Saddleback Leather Company - Official Affiliate thread - Page 81
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I got the same tobacco briefcase and have had it for about a year and a half and have been very pleased with it. I apply some Obenauf's to it once a year, which has darkened it, and I'm good to go. If you don't mind the heft of it, you will find lots of compliments and inquiries to be had. I take the train to work and get at least one compliment a week.
I'd like a nice leather sleeve for my kindle but considering that it looks like the larger Kindle 3 with keyboard fits perfectly in the only photos I have seen, I am worried that the Medium pouch will be much too long for the Kindle 4 and maybe a pinch wide.
Any plans to make a slightly smaller version? Are they available to order to a custom measurement? Seems like most random leather and wool-felt shops on Etsy will make this kind of thing to fit whatever version/device you want (since its just cutting a rectangle to size and sewing up the sides)
I am not a very happy camper. I decided to get a Medium satchel in Carbon Black after loving my iPad case and should have gone with the small size like I intended to do from the beginning. After only a week I am looking to give it a good home so I can purchase the small satchel. Anyone interested?
Okay folks, here is my God’s honest review of Saddleback Leather’s briefcases. I caveat this review by stating that I’m a businessperson as well as an outdoor person and somewhat obsessive when it comes to interests. Before leather briefcases, it was watches. I have owned three SBL Briefcases. The first I owned was a Dark Coffee Brown (DCB) medium I picked up on eBay. The case was outstanding, at first. I carried it during day trips regularly and discovered the DCB color was rubbing off on my clothes. I contacted SBL who had me ship the bag to them for refinishing. They were very nice.
Negative: DCB color rubbed off on clothes.
Positive: Customer Service was outstanding.
Once I received the bag back from SBL, the issue continued. Ultimately I found the medium was too small for my needs. I decided to upgrade to the large bag. To this point I had not really carried it to work too often. Thinking the color issue was a fluke, I purchased a DCB large from eBay. (You’ll notice the pattern with eBay, I’d rather someone else do the hard work of breaking in the leather.) Same issue, color came off on my jeans.
Remedy: This time I took the bag to a leather shop that specialized in restoring leather furniture, briefcases and making shoes. They had the bag for a week. They scrubbed it with antiseptic or astringent (can’t remember) leather preparation used in making shoes, re-died the bag, sealed it and conditioned it for $50.00. No issue with the color after that. Having the attention span of a gnat, I quickly got bored with the DCB color and the unrefined texture of the leather in that particular model (something to do with the DCB finishing) and unloaded it on eBay.
HOW TO DARKEN YOUR BAG: I picked up a Chestnut Large via eBay once again. This is the one I’m keeping. I wasn’t particularly satisfied with how red the finish was and wanted it a few shades darker. Hopefully this will help those with the same issues. I tried the following: Mink Oil (no appreciable color change), Chaimberlains Number 1 (no color change), Chaimberlains Number 3 (some color change, but it would have taken 100 treatments to get it where I wanted it). Then I discovered Hydrophane Leather Darkening Oil. Three treatments and it’s outstanding! You can pick that stuff up at any saddle or tack shop or online.
HEAVY BAG: IMO the SBL briefcase is a great quality bag appropriate for weekend adventures and jobs requiring only casual attire. If you’re built like a gorilla, you might even be able to put a few items into it without breaking a shoulder. I travel often, negotiate international airports, take taxis, metros, and walk a lot when I’m on the road (yes, in a suit). What this bag is not, is comfortable to lug around on foot all day. Empty, it’s 9 pounds, picture carrying a gallon of milk all day, wherever you go. 2 gallons if you add a laptop and a few notebooks. Yup, that would suck (and it did).
UNREFINED BAG: IMO this bag is not one to carry when wearing a suit, attending meetings or when you’re generally trying to be taken seriously by your superiors, clients, etc. It would be like showing up to a board meeting wearing a $500.00 Polka Dot tie. Sure, it’s of high quality, it’s an expensive tie, but is it appropriate to the situation? Probably not. I took my bag to a business meeting once and stuck out like “balls on a dog”, sure we have all seen them, but they still look odd. As a result, my bag is largely relegated to trips in the car, weekend adventures, and when I get dressed up in my Fedora, leather bomber and bull whip to go jogging with boulders.
I’ve looked at Ghurka, Mulholland Brothers and others for a solution to attempt to span the gap from the cool, rustic look to the business appropriate. There is none. The SBL briefcase is top notch, but at about $600, it’s important to know what you’re getting and when it’s appropriate. I have no intention of getting rid of my SBL, but I will tell you that I’ve already invested in a business appropriate briefcase, because the SBL just wasn’t it. Between the weight, unbound edges, straps, and “bling” ( 14 pieces of ultra shiny, indiscrete stainless steel), it’s just not boardroom material unless you’re the actual Chairman.
For those who have similar opinions and are looking for something more professional take a look at Mackenzie Leather in U.K. (http://www.mackenziebags.co.uk/) or Mitchell Leather (http://www.mitchell-leather.com/) in the U.S. I’ve found others, but like these two. Mitchell is hugely expensive and I’ve not purchased from them, but have handled their cases and they are outstanding. Likewise, Mackenzie is top-notch British leather. I have a Gladstone bag through them that, despite it’s size, it still lighter than my SBL. Take a look at their “Basic Brief”.
This does come off overly negative, but there are a ton of reviews telling the prospective buyer about the wonders, rather than the reality of being a SBL owner. I love my SBL bag, if I didn’t I wouldn’t have bought 3, much less the wallet, and belt. There are only a few companies that can match SBL’s quality, and even fewer at their price point but keep in mind the weight, time on your feet with the bag, your attire and venues frequented. Don’t set yourself for disappointment. Bottom line, these are the toughest, heaviest, most beautiful ugly bags out there and I love mine completely (at least for the first mile).
I agree completely with the sentiments on it not being useful in a formal atmosphere; it's something I considered when looking around for a bag, and decided against getting a SBL. I eventually got one made, but it's still not quite as polished as I would like a briefcase to be, but I'm in a business casual office, and it's fine. If I got a SAB, or probably one of those Mackenzie bags (which are beautiful), it would probably look pretentious.
So to second your advice, any potential buyer should think carefully about where they would be using the bag most, and if they're comfortable carrying around all that weight.
Saddleback Classic Medium Briefcase in chestnut