For a long while I have been seeking a really good double pen sleeve and they are hard to come by.
I have a Nagasawa triple pen sleeve and could have bought the double but I wanted something more every day and substantial; the Nagasawa are beautifully made and if you have the pennies buy one, you won’t regret it.
However; I wanted something I could drop in my bag that was reasonably priced so I wouldn’t feel guilty when it took a few knocks as it aged. So, after a little hunting around I found a review for one of the zipper versions of Galen’s pen cases and from there travelled to their site to see what they could offer me.
The size of their product range is quite something but I eventually found what I was looking for, a double pen sleeve in brown leather with complimentary stitching in a lighter brown thread. On the website the stitching looks nearly white and I didn’t want this, but wanted matching stitching, so I emailed them about this and just for curiosity checked my emails a few minutes later and I had a reply. Yes, I could have matching stitching but it would take longer to deliver; as Christmas was closing in quickly I took a chance and ordered a stock item.
It arrived in under a week and I have to say it is impressive, it arrives in sturdy box with a couple of cards; one detailing care & cleaning, information about the leather and production facts telling you who made it and when; and the other is a card with a glass Evil Eye attached and telling Galen’s story and the background to the Evil Eye and finally a 10% coupon.
The sleeve is flat in the box, as you would expect, and made from very sturdy leather (approx. 2mm thick) and this is where I started to encounter problems. Whilst it is good quality leather it is also unyielding; and it quickly became obvious that I would need to spend some time stretching the leather to enable it to accommodate pens.
So for the last four weeks I have been alternating between Sharpie markers and a piece of steel pipe, of a similar thickness, trying to stretch the leather; at this point I should say a word about the quality of the stitching, it is very very good.
I did consider various methods of treating the leather to improve the chances of it stretching and becoming more flexible but I decided against this. I felt it was reasonable to want to be able to use a product straight from the box, and treating the leather to make it fulfil its purpose is rather defeating the object.
With this in mind I have persisted and the leather has finally stretched sufficiently to allow me to load it with two Sharpie markers but they are still a tight fit and difficult to insert/extract from the sleeve. It is also worth noting, at this stage, that the interior side of the leather is smooth finished rather than being left unfinished, consequently when putting pens in or taking them out I can hear them scraping against the leather.
In conclusion, this is a near bullet proof pen sleeve made by a company that clearly cares about its products and its customers but based on my experience with the sleeve I have I could not recommend it; it was just too much hard work get it to a stage where I could drag Sharpie’s in and out for it to be a practical solution to my quest for an everyday pen sleeve.
Finally, I would like to finish this review by saying what I think Galen did well and where I feel they have an opportunity to improve this part of their range.
What Galen did well:
- Customer service is wonderful.
- Delivery is very prompt.
- The pen sleeve is outstandingly well made, especially the stitching.
- The leather is thick enough to protect pens from day to day knocks and drops
What Galen could have done better:
- The use of a thick soft leather would have made this sleeve usable straight from the box.
- Leaving the inner side of the leather unfinished or alternatively using a soft lining similar to that used by Rickshaw or Nagasawa use in their pen sleeves.
Disclaimer: The pen sleeve was purchased with my own funds at retail price. The opinions expressed in this review are my own; and I am not connected with either the retailer/manufacturer in any way.