Like many fountain pen users, I am a huge fan of Tomoe River paper. As soon as I first heard about Nanami and their line of Seven Seas notebooks, I knew I needed one. Soon I had a beautiful, brand new Writer in my hands, which has served me well over the 11 months I’ve been using it. However – to buck the trend in the writing community – I’m not a fan of dot grid notebooks. They get the job done, but I find them a bit of a chore to write in. So I’d passed on the Crossfield (which at the time had a reticule grid page layout) when making my purchase, opting for the lined notebook.

As soon as Nanami released the 2nd edition of their Crossfield, this time with grid lining, I jumped and made the purchase. I’ve been using the notebook for just shy of six months now as my commonplace book, and it’s high time I give it a review. Let’s get to it!

Notebook with "Nanami Seven Seas Crossfield v.2" in white letters

Review Navigation
  1. Pros
  2. Cons
  3. TL;DR (Summary)

Pros

First, the pros – which are many. The notebook itself is as dense, solid, and well-crafted as the Writer, but for one bauble (which I’ll discuss later). The pages are uniformly cut, the grid lines even, light but expertly printed, and the binding flawless. The Tomoe River paper performs just as superbly as usual, pulling sheen even from Lamy Petrol, a notoriously stubborn ink.

The lines are also as light and unobtrusive as they are in the Writer, mostly. I really have a strong preference for lines that don’t interfere with the readback, and it’s one of my favorite features of the Writer model. This is still the case in the Crossfield, mostly, and I can’t overstate how important this is to me. Bravo, Nanami.

Crossfield lying open flat

Lies open nice and flat.

Other hallmark features of high quality notebooks are present in the Crossfield, as well. No matter the page, the notebook immediately opens to lie flat on its own. Also, while I put mine in a cover, the notebook’s own cover is plenty sturdy on its own. It’s also a nice, deep red that’s professional without being boring.

That Tomoe River paper, though. Yum!

Cons

Now for the cons. Most of these are either minor or simply personal preference, but one is large enough that it prevents me from purchasing another notebook of this same edition. Dun dun dunnnnnn.

First, a minor quality control issue. I put all of my Nanami notebooks in my A5 Midori goat leather notebook cover. I do this to gain some pockets, as well as to satisfy the part of my soul that misses handling my leather travelers notebooks daily. This notebook is too fat, however, so I simply trim down the cover a bit to make it fit (which you can see in the header image of this post). This worked perfectly fine with my Writer, but upon completing the surgery with my Crossfield the cover began to pull away from the end papers. It seems like my notebook, at least, has less glue throughout the cover to adhere it, and trimming a quarter inch off each cover exposed bare segments. Not a huge deal for me, however, as I just popped it in my cover and off I went. I could see this being problematic, however, for those who carry their notebook in its birthday suit.

Thickness of the Crossfield compared to other notebooks. From top to bottom: Hobonichi Weeks, SS Writer, SS Crossfield, Quo Vadis Habana. Also, say hello to Mr. Chubs, the adipose in the back.

My second qualm is short and 100% personal preference. I just want bookmarks in my notebooks – especially ones that are almost 500 pages.

Third and lastly, however, is both the reason I bought the notebook in the first place as well as the reason why I won’t by another (funny, eh?) – and that reason is the ruling. One of the reason I love my Writer is the ruling. The lines are faint and made up of teeny little dots. This gives the line a thinner appearance, while also having less line ink per page. The lines in the Crossfield, however, are dashed. While still less than a full line, they are a bit thicker, and actually show through the ink when I write over it. The ink seems to slide off, as if it cannot sit on top of the dashes. I don’t really have this issue with my Writer, so I think a shift to making the lines out of dots might help.

Close-up of dashes showing through ink

You can see the dashes through the ink. Yuck! (Ink: Sailor Oku-Yama)

While this isn’t enough of a deal-breaker for me to stop using the notebook, it does detract from the writing and affect readback enough that I most likely won’t buy another of this particular model. The odd boxes on the page don’t help, either. The one in the top left at least works as a header, but the ones on the bottom of the page are perplexing to me and honestly just get in the way. I’m sort of using them to write the ink colors I’ve used on the page, but I’d rather just have more grid boxes.

TL;DR: Summary

Overall, I really like this notebook. It’s solidly built, the Tomoe River paper is wonderful, and it has enough pages that I never feel bad for flipping to a new spread to write something new. It does have a few cons – notably, grid lines that show through the ink and weird boxes that take up page space – that will prevent me from buying another 2nd Edition Crossfield. But if you can look past those, it truly makes for a great notebook at an even greater price.

Model Crossfield 2nd Edition
Brand Nanami – Seven Seas
Price $24 USD
Size A5
Page Count 480
Pros Tomoe River paper, lots of pages, sturdy construction
Cons Spotty glue in cover, grid overlays ink, odd boxes on pages
Recommend? Yes

Posted by Devon Henderson

Graphic designer, web designer, marketer. Lover of books, coffee, tea, cats, stationery, and tech. Minimalist at heart but my wallet begs to differ.

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