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A Hardcover Cover For Softcover Notebooks?

hardback hardcover cover soft leather journal notebook a5 hard softcover

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22 replies to this topic

#1 TruthPil

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 09:06

Hi Everyone,

 

My problem is that I prefer hardcover journals for daily writing, but move around a lot so they are too heavy and impractical for my kind of lifestyle. Therefore, I'm thinking about switching to something more portable like Midori A5 journals. The issue is that I don't like writing on floppy surfaces and often need the hardcover to act as a writing surface when I'm out and about. 

 

Does such a thing exist as a leather notebook cover that is stiff enough or has hard enough surfaces to make a softcover journal feel like a hardback? 

 

Thanks for any suggestions!


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#2 macaddicted

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 15:34

It may be easier to get a soft cover and add a couple of boards. The boards used in bindery are an obvious idea, or alternately thin pieces of wood might do. Put them between the notebook and the cover. Another idea is have one of the custom leather makers sew some boards into their notebooks.

#3 TMLee

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 02:47

+1

if greyboards are too thickish, you can try thin semi-rigid plastic like those placemats sold in IKEA.

If I am not wrong they are about 1mm to 1.5mm thin.

Some notebooks wirebound also use such transparent plastic as front covers.

Not completely rigid but enough to help you write , yet soft enough to be comfortable.

#4 TruthPil

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 03:19

Thanks for the great ideas!

I was hoping there is something already made that is rigid enough to give the hardback feel, but I guess custom-made may be the only way to go.

Perhaps the cheapest route would be just taking a soft leather cover and inserting the plastic covers from a wirebound notebook into the sleeves so they sit behind the notebook's covers.

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#5 OCArt

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 04:25

Perhaps the cheapest route would be just taking a soft leather cover and inserting the plastic covers from a wirebound notebook into the sleeves so they sit behind the notebook's covers.

How about taking your soft-bound notebook on a trip to the used book store-- Find an appropriately sized volume with a catchy title, remove the contents and "bind" your notebook inside using an elastic strap that can also holds a pen quiver. 



#6 TruthPil

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 12:48

How about taking your soft-bound notebook on a trip to the used book store-- Find an appropriately sized volume with a catchy title, remove the contents and "bind" your notebook inside using an elastic strap that can also holds a pen quiver. 

 

Great idea! I think a similar thought passed through my mind back in the starving graduate student days. There aren't really used books stores where I am, but I've got a lot of cheap used up journals on the self that I don't mind ripping a cover off of. Hmmm... 

I still want a leather cover though, so I think it might work to get a leather cover designed for hardbacks, put an empty hardback cover into it, and attach the softback journal into the hardback cover with a band like those ones that come with Midori Travelers or something. 


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#7 dogpoet

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 13:55

I wonder if one of the Fauxdori makers on Etsy would be able to make you up a notebook sized binder with cardboard, plastic or wood sheets inside the covers?

Another way around the problem would be to use a rest inside the notebook (behind the page you're writing on), rather than sticking a couple of hard covers outside it. You'd probably want something a bit more solid than most of the (thin and plastic) rests I've seen on sale, but that's something that's very simple to make. Also, as you've decided to use softer notebooks to cut down on bulk, adding a single separate sheet won't make them as unwieldy as adding a cover or sticking boards onto the binding.


Edited by dogpoet, 11 April 2018 - 14:00.


#8 TruthPil

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 14:25

Another way around the problem would be to use a rest inside the notebook (behind the page you're writing on), rather than sticking a couple of hard covers outside it. You'd probably want something a bit more solid than most of the (thin and plastic) rests I've seen on sale, but that's something that's very simple to make. Also, as you've decided to use softer notebooks to cut down on bulk, adding a single separate sheet won't make them as unwieldy as adding a cover or sticking boards onto the binding.

 

Thanks, dogpoet! Another good idea which would be easy to try. I looked at the Midori inserts with grids on them and all, but like you said they would be too floppy.

 

I just ordered my first Midori A5 journal, so when it comes I'll try using a board cover from a smaller wired notebook as an insert behind the page I'm writing on. If it ends up being too thick and creasing the page, then maybe I can find a nice little steel plate somewhere. Need something thin and super hard...


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#9 dogpoet

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 17:02

You're welcome.

I think those inserts are more to provide rulings for unlined paper than anything else. I'm sure you can find something a bit more suitable, though.



#10 SenZen

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 22:01

Muji made "denim tag" notebook covers, I'm not sure they still sell them, but you could make your own with a "kraft tex" roll, it's a sort of tough but soft, flexible and waterproof cardboard paper, I have a laptop sleeve made of a similar material, it has held up really well. I just realized I should make one myself, one of my Clairefontaine notebooks is quickly losing its (lamination?).


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#11 bogiesan

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Posted 14 April 2018 - 12:48

I don’t see how any of these suggestions make a softcover notebook any less bulky or massive than a hardcover version of the same product. And you will be adding a bit of hassle to using your notebook. Maybe move to a smaller device? I’ve carried pocket-sized hardcover molies for decades: innocuous, compact, readily available, no lifestyle impact.

Many floppy style notebook makers offer a writing sheet, a stiff but resilient page-sized hunk of white plastic intended to provide sufficient support for thin or translucent paper stocks.
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#12 TruthPil

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Posted 14 April 2018 - 13:24

I don’t see how any of these suggestions make a softcover notebook any less bulky or massive than a hardcover version of the same product. And you will be adding a bit of hassle to using your notebook. Maybe move to a smaller device? I’ve carried pocket-sized hardcover molies for decades: innocuous, compact, readily available, no lifestyle impact.

Many floppy style notebook makers offer a writing sheet, a stiff but resilient page-sized hunk of white plastic intended to provide sufficient support for thin or translucent paper stocks.

 

My intent is to have less bulk on the shelf after I've finished using the journals. I'm okay with the journal and cover being bulky while I'm using it. Every so often I have to move internationally and I'd prefer to move as few heavy hardcovers across the ocean as possible.

 

Yeah, I think the stiff writing sheet is the best way to go. It's not that much work to flip it behind the next page while writing. 

 

My Midori A5 notebook came today...sorry to say I hate the toothiness of the paper. It looks like Tomoe River journals are the only way to go for me.


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#13 agarwaen

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 09:12

You could contact a leathercrafter to make you a custom cover. Using the "cuir bouilli" technique with veg-tanned leather, you can obtain a leather which is hard as wood and keeps the resistance of a normal leather.

"Cuir bouilli" is a french term that means boiled leather, but the real technique is not boiled leather : you would only obtain a brittle shrinked leather good to nothing. It a hardening of the leather by letting it soak in a solution of collagene. It allows you to obtain a very strong and hard leather that can be molded in whatever form suits you during the drying time.



#14 TruthPil

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 09:55

You could contact a leathercrafter to make you a custom cover. Using the "cuir bouilli" technique with veg-tanned leather, you can obtain a leather which is hard as wood and keeps the resistance of a normal leather.
"Cuir bouilli" is a french term that means boiled leather, but the real technique is not boiled leather : you would only obtain a brittle shrinked leather good to nothing. It a hardening of the leather by letting it soak in a solution of collagene. It allows you to obtain a very strong and hard leather that can be molded in whatever form suits you during the drying time.


That sounds great, but probably expensive. Any recommendations for a leathercrafter?

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#15 agarwaen

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 11:54

That sounds great, but probably expensive. Any recommendations for a leathercrafter?

Probably, yes, as always with bespoke handmade craft. However, even if this technique is largely forgotten, it's not really difficult.

I do not have recommandations, sorry. I make my own leathercraft as a hobby, but I do not sell. May be have a look on Etsy ? Or Reddit /r/Leathercraft ?



#16 AriQuiteContrary

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Posted 24 August 2018 - 18:43

Hi Everyone,

 

My problem is that I prefer hardcover journals for daily writing, but move around a lot so they are too heavy and impractical for my kind of lifestyle. Therefore, I'm thinking about switching to something more portable like Midori A5 journals. The issue is that I don't like writing on floppy surfaces and often need the hardcover to act as a writing surface when I'm out and about. 

 

Does such a thing exist as a leather notebook cover that is stiff enough or has hard enough surfaces to make a softcover journal feel like a hardback? 

 

Thanks for any suggestions!

 

Hi, there! Did you find a notebook cover that you like?
 
I was in the same situation as you. I got one of these Lihit Fit covers a few weeks ago — they are rugged and very light and have hard boards behind the notebooks you can put into the cover on each side. http://bit.ly/2MPuVQ7.  They have a few different colors. I got the black one put a patch on it to give it a bit of personality.  I also got the Lihit houndstooth pen case (from CultPens) that stands up and it is very light too. 
 
I just pulled out the little sample notebook that came with the Lihit Fit notebook cover and put my own notebooks in it. It is very easy to use, and relatively reasonably priced.
 
Here is a video review that shows how to use the notebook cover and standing pen case.

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#17 Corona688

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Posted 24 August 2018 - 19:23

Common coil notebooks often come hole-punched to fit in three-ring binders.



#18 inkypete

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Posted 24 August 2018 - 21:37

 

 

Hi, there! Did you find a notebook cover that you like?
 
I was in the same situation as you. I got one of these Lihit Fit covers a few weeks ago — they are rugged and very light and have hard boards behind the notebooks you can put into the cover on each side. http://bit.ly/2MPuVQ7.  They have a few different colors. I got the black one put a patch on it to give it a bit of personality.  I also got the Lihit houndstooth pen case (from CultPens) that stands up and it is very light too. 
 
I just pulled out the little sample notebook that came with the Lihit Fit notebook cover and put my own notebooks in it. It is very easy to use, and relatively reasonably priced.
 
Here is a video review that shows how to use the notebook cover and standing pen case.

 

 

They look great. I have had a few Lihit products over the years and they are always good quality. It is a brand I would buy without hesitation but not much Lihit surfaces downunder.


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#19 zephyrdeluxe

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Posted 25 August 2018 - 14:03

Here is a video review that shows how to use the notebook cover and standing pen case.

 

Oh hey, that's my video!  Glad it's been useful. Like the houndstooth case version! :thumbup:

 

For what it's worth I'm still a fan of the cover and case after much use.  I still keep an Ecoqua dot grid A5 in the front for notes and to do lists and fit a Gallery Leather weekly planner in the back.


Edited by zephyrdeluxe, 25 August 2018 - 14:03.


#20 TruthPil

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 06:32

 

 

Hi, there! Did you find a notebook cover that you like?

 

I have a workable combination now, but it's not ideal and I haven't tried to use it outside the house. I got a thick sewn leather journal from a craftsman on Taobao and just inserted some thin cardboard into the sides pockets that receive the journal's original cover. It's still too floppy, so I fix that by putting a hard clear A5 mat from Nanami directly behind the page I'm writing on. That gives the required hardness, but it's a little annoying to have to move the mat at the end of each page. 

 

It'd be nice if I could get some thin steel sheets to put in the sides as reinforcements instead.

 

Does the Lihit Lab case really feel like writing on a hard surface or does it still have some flop or bend to it? 


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