Just put this review up on my blog this afternoon, and figured I would post it here as well. :-)
Even if you are not a pocket notebook user, I bet that pretty much everyone has heard of Field Notes and especially the Spring 2014 special edition, Shelterwood. Since I can’t really describe it better than they can, here’s the description from the website:
The “Shelterwood” edition features covers made from actual American Cherry wood, sliced ever-so-thin and bonded to a substrate of kraft paper for durability.
I really like that each cover is totally unique. The picture above is a scan of one of mine, and the grain pattern on the three I purchased are all different. The cover also seems very robust and I’m sure will take a thorough beating before looking too worn. The gold staples are also a nice touch. :-)
Inside the cover is cream colored paper with green ruling. The ruling is a bit narrow, but it’s a pocket notebook, so it seems to be reasonable for what it is.
Field Notes don’t have a great reputation for being fountain pen friendly, and this is true as well for the Shelterwood. The paper is decently thick and seems to resist feathering in most EDC type nibs (M and narrower). Sadly, bleed through is a thing that occurs.
On the picture above, the right side is the back of the variety ink test page and the left side is the back of PIP #14. Obviously this is not the kind of notebook you would want to be using a wet noodle in, but I think that it’s not so bad as to be unusable.
Overall, I really like this notebook. At first I couldn’t get past the bleeding issue, but I think the important thing was shifting my expectations. This is an EDC pocket notebook, and as such it’s not exactly like I’ll be writing my memoirs in it. I use it mostly to take quick notes in meetings, write out to do lists, and doodle. If something bleeds through too bad, I just don’t use the back of a page. If you really want super FP-friendly paper in a pocket notebook, I would suggest buying one of the Clairefontaine pocket notebooks.
If the price turns you off ($10/3 notebooks), then there is nothing I will be able to say that will change your mind. In that case, make your own pocket notebooks or pick up something cheaper at the drug store. I don’t know that I would pay $10 for a pack of the basic Field Notes, but for the limited editions I feel like I get my money’s worth because of the fun covers and variety of papers available.
So, those are my feelings about the Shelterwood Field Notes. I recommend them if you have the funds to spend on fun pocket notebooks and can look past a little bit of bleed through with broad nibs. :-)
I purchased this notebook with my own money and I am in no way being compensated for this review. All opinions expressed above are my own and you can feel free to disagree with them if you like.