I wrote about Pebble Stationery Co.’s Pocket Tomoe River Notebooks almost 8 months ago and they just recently announced their newest notebook Kickstarter (after the previous was successful) to fund a 120 page A5 52gsm Tomoe River Notebook in the same basic design as the Pocket notebook . This A5 Notebook goes by the name of Cahier of which Pebble Stationery Co. sent me a pre-production model to review.
There have already been a couple of reviews of this product but like my previous review I’ll be going in depth with many photos as well as an update on how well the Pocket Notebook has handled after 9 months of it being my EDC notebook.
As with their first campaign Pebble Stationery Co. will be donating a pencil to Pens for Kids UK for every notebook backed.
Pebble Stationery Co. were successful in their Pocket Tomoe River Kickstarter campaign and the A5 Cahier Notebook campaign is also already well and truly successful. Kickstarters always come with some trepidation due to the fact that when you give money to the campaign you aren’t guaranteed the reward you are selecting (e.g. if the campaign is funded but otherwise fails). What should assuage some worries is how Pebble Stationery were able to beat their shipping goal by a month (nearly every kickstarter project I have been a part of have been delayed by a month or even more than a year) they also have a modest funding goal which means they can begin production quickly and less can go wrong. This should be a safe Kickstarter to back!
There’s only one week to go so if you decide this is for you you should back it sooner rather than later!
The A5 Tomoe River Notebook has been named the ‘Cahier’ which Google Translate tells me is French for Notebook. We will ignore that, translated, it’s called “The A5 Notebook Tomoe River Notebook”!
Like the baby brother the Cahier comes packaged in a plastic slip underneath which is a white paper wrap that has all the details of the notebook as the notebook itself is is completely bare apart from “Pebble Stationery Co.” being debossed onto the bottom right hand corner.
Before we continue with the review of the A5 Cahier Tomoe River Notebook I want to follow up on my thoughts of the Pocket Notebook as the construction and basic design is the same. In that review I said that “moving forward I’m confident I will keep using this notebook and this case as my EDC notebook.” For the last 9 months this is exactly what I have done. Nearly every day the notebook (in its leather case) has been on my person. Granted the leather case makes keeping it protected a little easier but it’s still getting frequent use. The extensive and tight stitching looked to me like it had the risk of ripping at the endpaper eventually (even if the extensive stitching also meant that if it did rip nothing would fall apart) but none of that has happened. The tight stitching hasn’t damaged anything. The only evidence of wear is some wrinkling of the grey cardboard cover.
In my EDC carry I include a sheet of blotting paper. I don’t use this but I have it there in case it’s needed because Tomoe River is slow for inks drying.
The cover of the Cahier is a nice balance of firmness, lightness and thinness. It’s firmer than many notebook covers but is not noticeably thicker. The firmness should help with the durability of the notebook which is something that Pebble Stationery Co. note as a goal on their kickstarter.
As mentioned, the notebook itself has “Pebble Stationery Co.” debossed on the front cover’s lower left but is otherwise devoid of any markings. The new Notebook comes with the paper wrap like the Pocket notebook does but simply describes the notebook’s dimensions, page count and characteristics which are:
A5 – 148mm x 210mm (5.8” x 8.3”)
Dot Grid (5mm again)
On the front endpaper is a set of simple lines with Name, Date and Contact as options and below that is Pebble Stationery Co.
On the back page is a mission statement of sorts at the top:
PEBBLE STATIONERY CO.
At Pebble Stationery Co., we believe in learning and creativity. We support people to create and learn new things by designing beautiful, well-made products that are easy and fun to use.
We also believe that the love of learning and creating should be shared across the world. So at Pebble Stationery Co., we will donate pencils to children in need for each premium Tomoe River Paper notebook sold to support their creativity and learning.
Visit our website: www.pebblestationeryco.com to find out more about us and join our journey.
At the bottom is another description of the paper which mentions the 52gsm Tomoe River paper.
Unlike the Pocket notebook The Cahier has subtle grey page numbers in the lower outside corners. This isn’t something I’d take advantage of but I’m sure it’ll be useful to many. The stitching is, again, extensive and tight with none of the threads being loose. This looks to me to be very secure.
The outer cover is over the top of the binding of the pages which is a stronger binding and a more premium look than many comparable notebooks which merely have two staples through the papers and the cover.
The firmness of the cover helps a lot with both protecting the cover but it also gives it a premium feel and makes it easier to handle with the notebook being sturdier and less floppy. I have two comparable notebooks, one from an unknown manufacturer (green cover) with 80 pages (which seems to be a common A5 Tomoe River notebook size), and the other from a well known manufacturer with 96 pages. Both of these notebooks have a much less sturdy cover as well as only two staples as the binding.
With the 80 page unknown notebook I kept it in backpacks and shoulder bags unprotected for a year or more. I have treated it well but I have not tried to protect it. The notebook has not fallen apart but the soft card cover has fluffed quite a bit, torn in places and lifted in the corner exposing and slightly damaging the paper inside. These aren’t gamebreaking issues but they are issues that I believe would be mitigated or even prevented by the sturdier cover of the Cahier.
The Cahier at 4mm thick is only 1mm thicker than the 96 page and 80 page notebooks which are both 3mm. This is pretty decent given the 40 or 24 additional pages and the sturdier cover.
The dot grids are subtle and light a lightish grey with tiny dots. They blend into the paper a little and for me this means they aren’t distracting but are still useful. For comparison is the same 96 page notebook from above (also with 5mm spaced dots) has darker dots and larger dots. This is clearly a subjective matter but for me the subtler approach is bette for me.
The paper is 52gsm ‘Ivory’ Tomoe River. Ivory, in this context, refers to the whiter of the two Tomoe River options (the other being cream). Ivory Tomoe River isn’t brilliantly white but has a very subtle off-white hue.
52gsm Tomoe River shouldn’t be different but in my experience it is. This year’s Hobonichi Techo 52gsm Tomoe River paper shows more prominent ghosting than previous years and I’ve found the flexibility and softness of Seven Seas 52gsm Tomoe River to be stiffer than most other Tomoe River papers. The softer papers tend to be smoother to write on and also mitigates baby’s bottoms a little (in my experience). The 52gsm Tomoe River paper on this is, I believe, the most common iteration of the paper which is the softer and more flexible version. This is what I prefer.
The positive characteristics of 52gsm Tomoe River are much higher sheen, smoother writing, and rich colours. The negative characteristics of 52gsm Tomoe River are slightly less shading (I believe due to less absorbent paper), slower dry time, and insipid colours from some red-leaning inks from some brands (Some Montblanc Red inks, some Robert Oster inks, and Caran d’Ache Saffron are inks that I have noticed this desaturation of colour on the paper). These characteristics all present in the paper of the Cahier.
Ballpoint and Rollerballs work fine (with some sheen even), pencil feels a little smooth for me but works fine, and the Sharpie also writes as expected with no issues from this side of the paper.
Hankyu Wakaba, a sailor ink, still has some decent shading here and Sailor Souten is showing some strong sheen. You can also see the sheen on the Ballpoint, Rollerball, and Sharpie marker.
When using a sharp flexible dip nib there is some bleeding. This isn’t uncommon on other papers either, however, as the sharp nib slightly cuts the paper a little allowing for faster and more extensive absorption which results in some bleeding. Normal fountain pen usage (and ballpoint and rollerball usage) will result in some ghosting but no bleeding in almost every case. The Sharpie did produce a lot of bleeding but it also does this on Rhodia.
The Pocket notebook has become my EDC notebook and I see no reason that would change and I will likely keep using these Cahier notebooks as my A5 Tomoe River Notebook. My use case isn’t very technical as I use these style notebooks mostly for scraps and tests. I take them with me to pen meets, I test inks and pens on it and when I went to Japan I used an A5 52gsm Tomoe River notebook to scribble all the 100 Sailor Ink Studio inks at Itoya before I bought them all myself. For this reason I won’t get any use out of the numbers (I’m no-where near organised enough for that) but I will appreciate the sturdy cover and construction as I don’t protect these notebooks.
Depending on your use case you might want to invest in blotting paper. My use doesn’t necessitate this but it some use cases probably will. It’s something to consider with Tomoe River.
The notebooks are AU$15 (US$10.5 - €9.2) as an early bird reward on the Kickstarter campaign and will go up to AU$17 (US$12 - €10.5) after the early birds are sold out. Retail the notebooks will cost AU$19.50 (US$13.7 - €12).
This is the best, for me, A5 Tomoe River Notebook I have used. I believe it is one of if not the best on (or soon to be on) the market. If you are interested in the notebook the kickstarter is currently live so check it out. Backing the kickstarter is cheaper than buying after! Also check out Pebble Stationery Co.’s website also Instagram.
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I received this pack free of charge for the purpose of giving an honest review. I was not otherwise compensated and everything here is my own honest opinion. There are no affiliate links.