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Thread: Leuchtturm1917 Master & Medium Journals Review (with Rhodia Webnotebook comparisons)

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    Junior Member halidak's Avatar
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    Default Leuchtturm1917 Master & Medium Journals Review (with Rhodia Webnotebook comparisons)


    This is a much delayed review. Iíve been meaning to post this for more than two months but I felt too lazy to shoot the photographs. Anyway, finally here it is now. My first paper/journal review;
    (Please note, in some of the photographs you may see a white dot paper. That's a sheet from Rhodia DotPad that I used for white balance corrections and to give you an idea of the colour of Leuchtturm paper)


    I donít know why but Iíd always been neglecting the paper leg of the 'Pen-Ink-Paper' trio until the beginning of this year. That is maybe because standard papers/notebooks and Moleskines (which back then, when I was using them, were not as bad as people claim that they are nowadays), seemed adequate for my needs or maybe because my primary choice for nibs was standard M or B. As my nibs started getting broader and broader to BB, 1.5mm or 1.9mm stubs I thought it was time to look for more quality paper.

    As you all might have guessed my quick search had brought me to one name; Rhodia Webnotebook. I got it, I used it and nothing has ever been the same again. The Rhodia paper was phenomenal, nothing like any paper Iíd ever tried before, but the overall physical quality and the format of Webbies were not exactly perfect for me.

    So the search continued until I came across Leuchtturm1917 journals.


    Leuchtturm Master - Plain & Dotted in Black

    Many additional features that Rhodia Webbies lacked and getting more pages per notebook have convinced me to try them. The only question remained to be answered was about the paper quality and whether itís as good as (or at least close enough to) Rhodia paper.

    Before going on into details regarding paper quality let me first introduce those features that made me want to try the Leuchtturm;

    Leuchtturm hard-cover journals come in three sizes;

    • Master: A4+, 225x315mm or 8.86x12.40in with 233 pages (There is also a Slim version of Master with 121 pages)



    Features listed at the back flier of Leuchtturm Master


    Product information cards

    Master size is slightly larger than standard A4. This enables you to store unfolded A4 papers either in between the pages or inside the back pocket.


    Document pocket at the back of Leuchtturm Master

    Rhodia A4 is 210x297mm or 8.25x11.75in (exactly in standard A4 size and hence smaller than Leuchtturm Master).


    Left: Red Leuchtturm Master, Right: Rhodia Webnotebook A4


    Rhodia Webnotebook A4 is smaller than Leuchtturm Master

    • Medium: A5, 145x210mm or 5.71x8.27in with 249 pages



    Two Leuchtturm Medium journals, one in caramel and the other in cornflower colour


    Features listed at the back of Leuchtturm Medium

    Rhodia A5 with dimensions of 140x210 mm or 5.5x8.25in is slightly smaller than Leuchtturm Medium.


    Rhodia Webnotebook A5 at the bottom and Leuchtturm Mediums on top of it


    Covers of Rhodia Webnotebook A5 are thicker than those of Leuchtturm Medium. It's also the same for Master vs. Rhodia A4.

    • Pocket: 90x150mm or 3.54x5.91in with 185 pages


    Rhodia Pocket with dimensions of 90x140mm or 3.5x5.5in is also slightly smaller than Leuchtturm counterpart.


    The last 8 sheets on all sizes are detachable in case you want to practice your origami skills. A feature I could live without.

    Rhodia Webnotebook claims to contain 96 sheets. However, the first and the last sheets always come as partially glued to covers. I don't know you but I can't use these sheets and hence in practice Rhodia can offer me only 188 pages. Leuchtturm, on the other hand, offers 45 pages more in Master journal and 61 pages more in Medium journal than Rhodia Webbies. There are some occasions that I may find 188 pages to be just enough but generally speaking, for most of my purposes having more pages is always appreciated.

    There are more than just page counts in the Leuchtturm;

    • All sizes have index pages at the beginning to record important pages - a most-welcomed and nice touch!



    Index page in Leuchtturm Master


    Index page in Leuchtturm Medium

    • All pages are numbered,



    Leuchtturm Master Dotted


    Leuchtturm Medium Dotted in cornflower colour at the top

    (To be continued in the next post...)
    Regards, Halid

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    Junior Member halidak's Avatar
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    Default Leuchtturm1917 Master & Medium Journals Review - Part 2/4

    (...continued from previous post)

    • and they come with stickers to aid you in archiving old journals. There are labels for both the front cover and the spine;



    Stickers coming with Leuchtturm Master


    Stickers coming with Leuchtturm Medium

    As you can see they take their motto, ĎDetails Make All the Differenceí, very seriously in Leuchtturm.
    In my humble opinion, the build quality of Leuchtturm journals is clearly superior to Rhodia Webbies. Covers feel more sturdy and nice to the touch and the tolerances are tighter. They show every sign of meticulously engineered and executed production.
    Paper quality aside, my choice would always be for Leuchtturm for its overall quality.

    However, we cannot put the paper quality aside, can we? This is why we pay more and buy these journals. So that we can write on fountain-pen-friendly paper and while doing it we can actually enjoy the act of writing as well. There is no better way to spoil your writing pleasure than having your best pen and ink ready but then writing on a bad quality paper. This, as we all can agree on, is where Rhodia shines; itís very smooth and perfectly well-behaved paper with all kinds of inks, showing almost no bleed-through and feathering. Itís a true pleasure to write on Rhodia.

    So, how does the paper in Leuchtturm1917 journals hold against Rhodia Webbie?

    Before delving into more details, let me say in the first place that Leuchtturmís paper is not bad at all. In fact itís MUCH better than many notebooks/journals I used before. However, there are some issues and you shouldnít expect to have the same quality of Rhodiaís.

    Rhodia paper is very ink resistant. This makes nibs run a bit narrower than the size they actually are and also enables inks to show their shading properties quite prominently. My broad nibs, for instance, donít feel as broad on Rhodia paper as they do on less ink-resistant papers, such as Leuchtturm's.

    Paper in Leuchtturm is more absorbent and for this reason writing tends to swell a bit and you lose some shading.

    Show-through/ghosting is also more prominent on Leuchtturmís paper. I'm not sure whether this is due to colour difference (Leuchtturmís paper being whiter - but not quite white) or sizing difference between the two.

    As far as bleed-through is concerned, Leuchtturm can hold on pretty well IF you have the RIGHT Leuchtturm. Are you confused? So was I!

    As you might have noticed from the information listed on the back flier, papers in Master and Medium sizes are not the same. The former comes with 100gsm paper as clearly noted at the back, whereas the latter has 80gsm paper which is not mentioned anywhere at all(except on Leuchtturm's website). I didn't see any inconsistency in paper quality among different Master journals. They all performed quite satisfactorily at the same level. The problem is mainly related to Medium ones.

    Here are some pictures to demonstrate how Leuchtturm Master performed compared to Rhodia Webnotebook A4;


    Left: Leuchtturm Master, Right: Rhodia Webnotebook A4


    Left: Leuchtturm Master, Right: Rhodia Webnotebook A4

    Details of Leuchtturm Master;








    Details of Rhodia Webnotebook A4;








    I bought two Medium journals with dot paper in different colours - Caramel and Cornflower. The Caramel came with the notorious sticker that so many talk about.
    It says ĎNew Paper Ė Stronger & Ink Proof, 80 g/m≤í.


    This sticker on caramel Leuchtturm Medium tries to tell something which turned out to be far from reality.

    I felt relieved to see this sticker because this should mean that the paper was from the new batch and not like the old feathering paper and itís meant to be suitable for fountain pen use. I also felt a little disappointed for the cornflower one which didnít come with a sticker to proudly present.
    The funny thing is, though, it turned out that the case is completely the opposite. If this sticker was any indication for the quality of paper it should have been on the cornflower one.

    (To be continued in the next post...)
    Regards, Halid

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    Junior Member halidak's Avatar
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    Default Leuchtturm1917 Master & Medium Journals Review - Part 3/4

    (...continued from previous post)

    Photos below clearly show how poorly the paper in Caramel behaved compared to that in Cornflower. (Please, note that this is the case for bleed-through only. I donít see any feathering on either one of Medium journals.)


    Left: Leuchtturm Medium Cornflower, Right: Leuchtturm Medium Caramel


    Left: Leuchtturm Medium Cornflower, Right: Leuchtturm Medium Caramel


    Leuchtturm Medium Cornflower


    Leuchtturm Medium Caramel


    Leuchtturm Medium Cornflower


    Leuchtturm Medium Caramel


    Itís inexcusable for a journal of this price to have two different paper quality from batch to batch, not to mention the misleading sticker that turns all into a big puzzle. Leuchtturm should fix this issue as soon as possible. You need to know exactly what youíll get when you buy a notebook, just like you do whichever Rhodia Webbie you buy.

    Here are the details showing how Leuchtturm Medium Cornflower - the better one, performed compared to Rhodia Webnotebook A5;


    Left: Leuchtturm Medium Cornflower, Right: Rhodia Webnotebook A5


    Left: Leuchtturm Medium Cornflower, Right: Rhodia Webnotebook A5


    Details of Leuchtturm Medium;








    (To be continued in the next post...)
    Regards, Halid

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    Junior Member halidak's Avatar
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    Default Leuchtturm1917 Master & Medium Journals Review - Part 4/4

    (...continued from previous post)

    Details of Rhodia Webnotebook A5;








    In conclusion, I can say wholeheartedly that I liked Leuchtturm1917 journals very much. Iím not sure if Iíll ever buy another Medium but Iíve decided to use the Leuchtturm Master as my primary daily journal. All the additional features combined with more generous page count make up for the slightly inferior (compared to Rhodiaís) paper quality.

    If somehow Leuchtturm can make the paper as good as Rhodiaís it will be the PERFECT journal for me and I wouldnít need to use anything else.



    I hope I didnít bore you to death and you find this review helpful.
    Your most humble servant,
    Halid
    Regards, Halid

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    Excellent and pretty much what I found with the paper. If you are careful with your ink/pen selection they are worth it.
    Fountain Pen Sith Lord | Daakusaido | inktronics blog | Twitter | Instagram

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    You did a fantastic job of reviewing mate. Such attention to detail, you mirrored the Master 1917 journal! I love my Master 1917 and it is my main journal for the memoirs I am writing. The paper is good, but perhaps they could make a little more fountain pen friendly by coating their paper. Having said that I am happy with the paper right now, anything better would just be the icing on the cake.
    Well done Halid!

    Cheers
    Leo
    A lover of Aurora and Delta Pens!

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    Halidak, thanks for an enthusiatic and detailed review. I've already a few pocket sized blank and dotgrids and your review inspires me to try a master in the near future (as if I haven't got enough pads already).
    sinistral hypergraphica - a slurry of ink
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    What an awesome review with great detail and amazing pictures.

    That you very much for taking the time, and it must have been a lot, to do it and share with us.

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    Great review!!!

    Thanks!

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    Very through detailed review, very well done. Great information for those shopping for notebooks.


    InCoWri 2018, Letter Writers Alliance Member, Postable link: www.postable.com/bradharris, postcrossing

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    I'm jealous! My Master's performance is drastically inferior. I wouldn't mind bleedthrough that much, but the problem is that the spots where the ink bleeds through, show up even on the front of the page. Even inks such as Apache sunset look kind of ugly...
    "What are moon-letters?" asked the hobbit full of excitement. He loved maps, as I have told you before; and he also loved runes and letters, and cunning handwriting, though when he wrote himself it was a bit thin and spidery.

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    The best review on paper I have ever read, thank you very much!

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    Default Re: Leuchtturm1917 Master & Medium Journals Review (with Rhodia Webnotebook compariso

    Great review!! Helped alot!

    Thanks!

    -kemuri

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    Default Re: Leuchtturm1917 Master & Medium Journals Review (with Rhodia Webnotebook compariso

    I am thinking of ordering one of these note books. But before I do there is one thing I would like to know. I like to write on unlined paper using a line guide underneath. Would it be possible to see a line guide on the other side of the sheet with this notebook?
    Hello, my name is Nathan. Pleased to make your aquaintance.

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    Default Re: Leuchtturm1917 Master & Medium Journals Review (with Rhodia Webnotebook compariso

    Fantastic review!

    I loved these notebooks, but I'm turned off by the price increases. I see on Amazon the 8x5.5 is now selling for over $20?!? I paid $12 just two years. Absolutely no reason to see such a price increase. Back to Midori and Rhodia

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    Default Re: Leuchtturm1917 Master & Medium Journals Review (with Rhodia Webnotebook compariso

    Thanks for a great review. As one who never writes on the backside of pages, the show-through doesn't bother me. Bleeding is obviously a showstopper. I'd never noticed that the paper was different between the master and medium journals, so additional inconsistency is disappointing!

    That said...now I feel like I have to buy a Leuchtturm1917 Master to be my ink/pen writing sample book!
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    Default Re: Leuchtturm1917 Master & Medium Journals Review (with Rhodia Webnotebook compariso

    Quote Originally Posted by Lince View Post
    The best review on paper I have ever read, thank you very much!
    This!

    I was in the market to buy my first "good" paper for FP use and this one post was as useful as the entire rest of the internet combined.

    I did end up ordering the Leuchtturm Medium and some Rhodia as well, but thank you for your effort.

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    Default Re: Leuchtturm1917 Master & Medium Journals Review (with Rhodia Webnotebook compariso

    Wonderful review! I enjoyed the detail you provided through photos.
    Thank you.

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    Default Re: Leuchtturm1917 Master & Medium Journals Review (with Rhodia Webnotebook compariso

    Great review. I make my own day timer because I can't find one big enough. You've solved a question for me. Bleed through is a big factor for me. Sounds like I'm a Rhodia man. Thank you for the helpful review.

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    Default Re: Leuchtturm1917 Master & Medium Journals Review (with Rhodia Webnotebook compariso

    Excellent contribution, thank you.
    I enjoy the Leuchtturm form factor and I have many of their products. I purchased in bulk and got a decent deal on the "ink-friendly" issue when it was introduced. As you have noted, it's a lie. Or, at least, it's a deliberately misleading marketing position that means nothing when the goods are delivered. Very disappointed. Have you sent a copy of this to Leuchtturm? They might find it interesting and you might hear back form them. Who knows?
    The reason I'm not foaming at the mouth about the terrible paper is I only use the recto side of each leaf in all of my notebooks.

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