Moleskine notebooks are great, but they have one flaw — their otherwise sturdy cover is marred by a thin and fragile spine that unlike the cover boards, does not age gracefully. More often than not, by the time I have filled-up a Moleskine with notes, the cloth on the spine is frayed and torn, requiring an unsightly repair with book tape. A leather slip-on cover would fix the fraying problem nicely, but of course Moleskine’s makers would never offer such a thing, as it would be an admission that their wonderful books were less than perfect!
Surprisingly, no one else offers a cover, so decided to make my own. Or rather, I asked Steve Derricott, proprietor of the legendary leathersmiths, Gfeller Casemakers, to make me a custom cover. Gfeller is the go-to place for for geologists and field scientists looking for leather field cases, hammer holsters, and field belts. After nearly three decades of use, my first Gfeller field case is as strong as ever and all the more loved for the memories it’s rubbed and darkened russet cowhide surface evokes.
I expected no less from my new Moleskine cover, and the result is sturdy, immensely practical and quite elegant. A key part of the design is a slot in the back inside sleeve that affords unhindered use of the Moleskine’s ticket pocket and elastic strap. And the cover is made from a natural calfskin (normally used for pencil loops on Gfeller’s field cases) that like my original Gfeller belt bag, will absorb skin oils and darken over time to a rich mahogany patina.
Now, the bad news is that my case is a one-off and thus one can’t just call and get a cover express-shipped from Gfeller. But I suspect Steve might be willing to consider additional special orders. It might take time to get a cover of your own, but it will be worth the wait, for the result is not merely protection for your Moleskine, but like the Moleskine itself, an heirloom in the making.