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Staples Sustainable Earth Bagasse Notebooks


GlennPen
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Hello and welcome to the Quick Review of the Staples Sustainable Earth Sugarcane Paper Notebooks.

 

As you know, Staples Sugarcane (Bagasse) paper is well known amongst fountain-pen users as an economical alternative to more pricier notebooks and papers such as Rhodia. Although by no means superior, it fulfills every criteria for general-purpose writing.

 

Note: These notebooks were purchased from a Staples store as of April 14, 2014.

 

http://i.imgur.com/xkfTHaj.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/r45preH.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/P9WEWW4.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/jajrKyc.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/xuCyOZ9.jpg

 

For the up close scans of the sample page:

 

Obverse: http://i.imgur.com/IgV0Pl7.jpg

Reverse: http://i.imgur.com/3Z29fsE.jpg

 

Covers are made of heavy weight kraft paper. Paper content is 80% sugarcane fiber, unsure of the remaining percentage. Unsure if acid-free and lignin-free. Paper is as thin as tracing paper, but not nearly as fragile and easily torn. The pages are lined (7 mm apart, College Ruled) and perforated with a 22 mm margin on the top. The big blobs you see on the page is the result of me doing a police siren impression while holding a loaded TWSBI Diamond 580. When writing there is little feedback (in fact with a Pilot Prera it was pretty glassy). Absolutely no feathering and no bleedthrough when writing at a normal speed (don't keep the nib on paper if you're pausing). Writing on the back is feasible if you don't mind the slight show of the other page.

 

For both the 9.5 in. x 6 in. and 11 in. x 8.5 in. notebook, there are 100 sheets (200 pages). Both come with a page of pockets in the front (also kraft paper), one pocket on each side (2 pockets) for inserting torn-out pages or pages from somewhere else.

 

At the time of purchase the 9.5 in. 6 in. notebook costs $3.99 and the 11 in. x 8.5 in. $4.99 excld. tax.

 

That's it for this review, hope you enjoyed and if you have any questions or comments feel free to ask!

 

Good Morning, Good Afternoon, Evening and Night!

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I have a couple of the Sustainable Earth Bagasse composition books, and I like them a fair amount. But they are very difficult to find in my local Staples -- even the notebooks like you reviewed seem to be few and far between these days.

I keep hoping that they will put them on sale at some point, although I'm not really a fan of spiral bound, because I like the fact that they're more environmentally friendly and still have decent enough paper for FP use.

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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@inkstainedruth

 

There were maybe less than 10 of these at my Staples, mostly the smaller ones. The larger patterned cover notebook shown in this review was the last one, the rest were plain covers.

 

Frankly I also dislike spiralbound books as a right handed person, but for what it offers at the price I can easily overlook that. I even have some Clairefontaine Classics in spiralbound. Now if they had a composition-type book with bagasse paper, we'd have something!

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I have composition book bagasse notebooks from Staples, but I bought them a while ago. I wonder if they don't have them anymore?

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I am on my third bagasse notebook now.. I find them better than the office photocopy paper for jotting down to-do lists and notes. Noodler's black with a fine point pen (Pilot 78g) works great on the paper. No bleedthrough at all. Also, a big plus is that the sturdy cover holds up well even when I jam it in my work backpack.

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:huh: :unsure: Hasn't been my experience. I purchased a notebook just like the one featured here. It bled, it feathered, it spread the ink like a paper towel. YUCK! So I keep hearing how great bagasse is, what's the secret in getting decent paper? 'cuz I sure haven't found it. It was $4 down the drain.

 

For four bucks I'll stick to the Muji notebooks :thumbup:

 

Edit to add: I use dry, fine nibs with well behaved inks to test the paper. Staples bagasse gets a F- grade.

Edited by mm1624124
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I read a post somewhere on FPN that you should look at the printed lines on the pages. If the lines are crisp, the paper will probably be OK with fountain pen ink.

 

I feel for those who have had issue, but, I'm happy to have had good experiences.

Edited by French
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  • 3 months later...

I just bought a Sustainable Earth notebook from Staples and yes, the paper is what I was hoping it would be. The only downside is that they do not have many available and I am concerned they may soon be gone. Yes, it is is wirebound, which some dislike, but for day to day, I like that I can remove some of the pages and put them in a folder or (using Scotch Restickable Glue Stick) put individual pages in a different journal. I am seriously considering ordering the writing pads online. I hear that Roaring Springs uses Bagasse as well...will definitely look for it!

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To me, the selling point is decent enough paper with a really hard cover that works well in note taking situations where there's no desk or firm surface to write on. It's great for that. I use F/XF nibs generally so I may have a better impression of the paper than some, but still I find it more a serviceable than delightful paper to write on.

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I have been using this notebook several years now. Staples sometime had it on sale and with their reward point I could get very good price.

I also feel it is FP friendly. However, the paper is very thin so "see-through the page" sometime bother me (you can see it on the above photo).

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I read a post somewhere on FPN that you should look at the printed lines on the pages. If the lines are crisp, the paper will probably be OK with fountain pen ink.

 

I feel for those who have had issue, but, I'm happy to have had good experiences.

 

I'm glad that Staples Sustainable Earth, bagasse, notebooks are working for some. But let's face it; they are not working all of the time for all of the people. I think I'll post a paper trade for the elusive this-works-for-fountain-pens bagasse.

 

The last was my third attempt in sincerely trying to follow the FPN tips and still unable to get suitable results. What suckers me into making multiple attempts is the convenience concept--that I could potentially divert my path for a few minutes to my local store and grab a few really decent notebooks for a few bucks. That would be great since all of my notebook purchases are on=line purchases. The reality is, that concept has yet to materialize. For the money I've spent, I could have bought a GREAT notebook with better paper, better construction such as a Midori or Apica or Tsubame. For the time I've spent, all I had to do was go on-line, make a few clicks.

 

I realize some folks are into bargain basement shopping. It's all about the hunt and the find, not the final result. My mum was like that. She'd spend hours looking at prices, styles, materials, etc., convincing herself that she'd find that special item. A few hours later, she'd be happily exhausted and I'd be unhappily frustrated. When we'd go to a bulk outlet where second hand clothes were brought in by bundles and you paid by the pound, I'd be done in about an hour and she'd spend a day at it. Different goals, different results.

 

 

 

EDIT: I've added my offer in Paper Exchange. PM me if interested. I do not visit every day--be patient.

 

 

WANTED: Staples Bagasse Paper, must be considered suitable for fountain pen use!!!

 

I have MANY papers to trade if you are interested:

 

Tomoe River Cream

Tomoe River White

L!fe A4 Lined

Tsubame Lined

Tsubame Grid

Midori Lined

Midori Grid

Apica Basic

Apica CD

Apica CD Premium Lined

Apica CD Premium Blank

Shinola Blank

Shinola Lined

Double AA

Muji--various kinds

G. Lalo Verge Medium--Pink, Champagne, Pistachio, Grey, Turquoise, Apricot, Lavendar

Rhodia Dot

Kokuyo Campus Dot

Kyokuto FOB Dot

 

Please Staples Bagasse Paper only! I'll take the first 5 responses in CONUSA.

Edited by mm1624124
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To me, the selling point is decent enough paper with a really hard cover that works well in note taking situations where there's no desk or firm surface to write on. It's great for that. I use F/XF nibs generally so I may have a better impression of the paper than some, but still I find it more a serviceable than delightful paper to write on.

 

And my selling point was a 'happy medium' paper, softer than Rhodia (which is often too slick for my liking, and I dislike the line and grid color) and harder than Indian. And those wonderful tan lines. It remains my go-to paper.

My other pen is a Montblanc and...

 

My other blog is a tumblr.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Note to self : read the description closely. "Sustainable Earth" is a very wide umbrella.

 

I bought a few of the large ones -- they had the sugar cane paper -- and also a few 9x6's. Those turned out to be plain old fully recycled paper.

 

At least it's Brazilian paper, so not too bad. Only my boldest pen had traces of strikehrough.

 

-k

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  • 2 weeks later...

I had a terrible experience with the staples brand... I once got a standard Staples brand notebook from there, and even a Pilot G2 feathered on it... A G2 pen doesn't even feather on toilet paper; that's how terrible it was.

So to me, staples makes pseudo-utilitarian toilet paper, not writing paper.

 

I digress though. Thank goodness my university bookstore stocks bagasse paper from a US-based brand called Roaring Springs. Anyways, I came here primarily to rave about that Roaring Springs paper. It is superb.

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I ordered a case each of letter size and 5x8 pads after I tried 5 other high end pads. And found these to perform very well for such a low price they seem to handle pretty much any fountain pen Ive thrown at it. Using iroshizuku/OS/Stipula/Diamine/and Aurura inks. No feathering. Im not a professional, I only take notes on them im not drawing or writing a novel.

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  • 9 months later...

You can only buy them online now but they will ship to store for free. That being said I loved how the paper felt, but wow nothing I used went well on this paper. Everything from fine to broad and def flex I know the later will bleed and feather but even fine all my inks would feather and bleed thru. Even Noodler's X-Feather would feathter on the notebook I got. Also I keep a page of copy paper under the sheet to soak up the extra bleed thru. This really didnt work for me at all. I really had high hopes for it but it didnt live up to the hype for me

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I have had great use with these Sustainable Earth sugarcane notebooks. I use the wirebound 1-subject notebooks, in both 8 1/2" x 11" and 9 1/2" x 6".

 

I have used fine, medium, and broad nibs, as well as a full range of italic stubs.

I have tried various Waterman's, Noodler's, Diamine (including Chesterfield), and Rohrer & Klinger inks with no feathering, and minimal bleed through.

 

I actually just picked up several more, as Staples online store has them on sale. The 1-subject 8 1/2" x 11" notebooks are on sale for $4.00 each, and the 9 1/2" x 6" notebooks are on sale for $3.00 each. I went in to my local Staples and they price matched their online sale price, so I did not have to deal with shipping. It looks like the sale ends on August 1st.

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I have had great use with these Sustainable Earth sugarcane notebooks. I use the wirebound 1-subject notebooks, in both 8 1/2" x 11" and 9 1/2" x 6".

 

I have used fine, medium, and broad nibs, as well as a full range of italic stubs.

I have tried various Waterman's, Noodler's, Diamine (including Chesterfield), and Rohrer & Klinger inks with no feathering, and minimal bleed through.

 

I actually just picked up several more, as Staples online store has them on sale. The 1-subject 8 1/2" x 11" notebooks are on sale for $4.00 each, and the 9 1/2" x 6" notebooks are on sale for $3.00 each. I went in to my local Staples and they price matched their online sale price, so I did not have to deal with shipping. It looks like the sale ends on August 1st.

I just seem to have bad luck. Mine goes beyond bleed thru that's why I keep a sheet of copy paper under the sheet I am on so it can absorb excess ink from bleed through.

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I love these pads. I use them for work. And really, everything. But they are what they are - cheap notepads, so wetter pens do feather and bleedthru. However I don't expect Rhodia/Tomoe River performance from them. For cheap "legal pads" these things are awesome.

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  • 1 month later...

I just got my first Staples Sustainable Earth 80% sugarcane notebook (6 x 9.5"). I was able to buy it from the Staples web site and have it delivered for free to my local store, and then just drove over to pick it up once they e-mailed to let me know it had arrived. So if you're interested in giving it a whirl and your local store doesn't happen to have it in stock, you can get it without too much hassle.

 

I'm quite pleased with it. The paper is thinner than I was expecting, but it's holding up very well so far to my experiments -- no bleed or feathering at all noted from Diamine Imperial Blue in a Jinhao 599a medium, Noodler's Navajo Turquoise in a Lamy Al-Star fine, or Navajo Turquoise in a Lamy Safari 1.1mm italic. (What can I say? I really like Noodler's Navajo Turquoise.) I also tried Sheaffer blue-black in an old Sheaffer stub (a veteran of one of their calligraphy kits, I believe), and was a little surprised when even that didn't go through -- it's a very saturated ink in a wet pen with a broad nib. The inks also shade and sheen very well; I mean, okay, it's not Tomoe-River-level, but it's very nice.

 

I'm impressed with the overall construction of the book, too -- the heavy kraft covers are satisfyingly sturdy, so I'll be able to write in the book if even if I don't have anywhere to lean it; the wire for the binding is heavy-duty, so I won't worry about it getting smashed flat in my bag; and the kraft paper pockets are going to come in handy. For $4.50, I have no regrets. And should they go on sale, I think I'm going to pick up a stack of them.

Edited by thudthwacker
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