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.

Renaissance Leather Art

Renaissance Art focuses on having a wide selection of leather products with an emphasis on choice for each purchase. Since each product is made after order you have many options to make your product unique and suited to you. Oh, and they have a hilarious sense of humor in their videos.

Products made:

  • Leather Journals
  • Leather Sketchbooks
  • Leather iPad cases
  • Leather Customizable MacBook Bags
  • Leather Book/Bible Covers
  • Leather Messenger Bags
  • Leather Photo Albums
  • Leather Moleskin Covers
  • Leather Card Cases

Word on the street is the wait time is substantial but worth it.

Saddleback Leather


Saddleback Leather dominates the market with their high quality leather goods.

The story of Saddleback starts with Dave Munson, the president of the company, who had a leather briefcase made for him in Mexico to kick his idea off. People liked it and here we are now. Saddleback Leather is a private company but estimates of their gross revenue range in the high teen millions. Saddleback manufactures a wide range of leather goods and has maintained a steady pace of innovation.

All products are made with:

  • 4-5 oz. full grain leather (as opposed to corrected genuine or bonded leather that is weaker)
  • fully tanned leather (Yes, you still have to oil it like any other leather)
  • the same threads used in airbags and sails
  • as few seams as possible, large pieces of leather
  • hidden nylon straps reinforcing the interior by taking load
  • nickel plated brass hardware
  • strong rivets
  • many items such as the briefcases and messenger bags convert to backpacks
  • shoulder straps have pads and are fully adjustable

reviewed products 

(so far)

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film reviews of Saddleback Leather goods

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Saddleback Leather ID Wallet Review


Every boy admires his father’s wallet. We remember the worn and torn, battle scarred sheaths for our father’s hard-earned bills, and perhaps much more. A wallet endures a great amount of abuse being regularly slipped in and out of the pocket, sat on, soaked, washed, and stretched. It has to be tough enough. Otherwise, what is the point?


Saddleback Leather’s ID Wallet is built around a core of two 4mm 4 1/8″ wide and 2 7/8″ high tough pigskin leather rectangles. The side pockets and ID slot are 2mm full grain leather. The whole kaboodle is sewn together with Saddleback’s notable heavy thread. The thread is kept away from the very edge to protect it from abrasion with your pocket.

The wallet does not seem ready to last 100 years due to the slimmer leather used, however, the price is low and the slimness affords convenient use and also minimizes back issues, to an ambiguous extent. In the below photos you can see where the raising printing on cards has imprinted on the leather, giving evidence for its thinness. Not that this is bad thinness, it is just thinness not common for Saddleback Leather products.

The greatest risk for wear and tear seems to be in the two card slots. These slots see lots of use and have thinner leather than is normal for Saddleback Leather products. However, the model reviewed here has been used rigorously for six months with very little visible wear beyond expectable patina around the edges of the wallet. So, time will tell. Expect a follow up review later.


Let the photos convince you.

It’s great, obviously.


Between the swaths of leather is a slot for your cash, not much, not too much, just right. There are two card pockets on one side with 2mm leather which will easily accomodate two cards each. On the other side is the ID slot. There is no chinsy plastic covering it so pulling your ID out is exceptionally easy. Between the ID slot and the center is another slot where business cards fit well.

This is not a wallet for receipt savers, business card hoarders, and those obsessed with back tweaking wallets. Tri-fold wallets were designed by chiropractors to do you know what (not really, but you get the point).

All you need to carry is your few cards (simplify), ID, a bit of cash (money clip is also an option), and maybe a few of your business cards. All the other bits of paper that sometimes get jammed into our lower vertebrae belong elsewhere.

It is enjoyable to slip cards in and out. Once the leather is broken in to how many cards you use you can grab a card with your thumb and slip it out with ease. Vice-versa for putting the card back in.

For the simplicity, the Saddleback Leather ID Wallet preforms perfectly.

Best Leather conclusion

If you want a simple durable wallet, get this.

If you want a more hefty wallet, get the bi-fold.

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Saddleback Leather Macbook Air Sleeve Review

If you are heading out to door for a flight, to the coffee shop, or Machu Picchu, the Apple MacBook Air is perfect for its fantastic portability. If you walk around with your computer outside of a messenger bag or briefcase then it is wise for you to get a sleeve, and therein lies the question. Should you get this one from Saddleback Leather?

In keeping with the minimal design of the Apple MacBook Air, here we have the Saddleback Leather MacBook Air Sleeve, minimal extraordinair. Like the Macbook Air, we will see how long it remains useful since its usefulness is intrinsically related to the lifespan of the MacBook Air.


The Saddleback Leather MacBook Air Sleeve is one piece of 4-5 oz. full grain leather which is bent around and double stitched on the other side. The interior is lined with pigskin which is very durable and thin. Pigskin is most often seen in luxury leather goods, which this absolutely is. There is a strip of neoprene stitched between the leather layers on the spine of the sleeve to help cushion a fall on the spine.


While its durability is not questioned, the long term functionality of the Air Sleeve is certainly questionable and therefore perhaps categorizes itself as a luxury item. If you replace your Air with anything else in the future, what will you use your case for? What if the Air gets even slimmer (which it will)? Then your sleeve won’t work at all! And then what? You are going to sell it? Maybe. But everyone else bought the new Air and has no need for the old version. The resale value is going to plummet because there will be no market demand. The iPhone and iPad cases have the same problem because of their updates every year. Seems it is.

Another problem is the open ended design of the sleeve. While the design protects the laptop from three sides, the open side makes the Air vulnerable to either slipping out accidentally or hitting the front corner of the sleeve in a fall and quite forcefully ejecting the Air. The design would be much safer, and bulkier, if there was a buttoned-down wrap-around strip of leather which secured the Air into the sleeve it would be more recommendable.


The simplicity of the Air Sleeve is elegant. One swath of leather with a pigskin liner and double stitched with polystyrene (super-strong) thread.

On one side the cursive Saddleback Leather logo is branded into the leather quite pleasingly.

Functionally though, the Air Sleeve lacks elegance. The above mentioned foibles detract from the overall usefulness of the design because they force you to constantly worry that the design issues are going to lead to the downfall of your lovely Air.

Best Leather conclusion

If you have money to spend on each new iteration, you are not concerned about your Air slipping out or being ejected in a fall, and the extra bulk and weight of the sleeve does not ruin the simple appeal of the MacBook Air, then by all means get the Saddleback Leather MacBook Air Sleeve, in Chestnut. Because that is the best color.

Check them out here on the Saddleback Leather Website.

If you are relatively frugal, you want your sleeve to be functionally perfect, or the idea of obsolete leather does not appeal to you, then carry your Air in the Saddleback Leather Messenger Bag (for durability) or the Colonel Littleton No. 42 (for refinement), instead of the Saddleback Air Sleeve. Which is what they should have called it.

You could opt for a cheaper sleeve you won’t mind replacing when you get a new version, check out something like this.

Saddleback Leather MacBook Air Sleeves can be on found on Ebay, although they seem to be appropriately rare.

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Personalized Brass Luggage Tag Review

Imagine the panic of losing your precious luggage in the airport with no way for the finder to return it… If they would be so honest. This luggage tag is a classy ticket to getting your precious travel bag back at a pretty fair price.

The tag is stamped from a solid piece of .4 gauge brass. It looks and feels substantial, there is no doubt it will last just as long as the bag. The small leather strap that comes with it probably won’t last a long time but at the price an alternative can be found. On the Saddleback Leather Thin Briefcase it looks stunning and receives constant attention.

Click on the box below to go to Ebay, purchase the tag, fill out the seller’s custom form, and soon receive this excellent luggage tag.

Photos taken by Kristin Kastning.