper.

I found out about these journals through an earlier post requesting a Smythson alternative- Jsonewald tipped me off to Apicas. The goal- a thin paper that takes FP ink well. [I had previously focused on thick paper that was excellent, but thin now attracted me for some strange reason.] Of course this was one of the nice aspects of the Smythson blue paper, although horribly expensive. [I'll hopefully get to Smythson in a future post.]

The Apica journals that I have are the CD series- in specific, I purchased (if I remember this right) the CD5, CD11 and CD15.


It's hard to explain just how thin and floppy these notebooks are. I thought at first I would hate them because of it, but I quickly found the thinness of the notebooks to be a wonderful advantage. It would easily slip into a bag that was stuffed to the gills, or my slim computer bag where only a lightly used file-folder would fit. After writing in it the first few times, I was hooked. The paper inside is wonderfully smooth. It's not as smooth as Triomphe, but it's much smoother than BnR and Miquelrius, etc. At least to my touch it feels this way. [Please feel free to get me to recheck this if you are wondering before purchasing yourself.] I loved the paper so much, I switched over to using the larger CD15 notebook for my everyday work notebook as I made notes on my calculations and writing.

I think there is a slight difference in paper between the larger notebook (CD15) and the mid-size (CD11). The CD11 seemed to have a slight bit of bleed and seethrough with wet nibs. The day I took these I had only written in the 11, so I'll have to take some more tomorrow from my work notebook, the CD15. It has no discernable feathering and no bleedthrough that I can see.



Apica journals weren't very easy to track down. I found only 3 places that sold Apica journals online. They were as follows:

The Daily Planner (Apica Section)
AsianFoodGrocer.Com (I think most are made by Apica on this page, but I can't be sure.)
TaylorsInTheRockies on Ebay

Being a poor grad-student, I took my chances with ebay after asking a few questions of the seller. [Disclaimer- I'm not associated with her in any way- just a very happy customer.] TaylorInTheRockies turned out to be another lover of Apica notebooks. She loved them so much she decided to import them because they were so hard to find over here.

All in all, I loved this first notebook so much that I'll have to buy a number of them just so I won't go without in the future. So, a hat-tip to Jsonewald for telling me about Apicas! smile.gif




I purchased a few of the journals from taylorsintherockies on eBay, and have been very happy. I carry a mini in my pants pocket, and it is VERY FP friendly. The larger ones (don't remember off hand which) are equally friendly to FPs. I use a variety of Waterman cartridges, Parker cartridges, no name cartridges, and Noodler's la Coleur Royale fueled pens of varying brands and quality, and all are handled by the Apicas with equal aplomb. Money well spent.

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#29 goodyear

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 19:59

Man, I shouldn't browse 'back in time' here.

That's more notebooks to buy, as if I didn't have enough already!
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#30 a11en

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Posted 15 August 2007 - 00:50

Hi guys!

Man, long time no read in FPN- I am a daily user, however, so my heart's still here. smile.gif I just have been so swamped with work, I haven't been able to do anything else.

I wanted to add a comment on the 6A10 series of notebooks (the thicker notebooks -v- the CDxx series). I recently got some (again from ebay). They are slightly different than the larger CD series notebooks. I've noticed that the paper is a very light grey-blue (perhaps more blue than grey)... it's not exactly white. At least, not as white as the CD series notebooks. This may or may not matter to you, but just thought I'd mention it. I notice more variation in color as well, with some coloring of fibers being different than others. *However*- they have the same wonderful smooth paper and little to no bleedthrough. I'm amazed at how thin the paper is and how little bleed through occurs, there is of course see-through when a light is behind the paper.

So, I'm happy to report that the 6A10 thicker books are going well for me (like Seiko Guy) as well as the smaller CD series books. [I'll have to revisit the medium and small size to see if there is a different quality to the paper... I can't remember off-hand since it's been so long ago.]

The thicker 6A10 also has a Table of Contents as the first page. I usually make this myself with the first couple pages, so it doesn't matter much to me, but thought I'd mention it.

All in all, I'm still loving the Apicas for FP use, and have filled a couple of them already since I first purchased them in the spring. smile.gif Thankfully I have bought more, so I have a small stock-pile for the near future. smile.gif

Glad you guys are enjoying them as well!! smile.gif My best to everyone on the board!!
-Allen
[who will soon be back on FPN as soon as he can find the time!]

Edited by a11en, 15 August 2007 - 00:51.