Leather is unique. It’s kind of hard to describe how cool it is, especially when its well made. Look at Steve McQueen, he wore a leather jacket all the time and he was just a badass. Hell, you could have a total piece of shit in your possession and it would still be cool, because its leather. That said though, the coolest pieces of leather are hand made, whether it be with overgrown sewing machines or through the physical labors of our digits: someone still made it, someone cared.
when you hold something in your hand that was artfully crafted by someone who gave a shit, it really tells its own story. And beyond the care of production, there are the levels of selection, management and direction that make these fine goods come together. It is pretty much an american adage that, “anything worth doing, is worth over doing.” Some of the greatest marvels of our time came from overbuilding something. Doing something because you can, not because you should. The challenge of making something last well beyond what would be considered reasonable: that in itself is an art that is unique to its own.
These are two things that I cary on me every day: my belt and my wallet. I had them before I enlisted, and I carried them all the way through up till today, and they’re still going strong. First off is the Saddleback Leather goods. If I had one way to describe these things, its that they’re built like a brick shit-house. I mean hell, the thing comes with a 100 year warranty. Yeah… 100.
First, lets start with Saddleback’s story and how they make it, and you’ll see why its in a class all its own. Dave started with his very first bag in 1999 – he had no idea what he was doing but his goal was to build something that his kids would fight over when he was dead. Long story short: he succeeded.
Selection comes first. There are several different leather types: Full grain, Top grain, Genuine and Bonded leather. Full grain being quite literally, the whole piece of leather. The other types are various layers of the former Full grain that have been cut away for different purposes/uses. ALL of Saddleback’s products are made entirely with none other than Full grain leather. The goal is completely solid materials. They use industrial grade polyester thread, and fine solid brass rivets to remove the weak links and ensure that there are no breakable parts. Reinforcement of high wear and damage prone areas are done to ensure your grand children don’t develop a head ache. They’ve likened it to killing a fly with a shotgun.
Then, its the people that make it – people that really care. Each item is lovingly crafted by hand, with the fewest seams as possible to truly make something that will last a life time. Thousands of hours have gone into the design and prototyping of their products so that they’ll stand true to the companies 100 year warranty, and well beyond that.
So Ive had this stuff for about six years now, and they’re just starting to get broken in. It took me 4 years alone to develop that really slick ass sweat patina on the wallet alone. The construction absolutely lives up to its namesake, everything about it just says I’ll have it for the rest of my life. And quite honestly, I can very well see me pulling the same wallet out of my pocket in 50 years and I doubt it will look much different than it does today.
So how far will far will you go to convince yourself “good enough” is really good enough? Check out the rest of Dave’s awesome and unfortunately expensive, but seriously worth it products at saddlebackleather.com