Monday, October 01, 2007

review: gfeller moleskine cover

In late June, I reported that Gfeller Casemakers had decided to produce covers for the popular Mokeskine line of notebooks. Two months later, Steve Derricott, the proprietor of Gfeller wrote to let me know that the covers were ready to order, and was kind enough to include a few pictures.

Since then, ack/nak has enjoyed a steady stream of visitors interested in the Gfeller Moleskine covers, and a week ago my own cover arrived. It is made of Gfeller's traditional English kip leather - other leathers are available.

The cover itself is about 1mm thick, made of a smooth leather with a natural finish. My large moleskine notebook slid into the cover and fit tightly. Over the last week it has "relaxed" a bit, so it doesn't gap open when closed without the elastic engaged.

Note the clever way that Gfeller has exposed the moleskine elastic closure; when not in use, it rests flush against the back cover. When "engaged" around the case, it is tight enough to compress the leather slightly on the top and bottom edges, but not too tightly.

The design of the back cover leaves the envelope enclosure on the moleskine's back cover accessible.

Like all leather goods, the Gfeller moleskine cover accepts surface scratches and soiling without a lot of complaint, so keep your cat away from it. Over the last week I've only had to wipe it down after daily use; I'm sure I'll have to apply some manner of leather care product down the road, but for now, it's low maintenance.

As promised, Steve has imprinted the Gfeller "cartouche" and a serial number on the inside front cover. I'm #8, w00t!

You may not be able to see it, but in the last picture (sorry for the quality, a Blackberry phone is what it is) you can get a sense of the workmanship involved in creating the seams and getting a precise die-cut.

Overall there are no irregularities in the seam-line anywhere on the piece, and all edges are straight and true.

I'll keep you posted over time on how the leather "ages" - out of the box (so to speak) it lacks the character that only time can provide. But given the high quality of workmanship and materials that have gone into its creation, I have no doubts whatsoever that it will stand up to whatever I can throw at it.

For more information on the Gfeller Moleskine cover, visit their website.

UPDATE 1 - ack/nak reader Sharon Delman has asked for a better description of the leather.

Yes, Sharon, it is a pretty light brown upon arrival, almost the color of slightly tanned flesh. My experience with leather goods that start out this color is that they don't stay that color for long; exposure to the elements, especially oils from contact with skin, lead to a progressive darkening of the leather first to a darker brown then almost to a chocolate brown. For example, Hartman has a line of luggage made with what they call "belting leather". Out of the box they're light in color, but before too long they mellow into a really cool golden brown that's quite characterful and unique.

All that said, you'll be dealing with a light-colored moleskine cover for a while.

UPDATE 2 - To assist in color comparisons, here is a picture of my Gfeller-covered moleskine and my Filofax A5 York Director in Calf Leather.

The Gfeller is much lighter by comparison - but it is not white.


Sharon Delman said...

Can you describe the color of the leather. In your photo and at least one other I've seen, it looks pretty light. I want one of these but am unsure whether I'll like the color of the leather. Thanks!

dapv said...

Thank you for this post. I was ready to purchase the Kip version, but recently read that the cover is so tight, that it caused the Moleskine to hump upward when laid open and flat. Further, this happened to the point that the Moleskine binding came apart. Look at DIY for the comments. Also, FPN has a similar comment. So since your post on Oct'07, can you provide an update for this cover? Color darkening, leather stretching, etc, etc.

Thx, Dennis

Broddhisatva said...

You can also find a nearly identical product at that comes in a choice of colors with free monogramming for about the same price.

Ezra Hilyer said...

I also reviewed the Gfeller Casemakers Cover on my site:

I notice that the one I bought didn't have the cool individual number like yours however.. :(