Just received my MTO. Order placed 06/19/12. Finished 9/28/12. FedEx noticed on 10/5. Submitted both LACEY and 5xxx forms on 10/8. Package released 10/17. Received today 10/19/12. Total cost $488.25 of which $43.94 US Custom and $6.5 FedEx fees. Specs in the following picture.
Initial impressions. Ben last came *looking* much narrower than expected but fits well (US 10D/E, UK 9E C&J/JL, UK 9.5E EG UK 9.5F G&G). Sole is not at all stiff as some have experienced. Janus Calf Suede are soft to touch and wears a bit warm. Flush metal toe tap is not perfectly flushed but acceptable. Shoe trees do not fit as well compare to the generic JL and C&J trees for their respective brand shoes. Construction looks solid but quality wise I think its comparable to C&J bench grade due to its visible imperfections. Overall it feels and handles much better than AE, similar to C&J Benchgrade and Alden, but the refinement is slightly below C&J Handgrade. Definitely a few notches below Vass/EG and definitely below JL/G&G. Great value for its hand-welted construction, flexibility of its MTO program, and great service from Pepe. Biggest complaint would be the lack of attention to the slightest details and the SHIPPING & HANDLING NIGHTMARE. Some pictures to follow.
Top down view. Visual imperfection #1 - cap toe mushrooming, as noticed on some other captoes in this thread; its usually not as visible on other shoes I have. Visual imperfection #2 - parallel lines of the same width for the lacing holes; again, other high-end brands have width varying with the shape of the eyelet pieces. Construction imperfection #1 - the threads that holds the eyelet pieces together are thin/filmsy silk threads instead of the usual beefy well waxed twisted cotton threads.
Not so visible dimples from the insole feather. I am not experienced enough in determining the thickness of the insole leather, maybe DWFII can tell better if he is still around.
Visual imperfection #3. Stitching spacing visibly uneven along the adelaide eyelet pieces; note the bottom stitching has higher density than the top stitching. And those teeth are not cut consistently.
Visual imperfection #4 - some burn mark at the contact of upper/sole welting.
Construction imperfection #2 - seems not hand welted tight enough and the welt finished was somewhat missing/incomplete around the waist area.
All in all, great value for the price. Will break this pair in for a while to see how the last really fits and then place an order for NST in grained leather and beefy Norwegian welt!
Edited by chogall - 10/19/12 at 9:39pm