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  1. I travel quite a bit for work and am looking for a good way to write on the go. I, personally, prefer the look of unlined/grid/dotted paper but still need the crutch of lines. I've read that many people use a lined sheet under their page to achieve this. I am trying out some thin paper to see how I like it but I, in general, I'm a heavy/thick paper enthusiast. Beyond the feel, I like writing on both sides and hate ghosting. This makes it difficult to use a lined guide under my page. So my thought was to use a light box. But with the amount I travel carrying something large was out of the question so I started thinking about building a 9"x7" (just larger than A5) sized 1/4" (~6mm) light box that could fit into a leather portfolio in the place where most people would have their notebook. The lighting probably won't be super consistent since it will be hard to diffuse the LEDs in that small of a space but it should easily be enough to see the lines. My idea is to build something like this: Imagine you store your paper (unused and finished) in separate slots on the left. Take a single sheet and the lined guide and move it to the right and slip it under the corner elastics (forgive the horrible "elastic" lines). Then write away. As I see it: Pros: Very portable light box (9"x7"x0.5" without paper) >6hr rechargeable battery (probably shares a cylinder in the center with the pen holder) Can use a lined guide with very heavy paper Lexan surface made of multiple thin sheets so it's cheap to replace the top one when I inevitably stain/score/... it. (This should also help the diffusion since I can sand middle layers) Cons: Writing on a sheet of lexan instead of leather or whatever your preferred surface is Without a piece of paper on it it looks a little like a tablet/kindle Custom build so won't be as polished (at least my customs aren't) LEDs, lithium batteries, ...? Part of the romance of using a FP is the history Thoughts? Has anyone seen anything like this (before I try to build it myself)?
  2. A5 size note-pads are my "go-to" size for jotting things down at my desk, playing with pens working on my handwriting, and taking to meetings for note taking. I kind of wanted a leather portfolio for the meeting part (and also to close at my desk and hide my doodles...). I ran across the Van der Spek writing cases at Appelboom, and ordered the "bottom of the line" model for 39 euro to see if I liked it. http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa163/roomdog/Van%20der%20Spek%20Writing%20Case/VanderSpek001_zps4721de0a.jpg For where it's priced, it's hardly a base model. The leather is very nice and the whole thing exudes quality. This won't be my last one, and I think I'll see about having a custom one made. (more on that as we go along). Included is a very nice Van der Spek labeled A5 notepad. A thoughtful inclusion so you are free to write immediately, in case you didn't already have an A5 notepad... http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa163/roomdog/Van%20der%20Spek%20Writing%20Case/VanderSpek003_zps343476a1.jpg Another thing that sold me on this brand was that there is a pen loop built in. It appears quite small, and a Pelikan M300 fits easily and snugly. http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa163/roomdog/Van%20der%20Spek%20Writing%20Case/VanderSpek004_zpse8d5fbed.jpg The problem with pen loops is that they're almost never the right size for the pen you intend to use. Van der Spek gets around that issue by hiding a bit of elastic in the loop. The loop that securely holds an M300 will also accept a large pen like this Omas Extra (roughly MB 146 size). http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa163/roomdog/Van%20der%20Spek%20Writing%20Case/VanderSpek005_zps8c284e9d.jpg Here's a closeup of the elastic. http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa163/roomdog/Van%20der%20Spek%20Writing%20Case/VanderSpek006_zpsd0a5570c.jpg I'll use the included paper for something (or give it to the wife), but I prefer to have some Rhodia in there (which is why I bought the thing in the first place. As you can see, the A5 sized Rhodia pad fits perfectly. http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa163/roomdog/Van%20der%20Spek%20Writing%20Case/VanderSpek007_zps9e24277d.jpg Overall I'm quite pleased with the case. The leather is very, very nice and supple to the touch. One minor complaint is that they used a bit of foam underneath to give it a "pillow touch". I'm not a fan of that and wasn't aware that this would be the case (no pun intended!). The small pockets will hold a business or credit card, but I would probably prefer if one held Exacompta note cards (I like the 74x105mm ones readily available in Europe). I put a few of these in my Midori Passport notebook for jotting a to-do list or being able to pass along a quick note or info. The last thing is the pen loop. It is quite snug, and while a tapered pen like the Omas (or a Lamy 2000) will fit; I have some concerns about the durability of the elastic. A pen like a Pilot 95S seems to snag on the lip where the cap meets the body. I think I would like a finger pouch fashioned in place of the loop instead. I'll call Van der Spek and see if they can do something like that. http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa163/roomdog/Van%20der%20Spek%20Writing%20Case/VanderSpek008_zpsc4801ff8.jpg

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