The Heritage Leather Company creates and manufactures durable goods for the working man or woman. With a product line that consists of tool bags, tool satchels, knee pads, leather aprons, and more, Heritgage Leather has a focus on making goods that are meant to be used and abused. As such, they have a commitment to producing goods that are durable, functional, but affordable. BestLeather had the opportunity of reviewing a few items from Heritage Leather, their 16” Mason Tool Bag, their Pliers Holder, and their Six Pocket Tool Pouch.
Considering we are a site about leather, my first impressions are usually focused on the leather itself, and with Heritage Leather’s goods, there was no exception. For the Pliers Holder and Tool Pouch, Heritage Leather uses vegetable tanned, natural colored, four to five ounce leather. Similar in function to saddle leather, this leather can be formed and molded for a specific purpose, and retain that shape for many years. It is the color of leather that patinas to a golden hue over time, that is very stout, and is very durable. In other words, it’s the right leather choice to hold tools.
The majority of the Mason Bag is made of heavy duty, 18 ounce canvas. Heavy canvas, instead of leather, is a reasonable choice for a large tool bag, considering tools in and of themselves are heavy. The light weight canvas is stout enough, but light enough to make the bag comfortable to carry, even when loaded with tools. To support these tools and ensure that the bag holds together for a long time, Heritage uses one solid, thick, top grain piece of leather for the bottom of the bag. This leather is chrome tanned. Personally, I would prefer vegetable tanned leather for the bottom of the bag, because of its increased durability, but the choice of using thick leather compensates and ensures a long life.
The handles and closure straps of the mason bag are made of four to five ounce vegetable tanned, natural colored leather, the same as their tool pouches. This is stout, very durable leather, that is meant to hold up to years of use.
After spending a couple weeks with the goods from Heritage Leather, it was obvious that they focus on producing items that have a very specific purpose, and that these items must serve that purpose well. The Pliers Holder has the right size pocket for an average pair of pliers. The Tool Pouch has enough pockets to carry the essentials for a number of small tasks, like hanging a painting, repairing a broken gate, or fixing that leaky faucet. The Mason Bag has a wide mouth, which makes it easy to drop tools into, and quickly pull tools from the bag. I really liked this design for a tool bag. When I am trying to fix something, the last thing I want to mess around with is trying to get my bag open, or to search inside the bag for the right tool. The wide mouth design of the Mason Bag eliminates this hassle.
Like a classic tool bag, the Mason Bag opens from the inside outward, to provide complete access to the entire bag. It opens and closes easily, and the straps keep the bag cinched shut when transporting tools, or not in use. I found that the metal frame made it easier to carry the bag around, even with tools in it, without using the straps.
The well known idiom, “The Devil is in the details” is just as true in leather working as in any other craft, if not more so. I can quickly tell when a leather good is made to high standards by focusing on some of the details, the type of stitching used, the quality of the hardware, the overall design of an item, etc.
After spending some time with these Heritage Leather goods, it is obvious that they are a company that remembers the details. Heritage uses strong, nylon thread for all of its bags, pouches, and tool holders. With thread weight anywhere from a size 69 to a size 277 (the larger the number, the thicker the thread), they use what is most appropriate for the item being crafted.
Heritage also uses steel, nickel plated hardware for it’s buckles and rings. They also use metal studs for the bottom of their mason bags, for better wear and tear protection. Similarly, they insert a thick piece of water resistant fiberboard in the bottom of the bag, to provide enough rigidity for an ample supply of tools.
In speaking to Heritage about their Mason Bag, they pointed out that they replaced the original steel frame with an aluminum frame as a means of making the bag a little lighter, while still maintaining enough strength and rigidity. Couple the lighter weight nature of the bag, with the provided shoulder strap, and lots of space, and you could actually use the bag as your overnight bag for a campout or other excursion. Dual purpose, I like that.
It is fairly unusual in the world of quality leather, to get a quality good for a low price. The equation: High quality = high prices is generally true. The mathematics are pretty plain and simple. I think Heritage Leather comes as close as possible to bucking this equation as a company can. They currently sale their Pliers Holder for $6.78. The Tool Pouch is $22.32 and the Mason Bag is $141.83. For leather products that are made in the good ole’ U.S. of A, those are darn good prices for very good quality items.
If you are in the market for a tool pouch, bag, or other leather tool accessory, the Heritage Leather Company is a great choice, plain and simple.