As the name here implies, these Woodchuck Wood Journals (via Woodchuck) are made using sheets of wood to line the covers and spine. They come in a variety of different types of woods but the one we are looking at here today is the cedar version. Minor spoiler alert here for the review, but I like this Woodchuck wood journal so much that I was tempted to put it in our Holiday Gift Guide that we published last week.
Each Woodchuck wood journal is lined on the front of each cover and the outside of the spine with a sheet of wood that appears to be about 1mm thick. Inside are 88 sheets (176 pages) of ruled or blank paper that is 100% FCS certified recycled paper. On the ruled version, the lines are approximately .25 inches apart and are light grey printed on a somewhat muted white paper. The journals are also 100% American made in Minneapolis, MN. The journal does lie flat here when the cover is the only thing open, but as you delve deeper into the pages of the journal, you will find that it doesn’t exactly lay flat on its own.
As you can see, the spine is also lined with a sheet of Cedar or whatever other wood you select from, which includes Birch, Ebony, Mahogany, Rosewood, and Walnut. The wood veneers are basically glued onto the synthetic leather book surface, but the way that they are attached seems very firm and as if there was great attention to detail in keeping things clean, neat, and perfectly aligned. There is also a very cool American Flag Mahogany version as well that I’m probably going to pick up since I’m a huge fan of things with flags on them. Each journal comes in “Classic” size which is 8.5 inches by 5.5 inches or “Pocket” size which is 4.5 inches by 6.5 inches.
Like most journals, the Woodchuck wood journals have a page finder that in this case is made from a 1/8″ black grossgrain ribbon that happens to have another nicely placed wood accent at the end of it. This wood tag at the end of the page finder is stamped with “Made in USA” on one side and has the Woodchuck logo on the other side. The Woodchuck logo on the other side is identical to what you see on the spine there, which is the letters “W” and “C” with an infinity sign between them. On both the tag of the page finder and the spine of the book, the text and logo that you see there are etched into the wood, which I think looks much better than simply printing things on the surface would look.
The only other place that you will find branding on the outside of the Woodchuck wood journal is on the lower edge of the back cover. The Woodchuck name, logo, and “Made in the USA” are found here in a place that makes for a nice inconspicuous look, but because its etched in there I think the added texture makes it look pretty cool.
Woodchuck Wood Journal Writing Samples:
So the first thing I wanted to try with the Woodchuck wood journal was seeing how fountain pen inks would fare on the pages. In my extensive use of only fine or extra fine fountain pen nibs, I’ve probably gotten accustomed to a slightly more scratchy feel with nib on paper than many people prefer, however on this paper I enjoyed a pretty smooth writing experience. Each of the nibs seemed to transverse over the surface of the paper with only the slightest toothy feel.
As you take a closer look at the writing sample above you will note that the paper seems to hold fountain pen ink fairly well in terms of not letting it spread or feather. All of the strokes and writing on the paper show a smooth consistent line, although with slight show through on the other side of the page. As I attempted to start a dry time test on the paper (See the second line under “Writing Sample” in the picture) I realized that it takes quite a bit of time for ink to dry on this paper. On some other messier pages that didn’t make for good review pictures, the inks appeared to take anywhere from 10 to 15 seconds to dry.
Other pens such as a Sharpie Pen, hybrid gel inks, and liquid inks all wrote nicely on this paper. They did also suffer from a similarly slow dry time, but displayed a much less noticeable amount of show through on the back of the page. It seems that although this very nice and recycled paper feels great to write on, its not ideal for fountain pens or lefty writers.
Personally I think the Woodchuck wood journal is one of the nicest looking and feeling journals I’ve ever had the privilege of picking up. The unique texture and grain of the wood is different on each journal, and you can certainly see the difference in terms of quality and attention to detail that can only be accomplished when you have a hand made product like this. This journal is actually so nice that I was very hesitant to start writing in it, and I’m contemplating what the perfect use for it might be. This is definitely a journal that might be best for a special occasion, task, or project not just because of its great looks, but its also not the cheapest journal you will find. Don’t let that deter you though because at about $30 I find the quality and visual appeal to be well worth it, I just think for the average person that may write a lot, it could get very expensive to use this for your every day notes. Woodchuck Wood Journals (via Woodchuck) are also able to be customized with your own engraving on the covers, so check them out for yourself while I contemplate what I’m going to use mine for…whatever it is I’m going to look forward to having the opportunity to use it each and every time!