The Official Leather Artisans Appreciation Thread

Discussion in 'Streetwear and Denim' started by KitAkira, Mar 3, 2010.

  1. ambien walrus

    ambien walrus Member

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    In memory of the original thread name...

    My belt from Unlucky, just added LP. Got mid-August 2010.

    now:
    [​IMG]

    then:
    [​IMG]


    Can we get a picture of the "after" in the same shitty light?
     


  2. Glueeater

    Glueeater Active Member

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    I could try to replicate it lol, but Scott took that picture.
     


  3. notwithit

    notwithit Pullup laureate

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    Question for the fellow "Joe Hill" group order participants (applies to all natural-color belts): what color/kind of shoes are y'all wearing with your belts? I have a pair of Chucks that should complement the color pretty nicely (without being too match-y), and I'll probably wear it with my GATs, but that's about it on my end.

    Thoughts?
     


  4. SoulCrux

    SoulCrux New Member

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    So i checked the website on that business card, but there's nothing on there except for an "About us" page. I remember there being a thread on here where h posted all the diffferent types of hides and buckles he had, etc. But now when i tried to click on threads started by "unlucky", SF gives me an error.

    So..what?
     


  5. mikecch

    mikecch Senior member

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    Question for the fellow "Joe Hill" group order participants (applies to all natural-color belts): what color/kind of shoes are y'all wearing with your belts? I have a pair of Chucks that should complement the color pretty nicely (without being too match-y), and I'll probably wear it with my GATs, but that's about it on my end.

    Thoughts?


    I wear my natural belts with black or brown mocs/boots...I reckon the colour on the belt gets pretty versatile after a bit of wear [​IMG]
     


  6. UncleSammy

    UncleSammy Member

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    My favorite leather stuff, except for one item all in horse.
    Scott's double HH veg. tanned belt, wallet and coin purse have been used daily for a year.
    My most appreciated purchases of last year.
    Used some Fiebings oil dye on the coin purse to make it a dark brown/seal color.
    (See my previous post on page 2. to compare)
    The other more supple belt (veg. tanned outside/chrome tanned inside) is unused so far.
    Been out of country for some time, your posts make me anxious to order some extra HH goodies from this Utah genius. Watchbands?


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     


  7. skitlets

    skitlets Senior member

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    My group buy Joe Hill belt came in yesterday. I haven't bought a new belt in yeaaars so this sucker is thick and a bit unwieldy to use right now. I'm sure it'll soften up with use.

    It also came with a tin of something. Do I need to treat natural belts this thick to prevent cracking/damage or will I be okay just wearing it in?
     


  8. MaxK

    MaxK Senior member

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    That tin would be the conditioner. Scott said you probably only need to use it a few times a year at most. I wore my Joe Hill out for the first time today. Got a few comments including a description of the buckle ad "spectacular." the belt is seriously thick, stiff, and light colored right now, but you can feel that it's going to get supple and darken nicely. This item is going to be in as heavy a rotation as I can swing to get some good wear on it!
     


  9. SupeMassivePowerTrip

    SupeMassivePowerTrip Well-Known Member

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  10. MaxK

    MaxK Senior member

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    Here's pics of the Joe Hill:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I plan on trying to work the belt through my hands a bit every day to start loosening it up. It's a great piece!
     


  11. mikecch

    mikecch Senior member

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    ^ Nice MaxK - thanks for the pics, now my intro can go!

    Here goes my rant (photos by Scott himself)

    A few months ago, I became very curious about how the Japanese artisan brands process their high-end leathers, and why it is so different from the stuff that everybody else uses even when the leathers come from the same tanneries.

    I thus began a conversation with Scott (a.k.a. Unlucky) of Don't Mourne, Organize! about the possibility of making a North American belt that will rival the likes of Red Moon, The Flat Head, Kawatako, etc in terms of the leather, the hardware, the stitching and all the little details in constructing a belt.

    We eventually learned that although the Japanese oftentimes purchsed high quality saddle/skirting leather from the top US tanneries (or even 'wet' hides) much like many of our respected belt makers, one important difference lies in how the Japanese workshops process this very raw leather into something very "bridle"-like with a magnificent hand and good weight.

    The differences in hardware (the higher-end Japanese makes utilize hand-forged buckles, etc) and attention to detail (stitch material, buckle-fold design, edge burnish, etc) were somewhat more apparent at times.

    With that in mind, we began a project to create a top quality North American work-belt for leather-freaks...

    Firstly, the leather.
    We debated on the merits of different types of leather - would it be best to use a skirting leather (where maximum grain & patina development is possible, but the leather is lighter and more dry to begin with), a harness leather (strong and full of oils, but doesn't come in natural), or a bridle leather (smooth and oily, but North American bridle usually lack character)?

    Much brainstorming ensued and Scott bought in several sample hides, including interesting pieces from Wickett & Craig, Moser and Thoroughbred.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    In the end, we took a page from the Japanese craftsmen's book and decided to use a custom 15~17 oz Moser natural skirting leather which had been expertly hand-stuffed by Mr. Moser...a truly beautiful leather with a solid body, good weight and an amazing texture!

    Secondly, the hardware.
    I had noticed that brands like Samurai, Dolce Vita, etc tended to use buckles that were much, well, bigger than Western makes. I asked Scott whether it would be possible to also give the old buckle a nice upgrade...

    Again, much brainstorming followed - we went through some US hardware suppliers' catalogs, inquired at a few different foundries, consulted with Jeff Decker (master buckle maker), and thought about different materials to use.

    Scott eventually found a husband & wife team of Damascus steel makers (Alabama Damascus), and it was decided that Scott will hand-make some clip buckles for the project from Damascus billets of various patterns!
    Everything from the slight curve created by Scott's own 4 tonne arbor press to the hand-cut edges show the love and care Scott has put into these buckles (big thanks goes to Mr. Decker as well).
    The steel was then finished so that it will age beautifully with the leather.

    An early prototype:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Thirdly, the stitching.
    For this belt, it was suggested that an upgrade from the usual poly or linen threads were due.
    Scott has hand-made some sinew threads from the tendons of wild Montana mule deers.
    This stuff is amazing, gram for gram stronger than most steel.

    And to complement the stitching at the buckle fold, hand-hammered copper rivets have been added to for central reinforcement.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Finally, for dessert, we have small tins of home-made leather condition made by Scott, based on recipes gathered from saddle-makers and leather experts.
    Feeling the love yet? :p
     


  12. mikecch

    mikecch Senior member

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    Oh, and we had a few different tip finishes for everyone to choose from:
    [​IMG]

    Bonus pics, Scott's workshop [​IMG] :
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     


  13. UncleSammy

    UncleSammy Member

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    Great read, thanks for posting!
     


  14. Odd I/O

    Odd I/O Senior member

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    Mike, it's great to know the background to this project. So, did the finished product meet all your expectations? Did you achieve everything that you set out to accomplish with this project? Does it indeed rival the Japanese makers (Flathead, etc...) you mentioned?
     


  15. mikecch

    mikecch Senior member

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    ^ I have no idea at the moment, as I haven't received my belt yet [​IMG]

    Should arrive here in Australia within the next few days - I'll give a detailed and honest review to the best of my ranting capabilities as soon as possible.
     


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