ILLs - really interesting, thx. There was a Northampton insider who posted a while back, and came across as unbiased in his views. He had some interesting insights. (but i don't remember the thread sos). He and his father had been in the trade all their lives, had worked with nearly all the makers at some time or other, and IIRC he nominated C&J when pushed on which factory cut least corners and had the highest standards overall. - so altho I had no idea til u said it, I guess AC semi being C&J doesn't surprise me. I understand that the skilled workers are in such demand that they can get a job anywhere, and of course bring their skills with them. Boils down to the fact that altho C&J doesn't make top level shoes under their own label it doesn't mean they can't select a decent skin or bevel a decent waist. Come to think of it, the leather on my C&J handgrades is as good as anything I've seen.