X Products at Officeworks
I picked up an X branded Slim Kraft Notebook at Officeworks recently. It was only $2 so no real loss if it panned out. However, on taking it home I was so impressed I went back and bought some more from this line of products, in different sizes and types.
This appears to be a new range in Officeworks, in sizes from A6 to A4, and in various bindings and covers. The range isn’t complete yet, as some of the products are designed for refills, but those refills aren’t available yet. Staff members at the shop said that if the current range was a success, then management will expand the types stocked.
The products aren’t too expensive, ranging from $2 for a 60 page A5 notebook to $10 for the A4 PVC bound notebook. There are many other, non-paper, products as well, from pencils and pencil sharpeners, to rulers, calculators, staplers and pencil cases.
The paper used in the X products is 80 gsm slightly off-white and appears to be a mixture of recycled paper and FSC sourced paper. It’s a bit hard to tell, as the Kraft and Black covered products just have the number of pages on the cover, while the White PVC covered products also have the FSC logo and the words “Mix paper from responsible sources”. However both types of notebook have identical-looking paper that take ink the same way.
What is really impressive about these notebooks is how well they cope with inks. I did a range of samples including ‘safe’ inks (Noodler’s Dye inks, Visconti Blue, Iroshizuku Asa-gao) through more difficult inks like Private Reserve and Diamine, to my most testing inks — Noodler’s Midway Blue and Everflo True Blue. With the standard pen I used for these (the nib from a Leonardo FP mounted as a dip pen) there was no visible feathering or bleeding. I did get a touch of bleed through with a very fine-nibbed but relatively wet Hero 100, but only with the True Blue. Using the same ink in a fine, medium-dry Parker 51 there was only bleed through at spots where there was a lot of ink.
This paper is almost as good as Clairefontaine/Rhodia, but without the extra smooth surface. It has the same feathering/bleeding characteristics but it does allow the ink to spread sideways a little more. As well, because the paper isn’t sized, inks don’t look quite as vivid. The difference, however, is very small.
Line spacing is quite compact. In the Lined Notebooks the line spacing, or Ruling, is 6mm, which really means writing in a small hand with a fine-nibbed pen. The Dotted Grid paper is a standard 5mm grid, meaning even smaller writing, or ignoring the grid spacing altogether.
The wire-bound journals gold back flat on themselves so they can easily be used in confined spaces such as a train or the free space on my desk. The edge-bound notebooks open up flat easily, and appear to be made of signatures of 2 or 3 sheets.
Overall, I am very impressed with this line of stationery. The compact line spacing, while not everyone’s cup of tea, certainly suits me and my F and XF nibs. The paper takes a wide range of nibs and inks without problem. And finally, the price is very reasonable for the size of the notebooks and quality of paper.
It would appear that Officeworks has committed to this brand, as it takes up the two-page centrefold spread of their latest catalogue.