Category Archives: Emilio Braga

Questions from Readers

Once again, I’m rounding up some questions from various readers who are in search of their perfect notebook. Help them if you can by leaving a comment!
From Landon: I really like the filofax pocket cover you showed a couple of years ago. I have been looking for something exactly like that for a long time. Do you know anyone who makes them similar to the one you have pictured?

I think he means this one below (details in this post), and I wish I did know where you could buy one like it today! I haven’t seen anything even close in years. Filofax made an extra-slim notebook a few years ago, but the leather wasn’t as nice, and they no longer seem to produce it.

From Diana: Looking for an old steno notebook with Gregg shorthand symbols on it

Not sure about this, eBay might be the best source. None of the current steno notebooks I’ve seen seem to include a reference chart of symbols.

From Jane: I was wondering if you happen to know of a cheaper alternative to an Xtra Small Moleskine.
Grandluxe and Leuchtturm both make extra small notebooks. Leuchtturm’s seem to have the same $9.95 suggested retail price as Moleskine. The Grandluxe Monologue notebook prices vary on Amazon– sometimes more, sometimes slightly less. They are harder to find in stores in the US. Coincidentally, a reader named Todd recently wrote to me with some tips on finding smaller notebooks, recommending this EDC Forum thread, which led him to the Scully Planner. It’s not cheap, but it’s refillable.
From Sarah: I’m looking for an A5 notebook with blank or dotted pages that are numbered. I know the Leuchtturm pages are numbered, but I’m wondering if they work with Micron Pigma pens (my preferred pen). I’ve seen various reviews. I want a notebook I can use with the Micron pen and not worry about drying times or using both sides of the paper. Any idea if Leuchtturm would work? Or an alternative?
I haven’t tested a Leuchtturm recently, and when I reviewed one a few years ago, I only tested a Pigma brush pen. The notebook I reviewed had a lot of show-through, but I’d heard they upgraded the paper since then. Maybe other Leuchtturm  users can chime in here?
From Edward: A few years ago I bought a simple black notebook. I am about to fill mine up, and can’t recall where I purchased it. I have been searching the internet, which is how I found your site, and was hoping you might have an idea of where it is from.
Description: Hard Smooth Cover
Color: Black
Paper: Unruled, Very White, and the paper is high quality & thick
Cover Size: 8 1/2″ x5 5/8″
Page size: Roughly, 8 1/4″ x5″
 I think the most unique thing about this notebook is that it came with a single page of glossy, lined paper, which can be inserted behind a page in the notebook, as a guide for writing clean, straight lines.
The only notebook I can think of that comes with an extra sheet of paper like that is the Emilio Braga notebook I bought in Portugal, reviewed here. I feel like I’ve seen others that had it, but I can’t remember where!
From Drew: I was looking to get a recommendation for a notebook. I’m hoping for something with a significant number of pages, rather large, ruled or gridded, with either a spiral spine or a spine that allows the book to stay open on a given page. I was thinking about getting an XL Rollbahn notebook (10.25 x 8; 180 pages). Do you have any ideas?
This is another tricky one, as most of the notebooks I can think of are smaller and thicker, or larger but with fewer pages, or they are sketchbooks with unlined pages. Maybe some of Miquelrius’s notebooks would fit the bill, though? They have an academic notebook with 250 sheets, among other MR Evolution notebooks that all seem to have over 200 sheets. The Doane Paper Large Idea Journal is also worth checking out– it’s only got 100 sheets, but it feels very substantial and has a nice wire-o binding. I use one at the office and love it!
From Alex: I have a question about a seemingly hard to find sketchbook. As an architect and furniture designer, I am looking for a dot grid sketchbook with heavy weight paper that will prevent showthrough. I use the Leuchtturm large size (5.75” x 8.25”; 80 gsm) but my ink drawings show through so I have to skip every other page for the drawings to be legible. It’s also too small for large drawings. I am considering the Leuchtturm master size which has a dot grid and 100 gsm paper. I am not sure if that is heavy enough. Do you know of a large format (bigger is better) sketchbook with dot grid paper in the 125-150 gsm range?
The only thing I can think of to recommend are Rhodia pads and webnotebooks, as they have dot grid options and the paper is usually good for showthrough. You can’t always judge by gsm alone, as other factors about the paper can affect showthrough and bleedthrough.
Thanks for all your emails and sorry I can’t always answer them. Let’s hope our readers can help!

Notebooks from Portugal

I vacationed in Portugal last fall, and returned with a nice little pile of notebooks:

portugal notebooks1portugal notebooks2

The first ones I bought were this set of 4 stitched cahier-type notebooks. They were a bit expensive at 15 Euros, but I guess that was to be expected as they were bought at a very touristy location. Nice smooth paper and cool patterns on the back, showing Lisbon streetcars and Portuguese tile and lace patterns.

portugal notebooks15

Then there were a few that I bought in a store devoted to iconic Portuguese products:

First, the Emilio Braga notebook. The company is almost 100 years old, and these notebooks are considered a classic Portuguese brand. They come in funky colors,  and I love the old fashioned look with the contrasting corners and the label on the front. The marbled edges are a great touch too. The pages inside are blank, and the notebook includes a sheet with grid on one side and lines on other to use as a guide. Unfortunately there is a really big cover overhang, too bad. I would also love it if they came in a smaller size.

portugal notebooks10portugal notebooks11portugal notebooks12portugal notebooks13portugal notebooks14

Also from the Portuguese product store, a “bloco”, a small lined notepad featuring the Torre de Belem, another big Lisbon tourist destination. Shown next to it is a small, plain graph paper notebook with a black paper cover.

portugal notebooks3

Another unique Portuguese item, the Serrote letterpress notebook, with a wonderful woodgrain paper design. Each of their designs is a limited edition of 2000.

portugal notebooks8portugal notebooks9

The next two notebooks were bought in random school-supply or art-supply stores. When I unwrapped the Oxford notebook, I was pleasantly surprised at how nice it was, with beautifully smooth, bright white paper. It feels very solid, and it’s my favorite size. At 6.40 euros, not too expensive. It has only a very small cover overhang, another plus. It’s quite generic and not at all Portuguese, but of all these, it’s the notebook I’m most likely to actually use.

portugal notebooks4

portugal notebooks5


The Canson sketchbook below offers only 50 sheets  for 6.30 euro, so wasn’t quite as good a value. It has rougher paper, no pocket, and more cover overhang, but it does have a nice cover, and is pleasantly slim.

portugal notebooks7

This last notebook was bought at a museum, I forget which one. It’s a nice size, thin, and flexible, with a thicker elastic than most. The  cover is weird, it seems to be one layer of fake leather glued over another, and it’s starting to come apart a bit, with the edges getting crushed due to the overhang. I could kind of tell when I bought it that it was a little beat up, but it was the last one they had. In fact, there is really nothing great about this, but I was just on a roll gathering notebooks and for some reason, I had to have it!

portugal notebooks6

All in all, I was pretty pleased with my Portuguese purchases– some were brands I’d heard of and wanted to try, and some were new discoveries that I’d never seen– just what I love to find on my travels!

Moleskine Monday: Lisbon

I’m just back from another trip where I used a Moleskine City Notebook, this time for Lisbon. I really enjoy using these on trips, as it’s handier than having to tote around a full guidebook. I stayed in a very central location, and the maps covered most (but not all) of the areas I visited around the city. It can be a pretty complicated place to get around, so the maps were essential! I just wish the transit map had gone beyond the Metro, as the buses and trams and trains were what I used more.
I used the indexed pages to jot down hotels, restaurants, shops and sights that I wanted to see or had visited. I used the blank index sections in the back to add additional info on other parts of Portugal I visited outside of Lisbon. And as always, I came back with the expanding pocket full of ticket stubs, extra stamps and other little mementos.
One other Moleskine note about Portugal– wow, were Moleskine notebooks expensive there! I saw pocket size notebooks for sale for as much as €16.50, which is almost $22!
And in a non-Moleskine aside, I of course bought lots of notebooks during my trip! Emilio Braga, Serrote and some other brands. I’ll show them off soon!