Field Notes gets a lot of coverage and love in the blogosphere. Every time a new edition is realised the loyal following goes crazy and people buy up as many packs as possible to preserve or trade at a later date. Not only are they a notebook people seem to naturally reach for, they have also become a collectable. Due to this I am not going to harp on about how much I love the product and how fantastic they are, instead my first review on The Finer Point will look specifically at the latest release: FNC-22 Shelterwood.
The latest release was announced in March with a very impressive video that shows how the guys at FN HQ produced the latest release. The geek in me finds this extremely interesting, but most of all the scaled back nature of the video detailing out the way in which the unique cherrywood covers were made is very cool.
Enough on the specifics - what do I actually think of this product?
First and foremost these notebooks are cool. It's not often you see a notebook with a cover made from actual wood! They also look much better out of the packaging than in it. A strange thing to point out but there is definitely a difference. From a technical and production standpoint this editions scores points.
The paper in this edition is made for fountain pen users. This stock is much heavier than most of the other editions of Field Notes and is reminiscent of the America the Beautiful release. The paper stock really bulks out the notebook when you're carrying it around which is a slight negative, however if you want to use a fountain pen and Field Notes together this solves all your problems.
One of the images in the gallery shows the gold staples used on this edition that highlight the attention to detail in all Field Note releases. This edition would not have looked as polished and complete with a normal silver staple. More bonus points.
I am also a fan of the grainy texture on the cover. Every pack has a unique grain design from the wood and the subtle stain Field Notes logo looks nice and isn't too intrusive. The photo below shows how different the notebooks can be in one three pack.
Ruled lines are not my favourite of the Field Notes books. I prefer a graph or dot grid paper. I think the ruled lines and the thick paper stock may have been a conscious decision by the guys at FN HQ knowing that fountain pen geeks would love this. It also works well with the theme of the notebook.
Splintering has become something of a joke with this edition however it could and probably will be a slight problem. As you can see from the photo below splintering on the spine in particular could be an issue. This photo was taken with a fresh from the pack set of notebooks and already there is splintering visible without use.
The cherrywood covers are mounted on a normal Kraft edition Field Notes notebook. The Kraft covers do not give the notebook the stability they need and you get some curling of the covers. I have been using my notebook for a couple of weeks now and have tried a multitude of ways to get the cover to sit down and it's not happening.
Personally I am not on the band wagon with most people on this edition. It's no where near one of my favourites. I was expecting something more and there are a few too many cons for me. Technically impressive and a great production on the Field Notes Shelterwood.
Rating: 3 / 5