Cachet Classic Graph Sketch Book

Cachet Classic Graph Sketch Book

Cachet Notebook A few months ago I’d stumbled upon an old hard cover quad-ruled notebook that I’d misplaced way back in 2002. The notebook, with a sturdy pebbled exterior and smooth wire binding, impressed me anew, so I pressed it back into daily service. When I ran out of pages a few months later, I freaked out and spent half the day trying to remember where I’d originally gotten it. There were no manufacturer’s markings anywhere on the notebook, so I visited every store in the area that carried art, office, and architectural supplies. Nothing I found there was a match, either not being available in quad-rule (i.e. graph paper) or lacking the hardbound covers w/ spiral binding.

It was only when I took a day trip into Harvard Square to specifically visit Bob Slate Stationers did I rediscover my dream notebook. It’s the Cachet Classic Graph Sketch Book. I am going to have to stock up on them.

There are several features that I love about this notebook:

  • It’s bigger than the average notebook, but not that much bigger at 9×12 inches. This gives the notebook a slightly more serious presence, and has the added advantage of neatly swallowing loose 8.5×11 pages. Usually, when you stuff a piece of loose-leaf letter into another notebook, some bit of it sticks out and gets frayed. Looks terrible. Go bigger to avoid this problem.

Catchet Notebook

  • It uses sturdy double-looped wire binding, which allows the notebook to either open flat on a table or fold-over neatly like a pad. This is incredibly useful. The wire binding is also large enough to snugly hold my Lamy Safari pen, which is very convenient. The wire binding is also unusually tidy…quality stuff. A lot of the other sketchbooks use wire binding that’s easily warped out of shape due to under-engineered wimpiness, which leads to snagging when rapidly deploying onto a coffee shop table.

Catchet Notebook

  • It’s a hardcover, and the cover stock they use is truly rigid. It’s similar to the stuff you see used for library thesis bindings, very sturdy and confidence-inspiring. If you are using the notebook with both covers folded in back, you have a very stable writing platform that doesn’t flex. The corners on my circa-2000 notebook have, with time, become worn, but the structural integrity of the notebook hasn’t been compromised. It actually just looks cooler.

Cachet Notebook

  • The paper stock is smooth and highly bleed-resistant. I’m using fountain pens (Lamy Al-Star and Safaris loaded either with cartridge or Noodler’s), and the wring action is smooth without being loose. Also, I haven’t noticed any significant bleeding of my writing to the other side of the page, which is a relief. Even the printing of the quadrille pleases me. The line quality consistent in tone and thickness, just present enough without being overbearing. It’s even in non-repro blue.

The only down side of this notebook is the price; I paid $25 for a single 80-page notebook in Harvard Square. The prices are probably inflated quite a bit, because I’ve seen prices online for the same notebook (now that I know what it is) for about $13 a pop. Still pretty pricey, but I’ve yet to come across another notebook that actually makes me happy. Not even my Moleskine reporter-style notebooks make me as happy, mostly because I don’t really like the tooth of the paper and it doesn’t take to fountain pens as well.

I was unable to find out much about the company that produces these sketch books, Cachet Products Incorporated of Fairfield, New Jersey. This is an astonishingly well-made sketch book that meets all my criteria for a daily process book, and I want to know how this has come to be.

UPDATE: I happened to spy a “Cachet by Daler-Rowney” Original Classic Sketchbook in my bedroom. Daler-Rowney is a UK company that is the result of a merger with George Rowney, Ltd and the Daler Board Company. Daler-Rowney also sells a 9×12 wirebound sketchbook. But who is the originator?

14 Comments

  1. Lynn O'Connor 11 years ago
  2. Lynn O'Connor 11 years ago

    Another source, looks like $18.
    http://www.artstuff.net/cachet_gridded_sketch_books.htm
    Obviously I am procrastinating. Off to work

  3. bryan e 11 years ago

    Try “Alvin Cachet” as the brand name.

    While most of the on-line prices are around 15-20 $US, you must factor in shipping for a fair comparison.  That seems to bring it up to what you got it for.  Of course, if you buy 1000 …. :-)

  4. Erik 11 years ago

    Looks like a nice-quality pad. It’s too bad there aren’t more grid paper producers putting out dotted grid paper – it almost makes me wonder if the concept is patented. Here’s the only example of what I am talking about (and I have asked at Bob Slate several times over the past year, they have never stocked it):

    http://www.creativesoutfitter.com/Products/Dot-Grid-Book/9

  5. Dave Seah 11 years ago

    I’ll have to call the company one of these days and see if they can give me some more information. There is this whole invisible cloud of companies making awesome stuff that we don’t know about! It drives me nuts :-)

    I certainly hope that dotted grid paper isn’t patented. I think in context of some digital pen systems it may be, but dot pattern grids (which I use on my forms too) seem really obvious and clean.

  6. Jun Loayza 11 years ago

    It’s truly the simple things that matter in life.  I’ll be the first to admit that I spend entirely way too much time writing on Word.  My handwriting had deteriorated to worse than that of a doctor’s. 

    Last week, I began writing down notes on a piece of paper.  Sure my hand hurt in the beginning, but I began to notice that when I hand-write my notes or things to do, they become that much more concrete to me. 

    I keep coming back here because you make the simplest things look astounding.

    Just stumbled this post and added it to Viralogy.  Hope it brings you a lot of traffic.

    – Jun

  7. Katrina 11 years ago

    Welcome back, I missed ya!

    I went to my local art supply shop and felt up the paper.  I bought the recycled blank version.  Then I went online and picked up the one Lynn noted above.  I love the way the cover folds back.  I discussed buying them in bulk at the store because I think they would work great for my students.

    Thanks for the heads up.

    And truly, I am so glad you are back to blogging.

  8. Christine 11 years ago

    David – I recently stumbled upon your blog and it is such a refreshing find!  I also LOVE notebooks and am very particular about them, so I was very excited to see today’s post.  I am also from Taiwan originally.  Transplanted to the U.S. when I was nine (1979).  I haven’t been back since 1984 and I was fascinated by your latest entries of your return visit to Taiwan.  I haven’t read them all yet, but I plan to.  I think we also share the same feelings about PEOPLE.  I often quip to my husband, “I don’t like people because they’re unpredictable and never meet my expectations”.  But I really like the way you analyze people in the previous post and I would like to try it out.  I do best with computers and numbers though, LOL. 

    Christine

  9. dmk 11 years ago

    Ooh, nice. I’m on the lookout for a new large notebook. As long as there’s sketching room in it then I’m sold. I’d better go and find out of they’re available in the UK /available at all.
    Thanks.

  10. Janine 10 years ago

    You can also find them in bulk on eBay.

  11. Dominique 10 years ago

    I just got this at the art co-op here and paid about $11. I’m in love. It’s so hard to find all the qualities this notebook has in just one notebook: graph paper, good spiral binding, and a hardcover.

  12. John DiPonzio 9 years ago

    Have the same feeling for my 9 x 12 treasure by Daler and Rowney. Find myself seeking for another as the available pages begin to wane. Great for all the scribing I do in all facets of my life and am glad others understand the pleasure of a well made tool.

  13. Erika Rendon 7 years ago

    I have been looking for a notebook like this for a long time. I now carry 2 notebooks, some awesome pens that I enjoy writing with and my ultrabook. Traveling very light is awesome.