Born and Bred England Cord Wrap and Card Wallet — Rebranding to DENAGY

In light of some big changes over at Born and Bred, we’ve had the chance to bring out and review some of their previous line of products – and introduce you to the brand new DENAGY. These two pieces are high end leather goods we can fully recommend, and the new product line brought with the rebranding to DENAGY introduces an increase in both quality and luxury.

CONSTRUCTION

Both the card wallet and cord wrap are handmade with Italian vegetable tanned leather that feels both sturdy and flexible. Edges are burnished and coated. Rivets and snaps are solid brass.

Born-and-Bred-England-Cord-Wrap-and-Card-Wallet-Rebranding-to-DENAGY-10

The card wallet is hand stitched with in-house waxed nylon thread. The stitching is expertly done, uniform, and very strong. Between the quality stitching and sturdy rivets and snaps, you’re looking at products that will stand the test of time and look great along the way.

Born-and-Bred-England-Cord-Wrap-and-Card-Wallet-Rebranding-to-DENAGY-5

FUNCTION

The wallet is a snap-closure main pocket with a single card pocket sewn to the back. It may be a card holder, but it’s very high capacity. Including one card in the front pocket, I managed to get 13 cards in! This is a bit of a stretch though, and 9 cards is a more reasonable limit. The wallet is fairly thin, though the snap does present a drawback here–it adds over ¼” (0.6cm) of thickness, bringing the wallet to about ⅞” (2.2cm)  with 9 cards. In exchange, you get the security of knowing your cards will never accidentally fall out.

Born-and-Bred-England-Cord-Wrap-and-Card-Wallet-Rebranding-to-DENAGY-8

I really like this cord wrap. As you can see in the image below, it quite perfectly holds my workout headphones. It’s downright convenient to have them nicely wrangled in instead of the usual tangled mess. The notches keep your cord nicely lined up. It may struggle to hold a bigger cable like a computer charging cord, but it should handle most earbud headphones well.

Born-and-Bred-England-Cord-Wrap-and-Card-Wallet-Rebranding-to-DENAGY-3

AESTHETIC

Both the cord wrap and wallet have a strong and defined look, carried by the presence of the snaps and rivets that give a slight biker feel. The leather is thoroughly dyed, and doesn’t succumb to scratches or marks too easily. Both of these products are refined yet rugged in appearance.

Born-and-Bred-England-Cord-Wrap-and-Card-Wallet-Rebranding-to-DENAGY-6

REBRANDING: BORN AND BRED BECOMES DENAGY

The DENAGY brand was inspired by a nostalgia for 50s surf culture, a time when innovation went hand in hand with quality and style.

Paul De Nagy’s lifelong passion for making things by hand originally led him to making surfboards, but an appreciation for style led him into the fashion world and, in 2009, founding Born and Bred. Over the years his company grew to include leather wallets, accessories, carry goods, and collaborations with other like minded designers.

Born-and-Bred-England-Cord-Wrap-and-Card-Wallet-Rebranding-to-DENAGY-2

Paul believes that hand made goods take on the personality of the person who makes them and it is with time, effort and love that they develop soul. He often describes leather work as having a zen like quality, a constant search for perfection that one can get lost in. It is this search for perfection that has led him to further refine his collections under the new name DENAGY. Essentially, Paul has quite literally put his name on the line.

The rebranding to DENAGY brings with it an added level of luxury and refinement. This evolution in quality, look, and feel includes use of more premium materials, such as shell cordovan leather and finer thread; new construction techniques; and use of better tools.

Born-and-Bred-England-Cord-Wrap-and-Card-Wallet-Rebranding-to-DENAGY-9

Most people can’t believe that these products are handmade, which is ultimately the goal. That, along with the hope that your grandchildren might one day find your wallet in the attic and will want to use it…

We’re excited for the new and improved DENAGY. Make sure to check out their website, and be looking for a full review of one of their new luxury products within the next couple months.

Born-and-Bred-England-Cord-Wrap-and-Card-Wallet-Rebranding-to-DENAGY-1

Stevenson Leather Co. Voyageur Bifold Review – $125

Handmade from start to finish, the Stevenson Leather Co. Voyageur Bifold is an intricately designed classic wallet. This high capacity bifold will be able to carry everything you need, and the two-tone color scheme gives you a black formal wallet on the outside with a personal, stylish taupe touch on the inside.

Stevenson-Leather-Co-Voyageur-Bifold-2

ABOUT STEVENSON LEATHER CO

Stevenson Leather Co. is a young one-man-show company out of Canada. A frustration with low quality shoes led Ryan Stevenson to begin his research into the world of leather. After discovering his new obsession, this self taught artisan began making products that would shape to the needs of their user and become uniquely their own over a lifetime of use. As his original interest was in shoes, Ryan hopes to eventually bring cobblery to Stevenson Leather Co. Keep an eye on this promising company.

Stevenson-Leather-Co-Voyageur-Bifold-3

CONSTRUCTION

It’s hard to not notice the attention given to detail in the Voyageur Bifold’s construction. Every step is done by hand, and it’s clear none of them were rushed. The edges are all burnished through an iterative sanding and painting process, giving a smooth and flawless finish. The saddle stitching is nearly perfect and done with 532 black linen thread.

Stevenson-Leather-Co-Voyageur-Bifold-5

The leather is 3oz vegetable tanned leather from the Conceria Walpier tannery in Italy. Outer surfaces are finished smooth, and inner surfaces are unfinished, still showing the ironed out grain fibers. The leather is dyed through.

Stevenson-Leather-Co-Voyageur-Bifold-4

FUNCTION

The Voyageur Bifold features six card slots, two vertical ‘hidden’ pockets behind them, and a main cash pocket. This high capacity wallet should be able to hold everything you need, and some may prefer it in a bag over their back pocket. I can get six cards in the card slots + two cards in each of the hidden pockets without too much work, a total of 10 cards, though it feels a bit overstuffed. I found a good balance to be 1-2 cards in each hidden pocket, and four cards in the card slots, one in the top and bottom of each side. Taking out that middle card from the slots makes the remaining four cards much easier to get in and out, and the extra cards fit handily in the hidden pockets.

Stevenson-Leather-Co-Voyageur-Bifold-9

The edges are all sanded and painted, and the surfaces are all ironed smooth, making cards and cash easy to insert and remove. A couple months wasn’t nearly long enough to allow this tough wallet to wear in, but it’s clear that after some extensive use it will only get better as the quality materials mold to individual use.

Stevenson-Leather-Co-Voyageur-Bifold-6

AESTHETIC

The intricacy and skilled construction of the Voyageur Bifold are readily apparent.

Stevenson-Leather-Co-Voyageur-Bifold-7

The Stevenson logo is gently printed on the outside of the wallet. A thin reinforcing strip of leather on the top edge of the cash pocket rounds the top of the wallet a small amount, but this overall balances the thickness and gives added structure.

I love the dual threat of the two-tone colors. On the outside, you’ve got a black wallet–formal and great looking. Then you open it, and you’ve got taupe with black stitching, giving a unique and raw feel. I think having the alternate inner color gives the Voyageur Bifold its own secret style. The visible grain fibers on the inner surfaces add further to this effect.

Stevenson-Leather-Co-Voyageur-Bifold-8

I don’t think a single person that saw my Voyageur Bifold didn’t use the term “beautiful” at some point. The careful attention to detail and contrasting leather and thread colors make for a fantastic looking wallet.

CONCLUSION

The Voyageur Bifold is a pleasure to use and look at, and I’m confident it will only become better as it lasts for a lifetime. The handmade construction is very well done, and the variety of color and finish on the surfaces makes for a formal and stylish dual-threat. It’s a recommended, Buy It For Life product.

 

North Star Leather Small Bifold Wallet with Window – $24.95

Quality is a difficult term to define. I believe that definitions of quality are unique to an individual’s character, but no matter who you ask, we all can agree on one thing: we know quality when we see it. In the case of North Star Leather Company, they have created quality products at an affordable price. This is the third product from North Star that we have reviewed, and it also does not disappoint. The Small Leather Bifold Wallet with Window is a sensible, quality wallet at an unbeatable price, perfect for a leather beginner without breaking the bank.

North Star Leather Wallet1

 

About

Michael Batson, son of founder Steve Batson, gave us a short history of North Star Leather Co., an great example of a family business who started years ago, building themselves up to be a successful craft leather company.

“My dad started North Star Leather in 1969 doing street vending in Boston (fringe belts, floppy hats, and other “hippy” items). Little by little he grew the company and eventually moved to the rural south; the small town of Ruby, SC, population 354. That was more than 35 years ago and we’ve been making quality leather accessories here ever since. We have 15 employees (4 of whom are family) and are proud to have been able to keep making our products here in the USA without ever considering outsourcing production to cheaper countries.”

North Star Leather Wallet3

Construction

The Small Leather Bifold Wallet is constructed using top-grain leather. The small wallet stands at 4.25 inches long by 4.25 inches wide when it is folded. Inside, the wallet contains “a large cash compartment that opens on two sides for easy access, ID window with a pocket underneath, and three card pockets on the opposite side that open from the side.” A plastic photo holder is also included with the wallet to hold a few meaningful pictures. The small wallet is very sturdy, constructed well, and has actually aged extremely well. The leather is stacked on each other and sewn together, so you do lose the clean line look of the wallet, but at the price, most people would not be hung-up over that for too long.

North Star Leather Wallet4

Function

As with all wallets, the purpose is pretty straightforward. I am able to carry two IDs, two debit cards, several gift cards, two to three coffee shop stamp cards, and more cash than I probably ought to be carrying. The Small Leather Bifold Wallet with Window has been put to a considerable test. BestLeather has had this wallet for over 1 year and it has performed better than any store bought wallet I have ever had, and at half the price. The Small Bifold functions flawlessly, faithfully carrying anything I throw in it.

North Star Leather Wallet5

Aesthetic

Because this wallet is almost a year old, we have had the opportunity to accurately observe just how much the patina changes in stages. The bifold was very stiff upon delivery, but at the two month mark obvious changes began to occur with the stiffness. After three more months, the texture of the wallet had changed entirely. The bifold had achieved a smooth, shiny patina, which made for an attractive, well-designed wallet. Over the next six months the wallet maintained that attractive patina and has aged wonderfully.

North Star Leather 7

Conclusion

If you are in the market for a quality leather wallet but do not really want to drop a paycheck on one, check out the North Star Leather Company’s Small Bifold Wallet. I can truthfully say this wallet will last as long as you will, especially if you don’t mind some minor rough edges and are willing to take care of it. I have been very impressed with the North Star Leather Small Bifold, so head over to their website and check out all their reasonably priced, quality products.

North Star Leather Wallet6

J. Ryan & Company The Minimalist Review – $100

While this wallet from J. Ryan and Company may be called The Minimalist, there’s nothing minimal about the eye-popping design and gorgeous combination of leathers that make up this refined card holder.

J-Ryan-&-Co-The-Minimalist-in_Chromexcel-1

ABOUT J. RYAN & COMPANY

J. Ryan & Company, LLC is an Emmett, Idaho based company known for their custom exotic holster offerings, but more recently adding items such as belts, strops, and wallets. If you’re looking for a highly finished leather product, look no further. In contrast to the recently popular raw leather look, Jim and his company aim to bring you products that incorporate the best tans, dying, wax stuffing, and exotic leathers, custom made for the discerning individual.

J-Ryan-&-Co-The-Minimalist-in_Chromexcel-5

CONSTRUCTION

Let’s break down the symmetrical leather sandwich that is The Minimalist. Note that J. Ryan & Co offer a variety of leathers, so while I’ll mention the specifics to this wallet, a different combination could be ordered to your own taste – in fact, we have a shark version in an upcoming review.

J-Ryan-&-Co-The-Minimalist-in_Chromexcel-4

At the center, there’s a thin layer of elk – this is the highly textured leather visible at the back of the main storage pocket. On both sides of the elk is vegetable tanned horse side, which provides the wallet’s sturdy structure. The horse hide is visible around the edges on the inside of the main storage pocket and behind the single card pocket where J. Ryan’s logo is printed. Then, finally, and most visibly, the outermost layers on both sides are Chromexcel cowhide, finished in a rich burgundy.

These leather layers are machine stitched together with #277 bonded nylon thread, and thoroughly hand burnished all around the outer edge. The overall result is a card holder that is built like a tank, but maintains an elegant look.

FUNCTION

The Minimalist has two pockets for cards or cash, a single card holder and the main storage pocket.  The main storage pocket is able to hold 5 cards very tightly, and 3 or 4 cards more comfortably.

J-Ryan-&-Co-The-Minimalist-in_Chromexcel-7

All of the pockets are very secure; the single pocket is quite tight, and the storage area surrounds the sides of your cards with the horse hide layer, ensuring they can’t fall out. The single pocket was a bit too secure; sometimes the threads at the top prevented me from easily sliding a card out with my thumb. With the main storage, it’s simple to push back the top of the wallet a bit and pull out the card you need.

J-Ryan-&-Co-The-Minimalist-in_Chromexcel-6

At ½” thick, this Minimalist is a bit more noticeable in my pocket than a typical card holder may be. However, if you’re wanting a true minimal wallet and don’t need to hold as many cards, J. Ryan is happy to custom make yours to a desired thickness.

J-Ryan-&-Co-The-Minimalist-in_Chromexcel-3

AESTHETIC

The look of The Minimalist is striking. Many of my friends less familiar with leather hardly knew what they were looking at, but would slowly fall in love as they figured out how great the leather feels and how refined this wallet is.

Visible on the horsehide over the single card pocket is a stamp of J. Ryan’s logo, and it looks just as good as the wax seal on the box.

J-Ryan-&-Co-The-Minimalist-in_Chromexcel-2
Chromexcel is a pull-up leather, hot-stuffed with waxes. It’s soft and feels great to the touch – it also scratches easily, but scratches can easily be rubbed out (using a little paste wax if needed), and add to the character anyway. The burgundy on the wallet is deep, rich and beautiful. My appreciation for the aesthetic of The Minimalist has only grown with time.

CONCLUSION

J. Ryan and Company’s The Minimalist card holder is a stunning combination of leathers, well constructed and finished to a high-class level of refinement. This sturdy wallet should withstand years of use and only get better with time. It’s a Buy It For Life product that you’re going to love more each time you use it.

 

THIRTEEN50 LEATHER WHISKEY TRAVELER WALLET REVIEW – $69

Pocket-sized notebooks have always been around, but recently more and more people seem to have these handy little things to whip out and quickly write something down. While some people have their phone do the job, I personally prefer writing it down. The Thirteen50 Leather Whiskey Traveler Wallet not only conveniently holds my Field Notes; it also functions as a wallet. This is the type of functionality I see so many people needing, and this high-quality item is sure to impress.

thirteen50-leather-whiskey-traveler-wallet-review - 4ABOUT THIRTEEN50 LEATHER

Thirteen50 Leather was founded after a successful Kickstarter campaign that concluded back in July of 2015. After beginning with belts, their impressively priced selection of leather goods has expanded to various wallets and accessories. The brands name is derived from the 13 stripes and 50 stars on the American flag, where all of their products are crafted and materials originate from.

thirteen50-leather-whiskey-traveler-wallet-review - 15CONSTRUCTION

The Whiskey Traveler is constructed out of full-grain, vegetable-tanned leather. The leather is not your average cheapo, flimsy, mass-produced product you would find in a department store. This stuff is the real deal, and I was blown away at what you get for the price. The team at Thirteen50 Leather machine-stitch their wallets, and the end result is a quality item that encourages confidence that it will last a very long time, and look even better after use. The Traveler Wallet that I reviewed quickly started to darken and age making it an even more personal product.

thirteen50-leather-whiskey-traveler-wallet-review - 11FUNCTIONALITY

I personally really enjoy these types of wallets that function as a cover for my Field Notes, as well as being a true wallet, without being too bulky. I am a college student so I am always needing easy, quick access to what is in my wallet. This wallet definitely delivers, because of the ability to hold at least 4 cards initially, folded cash, and business cards. I found that it simplifies things quite a bit if you tend to have multiple wallets to carry all your stuff.

thirteen50-leather-whiskey-traveler-wallet-review - 29AESTHETIC

I love the simple look of this wallet. The Thriteen50 logo is neatly and subtly placed in the bottom-left corner inside along with uniform, contrasting white stitching to hold it all together. As mentioned above, the leather is a beautiful Whiskey color that darkens a bit over time as you use it, making the aesthetic even more pleasant to show off to your friends. And then they will probably buy one too because of the great price of this piece.

thirteen50-leather-whiskey-traveler-wallet-review - 2CONCLUSION

After several weeks of use, I can confidently say that the Thirteen50 Leather Whiskey Traveler Wallet is a steal for what you can get at this price for a product of this quality. Thirteen50 offers this wallet in Whiskey, Black, Natural, and Natural Horween Chromexcel. Don’t forget to check out the other quality products they offer on their website and keep up with all the action over on their Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

thirteen50-leather-whiskey-traveler-wallet-review - 7

thirteen50-leather-whiskey-traveler-wallet-review - 9

thirteen50-leather-whiskey-traveler-wallet-review - 8

Deceptively Simple Minimal Thin Leather Wallets – $45 & $50

Living a simple life is a hard thing to accomplish these days. Our world is always running at a million miles an hour, and all we can do is try and keep up. I like to slow down and simplify my life as often as I can. Whether that is taking the long way home on my motorcycle and kicking my phone to the curb (not literally, of course!), or slimming down my ever-growing personal property, it is a goal I strive for often these days. I have found that carrying the bare necessities with me at all times helps me fulfill my simpler lifestyle, and the Deceptively Simple Minimal Wallet has been a great product to get the job done.

Deceptively Simple Wallet 1

About

Deceptively Simple, an Etsy store based in Los Angeles, California, lives up to its name in every way. With only one wallet (in two sizes) in its product line, this one-man operation strives to do things simply and efficiently. Each wallet is handmade in Los Angeles, California.

“I’m an architectural designer in Los Angeles who also enjoys designing products. My goal is to create items with clean lines, orthogonal shapes and simplicity. As I’ve learned through years of architectural work, simple things are always harder to achieve. I’m always trying new designs and will be adding more pieces soon.”

Deceptively Simple Wallet 3

 

CONSTRUCTION & FUNCTION

The wallets are hand-stitched using vegetable-tanned harness leather in a natural color. This leather is very sturdy and stiff, so it requires a bit of time to soften and gain a patina. As always, natural veg-tanned leather picks up a nice patina around the edges. The edges are already quite dark from the laser-cutting, but with use, the wallet becomes more uniform color.

Both wallets are 100mm x75mm or 3 7/8″ X 2 7/8″, just slightly larger than a credit card. The wallet comes in two sizes: thin and thick. The thin wallet is 5mm (3/16″) and the thick wallet is 7.5mm (9/32″). The thin wallet holds three credit cards without bowing, and the thick wallet holds about five cards without bowing. Both wallets could feasibly fit double the amount, but the wallet would look distorted and the leather would need some extra time to form around the cards.

Many super-thin wallets make it hard to slide the cards in and out, especially at first, when the leather is still quite stiff. However, the Deceptively Simple wallets have small laser-cut windows on both sides that help you grip the cards with your thumbs, making them easy to access.

Deceptively Simple Wallet 2

After several months of use, the wallets have held up very well and gained a very nice patina. The stitching is still perfect and the leather has molded to the cards and holds them snugly. I have been able to comfortably hold 7 or 8 cards in the thicker wallet without any issue.

Here is the thick wallet after about three months of use. It’s softened considerably and is developing a nice patina.

AESTHETIC

The Deceptively Simple Wallets are pretty unique in appearance. With dark, squared edges and contrasting stitching, these wallets stand out without looking the least bit gaudy. The thick laser edges may not be for everyone, but I’m personally a fan of the way the blocky edges look, and they’ve held up well after months of wear.

The company’s logo is placed near the bottom corner, two dots in a thin rectangle. This adds even more geometric interest to the wallet. The clean lines, natural colors, and functional shape make for a solid wallet from this small operation.

Deceptively Simple Wallet 5

CONCLUSION

The word minimalist is thrown around pretty loosely these days, but these wallets truly earn the term. If you often carry more than five cards, or like a more traditional looking wallet, this may not be for you. But if you like to carry just a few cards, even on occasion, these wallets function perfectly. They also function well as sleek business card holders that are sure to impress. So set aside that giant clunker of a wallet you have and opt for something simpler. The Deceptively Simple Minimalist Wallet is a well-priced option as a leather wallet.

UPDATE: Viro is now taking orders for the wallet to be crafted in Horween’s CHROMEXCEL for an additional $15. This sounds like a great option and should produce a very, very nice version of this wallet! 

Deceptively Simple Wallet 4  Deceptively Simple Wallet 6

CRAFT & LORE ENFOLD WALLET REVIEW – $65.00

OK, so you need a wallet. You’ve went on Amazon and saw a lot of space age, high tech, RFID blocking, butt massaging wallets. They caught the eye but seemed gimmicky. Next, you went on Pinterest and found no less than 57 lovely candidates for back pocket carry, but that became wearisome really quickly. Finally you hit up BestLeather and are so burnt out you just want something that’s simple, looks good and performs.  Enter Craft & Lore’s Enfold Wallet.

Enfold-2

CONSTRUCTION

The Enfold is born in Northern Idaho from 3 pieces of  Horween Dublin leather. Everything is held together using the highly effective hand saddle stitch. The stitching is very tight and shows zero looseness. The diagram below, taken from the Craft & Lore website, illustrates this nicely.

leather-saddle-stitch

 

The leather is a 4 oz so the thickness is about 1/16th of an inch. The dimensions are 4.25″ x 3″ x .75 when reasonably stocked with your cards, cash and obsolete Blockbuster Video rental card. On my scale the weight is 50 grams when empty.

Enfold (8)

FUNCTION

The name of the game here is simplicity. With three compartments the Enfold makes organizing pretty straightforward. The open slot on the back is best for the cards you use most. I reserve it for my Driver’s License and credit card. The inner front pocket is my overflow parking for loyalty cards and pictures of my calico kitten, Muzzles. The cash pocket can accommodate a fair number of bills but, albeit folded. I’m not really a fan of folding cash as it is harder to sort and slower to retrieve as compared to a billfold. But it’s also a lot slimmer and more compact than a billfold so you have to decide which is more important to you. Thanks to the slim profile, I can front pocket carry the Enfold and even fit it in the chest pocket of my flannels.

Enfold (1)

AESTHETIC

The Enfold is a simple, good looking wallet. It’s not over the top and it’s not sloppy. The clean, uncluttered design  under promises and over delivers.  As with any quality leather piece, your days of hard use will pay off with a gracefully aging accessory.

Enfold-4Enfold (5)

CONCLUSION

The Enfold is a solid, no frills wallet. While it doesn’t really stand out from the pack of high quality hand made wallets we usually review, it does maintain the standard we’ve come to appreciate. If you’re looking for the latest, trendiest designer wallet then looks elsewhere. If you just need a faithful companion to hold your cash and cards, the Craft & Lore Enfold is a viable option.

 

Minimum Squared Black Leather Wallet With Deep Red Thread Review – $158.00

Vince Lombardi described success in dozens of ways over the course of his 15-year career as an NFL head coach, notably remarking “The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work; work is the key to success, and hard work can help you accomplish anything.” Passion for the craft is an emotion that drives us to work hard and design with inspiration, whether on the field of play or in the workshop.  Lombardi would also be the first to admit that you didn’t achieve success on your own; it takes a team of dedicated individuals with similar goals and mindsets.

minimum-squared-black-leather-wallet-019

If you’ll pardon the extended metaphor, let’s take a look at the Minimum Squared Black Leather Wallet With Deep Red Thread and find out if it meets these definitions of success. As with many in the leather craft, inspiration for the wallet came when the creators were unable to find anything on the market meeting his functional and aesthetic requirements for his engineering-cum-traveler lifestyle.  Through a fusion of traditional leather work, modern technology, and carefully sourced materials, the husband-wife team of Sanela Kadric and Adrian Martinez, owner/creators of Minimum Squared (also known as m^2) created a minimalist wallet they hoped will appeal to a worldwide audience.

minimum-squared-black-leather-wallet-010

About m^2

Sanela and I emailed back and forth quite a bit during the review process, and one thing you’ll appreciate about m^2 is their extraordinary attention to detail. Their journey to create m^2 began when Adrian’s travels by plane and train had him considering the need for a front-pocket wallet that wouldn’t be uncomfortable while seated.  Furthermore, he wanted the wallet to hold all of his credit and bank cards, as well as look good next to a business suit.

minimum-squared-black-leather-wallet-002

Adrian spent hours on the Internet looking for a wallet that would meet his criteria:

  • The wallet should have the footprint of a business card and not be much thicker than its contents
  • There should be no need to fold paper money to provide quick access and keep fortunes discreet.
  • The wallet should hold international currencies (Sterling pounds and Euro notes) as well as US dollars
  • The wallet should have the same card-carrying capacity as more traditional non-minimalist wallets

After spending his time and engineering skills coming up with a “paper and staples” design, he and Sanela arrived upon a prototype that would become the current version of the m^2 wallet. With Sanela’s love for crafts and her job as a language instructor, she was able to help bring their mutual design to market.  After much positive feedback, they formed Minimum Squared.  New to the business, it was at that point that she stated, “After all, we didn’t think my husband was the only one in the world looking for such a wallet, and all the hard work was already done.  How wrong I was.”

minimum-squared-black-leather-wallet-007

Construction

The construction of the wallet reflects Adrian’s engineering background and Sanela’s eye for art. While the leather for the wallet is a single-piece, CAD-designed, laser cut and thinned material, the thread holding it all together is a hand-sewn Fil au Chinois waxed linen thread that goes from one corner to the other.  After testing several materials and leathers, they chose Harmatan & Oakridge vegetable-tanned goat leather for the grain, feel, and availability of colors.  It also tends to offer some stiffness after being laser-thinned, an important characteristic for any wallet.

minimum-squared-black-leather-wallet-008

While some eschew goat leather as being inferior to cowhide, this wallet is one of the finest, lightweight hides I’ve reviewed.  On giving it the “smell test”, as I do with every product, I was rewarded with that rich smell of fine leather I’ve come to expect in top end leather goods.

minimum-squared-black-leather-wallet-016

 

The wallet measures 92 x 65 x 15 mm (3.6 x 2.56 x 0.59 inches) when filled with 10 cards and weighs in at a mere 0.9 ounces (25.2 grams).  After I added 6 bank cards and a few paper dollars, the weight went up to a little over 2 ounces (56 grams).

minimum-squared-black-leather-wallet-003

Function

My favorite feature of the wallet is the ability to pull paper currency out of the wallet without having to remove the entire stack of bills.  While I am quite often lacking the aforementioned fat stack due to teenagers and orthodontia, it is a thoughtful feature ensuring the privacy of your current financial status. You can also store up to 10 cards in the wallet in such a way that you end up not stressing the leather or stitching as much as a traditional billfold.  Friends of Sanela’s who tested the wallet have put more than 10 cards in it, and while it continued to function admirably, Sanela mentioned a bit of heartbreak in not using the wallet in the spirit of its minimalist intent.

minimum-squared-black-leather-wallet-012

It closes neatly via a woven elastic braid that Sanela sourced from an area close to her home in Spain.  Closing it in this manner helps keep the wallet thin and compact.  While I would question the long term durability of any elastic item, the braid is well-constructed; time will tell how it holds up.

minimum-squared-black-leather-wallet-004

 

Aesthetic

The beauty of the wallet lies in the aforementioned attention to detail and the materials Sanela uses to make these wallets. She uses a 40-year old Olivetti Studio 44 typewriter to create the wallet labels (and write thank you notes to customers). The length to width ratio is 1.40, a little off of the golden mean (1.61), but not enough that you’d notice.  The full-grain goat leather has a nice texture you might find in a high-end pair of goatskin boots.  With the variety of leather colors and braids available, you should be able to find a pleasing color combination for your tastes.

minimum-squared-black-leather-wallet-013

I’d also note that the wallet is going to fit in your pocket with room for your smartphone or portable electronic device. It’s small, sleek footprint will fit well with any type of business suit, even those of the slim fit type.

Conclusion

Sanela and Adrian have merged the science of engineering and the love of craft to come up with a well-designed and beautiful minimalist wallet.  This wallet is going to sit best on the inside pocket of a suit jacket, or carried in your business slacks.  It is not a wallet that should be carelessly tossed into a bag or thrown on a table; you’ll want to take care of this wallet due to its good looks and price.

At $158 USD as of the time of this writing, you’ll want to educate yourself on what it takes to craft a wallet of this caliber: very high quality leather and thread for the materials, a saddle-stitched (by hand) one-piece layout, and a design that met all of Adrian’s specifications, and a beautiful minimalist look that is going to complement any suit in your wardrobe.

minimum-squared-black-leather-wallet-017

While I understand there are some staunch critics of goat leather, there are varying degrees in quality; m^2 has chosen a high-end brand, and it shows in the end result.  If you’re undecided and on the fence about goat leather, give this wallet a look, and it may just change your mind.

For the attention to detail, the materials, and the overall look of the wallet, I do think the Minimum Squared Black Leather Wallet With Deep Red Thread is a good investment.  However, if after purchasing the wallet, you find that you have no bills to put inside it, you might want to save a bit before making the purchase. After all, you’re going to have to buy that suit to go along with it.

minimum-squared-black-leather-wallet-006

minimum-squared-black-leather-wallet-015

 

Range Leather Gannett Wallet Review – $45

I credit host Monty Hall of Let’s Make A Deal with the quote “Good things come in small packages.” While he wasn’t the first person to utter the quote, we all understand his meaning – sometimes what’s inside the little box is going to be worth far more than what’s behind the large door. Such is the case with the resurgence of interest in minimalist wallets. Leather crafters have responded to this interest, and with the Gannett Wallet, Kyle Koster of Range Leather has added his entry into the minimalist market.

While you might at first think making such a small, simple wallet would be easy, the case is exactly the opposite. Not only does the artisan need to create a functional, aesthetically appealing wallet, but they must do it using fewer materials and in a smaller package than your typical billfold.

range-leather-minimalist-wallet-001

About Range Leather

We’ve talked in depth with Kyle Koster of Range Leather in our three part interview series A Range of Possibilities, and if you haven’t had a chance, take a look at Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.  In brief, Kyle is a leather aficionado who found the craft later in life after having lived in places like Hong Kong, Mongolia, and Chicago.  He started his own company manufacturing a quick-connect guitar strap, and from there, fate led him into the world of leather.

Today, Kyle splits his time between Washington and Wyoming, while juggling the ins and outs of a small business on its way up.

Construction

Simple construction, to me, is a hallmark of anything bearing the title or description of “minimalist.” The Gannett wallet weighs in at 1.1 ounces (31 grams). By comparison, that’s eleven pennies, six nickels, or twelve dimes – a little bit of change in your pocket, or barely enough to notice the weight.  Dimensions of the wallet measure 3 7/8″ (height) x 2 3/8″ (width) x 3/8″ (thickness), which is large enough to fit credit cards in the two available slots. Even with the light, compact design, Range Leather still uses a 9/10 ounce Horween leather for the entire piece. The wallet is going to be nearly indestructible with with the double-stitched, wax-coated, polyester thread.

range-leather-minimalist-wallet-004

Stamped on one corner of the wallet is the word ‘Range’, so there is no doubt where this piece comes from.

Function

You all know what to do – it is a wallet after all. There are two slots for cards, one on each side of the wallet, and a slot for your folded paper money on one side. If you are at all curious as to why there is a million dollar bill in our photos, we left it there on purpose.  During my interview with Kyle, he noted that in testing, people had a hard time discerning what the slit on that side of the wallet was for.  By placing a (clearly fake) bill in the slot, it became obvious for its intended purpose.

range-leather-minimalist-wallet-003

We recommend not putting more than 3 cards in each of the two slots.  Too many cards will end up stretching the leather out, and since the slots on this wallet are a bit of “open concept”, they could easily fall out if anything is left loose.  The best placement of this wallet is going to be in an interior pocket, or your pants pocket, where you’ve got an extra layer material to ensure you items always stay in place.

 

 

Aesthetic

I don’t like the feel of items bulging out in my pockets, so when I do have to keep anything in them, I prefer small and compact.  This wallet makes sure you’re not going to feel much of a bulge wherever you decide to carry it with you. Of interest, and I’m sure they designed it this way, is that the wallet conforms to the golden ratio in terms of it’s height and width. In good company with the Great Pyramids, the Parthenon, and the way Da Vinci considered his dimensions for The Last Supper, the wallet has a pleasing look and feel to it based on dimensions alone.

range-leather-minimalist-wallet-008

The wallet is available in Maple and Black, with the black wallet using black no-contrast stitching in our reviewed version.  Both the maple and black versions show a light-colored contrast stitching on their web site. As I didn’t see an option for checking the stitching color, I asked Kyle to clarify the colors used, and he indicated they use black and natural (light-color) thread on the black wallet, while the brown version has the option of brown or natural colored thread.

Conclusion

You can get into the Gannett Wallet for a price of $45.00 (US). If you find yourself questioning the price tag, keep in mind that 9/10 ounce leather is much more expensive than the typical 4/5 ounce leather used in many types of wallets. Range Leather also puts all of their wallets together by hand.  All things considered, it’s a fair price for a handmade minimalist wallet. It goes without saying that if you’re someone who needs every punch card, credit card, and store card at your beck and call, this wallet isn’t for you. If you’re looking for small ways to simplify your life by carrying just the essentials, you’ll love this wallet. It’s sturdy, tough, and has that pleasing golden ratio that is sure to draw the attention of those with an appreciation for the finer things in life when you pull it out of your pocket.

range-leather-minimalist-wallet-007

 

Colonel Littleton No. 27 Phone Wallet Review – $125.00

By now you’ve heard of Colonel Littleton. The nearly-30 year old company has produced some beautiful designs out of Lynnville, Tennessee by combining high quality materials, historic American flair, and a single artist’s touch – the Colonel himself. This guarantees consistent heirloom-quality products ranging from large goods like the stunning Colonel Littleton No. 40 Campaign Bag to today’s item – the compact yet practical Colonel Littleton No. 27 Phone Wallet.

ColonelLittletonNo277

CONSTRUCTION

The No. 27 continues to follow the dogma of Colonel Littleton designs. This full-grain cowhide is hand-tanned at a small local American tannery. The leather in this wallet is dry-milled and buttery soft, yet firm in the hand. It also has a flawless texture though the Colonel is known to not be afraid of leather pieces with lived-in character. The edges are single stitched and each leather piece is lined with polished leather – even the individual pockets. Edges are smooth and finished.

ColonelLittletonNo27a1 ColonelLittletonNo27a2 ColonelLittletonNo27a3

FUNCTION

The outside dimensions are 6”H x 4”W closed. Phone pocket dimensions are 5 ⅝”H x 3”W. It fits a naked iPhone 6 into the snug pocket. There isn’t enough room for a phone with a case, unless you have a smaller phone. I tried a Samsung Edge phone, but that didn’t fit. On the other side, you have two card slots and a general pocket for bills, receipts, and anything larger. By combining your phone and wallet into one, you can carry this in your jean or shirt pocket without needing any extra space. That being said, this is about the half the size of an iPad Mini. If you tend to wear fitted clothing and looking for something more slim, this wallet may not be right for you. The wallet also functions as a guard to protect your phone against key scratches and the soft, thick leather acts as a guard and cushion in case of accidental drops. The phone pocket can also be used as a passport wallet when traveling.

ColonelLittletonNo276ColonelLittletonNo271

AESTHETIC

The No. 27 comes in a nice gift box. The color is Vintage Brown with subtle variations in tone for a more sophisticated look. Initials can be debossed for free onto the right lower corner in the front, but that also means you can’t return it if you change your mind. Otherwise there is a 30-day return policy. In the back, the Colonel Littleton emblem is proudly emblazed. The outer leather has a very fine texture whereas the inner leather is more coarse although this may be varied between wallets depending on the particular cow used. Overall, the wallet has a basic design but the look and feel of leather and details in the construction and edging make it pretty obvious that this isn’t a cheap clearance item you can buy at the discount stores.

ColonelLittletonNo272

ColonelLittletonNo278

BESTLEATHER CONCLUSION

The Colonel Littleton No. 27 Phone Wallet commands a hefty price at $125. That being said, this is one wallet that you will be keeping for a lifetime or handing over to the next generation. It may not be ideal for those who tend to lose their personal belongings or live fad to fad, but the No. 27 makes for a great gift idea for the holidays for someone who’s a stickler for quality.

TUREK LEATHER WORKS HORWEEN FRONT POCKET WALLET REVIEW – $32

Whenever someone shows me a small leather company, I am immediately interested. Many times I find some of the most gorgeous and well-made products from these small companies. Turek Leather Works has continued this interest with their handy and affordable Horween Front Pocket Wallet.

turek-leather-works-front-pocket-wallet-review - 6

ABOUT TUREK LEATHER WORKS

Robert Turek believes in handmade, high quality, long lasting, affordable goods. Based in rural Illinois, Turek Leather Works was established in 2014 and is a fresh new leather company born from “love and passion for elegant style” and proves these beliefs by crafting some gorgeous goods out of Horween leathers – one of the oldest tanneries in the United States. As we will see from the review, this is one of the nicest handmade Horween front pocket wallets I’ve seen at this price point.

turek-leather-works-front-pocket-wallet-review - 3

CONSTRUCTION

The rich Dark Brown Horween Chromexcel leather is so beautiful, and when bent shows some light pull-up in the leather that disappears after a short time. Its aroma will make you smile. Each piece is hand cut, and then hand burnished and slicked to ensure a finished and smooth edge. For the stitching, it’s all done by hand using the saddle stitch method to provide unrivaled durability. The wallet they sent me was certainly up to the standards they claim to stand behind. Please visit Turek Leather Works’ website for detailed information on their production process.

turek-leather-works-front-pocket-wallet-review - 5

FUNCTIONALITY

This wallet is quite handy. When all I have to do is open it up and take out whatever I need, it makes life so easy. Keep in mind this is more of a minimal wallet designed for your front pocket, so it will hold what you need but probably not a whole lot more than that. After breaking the wallet in a little, I managed six to seven cards on one side and ten to twelve folded bills on the other side. The wallet will easily slide into your pants, even if they are on the tighter side.

turek-leather-works-front-pocket-wallet-review - 9

AESTHETIC

If you are someone like me and appreciate minimal and simplistic designs that get the job done, look no further. Being only 2.5” wide and 4.5” high when folded, Turek did a great job of creating a sleek little wallet to hold your essentials. I’ve gotten nothing but compliments about it.

turek-leather-works-front-pocket-wallet-review - 7

CONCLUSION

The Horween Chromexcel 2 Pocket Bifold Front Pocket Wallet has definitely impressed me with its sleek and minimal look, high quality construction, and excellent price point. The wallet is available to purchase from Turek Leather Works’ website and buyers can choose from several different thread options. Be sure to check out their other great looking selection of handmade goods. Robert Turek has also provided a 10% discount to the readers of this review. Just enter the code: BESTLEATHER at checkout.

turek-leather-works-front-pocket-wallet-review - 4

TRAYVAX ELEMENT WALLET REVIEW – $79.99

Being on the review staff at BestLeather I’ve seen more wallets than the back pocket of a pair of Levi’s 501s. A lot of the wallets we review are high quality, expertly crafted pieces, but maintain the same general formula. When we got wind of the Trayvax Element in Canyon Red we immediately had try out the innovative design.

Trayvax Element (2)

ABOUT

Trayvax was started in 2013 by Mark King. Originally setting out to develop a reusable plastic bag carrier, Mark ended up on a different course and created the Trayvax wallet. With an aim to produce the toughest most utilitarian wallet on the market, Trayvax uses top quality materials and all of their wallets are assembled here in the USA. When asked how the company started, we were told “In Mark’s apartment 2 years ago. We were powder coating every Trayvax wallet in the bathtub and sewing each product by hand.”  That’s a far cry from their operation now consisting of over 30 employees. A good sign for us consumers, when a company is growing that rapidly, it means they’re doing something right!

Trayvax Element (4)

CONSTRUCTION

“We use top grain leather that is custom dyed to shape-shift its color and oils. We use mil-spec grommets, spot welding, and sandblasted stainless steel on each wallet. They are flossed together, welded, and finished completely by hand to produce a seamless leather wallet.”

Trayvax Element (1)

That was the impressive response we received from Trayvax when asking about their construction process for the Element. From the materials used, one might say it over engineered, but I think that is what Trayvax demanded of the Element. For instance, the paracord used to bind the wallet is mil-spec 550 which means it has a minimum load strength of 550lbs. The Element weighs about 3.8 oz empty and measures 4.5” Long X 2 ⅝” Tall. And the cherry on top, it’s made right here in the USA.

FUNCTION

While the Element is definitely innovative in design and function, it still adheres to the same basic principle of all wallets. It holds your cash and cards. The Element has great capacity in a smaller package. The initial instructions call for you to place all the cards you normally carry in the wallet along with a provided spacer card, then you soak it in warm water for 10 minutes to expedite the  break in process. While this step isn’t necessary I recommend it as the cards will be very tight and hard to get at otherwise. Once broken in, card access is a breeze. The front opening in the leather lets your thumb quickly push out your cards.

Trayvax Element (5)

The Element has a built in bottle opener for liberating your libations in a flash. You can attach a cord or clip to the grommet loop at the top if you want to carry the wallet around your neck or on your bag. I usually prefer these carry options because the Elements steel frame is pretty unyielding and can be uncomfortable in your back pocket when sitting.  I really like the money clip which makes getting cash out less of a chore. Everything is secured in place by the horizontal leather flap that runs along it.

Trayvax Element (3)

AESTHETIC

At first glance, one might guess at the purpose of the Element. Is it a tool? A weapon? I usually spend Saturday morning at local garage sales, so I have my wallet out often. The Trayvax Element definitely elicits impressive responses from people. You just feel cool whipping it out. It’s a great fidget device too, I like to just have it hand and feel the weight when waiting at appointments and such. The Element comes in several colors, we received the Canyon Red edition and the color is beautiful,  like it was baked to perfection on a sandstone slab in the searing Utah summer heat.

Trayvax Element (6)

CONCLUSION

The Trayvax Element is a great option for those who are tired of traditional wallets and want a new and interesting addition to their everyday carry. With bulletproof construction and superior machining and craftsmanship, you would do well to try one out.

A Simple Leather Belt Co. Essential Wallet Review – $79

From A Simple Leather Belt Co. comes a simple leather…WALLET? Yes. Today, we are reviewing the Essential Wallet by A Simple Leather Belt Co. (ASLB). Made with the same principles used in all their leather belts, the ASLB Amish leatherworkers have put together a sturdy, no-frills wallet for the practical gentleman

SimpleLeatherBeltCoEssentialWallet2

CONSTRUCTION

The leather used in the Essential Wallet is 100% full-grain vegetable-tanned cowhide, cut and assembled together in Ohio by Amish leatherworkers. The leather is 3.5oz which keeps the wallet feeling slim yet sturdy. The nylon stitching is guaranteed for 10 years. Inside, it uses perhaps the most tried-and-true design of any wallet – four card pockets, two internal pockets, and one cash pocket. This adds up to 8 individual panels of leather used to create this wallet. The wallet measures 4 3/8 inches by 3 ¼ inches. Empty it is 3/8 of an inch wide.

SimpleLeatherBeltCoEssentialWallet3

SimpleLeatherBeltCoEssentialWallet4

FUNCTION

This wallet holds cash and cards just as well as the next wallet. It is really simple and practical and the stitching is guaranteed for 10 years. What else needs to be said?


SimpleLeatherBeltCoEssentialWallet5

AESTHETIC

This simple wallet is surprisingly elegant. The leather inside and outside is uniformly polished – smooth and flawless. In the scotch color (I’m in a bit of a lighter leather craze right now) it seems to have the best potential to collect a variegated darker patina unique to its owner. The other darker color options, Havana, bourbon, and black, seem more resistant to color-changing patina. This wallet has definitely caught the attention of the people I work and hang out with. Ironically, when a product has a simple basic design, all perfection or any imperfection really stands out and I can’t find anything wrong with this one.

SimpleLeatherBeltCoEssentialWallet6

BESTLEATHER CONCLUSION

The A Simple Leather Belt Co. Essential Wallet comes in at a bit of a higher price of $79 when compared to the mass-produced leather wallets often found in discount clothing chains, but quality is a huge selling point here. Impeccably made by genuinely experienced American craftsman, the Essential Wallet is perfect for someone looking to add some subtle, long-lasting class and refinement to their collection of leather goods.

Norman Cahn Leatherworks Cabrio Wallet Review – $99.99

It’s always a pleasure to get a second or third piece of stellar leather from a brand we’ve reviewed in the past. It’s an even greater pleasure when you’re receiving a piece from someone who is widely regarded as a true artisan in the leather craft world. I’m pleased to introduce you to the cleverly designed Cabrio Wallet from Norman Cahn Leatherworks.

About Norman Cahn Leatherworks

Norman Cahn is a self-taught leather artisan. He started designing and crafting leather products in 1976. And since that time, he’s refined his skills and continues to strive for perfection in his craft. His expert skills and dedication to creating high quality products is evident in every piece…large or small. We suggest that you visit Norm’s Etsy store in order to take a look at all of the fine leather products he creates. This is the third piece of Norm’s that we’ve had the pleasure to receive for review. Be sure to read our reviews on his Passport Case and Field Notes Cover. This time around, we’re checking out his Cabrio Wallet.

Norman-Cahn-Leatherworks-Cabrio-Wallet-5

Construction

The Horween Leather features a deep, rich burgundy color complimented with chestnut nylon stitching, which is impeccable. It also includes Norm’s signature polished and finished edges that look fantastic. The snap on my model has an antique brass finish. You can choose other snap finishes and thread colors when ordering from Norman Cahn Leatherworks.

Functionality

This has been a fun wallet to use. It has a non-traditional orientation that seems to instantly get noticed. Just about every time I use it, the clerk, barista, or server comments on it. It’s a noticeably different design…and I like it.

The inspiration behind the Cabrio wallet can be found in your favorite drop top automobile – taking cues from the way convertible top vehicles (aka Cabriolets) operate. When you open the Cabrio Wallet, you’ll notice that the functionality is similar to the way the convertible top on an automobile opens and tucks away back into itself.

This ingenious vertically oriented design only measures 3″W x 4 1/8″H when closed. Even when I have it loaded up with my license, debit card, three or 4 other cards and cash, it maintains a slim profile (less than ¾”). I’ve found it to be a great front pocket wallet option too. The slim nature of the wallet is perfect.

Norman-Cahn-Leatherworks-Cabrio-Wallet-3

 

Aesthetic

The design, the leather quality, the artisanal build quality all combine to create a very pleasing product. Norm’s logo is tastefully placed on the back of the wallet and, for those of you who are major Horween fans, their stamp is emblazoned prominently on the inside.

The Cabrio Wallet is simple yet sophisticated, minimal yet capable of satisfying most traditional bifold wallet carrying folks demands. I can’t decide whether I want to reserve this wallet as my “professional, dressier occasions wallet” or just use it all of the time. That is still to be determined (although it seems to be in my pocket most of the time now)…even when I’m in casual mode.

Norman-Cahn-Leatherworks-Cabrio-Wallet-9

Conclusion

The Norman Cahn Leatherworks Cabrio Wallet definitely maintains the superior quality of the pieces I’ve reviewed in the past. To that end, at $99.99, it definitely qualifies as a Buy It for Life item. Be sure to visit the Norman Cahn Leatherworks website – we’re confident you’ll find several must have items there!

Norman-Cahn-Leatherworks-Cabrio-Wallet-2

Thrux Lawrence Black Leather Builder’s Billfold Review – $120

The movement of earth and construction of buildings and monuments through which we conduct our daily lives is the work of serious men. These same serious men require reliable, solidly built tools and adornments to quarry the stone and cut the timber these structures require.

Joining this lineup of robust equipment is the Thrux Lawrence Black Leather Builder’s Billfold. Rugged, yet stylish and sporting some serious hardware, this wallet will echo the attitude and good looks of its owner. It is important to note that the wallet I received is a prototype and has undergone some changes since this writing.

Thrux-Lawrence-Black-Builders-Leather-Wallet-006

About Thrux Lawrence

I recently had the chance to visit the Thrux Lawrence shop in downtown Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho, for a product photoshoot. Walking into the store, you get an immediate sense of style and sheer authenticity. From the onsite, old-school barber shop to the pool table to the leather workshop populated by hand tools and vegetable-tanned leather hides, Thrux Lawrence is a unique and inviting stop for custom leather (and other) products.

Tanden Launder founded Thrux Lawrence in 2012 with the idea of crafting high-quality, limited release clothing and accessory lines that are made in America. After touring the shop and viewing all of the collector’s items on display, it’s easy to see how his love of vintage goods has translated into the products they produce today.

Thrux-Lawrence-Black-Builders-Leather-Wallet-002

Construction

The Thrux Lawrence Builders Billfold is as serious as it is solid. It weighs 7.4 ounces (207 grams), making it the three hundred pound offensive lineman in the world of wallets. The leather strap that connects the wallet to the solid brass swiveling trigger snap is 3.5 millimeters thick on average. The snap hook is far stronger than any item of clothing you might attach to it and is secured to the leather strap by a hand-hammered brass rivet.

The wallet is constructed of 3 ounce oil-dyed leather and stitched with nylon-bonded black thread, creating two slots for cash and eight compartments for credit cards, man cards, and identification. There are two additional compartments for storing cash and other similar-sized items with no need for folding. The wallet measures 7 ½” x 3 ½” closed, and while it will fit in the back pocket of your jeans, it might find a more comfortable nest in a cargo pocket or the inside pocket of your jacket.

Thrux-Lawrence-Black-Builders-Leather-Wallet-003

If I was asked to point out an area for improvement on this wallet, it would be where the leather strap is connected to a cord to attach it to the wallet. The cord is strong and well-reinforced on the wallet side with a brass grommet protecting the leather. I’d like to see the same grommet reinforcing the tie-off of the cord and leather strap. The snap on one edge of the wallet is great for keeping it closed. The only thing I worried about was snagging the other edge of the wallet on a piece of clothing or a bag when hastily stored, as it hangs open a bit. A second snap opposite the first would eliminate this concern.

Function

The wallet fit comfortably in the back pocket of my work pants, though I don’t think sitting on it would remain comfortable for very long. The strap was long enough that I could clip it to my belt and store the wallet in the inside pocket of my jacket.

If you’re someone who appreciates being able to carry all of your credit cards, cash, and punch cards in one place, this is the right wallet for you. It is designed to be able to take a beating, and with the card slots facing inwards, there is little chance they’ll fall out. This wallet is one you’ll be able to carry for years, if not decades.

Thrux-Lawrence-Black-Builders-Leather-Wallet-007

Aesthetic

This wallet is big and sturdy; it is designed for the outdoorsman who wants to keep his stable of credit cards, identification, and business cards all in one place. Its appearance and feel give the owner a sense of ruggedness, such that this wallet might be at home clipped to the saddle of a Dutch Warmblood riding out on a windswept prairie. It conveys a sense of ruggedness and quality that anyone looking for a full-size wallet will appreciate.

Thrux-Lawrence-Black-Builders-Leather-Wallet-005

Conclusion

The Thrux Lawrence Black Leather Builder’s Billfold is good looking, tough, and will go anywhere on the trail you do without fear of it succumbing to the elements. It’s also available in brown leather. With a couple minor hardware changes to the snaps and grommets, this wallet would be the perfect addition to any working man’s wardrobe. As it stands, it is an excellent wallet that you wouldn’t be disappointed with should you choose to add it to your collection. For an investment of $120, you’ll be purchasing a wallet that will last you for your lifetime of hard work and on-the-go-style.

Thrux-Lawrence-Black-Builders-Leather-Wallet-004

North Star Leather Horween iPhone 6 Card Sleeve Review – $40

A couple months back I broke my brand new iPhone 6. It was my last day at a job and I was helping a customer out by looking something up for them. In their excited gratitude, they accidently smacked my phone out of my hand and shattered the screen. Since then, I have always kept a leather sleeve or plastic case on my phone. The North Star Horween iPhone 6 Card Sleeve has proven to be an excellent choice to protect my precious iPhone 6.

North Star Leather Horween iPhone 6 Card Sleeve

About

Michael Batson, son of Steve Batson, said, “My dad started North Star Leather in 1969 doing street vending in Boston (fringe belts, floppy hats, and other “hippy” items). Little by little he grew the company and eventually moved to the rural south; the small town of Ruby, SC, population 354. That was more than 35 years ago and we’ve been making quality leather accessories here ever since. We have 15 employees (4 of whom are family) and are proud to have been able to keep making our products here in the USA without ever considering outsourcing production to cheaper countries.” This is another great example of a company who started years ago, building themselves up to be a successful craft leather company.

North Star Leather Horween iPhone 6 Card Sleeve

For more information on the North Star Leather company, head on over to their About Us page, you’ll find their lifetime warranty information, a little more company information, and several testimonials from North Star Leather’s customers.

Construction

As you can tell from the title, this iPhone sleeve is constructed using Horween Chromexcel leather. The leather is stitched with heavy-duty contrast stitching, giving the flexible leather a nice sturdy feeling. Measuring 5.9” long by 3.6” wide, the iPhone sleeve snugly fits a caseless iPhone 6. North Star Leather has added a simple card pouch on the exterior of the sleeve, which adds only a minor amount of heft to its construction.

North Star Leather Horween iPhone 6 Card Sleeve

North Star Leather Horween iPhone 6 Card Sleeve

Function and Aesthetic

The iPhone 6 sleeve has performed flawlessly. I usually am wary of some leather sleeves because they will be too loose and allow the iPhone to slide out. This is not the case with North Star’s version. The sleeve is slender enough to put in your front or back pocket comfortably. There is plenty of room in the card pocket for several cards and a few bills. If all you need are your driver’s license, credit card, and some cash, this iPhone 6 card sleeve will hold it all.

The leather has already started to develop a nice patina from everyday use. It will continue to scratch and mark up becoming a very broken in, full of character leather accessory. The Horween Chromexcel leather in natural color provides a nice, classic look. The North Star Leather Horween iPhone 6 Card sleeve does come in several colors: Red/brown, natural, russet, and black. Each color will develop the desired patina overtime.

North Star Leather Horween iPhone 6 Card Sleeve

North Star Leather Horween iPhone 6 Card Sleeve

Conclusion

The North Star iPhone 6 Card Sleeve has been an excellent product. Like the Horween wallet we reviewed a while back, North Star has kept the price relatively low. They have succeeded in providing high-quality leather products for a manageable price. At $40, North Star’s leather sleeve is an appropriate choice to protect your expensive iPhone 6, especially if you are on a tight budget.

North Star Leather Horween iPhone 6 Card Sleeve

Maxwell Scott – The Sabina Coin Purse Review – $100

Women’s wallets can be kinda goofy. I’m not a huge fan of giant checkbook-sized wallets, but pockets on women’s jeans and pants are never big enough to fit a pocket sized wallet. It’s a lose-lose. So I am always on the lookout for interesting women’s wallet idea. Maxwell Scott offers up a cute alternative with their ball clasp coin wallet, dubbed The Sabina.

Maxwell Scott The Sabina Coin Purse 1

ABOUT MAXWELL SCOTT

“Family owned and run, Maxwell Scott Bags is founded on a shared love of Italy, a passion for design, and a firm belief in the importance of excellent customer service.” Currently based out of York, England, Maxwell Scott Bags was founded in 2002 with one goal: to become the most loved British bag company in the world. With a company revamp in 2013, the founders began a new vision. “The new brand identity comes from a blend of elements considered sacred to the company founders: craftsmanship, attention to detail, and a passion for creating individual style.” Be sure to read up about the company and its history, as well as keep up with the Maxwell Scott Journal. We recently reviewed their pen case, known as La Pienza. You can read the review here.

Maxwell Scott The Sabina Coin Purse 2

THE LEATHER

Maxwell Scott uses full-grain vegetable tanned cowhide, raised and tanned in Tuscany. You can read a bit about the heritage of their Italian tannery and veg-tan process on their website. The waxy, full-grain leather has an interesting, almost marbled look to it. I wasn’t entirely sold on this when I first saw it, but I’ve come to appreciate the patina it has acquired. It also protects it from looking scratched or dirty after being carried around in a purse.

Maxwell Scott The Sabina Coin Purse 10

The inside is lined with light pigskin that is durable and contrasts the leather nicely. The Sabina comes in three colors – classic tan, dark chocolate, and night black. My night black color is very versatile — it can look fancy but it’s also not too over-the-top for everyday use. For an extra $25, you can have up to six letters embossed on the purse, in blind, gold or silver.

Maxwell Scott The Sabina Coin Purse 4

CONSTRUCTION & FUNCTION

The Sabina Coin Purse is rather small, at 5.7″ x 2″ x 4.5″. It’s small enough that I can grab it and my phone in one hand, which for some reason feels very convenient to me. In my opinion, it’s not quite big enough to be used solely as a clutch purse, but that really comes down to personal preference as I’m not the type to use a clutch. However, I find it to be the perfect size to throw into a crossbody purse or handbag. It’s also be great for trips to the bathroom if you use it to hold lipstick or other cosmetics.

Maxwell Scott The Sabina Coin Purse 12

The Sabina’s leather is expertly gathered up at the top by beautiful brass edging and fastened with a sturdy ball clasp. It has two separate internal pockets separated by a middle divider. The divider is hinged so that you can access either pocket easily. I like the shape and size of this coin purse because the coins sink to the bottom and leave plenty of space for cards and a few folded bills. I wouldn’t put more than four or five plastic cards in there, or else it would be difficult to access the coins at the bottom. I’ve found that I like to keep chapstick and a few sticks of gum on one side, and coins, a bit of cash, my ID and two other cards in the other. The hinge still functions perfectly, even with all those things in there.  It’s become a great catch-all for all those little things that roll around on the bottom of my purse. Of course, it doesn’t have to be used as a wallet, either. There’s plenty of space for lipsticks, powder, or even a mini mascara if you’d prefer to use it as a fancy travel cosmetics case.

Maxwell Scott The Sabina Coin Purse 9

CONCLUSION

I’ve come to really like The Sabina Coin Purse from Maxwell Scott and its vintage, feminine aesthetic. It’s become my everyday carry wallet and it has encouraged me to pare down on the amount of cards I carry (I haven’t missed them one bit). $100 is a bit steep, but this purse is crafted from gorgeous leather and constructed beautifully. It also comes with a 25 year warranty should anything go wrong,  which I highly doubt would.

Maxwell Scott The Sabina Coin Purse 6 Maxwell Scott The Sabina Coin Purse 8 Maxwell Scott The Sabina Coin Purse 7

American Bench Craft Men’s Brown Hammer Riveted Leather Wallet – $69

I used three words to describe the American Bench Craft Hammer Riveted Leather Wallet upon receiving it: stylish, durable, and compact. If you’re looking for an artisan-crafted wallet that will let you carry the essentials and look good doing it, this may be the wallet for you. The wallet comes in its own box and drawstring bag stamped proudly with Made in the USA on the front. If you’re someone who has come to associate that phrase with quality, you will not be disappointed when handling this wallet.

American-Benchcraft-Riveted-One-Piece-Brown-Leather-Wallet-006

 

Yes, you’re going to have to get rid of some of those punch cards and discount cards, but think about it this way: your butt-bump will be smaller, it will fit in your coat pocket more easily, and did I mention the word stylish?

American-Benchcraft-Riveted-One-Piece-Brown-Leather-Wallet-001

 

About American Bench Craft

Jason and Chris Angelini founded American Bench Craft to create a better wallet that was as tough as it is beautiful. The brother’s different backgrounds lend themselves well to the leather business: Jason is a mechanical engineer in charge of product design, while Chris’ experience in business gives him an edge in promoting and marketing their brand. Today, American Bench Craft carries a full line of products from their riveted wallets to custom engraved dog collars. You can find all of their products online at the American Bench Craft Store.

American-Benchcraft-Riveted-One-Piece-Brown-Leather-Wallet-003

Construction

The construction of the Hammer Riveted Leather Wallet is what is going to separate it from the traditional wallet you’ll find in a department store. Single-piece premium steer hide bridle leather sourced in the USA? Check. Rust-resistant plated steel rivets eschewing the tradition of stitched seams? Yep. Compact design weighing only 50 grams and measuring an average of 1.4 millimeters in thickness? You got it.

American-Benchcraft-Riveted-One-Piece-Brown-Leather-Wallet-008

Jason and Chris use vegetable-tanned leather for this wallet, as it gives rich and warm tones that look more natural than a chromium salt or acid tanning process. Vegetable-tanned leather requires a high degree of craftsmanship to produce and costs more than other types of leather, but it is the only choice for this wallet.

American-Benchcraft-Riveted-One-Piece-Brown-Leather-Wallet-009

Those with an eye for detail will also appreciate the double-capped rivets throughout the wallet, rather than leaving one end uncapped as you’d find in many other leather products.

Function and Aesthetic

As much as I trust my taste in all things leather, the unique design of this wallet merited a second, third, and fourth opinion. Some comments were solicited and others were made the first time someone noticed the wallet.

American-Benchcraft-Riveted-One-Piece-Brown-Leather-Wallet-010

The rivets versus traditional stitching are a hit in their look and functionality. As I paid for my purchase at a local coffee shop, the barista noticed the wallet and called all of her co-workers over to take a look. The gold-colored rivets caught their collective eyes, and the one-piece design drew them in. Other commenters said the leather felt stiff, but understood it will mold to shape and end up with a nice patina over time.

American-Benchcraft-Riveted-One-Piece-Brown-Leather-Wallet-007

I’ve spent a few weeks with this wallet in my back pocket to help break it in and see how it felt. At some point during the day, I forgot it was even there. It was comfortable, and I didn’t experience the numb legs I’ve heard of others getting from having a bulky wallet in their back pocket.

Conclusion

Living in the modern world, I already owned a wallet prior to this one. Now that I’ve had the American Bench Craft Hammer Riveted Leather Wallet for a couple of weeks, I’m considering keeping two for my personal treasury. The wallet looks great, is well constructed, compact, and attracts the attention of those appreciative of all things leather.

American-Benchcraft-Riveted-One-Piece-Brown-Leather-Wallet-005

I’ll admit that I am sometimes one of those guys who likes to keep the coffee punch cards and coupons in my wallet. This wallet is not designed for that person. It is designed for the person who wants to keep only his credit cards, identification, and cash in one easy-to-access place. Don’t overstuff this wallet with plastic and paper, and you’ll never have the issues of cards falling out when you least expect it.

On a final note, this wallet merits a follow-up review in a few months for a demonstration of how it has been broken in and development of the patina. I’ll let you know more when I’ve had a chance to road test it for a while. If you make the choice to purchase this wallet with the size caveats in mind, you’ll have no regrets. The care and quality in this design make it worth every penny of its $69.00 retail price.