If you found your way here, it’s safe to assume you have, at one time or another, agonized over which notebook or pad to bring, and ended up taking them all. This happens to me everyday. “I really should just stick with the Crossfield… But one of my pens has this new ink… Wonder what that will look like on Kraft paper? Or MD Cotton? And there’s that new gold ochre I need to try in a wash to see if it granulates… Oh so that means I should bring the hot-pressed block…”
Enter the punch experiment.
CultPens shipped me the Atoma punch practically overnight, and it joined the William Hannah journal in my hotel room, waiting for playtime. My Filofax punch showed up while I was in a meeting, and that was it, pretty much; there was no room in the bag for anything else!
I must admit I did zero research on Rollabind vs Atoma vs UltraSpectacularDiscSystemZ, because I chose the journal first. William Hannah makes the loveliest journal covers and I was determined to start with the Whiskey leather and Ultraviolet lining.
The paper wrapping and sticker speak of care. I felt equal parts delight and regret as I slid the journal from its wrapping. (There should be a word for that, yes? I also feel the same way opening any gift or product packaging done with skill and beauty.)
Look at that leather (first and last time it was this pristine).
You can specify the paper when you order.
I chose the blank sheets, and I’m happy to report they play well with light watercolor washes. I put the Atoma punch to work, and filled the journal with Tomoe River (folded), Life Noble paper (also folded), black Strathmore paper, tracing paper, Rhodia 90 gsm unlined… Anyway, you get the picture.
Finally, paper variety in a single journal. The Traveler’s Notebook lends itself to the same purpose, and many fans also sell and make their own refills. Still, this goes pretty granular – page by page! – and even if you’re not borderline obsessive, this can be an enjoyable experiment.
The Roterfaden holds two notebooks, and carrying that plus the William Hannah is more than enough leather journal for one person. (Especially a person with incipient back problems from lugging around too many notebooks and pens.)
It is possible to have way too much fun with this.
Having all these options is worth the Atoma punch, which is admittedly on the higher end of the office supply spectrum.
Tracing paper takes a sharp crease. Reinforced with washi tape, it makes a useful pocket that can come off if needed.
It’s a hodgepodge seen from the side, but what a happy hodgepodge.
You can find the Filofax refillable notebook online and at many retailers (including National Bookstore in the Philippines). It doesn’t have metal discs. Instead, it has pairs of wire forming the spine. It folds back on itself, and lies flat. For those with limited table space, that’s a great convenience.
I haven’t found the punch locally, but it’s also available online. It’s less of a dangerous weapon than the Atoma.
The double wires don’t hold Tomoe River paper as well as the Atoma discs. So this notebook has thicker paper, including test sheets from Legion/Stonehenge, 100% cotton rag, and Clairefontaine 250gsm multi-technique board. I remove the bottom tray from the punch because bits of paper can get stuck, and without the tray, I just shake the punch or poke out the paper bits with a used Zebra G nib.
Different paper sizes in one notebook. I don’t mind it, but it could be an issue for other people (if thinner paper on top of thicker, the ridge can interrupt your writing).
Folds back upon itself, like a torus in the space-time continuum, or an extremely flexible yogini.
Here’s a tiny video:
The Atoma/disc system I have seems more robust overall. The Filofax notebook is more widely available and serves a similar end. Both can be made to work with 52gsm Tomoe River, not single A5 sheets but folded A4. Both accept up to 250gsm board. I’m sure there are many other systems out there that will work! So go forth and have a go at making your own hodgepodge. 🙂