Just so you know, I’m still knee deep into my latest obsession – notebooks, pens and their associated accessories. I hope that at least a few of you are also fans of Moleskine, Rhodia or similar brands of small hard covered notebooks. Because if you are, I have a leather notebook cover from Gfeller Casemakers that I know you’ll be interested in learning more about.
Note: Most of the images in this review can be clicked to see a larger size.
Gfeller is a US company that has been in business since 1946. They originally started out making protective leather cases for geologists, engineers and field scientists, but have since added notebook covers to their offerings. They recently sent me one of their covers for the A6 sized (3.5 x 5.5) Rhodia “webbies” notebook to review. I was their guinea pig since they hadn’t offered that particular size until now.
Gfeller covers are made of English Kip leather that is finished without the addition of dyes or other chemical colorings. All they use is a light application of pure neatsfoot oil to help the cover resist moisture and dirt. As you can see the color of a new cover resembles the color of Silly Putty or human flesh, which might not be appealing to everyone. Don’t worry too much though. These covers will darken with use and exposure to sunlight and even fluorescent lighting. Just like our own skin, they can ‘tan’. I wanted to leave the cover out in the sunlight for several hours to show how it does darken, but unfortunately, it’s winter time here in southern Indiana, and that means little sunlight. You can take a look at a picture on Gfeller’s site that shows a good example.
This leather notebook cover is thin and smooth with an extremely fine grain to the leather. It’s stitched with beige thread and inside the back cover it is stamped with Gfeller’s name and web address.
Inserting the notebook into the cover is really easy. Choosing either the top or bottom cover, slide it under the large flap to seat it in place. Then do the same with the other cover by flexing the book.
You’ll notice that there’s a special slot cut into the back cover to allow for the notebook’s elastic band to still be used.
The cutout for the band lines up perfectly.
For those of you that like to keep papers in the back cover pocket, you can still easily do so.
A notebook with the Gfeller cover looks nice and feels very good in hand. The cover is easy to open and feels like it is part of the book, allowing you to open the notebook flat just like you would if it wasn’t installed.
There’s only one issue that I noticed with using the Rhodia elastic band…
Since the bands on these notebooks are pretty tight to begin with, they can actually deform the edge of the top leather cover.
Due to the fact that the cover is about .25 of a inch larger than the book on all sides, the band has to stretch to fit around it.
This bends the leather edge up. It’s not a huge problem, but for those of you out there that might be a little picky, I thought I should mention it.
I do have an alternative way to use the elastic band though…
It is possible to use the band more like a bookmark by putting it around the pages instead of around the cover. Just an idea 🙂
There’s not much more to say about the Gfeller leather notebook cover because it’s a very simple product that has been designed to do a very simple task. It will protect the cover of your Moleskine and Rhodia notebooks allowing it to become more unique. I can’t wait for mine to get some ‘character’.
21 thoughts on “Gfeller Casemakers Leather Notebook Cover Review”
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This is classy. Must have one for my collection too.
This cover is classy, but lacks a pen-slot.
Eversince the Quiver mods to my Moleskine collection… i’m now addicted to thinking of ways to secure my fancy pens to non-moleskine items 🙂
@Anson Gfeller actually offers a version of this cover with a built in leather pen loop. 🙂
I like this one too. I bought the Saddleback cover when I read your review and love it.
@Louis I like both the Saddleback cover and Gfeller cover. If I were to choose just one though, I’d probably go with the Saddleback. I can’t really say why that is as they are both equally nice.
Stay tuned, I have another cover review coming soon!
You claim to be into pens but the picture shows a ball point pen. Anyone who is REALLY into pens know that the only true pens are fountain pens that you fill from a bottle.
Ball point pens are a tool of the devil.
@Donald Anyone that uses terms like “Anyone who is REALLY into…” is just a snob 😉 I can like whatever I want to like thank you very much. That includes any and all pens. I use fountain pens, ball point pens, markers, etc.
Anybody who is truly into writing instruments would use crayons as well.
@kryptik Most definitely. 🙂
I gladly admit it – I am a pen snob.
i have had one of their moleskine cases for 2.5 years now and cannot say enough good things about it. i switched to writing exclusively with fountain pens a few years ago and the cover was a must, it has developed a nice patina and shows my carelessness with a coffee cup proudly on its front
It’s unfortunate that an antiquated ordering system that only accepts google orders from within the U.S. is used on the site. I’ve not seen something like that since the 1960s. Oh well. I’m betting that plenty of people who read this site outside of America would like to place orders now, but Gfeller certainly don’t make it simple.
Has anyone had an order filled yet?
You think their Moleskine covers are something?
On advantage to an antiquated order system is that you can get to talk to Steve Derricott, the owner of Gfeller Casemakers. To make a long story short, I own a custom-made belt case for my HTC smartphone whose elegance is outdone only by the artistry in leather that is everything for which Gfeller is rightfully famous. On their website, they allude to doing custom work; my cellphone case is proof positive of how wonderfully they execute it.
My order was finally filled yesterday. I anticipate that when it arrives it will be as functional and look as good as described in the article. In fact, I look forward to acquiring a cover for a large Moleskine from Gfeller also.
@Twolane I wish it was summer here in Southern Indiana… I want to ‘tan’ mine!
I also reviewed the Gfeller cover on my blog: http://straypoetry.com/life/gfeller-casemakers-moleskine-leather-cover-review/
Would you have any photos on how the patina has developed since your original review?
I can take some pictures for you but the cover hasn’t seen much use so it’s not changed that much over the years because I switched to an A5 sized notebook.
It sounds like there will not much to see. 🙁 One of the joys of quality leatherwork is how the leather develops and I was hoping to see what are the changes before I buy a Gfeller cover for my Seven Seas Crossfield Notebook.
I will still include a picture as an update when I do some review updates this week.