April 18, 2016

There are plenty of journals out there, but not all of them are high quality.

handmade leather journals

I've been handcrafting leather journals for years. One of my most rewarding experiences is reading the reviews from happy customers sincerely thanking me for their leather notebook, wedding book, or travel journal that will be treasured in their families for years to come.

I absolutely love what I do! Not only do I get to spend time with my two toddlers working from my in-home shop, I also get to createmeaningful products with my own two hands. I am so humbled to be crafting the notebooks where you jot down your memories, inspirations, thoughts, fears, and joys.

I can honestly tell you that we create 100% of Ox and pine journals by hand. In fact, let me take you on a journey of our journals to show you the care that goes into each one. 

leather for handmade leather journals

We've got enough leather at our shop to clothe a small army! 

Just like a delicious recipe all starts with the right ingredients, I believe a superior product requires excellent materials. 

The leather we use is:

  • Oil-tanned. You won't believe how buttery soft these leather journals turn out. It's because the leather is oil-tanned, giving it a soft texture that is also resistant to weather and damage. This is the same type of leather that many shoemakers use because of its durability.
  • Thick. Living with slightly destructive toddlers, I understand the importance of protecting items that I don't want destroyed. While the binding and covers on most journals wear out over time, my journals are thick enough to withstand wear and tear.
  • Full grain. This leather hasn't been altered with sanding or buffing to remove imperfections. You are buying the real deal. This allows for stronger fibers in the leather and increased durability, so that the quality of our journals actually improves over time instead of wearing out.
  • Cut from a half hide. In other words, this isreal leather, none of that synthetic stuff.

 handmade-leather-gifts

We start out cutting the journal shapes and several long straps for tying the journal in place. This makes a pretty huge mess, as I'm sure you can imagine!

leather scraps

Next, we carefully count and fold the pages by hand. It may surprise you, but paper actually has a grain to it. Folding against the grain leaves the fold weak and prone to tearing. That's why if you fold heavy card stock or construction paper against the grain it's generally a weak fold.

Through the thousands of journals we've crafted, we ensure that each sheet is folded with the grain. This makes the journals strong enough to withstand regular use with pages that aren't flimsy.

paper for journals

That's the second essential ingredient in our journals: high quality paper. The paper is much heavier than typical copy paper and is designed for a variety of mediums, from ink, to graphite, to even mild water. The paper is acid-free, preventing it from aging more quickly and turning brittle like acidic papers do. The paper usually comes blank, but you can customize your journal with lined pages if that's what you're looking for.

sewing together a handmade leather journal

Once our leather and paper are both cut and folded to the correct sizes, it's time to stitch it all together. Our journals are sewn with waxed Irish linen thread. That might not sound familiar if you're not into bookbinding, but Irish linen thread is the standard for binding together books and is known for, yet again, its strength and durability.

That's basically the theme of our journalsdurability. We understand that our customers, some of whom are our personal friends and family, use our journals to collect some of their most precious moments. I think that's the kind of thing that needs top-notch durability.

handmade leather journal

 

stack of handmade leather journals

Ahhh, the best feeling of all! When our journals are all cut, stitched, stacked, and ready to arrive on your doorstep. 

If you'd like to see more of our leather journals, head to our leather journal shop. Thanks!

-Stephanie