Coeur d’Alene, Idaho is a small town in the Panhandle of Northern Idaho, surrounded on all sides by natural beauty. Rugged peaks to the north and east, an enormous lake to the south, another enormous lake the north, another lake north of that, completely and totally surrounded by forest — you get the point. Coeur d’Alene is wild.
It is from this wild, rugged landscape that Chad von Lind draws his inspiration for the products of Craft & Lore. Chad started the company with his own two hands on his kitchen table, after realizing his want for a sheath for a large German hunting knife. What hunting knife is complete without a rugged leather sheath? Chad incorporates the simplicity of the landscape into his products, by designing them with simple, clean functionality in design and long lasting durability in quality and build.
The Port Wallet is a simple, no-fold, four pocket workhorse designed to carry 7-8 cards in the central pocket, as well as a few bills and a drivers license. With 4-5oz hand tanned leather and saddle stitched waxed polyester thread, this wallet is absolutely built to last — most importantly, it is able to withstand the abuse of day-to-day goings. From trips to the coffee shop on my bike to long commutes in the car, this wallet hasn’t appeared to even begin to wear in any way after three weeks of being in my back pocket. The Port Wallet is built to last. Period.
Not only is it built to last, but it is designed in such a way to teach wallet owners the error of their previous ways. Take me for example: I come from the George Costanza school of wallets.
My previous wallet was about two inches thick, filled with receipts, twenty cards I didn’t even know existed, cash, not to mention unnecessary fabric and material. When I discovered that the Port Wallet will only hold about 6 cards, a driver’s license, and some cash. I was forced to discern the importance of my cards, coming to a conclusion that my ass has been taking the abuse of a fat wallet for absolutely no reason.
I narrowed my cards down to five and, suddenly, the sun became brighter. I don’t even notice the wallet in my pocket. Coming from a non-minimalist standpoint, it is an extremely thin wallet, one designed to hold only the essentials. And it really is fantastic knowing that I have all the essentials and no excess. As Thoreau so wisely said, “Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity.”
The wallet currently carries 4 plastic cards, a few frequent customer cards to the local coffee shop, drivers license, and a wad of cash. The fit is tight. It’s a bit difficult to remove cards from the central pocket — If the wallet were just a few millimeters wider, the fit would be greatly improved. But, really, if you don’t mind the cards being a little snug, it’s not a big deal. They fit extremely well. The wallet, fresh out of the bag, is extremely tight. Like all leather products, there is a break in period; yes, even with a wallet. After a few weeks of use, the central pocket is substantially bigger, the cash pocket as well. The break-in period is relatively short — just a few weeks in my back pocket were enough to fully break it in.
An interesting detail about Chromexcel is it is a pullup leather. What that means is if you scratch it you can rub it vigorously and the waxes will fill in the scratch. The scratch won’t disappear completely but you can see just how much you can hide with 20 seconds of rubbing in the two photos below.
That change literally occurred over 20 seconds of rubbing on that scratch.
The leather is vegetable-tanned, American sourced, and 4-5oz in thickness. Each wallet is hand crafted, right from the start. Check out this video showing the making of a premium Horween Port Wallet.
Video: Making The Port Wallet
Which brings me to my next point: The stitching. The Port Wallet features arrow-straight saddle stitched waxed polyester thread that is sourced from Maine. Saddle stitching, for those new to leather, is the time honored technique that delivers the most durable stitch, period. Machines cannot reproduce the saddle stitch, and so it can only be achieved by hand. It is a time consuming process. The hand sewn saddle stitching, combined with the 4-5oz leather, means this wallet is bomb-proof.
Consider this comparison of a machine lock stitch and the hand sewn saddle stitch.
This wallet can be described in just one word: clean. The color of my vegetable-tanned leather Port Wallet reminds me of a fine 15 year single malt scotch: a rich, mesmerizing amber. The stitching accents the clean simplicity of the wallet. The leather is smooth and extremely soft to the touch; it’s an pleasant experience each time you reach in your front pocket. The logo, a simple axe hovering over the words “Craft + Lore” is a perfect accent to the clean and simple aesthetic of the wallet.
For $55 you get a beautiful and simple tool. Considering all, it is worth it. If Thoreau didn’t live on Walden Pond and actually had the need for a wallet, the Port Wallet is more than likely the wallet he would have.