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Stratkat

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Gary Madden hasn’t been with Filson for over 2 years. This article was written over a year after the one you provided. As I said previously, YKK stated that they rarely give these zipper machines that they supplied Filson with.

They buy rolls of zipper and cut it at the factory, as opposed to manufacturing them there.
 
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OtterMeanGreen

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They buy rolls of zipper and cut it at the factory.
Says an article 18 months before the one I supplied, it also doesn’t mention that YKK supplied them with a rare machine, as seen in the article I provided.
 

Stratkat

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Says an article 18 months before the one I supplied, it also doesn’t mention that YKK supplied them with a rare machine, as seen in the article I provided.
If you look back to when this was brought up, you will recall that I called customer service and it was verified. This article backed it up by referring to the rolls. Thought it was interesting.
 

OtterMeanGreen

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“Because Filson manufactures more than 70 percent of its product domestically, the zipper company YKK gave Filson its own zipper machine. YKK doesn’t do this very often. Its own brand is as prized as Filson’s. But Filson’s domestic response time to orders is as short as a single week and YKK couldn’t keep up. Instead they told Filson to crank out its own zippers. Which Filson did, and because they’re made of brass Whittaker herself said they should sweep up the floor beneath the machine each night and bring the tiny, chocolate-sprinkle-sized leavings from the zipper maker to a recycler. After a single busy day Filson will collect as much as a thousand dollars in recycled brass.”

Doesn’t sound like they’re just cutting the zippers. I do recall that you said you called Filson, but since no chat logs were posted here I have to take you at your word. Not saying you have to provide proof, but it sure helps research wise and aids with interpretation. Also as I stated many times in my dealings with Filson CS, I tend to not take their word at face value, as they’ve been very inaccurate in the past & sometimes contradictory.

This is what a YKK zipper machine looks like (CM6). It’s not very substantial in footprint.


E72892EE-8E47-49D8-855D-E48E674F8D1D.png
 
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Stratkat

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lol, that's an industrial sewing machine! notice the cut length of zippers lying to the right. its sewing the zipper to the leather. Zipper is manufactured in a long continuous strand. it is then cut to length, and keepers are attached at the ends. this determines the final length. it is sold in standard lengths to manufacturers. Filson uses a lot of it, they use 'custom' lengths. the rolls are provided and they cut them to length to use as they need fit. I have no idea what kind of machine YKK sent them to use. I do know that manufacturing a zipper is very complicated, you have to make the individual teeth which is an industrial process (go back to the thread, pretty involved) then they have to be attached to the tape, and the keepers and stops (also individually manufactured) are attached. its highly unIikely, but possible that YKK supplies Filson with a machine where all the teeth are fed into it and it assembles them onto the tape, what do I know? either way that is assembling, not manufacturing. I am only going by what ive read and what ive been told. personally, I'm satisfied with that, but feel free to dig deeper and get the whole story.
 

speedy611

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lol, that's an industrial sewing machine! notice the cut length of zippers lying to the right. its sewing the zipper to the leather. Zipper is manufactured in a long continuous strand. it is then cut to length, and keepers are attached at the ends. this determines the final length. it is sold in standard lengths to manufacturers. Filson uses a lot of it, they use 'custom' lengths. the rolls are provided and they cut them to length to use as they need fit. I have no idea what kind of machine YKK sent them to use. I do know that manufacturing a zipper is very complicated, you have to make the individual teeth which is an industrial process (go back to the thread, pretty involved) then they have to be attached to the tape, and the keepers and stops (also individually manufactured) are attached. its highly unIikely, but possible that YKK supplies Filson with a machine where all the teeth are fed into it and it assembles them onto the tape, what do I know? either way that is assembling, not manufacturing. I am only going by what ive read and what ive been told. personally, I'm satisfied with that, but feel free to dig deeper and get the whole story.
I haven’t read any of the articles, but your assessment makes sense, and supports the idea of a “custom cut” zipper. That customization must be the length not the teeth themselves. Presumably the actual teeth are cast before being glued (?) to the tape.
 

OtterMeanGreen

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lol, that's an industrial sewing machine! notice the cut length of zippers lying to the right. its sewing the zipper to the leather. Zipper is manufactured in a long continuous strand. it is then cut to length, and keepers are attached at the ends. this determines the final length. it is sold in standard lengths to manufacturers. Filson uses a lot of it, they use 'custom' lengths. the rolls are provided and they cut them to length to use as they need fit. I have no idea what kind of machine YKK sent them to use. I do know that manufacturing a zipper is very complicated, you have to make the individual teeth which is an industrial process (go back to the thread, pretty involved) then they have to be attached to the tape, and the keepers and stops (also individually manufactured) are attached. its highly unIikely, but possible that YKK supplies Filson with a machine where all the teeth are fed into it and it assembles them onto the tape, what do I know? either way that is assembling, not manufacturing. I am only going by what ive read and what ive been told. personally, I'm satisfied with that, but feel free to dig deeper and get the whole story.
That’s one snapshot of an entire process, the blurb under the picture is why I shared it. Why would YKK admit to not being able to keep up with Filson’s demands? why who they supply them with a very rare machine to a customer? Doesn’t make any sense if it’s just for cutting and sewing, something you don’t need a special secret machine for? If anything further digging is required, as I don’t feel that the argument is ironclad. The article I provided was written 1 year and 8 months after yours and actually states the YKK zipper machine, even going as far as openly saying they’re making their own zippers. Plus there’s more to a zipper that just the teeth, the pull & slider themselves are part of the manufacturing process, this machine could very well be making the both pull & sliders from scratch as article is eluding to.
 
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Stratkat

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That’s one snapshot of an entire process, the blurb under the picture is why I shared it. Why would YKK admit to not being able to keep up with Filson’s demands? why who they supply them with a very rare machine to a customer? Doesn’t make any sense if it’s just for cutting and sewing, something you don’t need a special secret machine for? If anything further digging is required, as I don’t feel that the argument is ironclad. The article I provided was written 1 year and 8 months after yours and actually states the YKK zipper machine, even going as far as openly saying they’re making their own zippers.
so many questions, so few answers! get back to us with your findings please...
 

Stratkat

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... ill leave you with this though. if zipper is already produced in length, on rolls, why on earth would you want to complicate you business and have to add more steps? what would that be gaining to Filson? they are trying to make a profit right, I'm sure they don't want to add steps.
 

OtterMeanGreen

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so many questions, so few answers! get back to us with your findings please...
Because it’s this simple, you don’t need a rare YKK machine to simply cut the product. A simple sewing machine and brass cutting scissors would make that machines cost pretty obsolete. As you mentioned it’s about profit. The article already states that YKK can’t keep up with the demand, so they supplied them with a machine to make their own zippers (as stated in article).

Well we’re not gonna get to the bottom of this by merely calling customer service, so we’re going to have to rely on other means, which I’ve already started supplying. This probably won’t be resolved unless someone takes the factory tour and actually asks the question to someone more qualified to know what they’re talking about (like a production manager). As it seems today there are way too many holes for this to be conclusive.
 
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OtterMeanGreen

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I haven’t read any of the articles, but your assessment makes sense, and supports the idea of a “custom cut” zipper. That customization must be the length not the teeth themselves. Presumably the actual teeth are cast before being glued (?) to the tape.
You don’t have to read the articles just read my above posting which is a snippet of the article I provided (in quotations). This particular article was written about 20 months after the one Strat provided with the CEO (Gray Madden) who resigned at the end of 2016
 

Stratkat

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You don’t have to read the articles just read my above posting which is a snippet of the article I provided (in quotations). This particular article was written about 20 months after the one Strat provided with the CEO (Gray Madden) who resigned at the end of 2016
... and we all know I am not to be trusted with anything I say or provide, without 3 or 4 forms of hardcopy documentation. so take that into consideration.
 

OtterMeanGreen

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... and we all know I am not to be trusted with anything I say or provide, without 3 or 4 forms of hardcopy documentation. so take that into consideration.
No need for that. You posted a “gotcha” style post and i reciprocated with an article written over 18 months after contradicting the below statement. Those are the facts. I’ve shared my many experiences on this thread with just how unreliable Filson CS dept is, so there’s also that. If you feel like your conversation with them satisfiies your argument then it has, not trying to take that away from you.
In case anyone still questioned whether Filson has its own zipper making machines...
 
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nevadabob

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re: zippers. Not sure if this is a reliable source, but...


IMG_0459.JPG

Now, this might not be enough for some, but I think most of us can agree that if Filson was indeed manufacturing its own zippers in house, Filson would say that in its own marketing.

Some people have a beef with Shinola for importing parts from elsewhere and putting a finished product together here in the states. In effect, I believe that's what Filson does with the zippers - buys a part it needs, in as close to finished form as it can be than makes the final step(s) and puts it together in house.

Oh and for the guys that have issues with Shinola, most of Filson's products are "Made in USA of imported Material" (as stated in Filson's own marketing). Neither tin cloth nor twill is made in USA.
 

soybean

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re: zippers. Not sure if this is a reliable source, but...


View attachment 1197588

Now, this might not be enough for some, but I think most of us can agree that if Filson was indeed manufacturing its own zippers in house, Filson would say that in its own marketing.

Some people have a beef with Shinola for importing parts from elsewhere and putting a finished product together here in the states. In effect, I believe that's what Filson does with the zippers - buys a part it needs, in as close to finished form as it can be than makes the final step(s) and puts it together in house.

Oh and for the guys that have issues with Shinola, most of Filson's products are "Made in USA of imported Material" (as stated in Filson's own marketing). Neither tin cloth nor twill is made in USA.
I was just getting ready to mention the same point that nevadabob made. My guess is that Filson has a YKK machine that automates the custom cutting of different length zippers.
Who knew how much work went into making a zipper?
YKK apparently does EVERYTHING it can in-house. Including smelting its own brass and making the boxes that the zippers ship in.
https://ykknorthamerica.com/the-ykk-difference/vertical-integration/

 

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