Notebook Review: Leuchtturm 1917 A5

When I first got into using A5 notebooks daily, I started using Moleskine notebooks, but when I found fountain pens, I realized I would have to switch up notebooks as well, because Moleskine paper and fountain pens just don't play nice with each other. Leuchtturm is one of the first notebooks I tried for fountain pens, and it's one I still use daily. My current Leuchtturm notebook is an A5 hardcover, dot grid, with a special edition gold cover, that I purchased from Goulet Pens. The metallic covers are special edition for this year, for Leuchtturm's 100 year anniversary. This notebook comes in 21 standard colors, as well as the current special edition gold, silver, and copper colors. It is available in blank, ruled, dotted, and grid, which is fabulous. I love having a million colors and 4 different rulings to choose from-it's all about having options.

According to Leuchtturm's website

"Our Details:    
249 numbered pages
8 perforated and detachable sheets
Gusseted pocket
Blank table of contents and numbered pages
2 Page markers
Elastic enclosure band
Thread-bound book opens flat
Ink-proof paper (80 g/sqm)
Sticker for labelling and archiving
Dimensions: 145 x 210 mm"

The notebook actually does a pretty good job of laying flat, which is a notebook deal breaker for me. If it can't lay flat then it gets kicked to the notebook curb.

I'm not big on notebook bookmarks, I'm more of a-use a post it-girl. After using this notebook for months, the bookmarks haven't frayed at all, which is nice.

The back cover has a nice inner pocket, which to me, isn't that much of a bonus because I forget it's even there. 

Size wise-this is how it stacks up to other notebooks. The Leuchtturm is taller and wider than the Baron Fig Confidant. It's the same width, but slightly shorter than the Rhodia Webnotebook. It's the same height, but narrower than the Nanami Crossfield notebook. I actually really like the paper size this notebook has. 

There are some features the Leuchtturm has that other notebook simply don't have. The Leuchtturm has a table of contents in the front, and numbered pages. I wish every notebook had a table of contents and numbered pages. The paper is a bit of an off-white, while I prefer white paper.

Another thing I love about the Leuchtturm is that it comes with a page of labels for the cover. I don't know of any other notebooks that come with label stickers.

I love Dr. Ph. Martin's Hydrus Watercolors, and I love messing around with them in my notebooks, so whenever I test a notebook I always have to see how the paper handles watercolor. 

On the left is the back side of the page, and on the right is the page I colored on with watercolor. It handled the watercolor so well. As you can see on the left, none of the color bled through, and although there is just a little bit of crinkling to the page, it actually handled the watercolor pretty well. (I guess I got a little bit of green ink on my lens, and I was too lazy to go back and re-take all of the photos, so please ignore the little green splat on some of the pages).

I grabbed some fountain pen inks I've been playing with this week, and threw some ink down on the page. None of the ink bled through (although I forgot to take a picture of the other side of the page, sorry). 

On the left is Robert Oster Blue Water Ice ink drops on Tomoe River paper, and on the right is the same ink on Leuchtturm paper. While Tomoe River is famous for how well it shows sheen, I've found that Leuchtturm does show some sheen as well. Tomoe River is still the reigning champion for showing sheen, but Leuchtturm does moderately well. 

In all of my ink reviews so far, I've only found two that bled through Leuchtturm paper. It handles fountain pen ink really well. There is a bit too much tooth for my taste with fountain pens, though. I prefer a smoother paper when using fountain pens. When I use extra fine nibs on Leuchtturm paper, it almost feels like the nib catches on the page sometimes, which I'm not crazy about. 

I tested out some of the markers I had handy (again, please ignore the green ink splat).

I expected the show through, but overall the paper handled the markers rather well. Most papers have bleed through from Sharpie markers, and Leuchtturm paper is no exception.

I tried out some of the non-fountain pens that I've been using often:

None of the pens bled through, but they did have some low to medium show through. 

Pencil test on Leuchtturm paper:

I love pencils on Leuchtturm paper. It has just enough tooth to make it perfect for pencils. 

Pro's: this notebook is a great size, handles all inks, watercolor, and pencils well, and has a nice sturdy cover. It also has a table of contents, numbered pages, and labels for the cover, which other notebooks just don't have. It comes in lots of colors, and 4 different rulings, which make for lots of options.

Cons: I'm not crazy about the off-white color of the paper, and I prefer a little less tooth to the paper for fountain pen use.

Overall, this notebook has a lot to offer, which has kept it in my top five notebooks for the last two years. I wish all notebooks had some of the features that it does. 

Disclaimer: I purchased this notebook myself, and all photos and opinions are my own. There are no affiliate links on this page.