Snap Judgments: Nock Co Seed A6 Case

Now that I’ve gone all-in on the Hobonichi Techo by ordering a 2018 edition for next year, I decided it was time to get a proper cover, too. In a bit of serendipitous timing, Nock Co recently announced a new notebook cover of their own: the Seed A6 case. With the positive experience I’ve been having with their Lookout pen case in mind, I jumped at the chance to order a Seed case as soon as they were available online.

The Seed is an A6 case that fits notebooks sized 4.1 x 5.8 inches (10.4 x 14.7 cm) and up to .75 inches (1.9 cm) thick. While the Nock Co website doesn’t specify the materials the Seed case is made from, I believe that the exterior fabric is the same 1000D Cordura found in other Nock Co cases.

This particular case is the “Steel/Silver Dust” colorway.

The Seed is a clamshell style cover with a sturdy YKK zipper around the outer edge. The zipper has double zipper pulls but I’m not sure why. On such a small case, I feel the second pull just gets in the way. (Obviously, this is a matter of personal preference.)

This style of case can be tricky to sew, and the sewing on this one is top notch. The seams are straight and even, and there was only one stray thread at the end of a seam that needed trimming.

Since this case was designed for the A6 Hobonichi Techo, I was pleased to see that it fits my notebook like a glove.

That said, it’s highly likely that other similarly sized notebooks (like the Stalogy 365 or Midori MD A6) will also fit. But as always, measure notebook twice, buy cover once.

The interior of the case is a lighter grey material. There are two pen slots on the front side and a business card slot on the back.

There are also slots on the front and back to secure the cover of whatever notebook is being protected. The Hobonichi Techo fits into these slots perfectly. It’s also possible to skip using the slots entirely and keep your notebook loose inside while using the slots for other flat items. A third option, which is what I settled on, is to slip the back cover of the notebook into the back slot while leaving the front cover free. This lets me store loose papers or a pocket notebook in the front slot.

In this configuration, I found that the notebook remained comfortable to write on. Writing on the left side pages is slightly more bumpy when there are pens in the slots. The surface of the paper is also higher off the tabletop due to the cover’s presence, which is something to get used to if your notebook was naked before.

The pen slots are generously sized and securely sewn. The left slot is slightly more narrow than the right. My largest diameter pens are a Lamy Vista and a TWSBI Diamond Mini, and both fit with plenty of room to spare.

Something to be aware of when storing larger pens in the pen slots is that they will add bulk to the front cover and make the case more difficult to close.

Also, if you store your pens clipped to the case with the clips facing out, some clips will leave small indentations in the flyleaf of the notebook inside. If you want to keep your notebook pristine, turn your pens inside the slots so their clips aren’t exposed.

Nock Co says their 1000D Cordura has a durable water repellent (DWR) finish, so let’s put that to the test.

Looks like it’s working. šŸ™‚

The front of the case has an overlapping flap pocket.

It’s a little awkward putting items into the pocket, but once inside, they’re unlikely to fall out. I was able to cram a roll of washi tape, a Kaweco Sport, and a Raymay Pencut in there, but that’s pushing it. Items stored in the front pocket also make the case rather bulky.

So the Seed A6 looks good and fits good. I’m satisfied with mine, but at $60 plus shipping, I feel it’s about ten dollars too expensive. You’ll have to decide if $60 is worth it to you when there are American made leather covers out there for not much more.

I’ve only had my Seed case for a few days, but it’s already a part of my everyday carry. It’s simple, well made, and does the job.

Things I like about the Seed: the fabric, craftsmanship, fit

Things I don’t like: it’s $10 too expensive, would prefer just one zipper pull

This notebook case was paid for with my own funds. My opinions on this blog are always my own. Please see my review ethics statement for more details.


Six Months With a Hobonichi Techo

The Hobonichi Techo is not an economical notebook. It’s a luxury item. If you live in the US, oneĀ of them will cost you $33.50. It’s a good thing my tastes don’t include expensive pens, or elseĀ my stationery budget wouldn’t have any room for it.

I’m bringing up the Hobonichi’s price now because I want you to have all the bad news up front, before I go on to tell you what an awesome little notebook it’s turned out to be for me, and how much I’ve enjoyed my first six months with one.

The Hobonichi Techo is the little notebook with a cult following, and plenty of words have already been written about it. (Go on, search for “hobonichi review.” I’ll see you next week.) With that in mind, I wanted to share how I use mine on a daily basis. So this is not a review, but rather a statement of what works for me.

For the uninitiated, the Hobonichi Techo is an A6 size notebook, made in Japan, that’s filled with 450 pages of sweet, sweet Tomoe River paper. Its general format is that of a page-a-day planner, plus some specially formatted pages at the beginning and end of the book. While you can order a Hobonichi directly from Japan, as a US resident, the best price I’ve found is at JetPens (the aforementioned $33.50 with free shipping.)

I must admit that I didn’t buy a Hobonichi to use it as a daily planner. At the time I discovered the Hobonichi Techo, I was looking for motivation to write a little every day, and I wanted a small notebook filled with Tomoe River paper. The Hobonichi seemed like a good fit despite its price. So I bit the bullet and ordered one, and like an expensive gym membership, knowing this thing cost me THIRTY-FOUR DOLLARS has proved to be just the push I needed.

After six months, the result is a hybrid diary/commonplace book/bullet journal that’s been a joy to use. I find the A6 size perfect for a notebook I’m carrying to work every day, and despite all the travel in my bag it’s held up pretty well — though I’m careful with my notebook since I don’t have a cover for it (yet!)

I’ve been fairly successful at writing in my Hobonichi every day. Sometimes I miss a few days, but I don’t beat myself up over it. I just start up again where I left off.Ā Most of my entries end up containing personal observations and musings, so they’re not really shareable or photo worthy. However, I also use my Hobonichi to copy down quotes and passages that move me, and I stick interesting little scraps of ephemera on pages here and there. If you’re intimidated by the “scrapbooky” presentations in theĀ #hobonichi tags on your favorite photo sharing site, please know that you can still get plenty of enjoyment out of a Hobonichi without any artistic talent.

Using a fountain pen to write in a Hobonichi is pure decadence. It’s the primary way this notebook bewitches you into wanting to use it more. (As long as you’re a fan of Tomoe River paper, that is.) I like to mix up the pens and inks I use with my Hobonichi, and in some ways the selection is a reflection of my mood, dutifully captured day by day.

I’ve also incorporated some bullet journal-style task tracking in my notebook. While I keep my master schedule electronically on my phone, I’ve found it handy to jot down to-do items and certain events in my Hobonichi. I putĀ these at the bottom of the page, working upwards as new items are added.

The pages are small, but they’re the right size for the amount of writing I want to be doing in this notebook. It enforces brevity.

As for the various specially-formatted pages included with the Hobonichi, the ones I use regularly are the yearly index, the monthly calendars, and the “Coming Up” pages.

The yearly index pages are perfect for habit tracking.

Careful observers will note some ink bleed-through in the March header. That was the result of using a poorly-tuned fountain pen that was dumping excessive amounts of ink. Tomoe River paper can take a lot of punishment, but this obviously pushed it to its limits. Other than this incident, I’ve not experienced any bleed-through issues.

As I said before, I keep my schedule electronically, but I make use of the monthly calendar pages to track the ridiculous number of softball teams I play on. My phone calendar tracks everything, but my Hobonichi has all the fun stuff at a glance.

It took me a few months to figure out what to do with the “Coming Up” pages that appear before the first day of each month. I settled on using them to track the arrival of incoming packages.

I may have purchased my Hobonichi through gritted teeth (seriously, it’s 34 freakin’ dollars!), but when I flip back through its pages with the satisfaction of having stuck with a daily journal for the first time in my life, the price doesn’t sting as badly.

And yes, I’ve already set aside funds for the 2018 edition.