Notebook Review: Galen Leather Notebook

By Jessica Coles

Have you ever finished an entire notebook? How about a notebook that uses Tomoe River paper? Because the paper is so thin, Tomoe River full sized A5 notebooks usually fall between 350 to 400 pages. Similarly sized notebooks made with thicker paper (Leuchtturm1917, Rhodia…) are closer to 250 pages. The dive into a new Tomoe River notebook is like an adventure waiting to happen.

I think Galen Leather knew how long it would take someone to fill a notebook with such thin pages. Their newest line of notebooks have no less than 400 pages of 52 gsm Tomoe River paper – even for individuals who constantly journal, attend pens shows, and test ink, one notebook lasts many months to well over a year. During that period of time, the cover of your notebook can take quite a beating unless you use an additional case. But what if that case was built into each notebook? The Everyday Book from Galen Leather is just that – a 400 page Tomoe River notebook, A5, that is covered with the same leather from their lineup of other leather stationery supplies. The paper is white and all notebooks are blank – no ruling.

The shipping case for the notebook is made of a thick card stock envelope that includes a ribbon and magnet closure – minimal, but very sturdy.

So far their lineup includes A5, B6, and A6 sizes. Each size is available in Crazy Horse Brown (that’s the one here) and Crazy Horse Forest Green. Crazy Horse is used here to denote leather that has a distressed, suede-like finish with several different shades of color. I love the finish because I am incredibly tough on notebooks and cases. The crazy horse finish just looks better with every scratch or bend.

The leather used on the notebook is the same as the Galen leather cases but mush thinner. The notebook can bend without creasing the cover.

The only branding in the Everyday Book is a foil stamp on the back cover:

The foils is a toned down gold – it fits with the theme of the notebook rather than being flashy.

Included with the notebook is a thin piece of leather to use as a blotter or under the piece of paper you are writing on. Using the blotter under your current page gives the paper a softer feel – somewhat like writing on a thicker piece of paper. Also included are two guides for lines.

The templates for the guides come from our very own Well-Appointed Desk Ana. If fact, you can find several here.

The other side of the guide sheets are smaller grid and lined sheets.

The binding looks sturdy – signatures of 8 pages (which make 16 fronts and backs) are sewn with thread and secured with glue. The end pages are both thick black paper.

The notebook does lay flat when opened.

I know that one of the questions we will get about this notebook is when was it made? Before the Change of Tomoe or after?

The answer is, there’s really no way to know for sure. However, I can show how ink looks on this paper. I chose a few inks that I have reviewed lately so you can see how those same inks perform in the Everyday Book.

I tried to show both highly shading and sheening inks, but remember it can be hard to capture sheen on camera. Although I can’t say if the paper is pre or post Change, I can say that this paper is great. Normal writing had normal amounts of show through for Tomoe River paper and the only time I was able to get bleed through was when I accidentally spilled a large amount of Sailor Irori. My hands suffered for that one.

I am excited to see how long this notebook takes for me to get through, but mostly, I’m excited to see what the cover is like at the end as well. The cover may tell as much the writing inside!

DISCLAIMER:  Some of the items in this review were provided free for the purpose of this review. Please see the About page for more details.

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3 comments / Add your comment below

  1. And it comes in green leather!! (as noted in Jess’ review) While not a fan of blank journals, I’m going to have to give this one a pass and order it. In Green. 😀 Great review. Thanks, Jess!

  2. Curious to see what the other side looks like… how the ink shows esp on those where heavy ink was used. Thank you so much for the review.

  3. I just want to make sure, this is a soft, bendable leather covering on the notebook, right? My husband loves leather covered notebooks as he can be very hard on them, but each time we’ve gone looking for one, they were hard, stiff almost like saddle leather. Plus many of them had a leather thong that wrapped around the book to keep it closed. The paper was very thick so that the signatures gaped open even when closed and tightly wrapped with the thong! I finally learned how to make a book from a class at a local big name craft store and bought a piece of sheepskin leather online. He liked it, but I knew the sheepskin leather was too soft. I am ordering this notebook today and hope it is as I am envisioning it. I think he will get a huge kick from the thin blotter leather that comes with it. He’ll enjoy seeing it change as he uses the notebook. If it could talk, that blotter would have its own stories to tell by the marks and such he gets on it.

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