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Field Notes notebooks


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#1 Brerarnold

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 04:44

I've been experimenting with the Field Notes notebooks for several months now. Finally got to where I was ready to say something about them.

First off, they have class. I love the way they look and feel. Simple, direct, business-like. They appeal to the engineer in me.

Second, the paper is good. I have used a variety of pens and inks. The paper takes the ink well with no feathering and dries quickly, something that I like a lot. I've had no bleed-through at all. There is a bit of show-through, though. How do I discriminate between the two? With bleed-through, it looks like there is ink on both sides of the page after you've written on one side. With show-through, it looks like you can see the ink on the other side, not both sides. So, maybe that just means "faint" bleed-through. I don't know. I prefer my description. Just doesn't seem the same to me. Show-through is definitely better than bleed-through. With the latter, you can't write on the reverse side. With show-through, you can if you want to, because it doesn't interfere that much. However, I generally don't. This is a bit of a con in my mind, as I prefer to use both sides.

So that gets to a difference between this notebook, and the Reporter's Moleskines I carried for several years. With the Moleskines, they seem more permanent. With Field Notes, they are more transient. I have not hesitated to cut out whole pages, or in one instance to cut out part of one page to paste a geometrical figure over a design on another page. So the fact that they seem less permanent is kind of neat. I feel more flexible in how I use them.

The gridded paper is great for designing things (most recently, I won a contest designing a logo for a convention -- won a free convention/hotel package!) Not being a great artist, having the grid helps me to keep the perspective and proportion the way I want them. For writing, however, they are a bit tight -- well, I write big, so that might not be a problem for most people. I write big, and I like a medium nib, and so I want some space. Easy enough: I use two grids for caps and one grid for lower-case letters. Again, it has urged me to break out of an old habit into a more flexible relationship with the notebook. So is the small grid size a feature or a bug? You decide.

The folks at Field Notes are great! And they include some great swag when you order a three pack, like an old-fashioned pencil and a decal.

I like to keep a notebook in my hip pocket. Usually that's a good place for one. The Moleskines went through hell-and-high-water there without a hitch. The Field Notes -- well, one rainy weekend when my Boys Scouts and I were on a campout, maybe I should have kept it in a shirt pocket, because it got pretty moist. Some of the paper wrinkled, and the cover started separating along the fold. But the wrinkles are not that much of a problem, and Scotch green plaid tape solved the cover-separation problem. One might say it added character. Perfection is not a requirement.

I've given out a couple. That ought to tell you something. Now I have to order more because I am coming to the end of this one and have no replacement handy. I think about going back to the Reporter, as I loved the heck out of that style, but I dunno -- the Field Notes notebook is sure more comfortable on the hip, I don't even notice it is there, and its many qualities are sure appealing. Can't beat the price either -- 3 pack costs only $9.95.

Bottom line: a great product. I really like 'em.

Edited 1/14/09 to add this photo, since several folks have requested it:

FN_Pic.jpg

Note the wrinkled corners, the scotch tape on the spine, and the "form-fitting" shape. thumbup.gif

Edited by Brerarnold, 15 January 2009 - 02:55.


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#2 vidalia11

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 05:44

Thanks for the review. I like grid paper, too. Do you have a photo of your Field Notes that you can upload?

Karen

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#3 Judy_Livingston

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 09:55

I'd like to see a photo too.

added edit: I see a website here.

Edited by SonyaSpiral, 14 January 2009 - 11:14.


#4 inkypete

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 10:46

Agree with most of this review - great work. But the paper is far from perfect. I have had some bleed (minimal) and plenty of show through. But over all its an excellent notebook that I happily use and will continue to buy. If they could just improve their paper stock a little and make the cover a bit more robust they have a perfect product.
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#5 Breck

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 11:05

QUOTE (inkypete @ Jan 14 2009, 06:46 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Agree with most of this review - great work. But the paper is far from perfect. I have had some bleed (minimal) and plenty of show through. But over all its an excellent notebook that I happily use and will continue to buy. If they could just improve their paper stock a little and make the cover a bit more robust they have a perfect product.


+1 I love my Field Notes, never leave home without 'em. However, their papers seem a touch inconsistent. The first two I used were basically flawless, but the one I'm on now is a bit temperamental. That may be because I wrote in pencil for several pages and then erased them before using them again with ink.

I think these notebooks were all from the same 3-pack, but I'm not 100% on that.

#6 fieldnotes

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 16:42

Brerarnold, thanks for the insightful review! We seem to have a lot of fans in the fountain pen world, thanks to a few positive reviews, notably from Richard's Pens (Richard now sells our notebooks at his online shop) and Amateur Economist.

Thanks for mentioning our site, Sonya.

John Lowe sent us a test where he tried about a dozen pens and inks in FIELD NOTES, his results are fairly consistent with Brerarnold's, a few combinations displayed a bit of what B. calls "Show through" and in a couple places, there's a tiny bit of bleed, but at our price point and intended use, we were honestly a but surprised to see how well it took the ink, and we're very grateful that the fountain pen market has taken notice.

So grateful, in fact, that we've got a deal for those of you that want to give FIELD NOTES a try (You knew this was coming!)

Order two 3-packs of FIELD NOTES before midnight CST on Friday, Jan 16, and we'll throw in a free extra 3-pack (9 FIELD NOTES memo books for the price of 6!) Use coupon code FNFPN.

Thanks, everyone!


#7 fieldnotes

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 16:50

a couple other quick points then I'll stop spamming you fine people until next time you invoke our name. : )

1) I forgot to mention that I'm preparing John Lowe's results for a blog post, keep an eye out for that on our blog

2) Please consider subscribing to our mailing list, which we use occasionally to announce contests and special offers. We also have an RSS feed.

3) You're the first to hear this: we have some new memo book variations coming in the next month or so, and some entirely new products are due in Spring.

4) In reply to william murderface murderface: far as paper consistency goes, all our memo books use Boise Offset Smooth 50# text paper. While it's conceivable that there may be minor inconsistencies between batches, we haven't really noticed any, aside from one early print run, where we suspect the supplier (who we no longer work with) secretly switched paper on us. If you really feel there's a problem, we'd be happy to replace your books, and if you've found an example of paper inconsistency, we'd love to see it in person so we can address the problem. Anyone who digs Boon Watt Hurley is ok in our book.

5) my email is bryan(at)coudal(dot)com, and I'm happy to address any of your concerns, questions, etc.

Thanks again, pardon the intrusion.

Edited by fieldnotes, 14 January 2009 - 16:52.


#8 Souldrifter

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 17:21

Bryan, thanks for stopping by and for the coupon code! smile.gif

I currently use Fieldnotes at work to jot notes down during meetings with my fountain pen, and I've got the calendar on the wall of my cube next to my phone. They've replaced the Moleskine Cahier in the same size for my uses. Can't wait to see what new formats you're coming out with. I do wonder if you folks might explore something slightly more weather resistant (they are FIELD notes after all, right? smile.gif ). I like to take my notebooks on trips with me, and we're returning to Death Valley this March to do some spring bloom photography. It'd be nice to not have to worry about my FN notebook if we decided to detour by Yosemite, too, which is considerably more damp. wink.gif

I like the look and feel of the notebooks, and the retro sensibility about them. Is that Twentieth Century MT on the covers and calendars?

Great product (no affiliation, just a happy customer)! And now I must go purchase more.... and stop babbling.

#9 someonesdad

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 17:47

I liked the idea of these Field Notes when I saw them, but I did some arithmetic and found that they are an expensive way to buy paper. Since I tend to be a do-it-yourselfer, I decided to make my own little booklets. It's simple and cheap. I printed some ruled lines on HP Premium LaserJet 120 gsm paper. Then I used my wife's paper cutter to cut up six sheets of paper along with a sheet of card stock for the cover. I cut an ANSI A-sized (US letter) size sheet into four pieces to make the little booklets I use the most. I folded the sheets in half, using a spoon to smoothe the crease. These folded pieces were assembled into a booklet with the cover, then stapled.

Total cost for four little booklets was about 25 cents. Total time is under 15 minutes (excluding the printing task, as you will probably have to make a template up the first time); most of your time is spent folding.

You can find numerous web sites that generate rules and graphs for printing. Here's a script I wrote to do it. If you just want some lines, the easiest thing to do is generate some lines in a word processing program and print these. Format a paragraph with a line border on one edge, then adjust the paragraph spacing to get the line spacing you want.

Criticisms:

The typical stapler isn't ideal for this job, as with use, the inner sheets can be torn out (the staple's ends don't lie flat). The next batch of booklets I make I will sew in signatures with some dental floss, then use some heavy tape over the spine to cover the floss knots. These will be very durable.

I happen to like the overlapping of the pages. But if you like crisp edges, take the booklets to a printer or office supply store and have them trimmed on a paper shear.

If you want to make bigger booklets, you may have to buy a saddle stapler. Personally, I won't bother, as the sewing method is superior.

The HP 120 gsm paper is a bit thick. My next booklets will be made from Domtar Solutions 105 gsm paper, which I have found is the best all-around paper for the inks and pens I use.

#10 Breck

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 19:41

QUOTE (fieldnotes @ Jan 14 2009, 12:50 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
4) In reply to william murderface murderface: far as paper consistency goes, all our memo books use Boise Offset Smooth 50# text paper. While it's conceivable that there may be minor inconsistencies between batches, we haven't really noticed any, aside from one early print run, where we suspect the supplier (who we no longer work with) secretly switched paper on us. If you really feel there's a problem, we'd be happy to replace your books, and if you've found an example of paper inconsistency, we'd love to see it in person so we can address the problem. Anyone who digs Boon Watt Hurley is ok in our book.



You know what? I re-examined the sheets that had some bleedthrough, and in every instance it occured when writing immediately following a change/refill of ink, i.e. with an overloaded feed, so I retract my earlier statements. The paper is clearly not to blame.

Also: I keep 1-3 pens clipped the current page in my FN. The only time I've experienced any feathering has been when I've written over where the clip contacted and abraded the paper. Again, the paper is not to blame.

Coudal and Field Notes: They jam gooddesigno.

Oh yeah, and this is my 4th book, not my 3rd as stated earlier.

Rock On and Stay Brutal,

Wm. M. M. Murderface


#11 RevAaron

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 20:09

I bought a few of these recently in the FS forum. I'm very impressed, and will keep on buying them if the paper stays consistent- which is what has turned me off of Rhodia lately. I've avoided them because the price is higher than I usually am willing to pay, but I'm really digging them.
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#12 inkypete

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 20:52

Great to see Bryan drop in. I think this thread has summed up the notebooks well. They are very good value, take most fountain pens with minimal problems and are readily available. As I said earlier I gladly use them and look forward to a larger size being available. They are great value compared to other similar notebooks.
Thanks for the coupon Bryan - maybe you can be generous again when the larger size is launched with a coupon and preview on FPN.
And how about an Australian outlet?
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#13 fieldnotes

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 21:53

QUOTE (inkypete @ Jan 14 2009, 02:52 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
…how about an Australian outlet?


I remember talk of an Australian distributor a few months ago, but I guess it fell through. We do have a retailer in new zealand, but that probably doesn't help you much, I'm just bragging. : )

Please let me know if you have a favorite shop or distributor (this goes for everyone) that might be interested in selling FIELD NOTES. Better yet, if you're on good terms with the management, have them email wholesale(at)fieldnotesbrand(dot)com.

As far as pricing, sure, it's cheaper to buy blank paper and staple it together, I even just told you what kind of paper to buy. If you have Futura loaded up on your computer and have some spare cardboard around, you don't need us at all. : )

Lucky for us, not everyone has that much free time. : )

If there's interest, I'd be happy to post here when the new products show up, but I don't want to spam your bbs all the time! I'll limit it only to major product announcements. For more day-to-day stuff like new retailers and specials, and contests, etc, please consider our mailing list or RSS feed!

Thanks so much, glad to see such great interest in our books here, we'll certainly consider more FPN-only specials in the future.

Bryan

Edited by fieldnotes, 14 January 2009 - 21:54.


#14 kiavonne

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 17:52

Bryan, thanks so much for joining us here at FPN.

I happen to like the Field Notes notebooks very much. I've used them for pen trials, sketches for the writing box I had custom made for a friend, notes and jots on the go, etc. I'd like to see them start showing up in other sizes, like a 5 x 7 pad (with more pages). I am subscribed to your newsletter, so I did get in on a deal earlier, I missed this one, though. I had Renaissance Art make me some covers for my Field Notes notebooks, and I carry one all the time. The covers weren't inexpensive, but certainly worth it in my opinion. They fit like the proverbial glove.

I freely admit I like the convenience of buying the Field Notes over making my own.


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#15 Eleventeen

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 20:02

I love my FN books, when I order them.



My biggest issue, besides the cost (at least for the speed with which I go through them) is that I wear through the covers quickly. As soon as I saw Brerarnold's pic with the cover taped on I laughed because that's how most of mine end up.

They're not thick enough, at least for me, for daily personal use, because I fill them up so quickly that I can't refer back to earlier notes because they're in a book I've already filled and no longer have with me, hence I started using these simply for work notes. The size then makes them convenient for carrying in my shirt pocket with a pen and Sharpie (I seriously need to consider pocket protector some days).

I took a similar approach to someonesdad and started making my own, printing grids from the Incompetech graph paper generator and running them through a booklet maker press we have here at the office. I even bought a corner punch from a craft store to put a radius on the corners. I like them but they're no where near as cool as FNs. That guy Draplin added so many little details to these that anything else pales in comparison.

#16 Titivillus

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 20:16

QUOTE (fieldnotes @ Jan 14 2009, 11:50 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
a couple other quick points then I'll stop spamming you fine people until next time you invoke our name. : )

1) I forgot to mention that I'm preparing John Lowe's results for a blog post, keep an eye out for that on our blog

2) Please consider subscribing to our mailing list, which we use occasionally to announce contests and special offers. We also have an RSS feed.

3) You're the first to hear this: we have some new memo book variations coming in the next month or so, and some entirely new products are due in Spring.

4) In reply to william murderface murderface: far as paper consistency goes, all our memo books use Boise Offset Smooth 50# text paper. While it's conceivable that there may be minor inconsistencies between batches, we haven't really noticed any, aside from one early print run, where we suspect the supplier (who we no longer work with) secretly switched paper on us. If you really feel there's a problem, we'd be happy to replace your books, and if you've found an example of paper inconsistency, we'd love to see it in person so we can address the problem. Anyone who digs Boon Watt Hurley is ok in our book.

5) my email is bryan(at)coudal(dot)com, and I'm happy to address any of your concerns, questions, etc.

Thanks again, pardon the intrusion.


Just tried to order from the website and couldn't get into the cart.

Kurt


#17 fieldnotes

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Posted 04 February 2009 - 20:09

Hey, gang, just wanted to let you all know we just launched new FIELD NOTES with BLANK or RULED pages, along with our original GRAPH paper. If you're indecisive, we're also offering a MIXED THREE PACK.

http://fieldnotesbrand.com/shop/

If you're on our mailing list, you're about to get an email about our FN COLORS limited-edition memo books. If you're not (and if they don't sell out), that info should be on the site tomorrow.

#18 Souldrifter

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Posted 04 February 2009 - 20:18

I got mine! I plan on getting a 3 pack of each color as they're released. smile.gif

#19 inkypete

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Posted 04 February 2009 - 20:52

QUOTE ((bleep) @ Jan 29 2009, 07:16 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (fieldnotes @ Jan 14 2009, 11:50 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
a couple other quick points then I'll stop spamming you fine people until next time you invoke our name. : )

1) I forgot to mention that I'm preparing John Lowe's results for a blog post, keep an eye out for that on our blog

2) Please consider subscribing to our mailing list, which we use occasionally to announce contests and special offers. We also have an RSS feed.

3) You're the first to hear this: we have some new memo book variations coming in the next month or so, and some entirely new products are due in Spring.

4) In reply to william murderface murderface: far as paper consistency goes, all our memo books use Boise Offset Smooth 50# text paper. While it's conceivable that there may be minor inconsistencies between batches, we haven't really noticed any, aside from one early print run, where we suspect the supplier (who we no longer work with) secretly switched paper on us. If you really feel there's a problem, we'd be happy to replace your books, and if you've found an example of paper inconsistency, we'd love to see it in person so we can address the problem. Anyone who digs Boon Watt Hurley is ok in our book.

5) my email is bryan(at)coudal(dot)com, and I'm happy to address any of your concerns, questions, etc.

Thanks again, pardon the intrusion.


Just tried to order from the website and couldn't get into the cart.

Kurt



Painfully slow and then times out - I'm having problems too.

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#20 kiavonne

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Posted 04 February 2009 - 21:03

QUOTE (inkypete @ Feb 4 2009, 01:52 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Painfully slow and then times out - I'm having problems too.



Likely due to hits on the site, if the last update from them to me is any indication. Fortunately, I got in on a great promotion a month or so ago and stocked up. I liked this paragraph in their newsletter, though:

QUOTE
The hardest part of creating these new Memo Books was trying to decide what sort of lines to not print on the blank ones. After lots of arguments, we're confident we made the right choice and hope you agree!


A sense of humour always makes things more interesting!

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