Clairefontaine 1951 Staple-bound Notebook

A couple summers ago, I reached an epiphany one night while studying (obviously, I was not focusing as I should):  I should use notebooks I have acquired over the years for note-taking and so I will not need to ink about 100 pens to do test pages.  Like many other fountain pen lovers, I tend to have more than enough fountain pens in rotation.  In addition, I use color to arrange my notes in different hierarchy.  Two birds killed with one stone, pretty good eh?  Plus, I have this stash of notebooks, either from gifting or purchase that I do not have the heart to write in.  For some reason, I always thought that notebooks are reserved for special purpose; that is, you have to write something nice and use it for special occasions.  Who am I kidding?  Exactly how special is a special occasion?  Forget it, I will use them for notes, which is for a higher purpose (I would like to think so).

I digress again… the notebook we are looking at here is a Clairefontaine 1951 staple-bound notebook.  I have to say that this is probably the thickest paper I have used for writing purpose, and the experience is nothing less than luxurious and wholesome.

The vintage-inspired cover can be quite nostalgic

Here are some basic information on the notebook:

  • Binding Type:  staple
  • Binding orientation:  side
  • Paper weight:  90g
  • Ruling type:  lined
  • Amount:  48 sheets
  • Size:  A5
  • Cover selection:  green, blue, black, red coral (as shown), turquoise, and raspberry
  • Height:  21cm; 5.83 inch
  • Width: 14.8cm; 8.27 inch

This notebook has almost everything that a fountain pen lover asks for.  It is extremely tolerant to all brands of ink and all width of nib (italic, flex, fine and extra fine).  The size is ideal for portability, since the writing surface is big enough for substantial amount of writing, yet portable.  The staple binding has proven to be sturdy and the notebook stays open and flat.

No need to battle the opposing page while writing.  The notebook stays relatively flat, especially after you fold the notebook along the binding outward.

Just like many other things in life, this notebook has small imperfection, depending on users’ idiosyncrasies.  Writing on Clairefontaine paper is similar to gliding your fingers on a piece of satin; the paper is glossy and silky to touch.  The downside of it is when it meets a wet writer or an ink that takes longer to dry, smearing accident can happen.

You would think a cat thief walked on the page!  The drying time prolongs on Clairefontaine paper for wetter nibs.  The ink and pen combination is J. Herbin Poussière de LUne and Noodler’s Ahab

The ruling can be too wide for those with microscopic handwriting; I can fit two lines of writing in one without any problem.  To be fair, my handwriting is pretty scrawny and looks like a line of crawling ants.

The ruling is spacious for those with normal size handwriting and can comfortably fit two lines for smaller size writing.

Despite the heavier paper weight, there is minimal ghosting on the page when you use both sides of the paper.  It does not bother me much, as I do enjoy the overlapping silhouette.

See the “ghosts”?  The one element I adore about Clairefontaine and Rhodia paper is their complementing ability to light shade ink.  J. Herbin Diabolo Menthe is almost ethereal on other paper, but the shading and ink display elegantly on Clairefontaine paper

Clairefontaine 1951 notebook is ideal for students with its ample pages and great paper quality.  If I were going to school all over again, I may use it as THE notebook!

3 thoughts on “Clairefontaine 1951 Staple-bound Notebook

  1. “A la claire fontaine, m’en allant promener, j’ai trouvé l’eau si claire que je m’y suis baigné”… : Clairefontaine reminds me this old song learnt at school.

    Later, Clairefontaine notebooks were luxury, even for school use.
    Much later, very much later, I wrote with that kind of Clairefotaine notebook, but only 80 g/m². The lining quality is irregular from a kind of Clairefontaine notebook to another : sometimes blue, purple, greyish purple, more or less fine, well printed. So, since two years, I got enough and changed for the Rhodia netbooks.

    For both, the space ruling is 8 mm. Is it the same for the 1951 ?

    “Ghosts” ?
    – Where ?
    – I am afraid !
    – No, it is a beautiful poetic metaphor !



    1. I still think that Clairefontaine is too luxurious for daily use, probably because each page is so thick. With that said, I still prefer Rhodia over Clairefontaine because of the ruling. Clairefontaine is a bit wide for my size of writing but the paper is just so beautiful! Even though I like both Rhodia and Clairefontaine, I have not used either recently since there are so many good Japanese paper available. Perhaps one day I will return to them 🙂


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