Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Review: Bull & Stash "The Stash" Leather Cover Review @BullandStash

Thank you kindly to Bull & Stash for sending this cover for review!
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Shown with a Galen Leather Tool Wrap

ABOUT


Model: The Stash
Paper: 60#
Page count per refill: 50
Size: 5.5" x 8.75"
Refills: Blank, lined, grid, dot grid
The Stash Price: $50.00USD
Refills start at: $7.00USD
Where to buy: Bull & Stash
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PACKAGING


This notebook was simply presented with a kraft paper belly band. The front is stamped with the Bull & Stash logo. I like this plain presentation - it is minimal and not excessive. It could be reused - gift wrap? A funky letter? - or it can be recycled. No plastic, no box.
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APPEARANCE


This leather cover is basic, not unlike Fauxdori/Midori Traveler's Notebook leather covers. This cover has slightly rounded corners and unfinished edges. The inside is also unfinished, which adds a lot of texture.
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The paper refill is bolted in place with two sets of aluminum screws and barrels. This lined refill is stamped on the first page. Each sheet has rounded edges with dark dotted lines. The lines are quite narrow so it requires some small handwriting. The backs of the pages are blank, and the fronts are lined. The back of the last cover page has a spot for your "information".
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The leather used for this cover is really nice - it is pretty thick, oiled, soft, and supple. It's brown with a lot of character! I love this kind of leather - it does really well with scuffs and marks, becoming more and more unique, special, and beautiful. It is a smooth leather so visually there is not a lot of texture in that regard, but the variation of the material, the colors, and the scuffs make it special.


PERFORMANCE & FEEL


Let's first look at the cover: it's delicious! The leather feels so delectable in hand. It's smooth and soft, supple, and with only one refill in place, this is not a bulky cover at all. It smells so good - like real leather! - and it's clean and classy. There is no elastic closure for this notebook but even as the refill gets a little thicker with ink and bends, the cover still closes over it. Without an elastic closure and with a soft cover, I had to be a little careful when putting this in my bag. I didn't want to bend the cover(s) back and ruin the paper.

The refill has a firm, somewhat thick paper spine and a firm back cover. This is nice for some structure to the soft cover but I think it makes it difficult to use the refill. Using the backs of the paper is difficult because the paper does not lie flat. I actually removed the spine and just left the refill in with the screws. I found this easier to work with because I could fold the pages more easily and it was easier to flatten out the pages so I could write on the backs. This does mean your refill edges/corners are less protected but I'm a crazy person. I don't mind if my paper is not pristine for leather cover notebooks.
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How does the paper handle inky use? Well, it feels and performs like average paper. I don't find it particularly smooth, it's not coated, and it isn't super toothy either. Pencils are decent because it isn't too smooth - even light leads are easily visible. Gel and ink highlighters work but you can expect show through and bleed through. The same goes for markers. Gel pens, rollerballs, marker pens, and fineliners work - no feathering, no bleed through. In the end, I found ballpoints and gel pens that are not very inky the best to use.
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Fountain pens are a no-no. Inks, even with extra fine nibs, ghost, feather, and bleed through. The inks also lose their lustre as they are absorbed by the paper, resulting in rather dull, flat colors.
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This ruled lining is way too narrow for me, unless I am using micro tip gel pens. I think the refill is pretty unspectacular overall and is not as wonderful as the leather cover itself. I don't know if the other rulings are better, but I would love to see this paper improved.

PROS & CONS


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OVERALL



This is not a Traveler's type leather cover where you personalize it and add multiple refills and such. This is a leather cover with a paper refill inside. I really like this cover - the leather is super nice, it looks great, it feels great, and it smells divine. I tend to not use the elastics on other leather covers, so I like this plain set up. However, the paper does nothing for me, and it's hard to write on comfortable, especially the backs. The thick, wide spine does not allow the refill to lie flat.
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I received this item free of charge for the purposes of this review. I was not compensated monetarily for my review. Everything you've read here is my own opinion.

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