Not too long ago, the good folks from Palomino sent us their new (at the time) Blackwing Slate Journal (via Pencils.com) to take a look at for a review. The 5 inch x 8.25 inch journal has a smooth black cover with minimal branding and has a great high quality feel to it.
One of the most unique and nice features about the Blackwing Slate journal is that it comes with a new Blackwing 602 Pencil tucked in the pen(cil) loop which is a nice little touch. The elastic loop used to hold in the Blackwing 602 pencil is really strong and can be used to some larger pens and pencils too, check towards the end of the review to get a better idea on what will fit.
The plain and simple cover of the Blackwing Slate Journal is made from a wear resistant polymer and the only branding is found on the back cover. You will basicallly find a large “blackwing” logo imprinted on the back cover on the lower end of it. Definitely a nice and subtle way to brand the notebook without going overboard.
A great and very functional feature of this notebook is that it actually lays flat without going through any hassle, it just does what it says it will. The Blackwing Slate only comes in black however you do have the choice of blank or ruled pages on the inside with very cleanly cut and rounded corners. Regardless of your ruling selection you will find 80 sheets of ivory colored 100 gsm paper to enjoy. When you wrap up your writing session this journal has a nice high quality ribbon page marker and strong elastic closure strap to keep things organized.
Besides keeping a strong grip on your favorite Palomino pencil, you can also squeeze in a larger bodied pen such as the Lamy Studio you see pictured above. It takes a little playing and jiggling to slide it in but once its in there you really don’t need to worry about it ever sliding out on you. The backdrop you see behind the pen that makes up the spine is an exposed canvas that feels pretty durable.
One thing you should be aware of regarding the pen loop is that it might be a little too strong for some pens. For example, the blue Lamy Studio actually doesn’t work so well because of the tacky grip that covers the body and cap of the pen. This tacky surface in combination with the tight elastic make it a bit tricky to easily insert and remove this particular pen.
The Blackwing Slate journal has a back pocket just like many other journals do, but in this case its actually a dual pocket of sorts that is pretty unique as compared to the standard offering that you find back here. There is a slot on the surface of the pocket that can house a few business cards, credit cards, gift cards, or receipts. You will want to be careful what you keep in there because there is the possibility that it can slide out since there is no closure or anything really holding it in the pocket.
The main compartment of the back pocket is larger and can hold even more documents, however I found one small issue with it. If you slide an index card inside the long way, the index card ends up being just a hair too long to close the notebook without damaging it. Now admittedly this is being pretty picky about one highly specific situation, however I thought this was a good example to show how deep the pocket was and what can fit in there.
The writing sample as seen above was done mostly with the Blackwing 602 pencil that was provided with the notebook and it wrote very smoothly on this paper. Using fountain pens on this paper was an enjoyable situation. The ink neither spread or feathered on this paper, although it did show a minor bit of showthrough on the other side, but with no bleeding. I also performed a quick eraser test to see if the eraser did any serious damage to the paper itself when being used, and it definitely did not seem as if it did. The eraser marks came off pretty easily and quickly without damaging the paper.
Overall I really like this journal because of the high quality construction even on the small details like the pencil loop. It also has a great look with the matte finished covers and exposed canvas binding. The folks over at Palomino really did a great job at taking a plain black journal and giving it just enough character with its unique looking binding, dual back pocket, and subtle branding on the back cover. This is definitely worthy of being the next journal put into your rotation, so check them out over at pencils.com and grab one for yourself. Thanks again to the folks from Palomino for providing this sample for review.