Big thanks for everyone in this forum for their suggestions and ideas regarding my Mega Monster Pocket Notebook review. I've now published the first review for the Story Supply Co. Edition 407 Pocket Notebook. I've also built out a main Mega Monster review page to aggregate basic data from all the reviews in this series, and I've put together a spreadsheet that will contain all the specs and performance findings for all notebooks in this series. Of course, there's only one in there right now...I'll be fleshing that out as I publish the other reviews.
Here's the review for the Edition 407 Pocket Notebook along with a few pictures. At the bottom are links to the full review, the main Mega Monster page, and the spreadsheet. As this is a work in progress that will likely take me a couple months to complete, I'd love any feedback you have. I want to make this whole thing as useful as possible, so your feedback is really important. Thanks & Enjoy!
Story Supply Co – Edition 407 Pocket Notebook
Story Supply Co. is a small stationery manufacturer in York, Pennsylvania, founded by Vito Grippi and Gabriel Dunmire. Initially they set out to develop a line of pocket notebooks that were fountain pen friendly and filled some gaps in the larger notebook market. But knowing that there were a million companies already making pocket notebooks, they knew that they needed to do something to really stand out.
As their name implies, Story Supply Co. is centered around providing high-quality analog tools that inspire people to tell their stories.
In addition to their desire to make great products, they actively seek to support sustainable manufacturing in the U.S. and building better communities through their Story Supply Kit program, where they partner with several non-profit organizations to distribute notebooks and writing instruments to kids in underserved communities with the goal of helping them improve their writing skills and find their voice. Every time you purchase a Story Supply Co. notebook, they provide a writing kit to these organizations. Pretty awesome.
There are a few different versions of the Pocket Staple notebook. In this review, I'm taking a look at the Edition 407, which is an homage to the 407 backers that funded the Kickstarter campaign that essentially launched the company.
The Edition 407 is a standard "American Pocket" size (3.5" by 5.5") notebook, bound by a pair of staples, and sporting nicely rounded corners.
The first thing you notice about the Edition 407 is the beautiful cover. It's a deep, dark cranberry color made from pretty stiff (100#) linen stock. It has that crosshatched pattern found on high-end linen papers that really lends a fair bit of class to the overall look. Beautifully embossed logos adorn both the front and back. Even before I open it, I get the feeling that I'm holding something of great quality.
The paper, though, that's where this notebook really shines. It's filled with 48 pages (24 sheets) of smooth, 70# Cougar Natural (cream) paper. And when they say it's smooth, they mean it. Through a completely unscientific "drawing circles with my finger" exercise, the paper feels noticeably smoother than both Rhodia and Fabriano paper. It's downright silky. I thought this might be an indicator of slow dry times, but that's not the case. All of my fountain pens, including a super wet Platinum medium and a juicy 1.1 stub, passed the 10-second dry test with absolutely no smudging.
A great feature I really like is that with a slight bit of bending backward, the notebook will lie mostly flat on a table. Thankfully, you don't have to wreck the spine or cover to do this.
The Edition 407 only comes in 5mm Dot Grid ruling, although they do use the same paper in their regular edition, which comes in graph, lined, and blank. The dots are printed in a light gray that's perfectly visible, yet completely unobtrusive. Just looking at the page with the naked eye, the dots look like single dots. But if you look at them under a loupe, you'll see that each dot is actually a pattern of 12 microdots. I imagine this saves them a little bit in ink costs, but it also allows the dots to be really light on the page.
I've heard tell that really smooth paper isn't great for pencil. I always assumed those people smoked shrooms. This paper is wicked smooth, and both my test pencils performed quite well. So this notebook really didn't do anything to change my negative views of these vicious, shroom-smoking rumor-mongers.
- Palomino Blackwing: I'm not a woodcase pencil person because: sharpening. But damn, the Blackwing writes beautifully on this paper! The graphite goes down nice and dark, and the tip of the pencil feels silky smooth riding along the paper. It feels creamy. Seriously. Creamy. Pencil, by nature, is often toothy and sometimes downright gritty. Not this pencil on this paper, though. Seriously: it's creamy. The only problem with the Blackwing was that it didn't fully erase from the paper.
- Uni Kuru Toga Mechanical Pencil (0.5): Geez, the Blackwing puts the Kuru Toga to shame. The Kuru Toga isn't as dark and nowhere near as smooth as the Blackwing. It works perfectly fine, though. It put down a nice, fine line that's plenty dark enough to read. And the Kuru Toga almost completely erases off the Edition 407 paper.
Ballpoints are dirty things. I really find the ballpoint writing experience to be rather gross. You have to apply pressure for the pen to write, and the ink smells awful once it's on the page. I hope you appreciate the torture I'm putting myself through to bring you this information. The good thing about ballpoints, though, is that they pretty much write on any kind of paper.
- Uniball Jetstream (0.7): I actually don't hate this pen. It's the smoothest ballpoint I've used, and it puts down a nice, dark line. It works exceptionally well with this notebook.
- Fisher Space Pen (0.7): This pressurized ballpoint pen is designed to write on any kind of paper, in any gravity, even under water. So I can't say that I'm surprised it worked well on this paper. It's not as smooth as the Jetstream. It feels like the paper grabs the tip of the pen a bit. But the line is fairly consistent and trouble-free.
I chose three gel pens for these tests because I wanted to include a super-fine point (0.38 in this instance) and the super wet Sarasa.
- Uniball Signo 207 Ultra Micro (0.38): This is my go-to pen at work when I'm not using a fountain pen. It's not the smoothest experience on this paper...it seems to have a little of the "grab" that I mentioned with the Fisher Space Pen. But the line is absolutely perfect.
- Pilot G2 (0.5): Probably the second most popular pen in the word after the Bic Crystal. On the Edition 407 paper, the line is perfectly dark, perfectly crisp, and perfectly consistent.
- Zebra Sarasa (0.7): These pens are gushers, and really put paper to the test. Extremely smooth to write with and only gives minimal ghosting. In fact, not counting the fountain pens, the Sarasa is easily the wettest pen I used...and the ghosting was less than either rollerball. It did did produce some of the blobby-style feathering (vs. the thin tendrils usually seen), but you've got to look at is under a loupe to see it.
Liquid Ink Rollerball Results:
Whenever I look at a rollerball pen, I can't help but wonder why they hell they even exist. I know some people love them, but I seriously can't understand why. I've never had a good experience with one. Not on any kind of paper. The best I can say about these pens on the Edition 407 paper is that they're "serviceable." They work.
- Pilot Precise V5 RT (0.5): Far and away the better of the two rollerballs. The line it puts down is mostly clean, although it did spread a tiny bit for me. Very light ghosting, although not enough to prevent me from using the back side of the page. The Precise V5 also experienced some of the resistance/grabbiness that the Fisher Space Pen did. If you're a fan of this pen, it definitely works well with this paper.
- Uniball Vision Elite (0.8): Big mushy mess, this one is. I'm biased though...I freaking hate this pen. It did spread a little, and it did feather a little. And this ink is NOT coming out black: it's gray. Still very dark, but not what I'd want from a black pen. Little bit of ghosting, but nothing obtrusive. I will say that the Vision Elite does give a glassy-smooth writing experience. It's a little weird feeling...almost a little greasy...but super smooth.
Fountain Pen Results:
Okay, here's what you've all been waiting for. We all know that ballpoints and gel inks will be fine. But what about our beloved fountain pens? Read on!
- (EF) Platinum Preppy with Noodlers Midnight Blue ink: Absolutely perfect performance. No skipping or weird behavior, and the EF nib just glides over the paper. It takes about 3 or 4 seconds for the ink to completely dry.
- (F) Lamy Safari with Lamy Petrol ink: Another outstanding performer on this paper. Very smooth writing experience with perfect ink flow. Takes about 5 seconds for the ink to completely dry.
- (M) Platinum Cool with Pilot Iroshizuku Tsuki-Yo ink: The Cool is a really wet medium. I noticed a little bit of spread and feathering on the Edition 407 paper, but it's pretty minor and is really only noticeable through a loupe. Dry time is about 6 or 7 seconds.
- (0.6) Nemosine Singularity with KWZ Standard Turquoise ink: Tiny bit of feathering, but again, you have to look under a loupe to see it. There's no ghosting at all from this pen, which surprised me.
- (1.1) Conklin Duragraph with Robert Oster Midnight Sapphire ink: The good news is that the paper shows off the ink's lovely shading quite well. Unfortunately, the broad, wet nib did produce some noticeable spread and feathering. It's not terrible, though. You can still use the back side of the page, as only a few small spots of bleed made it through.
This is one phenomenal little notebook. It looks great, feels great, and handles pretty much everything. Fountain pen performance is outstanding, although I'd recommend not using extra wet pens if you want to comfortably use both sides of the paper (or if things like minor smudging and spread give you nightmares). I love how smooth the paper is and how fast ink dries on it. You don't find both of those things together very often.
And in addition to the Pocket Staple Edition 407 being a great notebook, I really like what the company stands for. I like knowing that by buying these notebooks, I'm supporting several small businesses and helping put writing supplies in the hands of kids that might not otherwise get the opportunity.
Again, keep in mind the main page and spreadsheet are pretty empty now, and will be fleshed out over the next several weeks.