Monday, April 21, 2014

Review: @Gallery_Leather Key West Desk Ruled Journal - Honeysuckle

Luke from Gallery Leather sent this leather Key West desk journal in bright honeysuckle, handcrafted in Maine, right here in the USA. Thank you, Luke, for the opportunity to review this journal.
Review: @Gallery_Leather Key West Desk Ruled Journal - Honeysuckle

Size: 8" x 5.5"
Color: Ivory
Ruling: Lined
Sheet Count: 192 pages
Price: $20.00USD
Where to buy: Gallery Leather


The Key West desk journal is an attractive, nice sized journal. It stands out as a journal that would sit on a classy desk (or my desk...which is less than classy). It has a few touches that gives it that elegant appeal: satin bookmark in cream, rounded edges, "Journal" written on the front in gold, the beautiful pink of the honeysuckle cover, as well as the mild texture of the cover, and the shiny gold page edges. The binding has brown and cream threads that make it look hand bound - though there is also traces of glue on mine. The pages are very attractive and clean - they are ivory with a ruling that is easy to see but not obstructive to write on. Overall, this journal is very appealing, and if I had seen it in a store, it would certainly have been the kind of journal I'd stop and look at.


Can I just say this paper smells really good? I have an excellent sense of smell, so I can smell paper from a mile away (ok.. maybe I'm just a freak.) and this paper smells really good. Moving on. This journal feels great in hand - great size, portable enough but it's not too big that it's overwhelming to use and not so small that a page will be full after one line of writing.

I tested a variety of media in this notebook, and even though it's an elegant and professional type journal, a journal can be used with any kind of writing instrument, right? First of all, the paper is smooth but not coated, and as their product page says, there is just a little bit of tooth to make the writing experience noteworthy. I must agree. The cover is soft flexible, which I also like.

Sharpies look great in this journal, both the regular kinds and the brush tipped versions. No feathering, flows nicely on to the page. Of course, bleed through is likely, though I was surprised to find there was no bleed through with the metallic Sharpies, only some show through. Pretty good performance there.
Review: @Gallery_Leather Key West Desk Ruled Journal - Honeysuckle
Liquid inks and rollerballs were not too bad either - good flow on to the page, no feathering, but there is some bleed through as the paper appears to be absorbent. If you use a really fine tipped roller ball that is dry and if you write quickly, you will probably get away just with show through, otherwise, expect some bleed through.

Marker pens like the Sharpie premium pen, Sakura Pigma Microns, and Copic Multiliners performed really well - no feathering, very little bleed through, and minimal show through. The marker tips were really nice to write with on this paper as well.
Review: @Gallery_Leather Key West Desk Ruled Journal - Honeysuckle
Pencils, of course, had no issues on this paper.

Gel pens also performed really well and were really nice to use - no feathering, bleed through, or show through with the pens I tested, including the Pentel Slicci, Pilot Hi-Tec-C, Zebra Sarasa SE, Dong-A Miffy, Pilot Choose, Uni-ball Signo DX, and ST Dupont Jet 8. Of course, ballpoints had no issues either. And they were fun to use as well. Also, I can't spell "gel" either. Why did I spell it "jel"? I don't know.
Review: @Gallery_Leather Key West Desk Ruled Journal - Honeysuckle
If you want to use fountain pens in this journal - it is possible. You can expect small amounts of feathering, depending on the nib you use. Oddly enough, I experienced feathering with an extra-fine Lamy Safari nib, as well as with a Namiki Falcon soft-fine nib, and more with those two nibs than with a Pelikan M400 BB Stub nib (broad and wet). Ink choice affects this - inks that have a sheen (that is, seem to pool with some sort of surface tension) seem to feather less because they sit on the paper instead of soaking in. It'll be a little bit of a trial and error to find the right combination or one that works for you. For a journal that doesn't claim to be fountain pen friendly, I was content with the results. There will be some feathering (but not extreme), and show through and bleed through will be frequent. If you can live with this, you can use fountain pens in this journal. I have been. It's not cut out for flex pens though. That's okay though. I know the limits of the notebook.
Review: @Gallery_Leather Key West Desk Ruled Journal - Honeysuckle
Doesn't look too bad with fountain pens. 
Review: @Gallery_Leather Key West Desk Ruled Journal - Honeysuckle
Review: @Gallery_Leather Key West Desk Ruled Journal - Honeysuckle
This particular fine nib exhibits some ghosting and feathering, whereas the double broad stub below feathers much less and doesn't ghost. Without zooming in, it's hardly noticeable. 
Review: @Gallery_Leather Key West Desk Ruled Journal - Honeysuckle
Review: @Gallery_Leather Key West Desk Ruled Journal - Honeysuckle
Not so good with flex pens though. 

  • Made in the USA. 
  • Good looking journal.
  • Journal feels good in hand. Good size.
  • Pages are both glued and stitched.
  • Paper smells really good. Don't act like I'm the only one who smells paper and notebooks.
  • Does really well with gel pens and ballpoint pens. And pencils.
  • There was extra glue visible from binding leftover on the spine and some squeezed out on to the outside of the pages.
  • Not entirely fountain pen friendly, but it's not terribly unfriendly either. 

This is a really nice journal - good paper performance, and if you aren't hoping to use this to replace your Rhodia/Clairefontaine fountain pen journals, you're good to go. Considering the price of a Moleskine, and that this journal is just a few dollars more, and that it's made in the USA, and that it comes in a variety of colours to choose from... well. It's fun to try out different journals, isn't it? Perhaps that chance will come to you soon... ooooh. Foreshadowing.

I was provided this notebook free of charge to sample, play with, get accustomed to, and review. I was not compensated monetarily to write this review. All opinions are my own. There are no affiliate links in this review.


Ashley Shell said...

OOOH I was so hoping that it was a fountain pen friendly journal! :( Too bad. Nice looking and probably great for my gel pens....but since I change the tool that I journal with just about every other night, it wouldn't be very "friendly" for me :-/

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