Central Crafts is a family run business based in the UK that sells a variety of stationery items from around the world. They contacted me to see if I’d be interested in reviewing one of their notebooks.
Size: 21cm by 15cm (2cm thick) (this is pretty much A5 size)
Cover: recycled leather
Ruling: plain or lined
The actual name of this notebook is the Viaggio Handmade Recycled Leather Wrap Large Journal. It’s handmade in Florence.
I must admit I wasn’t entirely sure what recycled leather was but it turns out it’s made from the scraps of leather leftover from making other items. These scraps are washed and scrubbed and then squished together. The result, with this notebook at least, is something that looks and smells like a leathery suede, or a suedy leather. It’s feels soft and not quite like leather. To me, it seems better than the really cheap leather you find in products you buy from China via eBay but nowhere near the loveliness that’s high quality leather. It’s okay and you are, at least, making use of what would usually be thrown away.
The paper in this notebook is also okay. It’s acid-free which should help prevent your words of wisdom yellowing with time. There is some feathering but it isn’t too terrible. None of the pens I tried (and some were hoses, I can tell you) bled through the page. There was some show-through but not enough to prevent both sides of the page being used. It suits non-fountain pens or fountain pens with finer nibs best.
The cover is desperate to close up meaning it’s hard to get the pages to lay flat. Perhaps over time it will behave itself better but so far that hasn’t happened. Quite possibly, even if time does help it lay flat, by the time that happens you’ll have almost finished using it.
There’s a certain irony in this notebook being fixed to its cover, preventing re-use. The recycled leather cover can’t be used again. In terms of value, though, it’s a reasonable price for a leather bound single-use notebook.
There’s one thing that drives me potty with this notebook though, and that’s the cord that’s used to keep it closed. It does that well enough but whenever I’m writing in the notebook it keeps getting in the way. I don’t know where to put it. Once I’ve finished with this review I’ll take it off.
Cord aside, the Viaggio notebook is a reasonably priced notebook with reasonably average paper and a cover that doesn’t quite involve taking full responsibility for an animal dying. It hasn’t set my world alight but I’m happy to have it and content to continue writing in it.
Recycled leather is lighter on the conscience
Get the real leather smell
Handmade in Italy
Very irritating cord
Doesn’t lie flat