How To Fix Broken Or Frayed Thread On Your Saddleback Leather Product

This Saddleback Leather iPad 3 case had a thread that mysteriously broke. Theoretically this stuff is supposed to be stronger than a tow strap (slight exaggeration), but this is the real world and things break in the real world.

Saddleback Leather iPad 3 Case frayed thread

If/when some thread breaks on your Saddleback Leather goodie you have two options: Continue reading “How To Fix Broken Or Frayed Thread On Your Saddleback Leather Product”

The Best Etsy Stores Selling Handmade Full Grain Leather Bags

Etsy has an overwhelming amount of leather goods, perhaps too much. Here is a selection of some of the better options on Etsy.

One of the excellencies of Etsy that larger leather companies cannot easily emulate is the uniqueness of each product since they are handmade. You can have a bag that is like none other. Of course this can have its drawbacks if the maker does not have a critical eye for quality control. A reputation for quality counts for quite a bit in the handmade world.

Peter, the CEO, CFO, CMO, CTO, and production manager at Bay Towne Leather USA (it’s a one man shop) responded with this thorough explanation when asked if he planned to expand his operations in response to interest from a large online retailer.

Hi TJ,
Nah, I just want to keep it a one man shop. Two at the most. I may be wrong, but it seems there’s a fine line between hand made and volume. When the large retailers become involved and want a piece of the ‘action’ so to speak, before long you’re right back to mass produced crap. There’s no other way around it…

For instance, I can teach 5 people to hand stitch, and increase my volume, but I would be hard pressed to find 5 people who wanted to work that hard! LOL.

I could add lasers to cut out the leather, but it then becomes machine produced.

So, before i know it, I’m outsourcing my hand sewing someplace else… and I’m using machines to produce my goods.

It takes a couple years to learn how to hand stain leather… as it’s more of an art than a science. Before you know it, i’m no longer hand staining and using the predyed leather the tanneries produce… like everyone else is using… because I can’t stain it fast enough to keep up with the volume the retailers want.

Problem, Nobody knows how to do anything in the US anymore. We’ve been outsourcing skills so long, the work force doesnt’ have the will or the skill to do certain types of work. It’s a double edged sword. And if they did the work, then you have a lot of other (people) problems that creep into the mix.

So, for me, staying small is the only way I can do it. I was a professional accountant for 14 years, with all the frill and chills the rat race had to offer. One of the main lures to leatherworking for me is that’s is a WAY OF LIFE that’s gone by the wayside. That’s why I love it. I don’t want to ever do anything to make it a ‘rat race’.

Sorry about the rambling. But we are walking a fine line between MONEY and ART. Right now, I choose to keep it as an art….with sufficient money to live within my means and be happy with what I’m doing.

Putting this list was quite enjoyable. I hope you appreciate these works of art as much as I did. My personal favorite is the leather satchel by Cratgo.

American Dry Goods

postal mailbag with horween dublin leather

– postal messenger bag – $450 –


simple messenger in pullman brown

– the messenger in pullman brown – $280 –

Black Thorn Leather

black thorn leather full grain messenger bag

– antiqued leather briefcase – $475 –


Cratgo hand stitched leather satchel

 the hand stitched leather satchel – $495 –

Diaz Bags

Diaz Medium Leather Messenger Bag

– medium leather satchel – $285 –

Divina Denuevo

Divina Denuevo leather messenger bag

– Devina brighton leather satchel bag – $400 –

Heirloom Leather

grizzly bear portfolio leather briefcase

grizzly bear portfolio briefcase – $319 –

Hell Brand Leatherwork

horween chromexcel leather briefcase

– horween chromexcel briefcase – $650 –

Leather Finer Work

honey leather messenger bag

– honey messenger bag – $225 –

Little Lion Man Leather

Little Lion Man wood teak briefcase

– wood teak briefcase – $400 –

Luscious Leather NYC

luscious leather leather satchel bag

– the flat flap satchel – $295 –

Perfect Moment With You

perfect moment with you leather messenger bag

– handtailor briefcase – $473 –

Sizzle Straps

sizzle straps goliath leather camera bag

– the goliath leather camera bag – $550 –

Stronge Eye Leather NY

william james 256 leather briefcase

– william james 256 leather briefcase – $775 –

Rustic Leather Co.

rustic leather messenger bag

– buckskin messenger bag – $199 –

WCS Leather Goods

WCS Leather European Briefcase

– european briefcase – $450 –

Did we miss any gems? Please let us know what you think in the comments?

New: Saddleback Leather iPhone 5 Leather Sleeve

Saddleback Leather iPhone 5 case in Dark Coffee Brown top view with phone

If you buy a phone case, especially an expensive one, it can be a pain when the next phone comes out with different dimensions. I am always uncertain about buying leather cases and sleeves for gadgets that change dimensions and ports as new iterations come out, like the MacBook Air Sleeve.

The latest iPhone comes out as too tall for the iPhone 4 sleeves so manufacturers are cranking out iPhone 5 designs. Hopefully those who bought iPhone 4 sleeves can find something to do with them or someone to sell them to. Continue reading “New: Saddleback Leather iPhone 5 Leather Sleeve”

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.