In The Wild: Leather Plevier Messenger Bag

front of plevier leather messenger bag

While typing away furiously at my favorite coffee haunt I caught the lovely brown of a messenger bag slide past my peripheral. Sure enough! This bag was purchased 15 years ago in Germany and has held up well to moderate use. It spent several years tucked away in a closet where it acquired a severe drywall stain but otherwise looks none the worse. All the zippers still work great, none of the stitching is frayed, and the leather is holding up well.


In The Wild: Vintage Handmade African Briefcase

vintage african leather briefcase top

This lovely old briefcase was made and purchased in Chad, Africa over thirty years ago by Kevin, a regular at my favorite office… errr… coffee shop.

The leather is full grain leather but the coating is coming off and dryness is taking its toll. Several parts of the briefcase have ripped or cracked. Ten years ago the stitching was redone and Kevin is trying to decide to keep investing in repairs. I say absolutely! This briefcase has amazing history from around the world. It would be a shame not to condition it up and stitch it up one more time. Hopefully it will live on.


vintage african leather briefcase top

vintage handmade african leather briefcase

vintage handmade african leather briefcase side patina

Cork Leather Give Away Contest for Australian Residents

Note: Australian residents only.

Cork Leather is offering one of these delicious bags for referring five or more your friends to their give away on Facebook.

Here’s how you do it.

  • Be sure to like us on Facebook (if you haven’t already done so) by clicking here
  • Connect with them on Facebook by clicking the “Connect” button
  • Invite as many of your friends as you can by clicking the “Invite friends” button – the more friends you invite, the greater your chance of receiving your free handbag.
  • If at least 5 of the friends you have invited also register for this competition, you will receive a free handbag! It’s that easy!

Competition Terms and Conditions:

1. Information on how to enter forms part of the terms of entry. Entry into the competition is deemed acceptance of these terms and conditions.
2. Entry is open to all residents of Australia, above 16 years old.
3. The competition commences on 30 October at 00:00 (AEST) and concludes on 31 December 2012 at 23:59 (AEST) (“Promotional Period”), or until the first 10 winners have been identified, whichever comes first.
4. To be deemed Registered, participants must have liked our Facebook page, connected with the Facebook application by clicking the ‘Connect’ button and invited at least 25 of their Facebook friends.
5. Participants will become eligible to receive their prize once at least 5 of the friends they have invited also register. The 5 registered friends must also be residents of Australia, above 16 years old, and they must have registered at a time after the friend invitation was sent.
6. The Promoter reserves the right to request winners to provide proof of identity, proof of residency at the nominated prize delivery address and/or proof of entry validity in order to claim a prize. Proof of identification, residency and entry considered suitable for verification is at the discretion of the Promoter. In the event that a winner cannot provide suitable proof, the winner will forfeit the prize in whole and no substitute will be offered.
7. The Promoter reserves the right to verify the validity of entries and to disqualify any entrant who tampers with the entry process, who submits an entry that is not in accordance with these Terms & Conditions of entry or who has, in the opinion of the Promoter, engaged in conduct in entering the promotion which is fraudulent, misleading, deceptive or generally damaging to the goodwill or reputation of the promotion and/or the Promoter. The Promoter reserves the right to disqualify a winner if the Promoter becomes aware that the winner and/or the winner’s entry is of a type described in this clause.
8. There are five (5) major prizes consisting of 5 different handbags with an average retail value of AUD $145. The Prize will be sent by Cork Leather to the competition winners when they have been confirmed.
9. The Prize cannot be transferred or exchanged, or be redeemed for cash.
10. Winners will be notified within 7 days of completing the competition requirements. Winners will be notified of their prize by email. Winners will have their names published on the Cork Leather website
11. By entering the promotion, each entrant also agrees that the Promoter may use this information, in any media for future promotional, marketing and publicity purposes without any further reference, payment or other compensation to the entrant, including sending the entrant electronic messages.
12. All entries become the property of The Promoter.
13. This promotion will be advertised on Facebook and adheres to the terms and conditions set out in the Facebook promotion guidelines which can be found at:

Leather Bag Hunting in Downtown Chicago Finds Poor Quality And High Prices

A two week business trip takes us to Chicago, where in the free time we walk the downtown arena in search of choice leather in the fashion corridors.

In summary, nought was found. Many leather bags were found, none were full grain leather, much less quality leather, all were far more expensive then they should be, and every single one was being sold as an excellent long term investment  in quality leather (laughing out loud). Note that all of these photos were taken in supposedly high quality fashion stores.

Don’t fall for the fashion hype, even the goods on Etsy do a much better job delivering enduring quality for good prices.

My mental equation for value evaluation is:

(Construction Quality + Aesthetic Design)/Cost = Value

It means that high cost items are good value as long as the quality and aesthetic levels are equally high as well. Note that his is how I personally value the worth of an item. Others may weight details differently and come to different conclusions. Also, there is an personal sense of style that greatly influences perceived value (i.e. Apple Laptops).

Both construction quality and aesthetic design are percentages subjective relative to the level of quality you expect from the product.

Lets see how this works out with a real product. Lets compare the Paul Stuart Duffel and the Coronado Americana Leather Duffel.

The Paul Stuart Duffell costs $847


  • Uses stamped top grain leather for most surface areas, handles are full grain leather.
  • 3 oz leather (thinner)
  • Lined with polyester
  • light brass hardware
  • unknown warrenty
  • unknown orgin
  • 4 pounds
total construction score: 50% fails to impress
  • very nice beige leather color
  • pleasing proportions
  • functional carry handle and carry strap
total design score: 50% fails to impress

The Coronado Americana Leather Duffel Costs $749.


  • Uses full grain Horween Chromexcel leather (legendary leather tanned in Chicago)
  • 5-6 oz leather (thicker)
  • Lined with canvas
  • heavy brass hardware (#10 brass zipper)
  • reinforcing straps to bear load from the handles
  • lifetime warranty
  • 7 pounds of stunning craftsmanship
  • made in America
total construction score: 100% excellent craftsmanship


  • heavy usage of quality brass accents
  • suave brown oiled leather
  • complex and functional aesthetic design (the strap attachments points flex upward easily,
  • design does not hinder functionality
total design score: 100% excellent design

I conclude that the Corando Leather Americana Duffel was designed and constructed with twice the care.

Lets apply the equation to the Paul Stuart Duffel: (.5+.5)/$847=0.0011 value

Now lets apply the equation to the Corando Leather Americana Duffel (1+1)/$749=.0023 value

Here we can see the mathematical expression of the quality with price factored in, making the Coronado Leather Americana Duffel twice the value with almost $100 less cost.



Bosca Old Leather Wallet Review

The Bosca Old Leather Wallet is a refined, high capacity, supple leather wallet. For those seeking an executive class wallet, this is yours.


The Bosca Continental Wallet is made from 1.2mm full grain leather and single stitched from cotton thread. The leather is high quality but nowhere does Bosca claim it to be full grain leather, it is therefor lower quality, such as top grain leather. None the less, this wallet feels smooth, supple, and substantial.

The most concerning detail is the cotton single stitching. It is light thread which will not age extraordinarily well. Do not plan on this wallet lasting 10+ years with light use and gentle care.

It is understandable why the leather is universally thin, the wallet would be more huge than it already is, but the lack of a strong leather core gives the wallet an unsettling floppy feeling.


With eleven card slots, a foldout ID slot (with plastic) and two full size cash compartments, this wallet gets big fast. You can carry lots of cash, cards, and receipts. At some points the ID card can be difficult to remove due to the plastic covering over the ID. How the plastic will color with age also remains to be seen.

Carrying the Bosca Continental in your back pocket will most certainly increase your frequency of chiropractor visits so you may want to carry it in a jacket pocket. If you do that, you may want to embrace wallet minimalism or get a full sized wallet that will accomodate this many cards without the extra bulk of the ID slot.


No doubt the Bosca Continental ID Wallet is a classy in black leather. It looks as expensive as it is, appropriately.

The Cognac is also lovely.

Best Leather conclusion

While the Bosca Continental is eminently classy with its sheik black supple leather, the durability is quite questionable. A wallet with a thicker leather core would last longer and maintain its shape better.

Bosca Continental ID Wallet or Saddleback Leather Bi-fold Wallet or Battenkill All-leather Hipster Wallets. These would be acceptable bi-fold wallets with good capacity.

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Lexol Leather Conditioner Review

You can see Obenauf’s and Chamberlain’s leather conditions in action. There are a lot of options in leather conditioning but Lexol is very good at a very good price.

The reason you should condition your leather is because leather is made of microscopic strands of fibers that rub on each other. If the leather is dry then the strands will literally cut each other, If the leather is lubricated then the strands can flex without damage. Old organs have leather bellows and many quality leather bellows still function perfectly after 100 years of proper conditioning.


Lexol Leather Conditioner is made purely from emulsified tanning oils. Those most common source of emulsified tanning oil is animals brains, literally. Lexol won’t say what their conditioner is made from so you draw your own conclusions.


The method of application is simple, one dry washcloth with a dab of leather conditioner until the conditioner runs out. For some wax based conditioners it is important to heat the leather to ensure the wax melts and saturates the leather, this is not necessary with the Lexol Leather Conditioner as the liquid soaks into the leather nicely at room temperature.


Below you will see the process of taking leather in rough shape and restoring it as much as possible. There are also pictures of scratches in full grain leather that have been treated with Lexol Leather Conditioner.

Here we have a desperately dry pair of Ariat Boots. They have not been conditioned in quite a while and have developed severe cracking.

Above you see the difference between unconditioned and conditioned leather. It took 6 minutes to completely treat one boot as the leather was very thirsty. The boot took approximately 20 doses of conditioner.

These are light scratches in full grain chestnut leather. The best color.

Here are the same light scratches after the Lexol Leather Conditioner has been applied. From a distance the leather has a nice sheen after application which fades as the conditioner dries. The conditioner slightly darkens the leather temporarily as well.

The texture change of the scuff remains but the scuffed leather acquires a more lubricated look. The sheen fades as the conditioner dries without leaving a greasy residue.

This scuff easily came out with one application of Lexol Conditioner.

 As you can see, the scuff is nearly gone.

This Chestnut Backpack looks dramatically better after the top was conditioned.


With high quality leather you should not have to condition it often, however, it will last longer if you do and the patina that develops with worn but conditioned leather is beautiful.

The basic rule is when your leather is dry, changes in leather’s color, is exposed to significant sun, gets wet, then condition your leather.

Where to Buy

The larger bottles of Lexol are far better value and quite a while. The one liter bottle will last you many applications.

Lexol is a fantastic value leather conditioner at $12 a liter as opposed to the normal $20 from the competition.

Buy one liter here on Amazon for ~$12.