At the beginning of October, I started a competition comparing 8 medium-sized notebooks.
Round 1: Life Noble v Leuchtturm 1917
The Waverley Commonplace Book
The alternate blank and ruled pages make it especially useful for being a Commonplace Book - a scrapbook, essentially. An early version of 'bullet journalling'. The idea of a commonplace book was to store things - quotes, tickets, sketches etc., and the layout certainly lends itself to that.
There are some bells and whistles - there's a gusseted back pocket, with slots for cards in it and a decent-length ribbon marker. The cover is cloth (made in Scotland, by Kinloch Anderson) and the last few pages of the book are perforated.
The paper. It's not fountain pen friendly. Although it is lovely and smooth, my pen tests feathered, showed-through and bled-through, making the reverse side of the page virtually unusable. If you're a biro user, this probably won't be any issue at all, and of course, pencil is fine. The line-spacing of 5.5 mm was also a shade too narrow for me.
Flattability wasn't great, but it coped with some 'training'!
It's a robust notebook, and I like the blue edges to the pages. The cover is sturdy and the book certainly held up well to rattling around in my backpack while were were away in the Highlands and Outer Hebrides, earlier this year. Line spacing is 7 mm (which seems to be a sweet-spot for me). I've mostly written in pencil in my book (a combination of notes on walks we did, plus oodles of notes for a new book) and it handled that perfectly.
Well, Stu said that the paper was fairly fountain-pen friendly, as long as you didn't use a wet nib. I would have to say that the paper didn't hold up well to any of the nibs I used, with significant show-through and bit of bleed-through, though no feathering. Flattability is also limited, as the spine is very tightly bound (that said, it coped with being 'trained' to lie flatter!).
This was a much tighter match than some of the others have been. Neither book was especially good with fountain pens - my pen of choice - and neither lay particularly flat, either (though both coped with being 'persuaded'). I have to say that despite the narrow ruling, the Waverley just edged it over to the Alwych, but it was a close call. I think the cloth cover won it for it, as it's delightful.
Next time, it's the first semi-final: Leuchtturm 1917 v Poach My Lobster