Leatherworking can be art. Each leather company is looking for a way to do something different. Everyone wants to be unique, to stand out for doing things better. Because there are only so many things you can do with leather, it’s not uncommon to see similar designs (sometimes with fancy expensive letters being sent from lawyers). The eye for design escapes many who punch and stitch, but not Kenton Sorenson. Vegetable tanned leather is what Kenton does. You could say he specializes in it. Frankly, design wise, he is my favorite. And I’ve seen a lot of leather.
The leather is a tight grain 4 oz vegetable tan cowhide. High quality. You can feel the quality in how dense the leather is. The microscopic strands that make up the leather are very small and tightly packed together. This is because the leather is taken from the best part of the hide, which is generally the midsection and the rear quarter. The rest of the hide can be fine for use but premium leather goods are generally cut from this area because there are less stretch marks or scars. Stretch marks are where the hide has to absorb the impact of movement. The stomach of the cow has the most stretch marks. Thread is bonded nylon which is extremely strong. A groove is cut into the leather that the thread sits in so it doesn’t wear a lot as you pull it out. The edges are very well burnished. My style preference is for any sophisticated leather piece to have well burnished edges
Dimensionally this wallet is no bigger than any other wallet and yet for its minimal design you can fit a lot in it. It has a large center slot pocket and slit pockets on each side. At the moment I have 6 credit card-like cards, several bills of cash, and eleven business cards without feeling like there is too much in it. Normally a wallet that can pack that much has so many layers of leather that it is more like a booster seat. I like to have my oft-used credit card in one side slit, cash and frequent buyer coffee card in the other, and business cards and ancillary credit cards and DL in the center slot. The main advantage over other minimal wallets is speed. With two quick access pockets you don’t hold up the checkout line sorting through your wallet.
There are four defining features, in my opinion, that imbue this design with class: the well burnished edges, the perfectly curved outer pockets, the inlaid stitching, and the excellent vegetable tanned leather. Burnishing is time consuming and often overlooked; it’s rare to find leather cut this perfectly. The inlaid stitching is a nice functional touch, and the vegetable tanned leather only gets better with use. A fine feature of veg tanned leather goods is the patina the item will acquire. As you use your wallet it will turn a golden brown hue.
You very much get what you pay for with this wallet. Some will charge you this kind of money for a much sloppier wallet and call it rustic. Whatever their reasoning, few match this level of craftsmanship and skill. For $90, you can have a beautiful and entirely usable minimal wallet. Oh, and it fits in more than just your front pocket. Check out the Kenton Sorenson Modern Man Front Pocket Wallet.