FNC – 27 Workshop Companion Preview
It has arrived! Field Notes Colors Edition #27 Workshop Companion! You’ll wanna watch the video, it’s brilliant! (As a filmmaker and Field NUT, making FN films is a dream job!) I’ll be using the “No. 05 Plumbing” book from this set beginning now for my journey to the Butcher Orange. Also, please note that there’s a full gallery of images available at the bottom of the page if you’re one of those people who just wants to look at the pictures.
First Impressions: Wow! This is the first 6 book set since I’ve become a subscriber, and it’s really lovely. I’d venture to say it’s the most complete design we’ve seen from Field Notes yet, building off of the County Fair and National Crops editions. I’d never dumb Field Notes down to “just a color”, because there’s so much more that clearly goes into the process, but these books have additional design elements not present in the other versions, like printing on the spine, splitting colors on the covers, and has expanded on the icons and back cover info mentioned in the other editions linked above.
The Worship Companion set features the following trades:
- Series No. 01 – Woodworking
- Series No. 02 – Automotive
- Series No. 03 – Gardening
- Series No. 04 – Painting
- Series No. 05 – Plumbing
- Series No. 06 – Electrical
They’re not just for writing folks, you just might learn something too! The back covers feature quotes, great moments in the trade’s history, tradesman of note (some of which are quite hilarious), tools of the trade, pro tips, jargon, and diagrams. It’s quite extensive! I have to mention the tradesman of note from the plumbing book: Thomas Crapper, Mario and Luigi, and Ozzy Osborne. Fantastic! Apparently Thomas Crapper is a real person who was a plumber in the second half of the 19th century. (There’s a funny Huffington Post article about the Etymology of “Crap” and Thomas Crapper.) Everyone’s favorite Mario and Luigi get a plug! And then there’s Ozzy Osborne, who apparently was a plumber in his teens. Who knew? Add one more wrinkle to the brain.
Oh That Box: The books come 6 to a pack, shrink-wrapped in a very sturdy display box that features the icons in the honeycomb style pattern they create together. The shrink wrapping will be a huge bonus for the trade and resale market. The National Crops were not wrapped, and so there was really no way to know for sure on the secondary market that you were absolutely getting something new. Also unlike the National Crops box, the Workshop Companion box is also made for display of the books themselves. The books are printed and numbered on the spine. And perhaps my favorite detail of the entire piece…Field Notes printed the honeycomb pattern inside the box! It just puts the whole thing over the top in a very good way. I can see people clamoring for extra boxes to display their other books in.
The Paper: If you heard random screams of jubilation on Tuesday when subscribers got their e-mail about the newest edition, it was likely from the very vocal fountain pen users who were overjoyed about the use of heavier paper. French Kraft-Tone 70#T Standard White Kraft with a dot grid pattern and a fine, 1-color application of “Maple Lacquer” light brown soy-based Saphira ink. I’ve just begun using the Plumber book, and I keep a daily log where I often color in squares with my graphic liner or Micron, and there’s absolutely no sign of bleed-through, and I’ve gone heavy on purpose. I’ll be testing with Fountain Pen ink later this week, and will report back on my findings, but from what I’ve heard, initial reports are good with even Medium nibs.
There are two pictures below, one is a closeup of the Wood Working cover, and the other is a closeup of the insides. Both have some really nice wood fiber texturing to it which is a feature of the French Kraft-Tone. It’s especially apparent on the Wood Working cover. The cover feels very sturdy, and the inside pages have a weight to them that feels really nice. It seems like it’ll hold up really well to riding naked in my back pocket for a month. I often bend my field notes to purposely wear the cover and make it look older. I just tried to do it with the Plumbing book, and the paper didn’t fold like it has on previous versions. It’s great stock…and I wonder if it has something to do with the extra thickness. The heavier paper does of course make the books a bit thicker, but I don’t mind at all. It’s comparable to a Shelterwood, which has 70# stock for innards.
Extras – They make it fun! Though there isn’t necessarily something “extra” that comes with every edition, Field Notes hit a home run both in the regular packs, and for subscribers. Each edition comes with a page of sticker icons that increase the fun factor. They’re about the same size as the icons on the books themselves. In addition, subscribers received a Workshop Reminder Magnet that features the colors of the edition in their honeycomb pattern with the appropriate reminder to measure twice, cut once. It’s really the one of only two places where you see all of the colors together in the honeycomb pattern, the other bring the top of the box. They also included a neat Field Notes sticker that looks like a craft book with rounded corners on one side, and a Field Notes pen.
I’ll post again with progress on my No. 05 Plumbing book on staple day so I can show you how it’s wearing and how the internal pages are doing. Until then go buy some and see for yourself! This edition is killer!
Random things I Think:
- 17,000 sets were printed. (102,000 books)
- Only 7,500 boxes of National Crop were printed, and I’m told it took nearly a year to sell out.
- It won’t take a year for FN to sell out of the Workshop Companion.
- It also shows some slow but steady growth for Field Notes over the last 3 years, which is great news for those of us who love them!
- Every time I see the specifications, I want to buy those machines and print my own. Anyone else ever get that urge? These guys must love what they do!
- I got to meet some people from French Paper at How Design Live in Chicago in May, and they’re great! They gave away several posters to each attendee. (Ones I’d actually want to hang up!)
- I’m glad they went Grid, not lines.
- Practical Application #12: Honey-Do Lists (The reason I NEED these things! She asks, I forget….not anymore!)
- Practical Application #14: Garage Fridge Beer List. Enough said.