Paper World

Moleskine Notebook Cover

Durable second skin for journals

I have used Moleskine journals for years, but more often than not, by the time I’ve filled a journal, the spine is torn and in tatters. And because I write the journal number and date on the spine before putting my filled journals on my library shelf, this is a problem. The obvious solution is a nice leather slip-on cover, but I couldn’t find one that met my specs. In particular, I wanted a cover that wouldn’t interfere with use of the signature Moleskine elastic band or rear ticket pocket. And above all, it had to be sturdy and elegant, just like my otherwise-stout Moleskine. So I turned to Steve Derricott at Gfeller Casemakers, who made me a custom cover that works great, and now Gfeller is offering a slip-on cover that meets my high specs and more (note: I have NO financial interest in any of this, of course). The cover is made with the attention to detail that has made Gfeller a legend among geologists and field scientists for their extraordinary leather field cases. It is hand-cut and sewn with waxed Egyptian cotton thread, which is tap-set so that it will never, ever break. Steve makes the covers in English Kip leather, the same leather used in his field cases. Kip is a pale tan when new, but over time, exposure to light and the oils from your hand will cause it to darken. The process starts almost immediately, but continues over many years, all the while the cover gets darker and richer in tone, until in a decade or so, it will be a deep rich, mahogany. Because it has no dyed surface, the Kip cover will wear better than, say, a black dyed cover. Scratches and bumps will soften into the overall patina of the cover, adding to its character and giving it a wonderful feel like a fine old saddle — or of course one of Gfeller’s field cases after years of use in the field. (He does offer other leathers as an option, but I recommend sticking with Kip). Steve is stamping a serial number in each cover beneath the Gfeller cartouche, a reminder that one is not merely buying a journal cover but also an heirloom in the making.

-- Paul Saffo 09/14/07

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