Review: Galen Leather Writing Box

Review by Jessica Coles

A writing box.  Is it something I need?  Working from home has some amazing benefits.  One of those is the ability to work on my laptop outside during the amazing weather, especially with a glass of iced tea.  The convenience of the laptop allows me to lean back, prop up my feet, and work in the best “office” available!

Summer office
My outdoor office


One thing has been missing from this setup, though.  A writing surface.  A laptop is great for typing, surfing, chatting, and multi-tasking.  But what about deep focus?  I rely on a notebook for processing my thoughts when they are jumbled, or for focus when the rest of life gets too hectic.  But I have found that trying to write with a notebook outdoors can be awkward at best.  I usually try to balance a notebook on a knee, hoping to find enough support to give me a writing surface.  Often the result is not pretty.

Lap Desk

I have tried lap desks before.  One had a soft pillow with a hard writing surface.  Unfortunately, the puppy loved it and the stuffing, well, lets just say I still find pieces of styrofoam filling every once in a while.

Another attempt was made with a vintage-inspired lap desk that folded open in three parts.  While it is lovely and useful, pens would roll around inside and there was no way to store more than a few sheets of paper.  No journals allowed!

The Writing Box

Then, one day, a magic box appeared in my mail.  The Writing Box ($120) from Galen Leather, crafted by Walden Woodworkers, Istanbul.

Outer box
Even the outer cardboard box is heavy-duty and beautiful
The Writing Desk








Well made
Elastic bands hold securely

As I opened the outer cardboard box, a wonderful scent came out to meet me.  The rich smell of wood and leather together. The wood is solid walnut that has been finished with linseed oil so there is no chemical smell.  The same is true with the leather; the vegetable tanned leather doesn’t give off a chemical smell but just smells wonderful.

When I opened the writing box, the upper portion revealed the origin of the leather smell.  This part of the desk is lined with rich-feeling leather with two thick bands of elastic.

The Writing Box is a beautifully made piece of functional art.  The materials are high quality, the construction of the piece is simple but solid and elegant. Even the elastic bands feel like someone put thought into the material selection.

Evil eye
The writing box interior with extras

There was a card detailing the desk and giving a background of Galen Leather.  Yusef was the individual who lovingly crafted this writing desk.

A 10% off coupon was included along with a glass evil eye charm.  I was rather surprised at that one!

No slipping
The pegs hold the writing surface securely


The bottom of the desk is covered in a sheet of felt material.  This sheet isn’t attached to anything so it can be removed.  I left it in the desk since it seemed to keep notebooks from sliding around as much.

Two pegs rotate up and hold the top of the desk at an angle — somewhere around 15 degrees.  This inclination created a pleasant surface for writing, especially when I was sitting back, relaxing outside.  Which, as far as I’m concerned, is a major plus.

Well supported surface
15 degree slant to the writing surface



At first it seemed that the writing surface itself was too small to comfortably use with a notebook.  But as I used the desk more, I quickly realized it was the perfect size if I moved the notebook slightly as I moved down the page.  At the center of the bottom edge of the writing surface is a metal plate screwed into the wood bearing the name Walden Woodworkers, Istambul.  This is another detail that I thought would detract from the writing experience, but it never did.  It actually helped when I was using my Weeks or writing a letter; the metal plate supported the bottom edge of my work.

A great addition
Thick label plate that serves to hold papers


All my stuff fits perfectly!
The interior, fully loaded up


But wait!  Inside the desk, the amount of space was impressive.  I was able to easily fit a Hippo Noto notebook and a Seven Seas Writer notebook side by side. Perfect, since I’m using both at the moment.  I threw in all of my pens that currently hold sparkle ink (because why not?) and a Hobonichi Weeks.  The largest diameter pen in this batch was a TWSBI Eco. The elastic held the pens well but it was still easy to slip them in and there is space for 6.  One elastic loop would be perfect for a small ruler and the upper four loops are just right to hold 5 Col-O-Ring cards each.

Another solid detail
Nickel-plated latch

Once I packed up my notebooks, my sparkle pens and Hobonichi, I latched the case closed with no issue at all.  In fact, I had aditional space to throw in my letter writing supplies!  The latch here is another detail that I loved.  It is plated with nickel and a solidly made piece.

The writing box itself is close to the size of my laptop (although much thicker).  Perfect for grabbing both and getting back to my sitting outside for work.

DISCLAIMER: The items included in review were provided free of charge by Galen Leather. Please see the About page for more details.

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9 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Although I have no need for something like this the thing is so cool I wish I did. Perhaps in some future retirement I can use it for letter writing and my commonplace journal. Very nice review that gives a nice vision of the product. Thanks for another nice job!

  2. Beautiful writing box — thanks for introducing it to us! Since it’s sold out on the seller’s website they aren’t listing the cost, and unless I overlooked it in your post I didn’t see it here, either. Can you share with us the price? Thanks!

  3. This box is very nice. Love the design. It is a simplified version of a hard briefcase, which can be found in abundance on eBay and at vintage shops.

    1. No. We seem to have lucked out. Also, they have been making improvements to the curing process since the first batch was released.

  4. Oh boy…I’ve been trying to talk myself OUT of this, as it is pricey…and I don’t “NEED” it…but your review pushed me over the edge.

    I DO need one. Your reasons all echo the reasons i would love it. Thank you (I think) 🙂

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