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Quality Craftsmanship

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It was Leonardo Da Vinci who left the following words to posterity:“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

Upon hearing this statement, there may be a temptation to think that “sophistication,” or in other words the trimming of decorative elements, may result in a loss of individuality.

However, “simplicity” in the way that Da Vinci perceived it, was to leave only the things that should be left and to use those elements to the maximum extent when forming something.

An item that achieves the ultimate in simplicity gradually becomes a standard and, conversely, takes on an absolute individuality of its own.

“MD Notebooks” do not have a cover.

This design is the result of our quest to find the best form for a notebook.

This is because that we consider the use of a cover makes books harder to open, and has a negative impact on writing comfort.

Our quest to find the best form for “MD Notebooks” has resulted in a design icon: Cheesecloth mesh tape, which is usually hidden under the cover of standard books.

Cheesecloth is generally used to reinforce the spine of a book.

The informal mesh pattern of the cheesecloth creates a delicate accent, thus creating the distinctive appearance of “MD Notebooks”, and at the same time ensuring that our notebooks are supple and open easily.

It is perhaps no exaggeration to say that “MD Notebooks”, with their beauty and functionality, epitomize the words of the great Da Vinci himself. Here we introduce the processes that are involved in the creation of “MD Notebooks”.

Hidden beneath the pure and simple appearance are a variety of innovations.

Once you know the processes involved, your affection for “MD Notebooks” will surely increase.

The creation of “MD Notebooks” can be broadly categorized into nine processes.

First is the folding process. A great volume of stacked “MD Paper” is fed through a machine one sheet at a time and folded into a unit known as a “quire” that forms the basis for binding the pages of a book.

One of the characteristics of “MD Notebooks” is that they are bound using a traditional thread-stitching method (with each “quire” being bound together with thread).

Although this method of production, used mainly in notebooks and diaries, is time-consuming, it is the best for ensuring that notebooks open 180 degrees and are also durable.

The folded “MD Paper” is fed into the stitching machine one quire at a time.

Next, the spine of the sewn “MD Paper” quires are back glued, or in other words, adhered together to ensure stability and durability.

Eleven “MD Paper” quires are brought together, and the spine is passed over a gluing roller.

What is critical in this process is the volume of glue applied.

If too much glue is used, the notebook will not open well, and if too little is used, the notebook loses its strength.

Using a machine that perfectly replicates delicate brush application, it is possible to adjust gluing conditions precisely.

The applied glue is then immediately dried using a heating process, and any stray threads are also removed.

A standard notebook would now have the cheesecloth mesh tape applied, but in the case of “MD Notebooks” this would not result in suitable strength.

To ensure the required strength, the next step is to affix sheets of Japanese paper to the end papers (this serves to connect the inner pages with the front and back covers, with the paper being applied to the inside of the end papers).

The inserts on which the engraved logo of “MD Paper” has been pressed, are then affixed to the insider cover sheets of the notebook.

As “MD Notebooks” do not have a cover, these inserts do not cover the notebook, but rather, they are simply inserted between the inside cover and the notebook pages.

Our notebooks comprise three simple elements: Paper, glue and the cheesecloth mesh tape that is attached at the very end.

While this may seem a simple process, what is incredibly important is a period of five to six seconds after the glue has been applied.

Providing this short, but critical period allows the adhesive power of the glue to increase.

Now almost complete, the three edges of the notebook are trimmed, and the colorful bookmark string—another design icon of the “MD Notebook”—is attached.

Notebooks are then inspected and wrapped in paraffin paper, concluding the production process.

“MD Notebooks” are truly a living thing, created from paper that started life as pulp beaten in water, and using multiple processes, the skills of many people and several specialist machines.

Just like a person who works and rests, so too do the processes of creating an “MD Notebook” include multiple resting and pressing stages.

After being folded a pressing process known as “stabilizing” is implemented. The paper is then rested underneath heavy weights and after being thread-stitched the spine section is immediately pressed.

The pressing process after stitching is the most important and this is the work that is given highest priority, no matter how busy the factory may be.

The notebook is pressed again after the end papers and inserts have been attached.

Once the colored bookmark string has been attached and the notebook is complete, it is left to rest for at least one week before inspection.

In order to ensure both beauty and functionality none of these elements can be omitted.

However, unless each of these processes is done with care and attention, it is impossible to ensure stable and assured quality.

With the exception of inspection, all processes are conducted using machines.

The tremendous noise and clatter created by these machines, engaging rhythmically and at high speed in these various processes, is something that can only be realized through mechanization.

However, it is people who control the machines, and work to ensure the highest product quality.

The pristine form of the “MD Notebooks” is highly susceptible to dirt and scratches, so the craftspeople need to conduct quality tests in each step of the process.

What is more, changes in the weather can affect the moisture content in the glue, and it is the craftspeople who achieve the best balance by adding small quantities of water to respond to these climatic conditions.

Attaching the colored bookmark string is something else that needs the human touch, as machines cannot attach all strings with uniform straightness and precision.

When a string is misaligned it is the craftspeople who adjust it, creating the beautiful accent to the spine of the notebook.

Every day “MD Notebooks” are produced in an environment that may change, albeit slightly, depending on conditions.

It is people, working in harmony with these machines, who accurately gauge these conditions with their eyes and hands, making adjustments to the processes where necessary.

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