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PAPER REVIEW: GALEN LEATHER TOMOE RIVER NOTEBOOK

PAPER REVIEW: GALEN LEATHER TOMOE RIVER NOTEBOOK
Tomoe River notebooks are omnipresent these days, offered by various brands in many different styles. With good reason of course, as everyone wants a piece of the Japanese wonder paper to get the absolute best out of their fountain pens! Turkish stationery and leather goods company, Galen Leather, jumped on the Tomoe River wagon quite a while ago with their collection of ‘Everyday Books’: a selection of thin softcover notebooks and notepads in various sizes. But also these stunning, leather-bound, full-sized journals…
The Galen Leather “Leather” notebook is possibly one of the most luxurious, best-looking Tomoe River notebook I’ve seen to this day (and I have my fair share of them!). Whereas most brands go for a more utilitarian approach with thin, textured plastic softcover designs, Galen plays their strength with a cover made from their signature ‘Crazy Horse’ leather! The leather ages gracefully and noticeably with use: bending the covers creates creases and scratches which highlight the color of the leather, adding a lot of character to your carry. 
PAPER REVIEW: GALEN LEATHER TOMOE RIVER NOTEBOOK
While Japanese brands certainly know how to create a tight and clean binding, I think Galen does it just that little bit better (at least, going off of the two samples I was sent!). The binding with 25 small ‘signatures’ (8 pages bound together at a time) is almost identical to that of Japanese brands. It’s very precisely stitched, yet feels a bit less tight perhaps. 
PAPER REVIEW: GALEN LEATHER TOMOE RIVER NOTEBOOK
The notebook as a whole is very flexible…
PAPER REVIEW: GALEN LEATHER TOMOE RIVER NOTEBOOK
…and lays flat perfectly!
The slightly more loose binding creates a spine that is more flexible and makes the notebook as a whole easier to lay flat or even fold over. I’m really impressed with the build quality of these notebooks. The corners are nicely rounded, the leather is trimmed cleanly,…
PAPER REVIEW: GALEN LEATHER TOMOE RIVER NOTEBOOK
On the inside, you’ll find 400 white pages of Tomoe River paper. That page count is slightly lower than with other brands (making for a notebook that’s still considerably slim despite the leather cover), though arguably 400 pages is still an awful lot. Galen’s notebooks are only available in blank, so there’s no printing at all on the pages. Numbered pages would’ve been a nice-to-have perhaps, but it’s a feature that’s missing on most TR journals I’ve come across. 
PAPER REVIEW: GALEN LEATHER TOMOE RIVER NOTEBOOK
The blank pages could be a dealbreaker for some, but Galen thought of that and made sure that you can still use their notebooks in a structured manner: buying a leather notebook gets you a rather complete package that includes two paper guide sheets with gridded and lined layouts. 
PAPER REVIEW: GALEN LEATHER TOMOE RIVER NOTEBOOK
Also included: a leather blotter sheet and two guide sheets with grids and lines.
Especially with TR paper, guide sheets are easy enough to use, as the thin paper makes the grids easy to see. A leather blotter sheet is also included, which could be useful if you’d buy these notebooks for heavy EDC use, where you need to be able to close the book instantly – because of course, fast dry times are NOT the forte of Tomoe River paper!
PAPER REVIEW: GALEN LEATHER TOMOE RIVER NOTEBOOK
What IS the forte of Tomoe River is of course its impeccable reception of fountain pen inks. At the tradeoff of dry times, TR renders colors vividly, with tons of shading, crisp outlines, and strong sheen. 
PAPER REVIEW: GALEN LEATHER TOMOE RIVER NOTEBOOK
There has been quite some recent debate about whether or not Tomoe River paper can still live up to its name after they changed production. Personally, I find the new paper stock behaves extremely close to the original (even side by side), so I don’t think there’s reason to panic. Though it did still prompt Galen to specifically verify that they are still using the ‘old’ paper stock for their notebooks (at least for now!) – so if you are panicking and looking to get your fix of the original stuff, here’s your chance! 
With the Leather notebooks, Galen Leather manages to offer a slightly out-of-the-ordinary Tomoe River notebook, ideal for those that don’t want to add a separate (and often bulky) leather cover to their EDC to make it look great. As always, Galen presents their excellent eye for detail with a  neatly crafted notebook that also comes with useful extras like the blotter and guide sheets. Compared to their own non-leather covered Tomoe River journals (21€/25$ for A5), these do demand a fairly considerable premium: 30€/36$ (A5), 24€/29$ (B6), 20€/26$ (A6). Though I think that’s still a pretty reasonable price considering the great-looking product you get in return!
These products were sent to me by Galen Leather, so I could write this review. I was in no way influenced in the making of this review, the opinions shared in this review are completely my own! This post does not contain affiliate links.
PAPER REVIEW: GALEN LEATHER TOMOE RIVER NOTEBOOK

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