Aaron Zeller of The Zeller Writing Company is starting a new company called Furrow Books. The notebooks are made right here in the US, in Omaha, Nebraska. I was recently selected as one of the beta testers and I’d like to share my review with you. They are starting a Kickstarter campaign in the next week or so to get the ball rolling.
The one I received is 3-1/2” x 5”, the same size as a Field Notes pocket notebook, but they will also be available in a larger size. There are 48 pages, folded and put together with 2 staples. I was told that they might consider stitching it instead of using the staples, depending on the feedback from the testers. I would prefer the stitching, but we’ll see how that goes. The cover is a nice weight beige card stock, with speckles in the paper. It will be left blank and you can, of course, either leave it that way or customize it with your own artwork, collage, stickers, etc. There is a stamp on the back which will be replaced by a printed logo and name in the final version. Keep in mind that this prototype is handmade and a bit rough around the edges, but the final version will be pure perfection.
It comes with an insert that is printed on one side with lines and the opposite side has a grid pattern. It can be used behind the pages as a guide and it works quite well. I’m not sure I would use it very often just for quick notes or lists, and I would probably lose it at some point, so I would prefer the lines or grids be printed on the page. It is a nice option to have, though.
The paper is an off white and very smooth. I like the off white, I think it’s easier on the eyes than a bright white. I used several different pens and it worked well with all of them. I don’t have very many fountain pens, so I can’t testify as to how a wetter or broader nib might perform, but I am quite happy with it. The fountain pen nibs glided smoothly across the paper, even the EF nib. The Pilot Precise and Mach 3 were very smooth, too. The Pilot Juice is a little scratchier, but it’s that way on almost all of the other paper I have so that’s the pen, not the paper.
You can barely see the writing on the other side and I wouldn’t have a problem using both sides of the pages.
The only one that showed through enough to make the back of the page unusable was the Sharpie, but I expected that. They show through nearly everything.
I didn’t notice any feathering or bleeding of the fountain pen ink.
I tried a pencil, mostly to see how it would erase and if it would leave any residue or damage the paper. It erased cleanly with no damage to the paper at all. It would depend on the quality of your eraser, I’m sure. The hard orange ones on the wood pencils might not work as well, but who uses those anymore?
Here is a little more information provided on the sheet that was enclosed with my notebook.
All in all, it is a really nice little notebook. I have no idea about price points, but I’m sure it will be competitive with similar products. The fact that it’s made in the US is a definite plus for me. I look forward to seeing the finished product and I wish Aaron all the best in his new endeavor!