Lacquer Dreams

The Holy Grail?

Grail pens. It is a term I have seen over and over as I read about pens and review the blogs. A grail pen is the one you wish you had, the one that is not just a quick purchase or impulse buy. And it is a pen that no person would consider buying lightly. In other words, it is expensive, or rare, or perhaps not really needed (are any, really?) but there is something inside of you that says – I must have this. As a gear guy (fly fishing, camping, writing, etc) this is not a new phenomenon to me. Of course, depending on your economic situation, an expensive pen can be any pen you don’t pick up along the way or “borrow” from your kids school supplies, or it can run into the $1,000s . Like cars, or stereos, or diamond-encrusted IPhones, we live in a consumer-driven age, and for many people the acquisition and the having is must the point as the using.

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Hobonichi Delivers!

I do not try to hide my love for Japanese writing materials, or for Hobonichi in particular. So when their ordering went live on Sept 1, I made the leap with a few products I wanted to try, think I will use and knew I wanted to review. I went small, since I plan to order from local mom-and pop stores this year in the states in this time of retail hardship/Covid. So I only ordered the A5 Day Free, a blank notebook, and a pencil board.

Well, 8 days later, knock knock. I will be reviewing soon but for now, just glad to have my hands on these. Plus they threw in a tri-colored branded ballpoint pen. Maybe for my first give away?

Galen Leather Weeks Cover – Review/Adoration

Back in the days when Americans could travel to other countries, I traveled all over the world. One of the places I visited was Turkey, and the three days I spent in Istanbul were incredible. Of the many many places I have been, it is one that I long to go back to once we are able to do simple things like travel again (please wear your mask). I spent a full day in the main Grand Bazaar and was awed by the continued commitment to fine craftsmanship in the clothing, housewares, leather good and, well, almost everything I saw. The city itself is a monument to craftsmanship and dedication to art.

So I admit to having a predisposition to Galen Leather products, which I first discovered through the web and later at the DC Pen Show in 2019. Products and companies are like that – some you are just drawn to. A family-run Turkish company with a loving and sad history, I am a fan of what they do because of both their love of writing and their dedication to craftsmanship. So in 2020, when I decided I was going to try and use the Hobonichi Weeks Mega for my daily organizer, I decided to treat myself to a Galen Leather Weeks Cover, in brown. I was not disappointed. In fact, it may have been by best purchase of the year. It is everything I could have asked for and more, and will have a big impact on how I manage my journals and papers for 2021 as well.

The quality is world class. It is made from a thick genuine leather, and perfectly stitched. Not a seam or threat out of place or frayed. The attention to detail is obvious in all aspects. The pen loop is also made from a thick leather and after a year of use shows no signs of wear or fatigue. The main bend is, likewise, like new after 8 months of work and opening and closing. It has a wonderful soft feel in the hand and is substantial. I love the weight and heft, and it just has a classic look to it. It is something I know will be in the family for another generation at least. I look forward to it improving with age, but so far it is not showing much.

The inside is simple and classic. It has 4 pockets for business or credit cards, plus a top deeper pocket for tickets, a ruler or other long item. The has an open pocket that easily fits a pocket notebook and a final bottom pocket for more business cards, photos or other items. Each side features a slot for a notebook cover. I used a Weeks Mega last year so only use one notebook, but next year may use a pair of similarly sized thinner notebooks for my dump book and daily running notes. I am having a little trouble finding a thin weeks size notebook that is Tomoe River paper/Grid that I like, but that is hardly Galen’s fault.

Lastly, the right side of the cover has a zippered pocket with a heavy leather pull tab. The zipper is plastic, perhaps my one nit pick on the entire product, but frankly the plastic zipper works, saves a little weight and is smoother (I suspect) than a brass or metal would be.

My cover cost $69 and frankly matches up against products more than 5 times the cost. I have owned a Coach notebook cover before, and I would not got back to Coach or other “higher end” product in a million years. Why pay so much for something not even matched the notebook, made by people you will never know or interact with that costs more and is not as well made? Status? Ok, nice to meet you.

Lastly, all of Gelen’s products are packaged nicely and come with an evil eye mini charm (my daughter loves it) and they stand behind everything I have ever purchased from them. Oh, now they make pens, notebooks, gorgeous wood writing boxes and leather writing bags. And their blog is even better than mine (ok, not hard but they show how much they care in all they do). It is clear form everything they do that the people at Galen love writing as much as any of us, and I am glad to own some of their products.

I purchased this Galen Leather weeks cover with my own funds and was not provided anything for this review.

Pen and Paper Geek

Analog Living At Its Best