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Archive for January 31st, 2010

Leuchtturm Journals, Old and New.

The new, journal with the ink-proof paper vs.the orignal Leuchtturm Journals

Leuchtturm started making all of their their journals and planners with a new, ink-proof paper starting in August, 2009. The original journals did not have this feature, so I thought it would be interesting to subject both old and new journals to the same tests I conducted on the Rhodia, Moleskine, Ciak, Cartesio and Markings Journals.

The pens I tested on the paper include:

  • Tombow Ultra Rollerball Pen, 0.5 mm point
  • Sensa Ballpoint Pen
  • Staedtler Triplus Fineliner
  • Tombow Fountain Pen with Medium Nib and Foray Ink Cartridge
  • Tombow Pixie Ballpoint Pen, 0.7 mm point
  • Pilot Precise Grip Fine Point Marker
  • Tombow Dual Brush Pen, Fine Point
  • Bic Mark It!

Please note that you may get different results using your pens than I do with mine. A lot of variables can come into play here including pen type, ink type, pressure used, nib style and environmental conditions, etc. I will do my best to be specific when possible and to include all of the relevant details.

First Impressions

Both Leuchtturm journals are different than the other journals I tested in the following ways.

  • They measure 3½″ wide by nearly 6″ tall, so they are taller than most.
  • The pages are numbered
  • There is a Table of Contents in the front for organizing
  • There are self-adhesive labels included for archiving
  • The paper is being advertised as ink-proof
  • The elastic strap is wider
  • The paper is thinner than most

Like other notebooks in a previous test, both include a ribbon bookmark and ruled lines. Like the Moleskine, the Leuchtturm journals both lay completely lay flat when opened. There are 22 usable lines per page, that measure 6 mm apart. The expandable envelope in the back is useful for storing notes, receipts and photos.

Leuchtturm Journal next to a Moleskine Journal

The Leuchtturm pocket journal on the left is 6" tall, ½" taller than the Moleskine pocket journal on the right. Leuchtturm's elastic strap is wider than Moleskine's

The New, Ink-Proof Paper

This paper is thinner than the earlier version and weighs 70 gsm. I don’t know for sure what the weight of Leuchtturms’s previous journal was, but it feels thicker then the new paper and is similar to that in a Moleskine. The lines are much lighter than the earlier version, which is great if you prefer a page with a clean appearance. It performed as advertised regarding bleedthrough, but because the paper is thin, there is showthrough on the back side. It did perform better than any notebook I have tested so far with a permanent marker, however. The Bic Mark It pen I used just barely bled through the back while it saturated any other paper I have tested.

Leuchtturm pen and ink test.

The pen and ink test on the new, in-proof paper yielded mixed results. The ink color was strong and bright and I experienced no feathering, but there were some issues on the backside of the paper.

Backside of Leuchtturm ink-proof paper.

While the inks did not bleed through the paper, there was a considerable amount of showthrough, more than can be seen in this photograph. If you use a Leuchtturm journal, I would recommend a pen with a thin line and a light ink color.

The surface of the paper was receptive to wet writers but the ink dried slowly. This is a problem for me because I write quickly and tend to smear ink if it is still wet. The paper produced dark, contrasting lines and rendered strong, bright colors that rivaled the lines made in the Ciak notebook in an earlier test.

When using my fountain pen, the ink dried slowly. There was some tonal variation that was equal to the variation on the Rhodia paper, but overall the ink color was darker and more intense. I liked the way my fountain pen wrote on this paper and found it satisfying the way the paper accepted the ink even though drying times were long. I did not experience any bleedthrough with my Tombow Fountain pen.

Other things to consider; the new Leuchtturm journal has 185 pages, 5 pages more than the previous version, which is good news if you find yourself running out of paper too soon. But there are only 8 perforated pages in the new journal while the old journal had 32 perforated pages.

The Previous Paper

The paper in the earlier Leuchtturm journals was heavier than the new paper and so were the lines. The rules in the old version are substantially darker and appear thicker than in the new, ink-proof paper. It performed much like the Markings journal in a previous test. There was bleedthrough on the Tombow Fountain Pen as well as the Tombow Rollerball and  permanent marker examples.

Pen and Ink test in an earlier version of a Leuchtturm journal.

The pen and ink test on the paper of earlier Leuchtturm journals did not perform all that well. The ink color was strong and bright but there was minor feathering and some issues on the backside of the paper.

There was siginificant showthrough and bleedthrough in the older verison of a Leuchtturm journal

There was siginificant showthrough and bleedthrough in the older verison of a Leuchtturm journal except on the ballpoint pen examples.

The surface of the paper was receptive to wet writers and the ink dried fairly fast. The paper produced dark, contrasting lines and rendered strong, bright colors similar to the lines in the Leuchtturm journals. When using my fountain pen, the ink sank well into the paper and dried in a reasonable amount of time. There was less tonal variation than on the new, ink-proof paper, but overall the ink color was dark and intense. I liked the way my fountain pen wrote on this paper and found it satisfying the way the paper accepted the ink. There was some bleedthrough with my Tombow Fountain pen, however.

New, Ink-Proof Paper Summary

  • Clear, sharp text with ballpoint, rollerball and fountain pens
  • Ink does not bleed though (except slightly on permanent markers)
  • Best performer regarding bleedthrough of permanent markers I’ve tested
  • Table of Contents and page numbers for easy archiving
  • Includes self adhesive labels
  • Pale ivory color and pale rules are easy on the eyes
  • Good quality for less money than most
  • Paper is thinner than most
  • Heavy showthrough on the reverse side of the paper
  • Writing with any pressure will push through leaving raised areas on the back side
  • Drying times are long and heavy inks may remain sticky

Final Thoughts

The new, ink-proof paper in the Leuchtturm notebooks is definitely an improvement over the earlier paper. It handled even the wettest inks without any bleedthrough. It even performed well with a permanent marker, better than any others I have tested to date. The paper is thinner than the earlier paper and thinner than many comparable notebooks, so there is a fair amount of showthrough on the backside of the paper. If you use a pen with wet, dark ink, I would look elsewhere unless you are happy using only one side of each page. However, I think the paper in the Leuchtturm notebook is fine for use with most pens, especially those with lighter colored inks. If you are using this journal to take quick notes on a day-to-day basis using basic ballpoint pens, pencils and markers, a Leuchtturm journal will work well for you and may even save you some money in the long run.

The extra archiving features make this journal ideal if you like to categorize and/or organize your information. This is where the Leuchtturm journals really shines. There is no other journal that offers these features at the moment. The Table of Contents and page numbers make it easy to find what you are looking for as long as you can bring yourself to catalog your journal’s contents as you go. The labels are perfect for titling your journals and make them easy to identify when organized on a shelf.

However, if you prefer using dark, wet pens, such as fountain pens, roll pens or markers, you may want to consider a Rhodia, Ciak,  or Cartesio notebook instead because they have significantly less showthrough than the Leuchtturm and shorter drying times.

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