I’ve gotten a few more Tomoe River dot grid notebooks to try since receiving the Elemental Paper Iodine:
- The-Paper-Cuts B6, cream, 68 gsm
- Elia Note A5, white, 52 gsm
- Taroko Design Enigma (A5), white, 68 gsm
I am finding that I really like the B6 size, because it’s large enough to write a reasonable amount on each page (and to make a future log or a month spread in my bullet journal–it’s got 23×34 squares/page) while being lighter and easier to carry than an A5. As much as I love Nanami’s Crossfield, it’s a bit of a chunk.
The dot grid in this notebook is the finest and lightest I’ve ever seen, which I absolutely love. It’s just right for me to provide a guide as I write but disappear on a filled page; some people might find it too faint. The notebook opens flat just fine, helped by the lower page count (192 pp), and it looks elegant – just a gold “B6.”* on the front cover in an art deco style font, with red inside cover pages and notebook/company info tucked inside the back cover.
The ordering process is unusual; they don’t have an online shop or Etsy listing, so you have to email your request and they’ll send a Paypal invoice ($17 each plus shipping). Shipping was fast and reasonably priced if you order more than one notebook, and they were very responsive by email. I’d like to have the option of white paper, but the cream’s nice enough.
* I’ve just realized that the “.” in “B6.” is because it’s a dotted notebook. The lined version says “B6_” instead. Clever. 🙂
Being almost 500 pages at 52 gsm, it’s similar to Nanami’s Seven Seas notebooks in size and weight; it comes in a sturdy-yet-attractive case, which is a nice touch and probably helps protect it in shipping. The total price was about $27 (with a year-end discount) + $12 shipping from Malaysia.
The dot grid seems most similar in dot size and darkness to Leuchtturm, though I think it looks slightly darker, possibly because of the white paper vs Leuchtturm’s cream. It’s finer but maybe darker than the dots in the Iodine. The printing is not quite lined up from page to page; this shows through more with the 52gsm paper, which may or may not bother you (it does me).
The notebook lays perfectly flat right away and is similar to the Nanami Crossfield in this, if I remember correctly (been a while since I had a new one of those!). Olivia included a lovely handwritten note inside the box.
I ordered a B grade of the Enigma for a discount ($22 + $10 shipping from Taiwan), since I’m spending enough to try all these notebooks already. 😛 Some folks say they can’t tell what issues there were that would make theirs a B grade; I can with mine, but nothing that seems like it will seriously affect the usability or durability: there’s a hiccup in the stitching towards the back, so the paper isn’t all quite flush with the spine, and the printing is not consistently placed on the pages. As light as the printing is, though, I notice this only by flipping through and watching how close the outermost dots are to the edge of the page (which is oddly close on most pages – there’s not much of a margin).
The dot grid is about as light and fine as the TPC notebook, which suits my preference perfectly. With closer to 400 pages at 68 gsm, the notebook is similar in size and weight to the Elia. It lays pretty flat, but not as flat as the Elia. It came in an attractive but not especially sturdy sleeve, was well packaged, and they included a note on a nice postcard in the box. Curiously, this notebook smells distinctly of mothballs.
Both the Elia and the Enigma arrived on the same day, about 2 weeks after placing my order. The notebooks from The-Paper-Cuts took about a week to arrive.