8 to 1: semi-final 1 - Leuchtturm 1917 v Poach My Lobster

by Amanda Fleet

In round 1, Leuchtturm beat the Life Noble notebook. In round 2, Poach My Lobster beat the Clairefontaine Deco, but it was much closer. Who will be victorious today? Let battle commence.


Do these notebooks need much introduction? Surely everyone has heard of them. Anyway, this is the listing on the site:

The Medium notebooks (A5) have 80 g/m² paper and 249 numbered pages. The size and range of colours make them ideal companions for all walks of life.


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


Poach My Lobster

People may be a little less familiar with these, so here's the listing:

Louise (the maker) said:
"As someone who loves notebooks and writes in them with a fountain pen, there were several things that were essential: a handheld, tactile format; high-quality embossed paper, finished as beautifully as if it were a book and internal paper that had no show-through (when pen ink can be seen on the reverse of the page written on). I also wanted to make them beautiful using letterpress illustration, adding a message to each one, focused on the joy of food, a joy which makes every day better for me."


128 blank pages of Fedrigoni Arcoprint Edizioni Avorio 100gsm
Cover printed on G F Smith's Colorplan 270gsm with Buckram embossing
Produced in Italy
202mm x 128mm 


From earlier competitions, you'll know what I like and dislike about each of them... the Leuchtturm has a lot of pages, with a number of bells and whistles (page numbers, table of contents pages, ribbon markers and a back-pocket for example). They lie pretty flat without brutality being necessary. However, the paper has gone downhill in recent years, with significant show-through, some bleed-through and a less than ideal experience for fountain pen users.

Poach My Lobster almost has the opposite in qualities! The paper is amazing - both for fountain pen and for graphite (I use mine as an out-and-about notebook so do sketches as well as make notes in it). But, there are no bells and whistles (there's paper and a cover, pretty much) and flattability is poor.

So, who will be my book of choice between these two? Hmm. I feel as if I'm comparing apples and pears. It very much depends on what you want to use the book for! If you want a notebook in which you want to make a load of notes and which will lie flat on the desk both while you're writing in it and if you want to refer to it, well, the Leuchtturm is your beast, especially if you don't use inky pens. If you want to sketch or make notes in flowing fountain pen and don't mind using a bit of brute force, then Poach My Lobster is the one for you.

Poach My Lobster takes it for me, because I'm a fountain pen user (and a lover of big, wet nibs at that) and the Leuchtturm just fails miserably for that. The line-ruling in the Leuchtturm is a shade too narrow for me and the paper has too much show-through. But, it's a close run thing because that low flattability really does hurt the Poach My Lobster, in my eyes.

Poach My Lobster is available here (just about - get it before it's gone!)

Leuchtturm are available here