Popov Leather Card Holder Review – $35

My interest in handmade leather products started just about a year ago when I finished my summer internship. I had a nice chunk of savings and wanted to treat myself to a small gift. After thinking of what I could use, I decided on a new wallet. I found Popov leather after just a few minutes of googling and I was hooked.

Ryan’s site was really an eye-opener for me- it helped me learn about all the pieces that make up quality leather and handmade wallets. It led me to purchasing my own card holder from them, and I absolutely love it to this day. I would honestly encourage you to go through the site and watch some of his videos to learn more about leather products and how they’re made. For now, let’s talk about the Leather Card Holder  in Driftwood.

Construction

The card holder, like many others, is a vertical minimalist wallet with 3 pockets. The basic build is simple: two pieces of leather are cut out, folded over, and sewn shut. Great design often does the most with the least, and this card holder is no exception. But the truth is the devil is in the details here.

All the wallets at Popov are hand sewn with Tiger Thread, forming a tight seal that will stand the test of time. The leather they use for this product is Horween’s full-grain chromexcel, a durable hide which will give your wallet a great patina as you continue to use it. Finally, all the edges are burnished and polished to complete the look and feel.

Popov stitching is done with Tiger Thread and is hand sewn

The driftwood color is almost like a light brown, so a pretty neutral tone that can go with almost anything. In the short time I’ve had it, however, the leather has already begun to darken quite a bit. It goes well with the red stitching version Ryan sent me, but there are plenty of styles between the leathers and threads to match your personal taste.

Function

I’ve been using the card holder for almost 4 weeks at this point, and I can faithfully say that it allows me to carry all the essentials. I keep four credit cards in the main pocket, which were admittedly tight in the beginning (allow some time for the leather to expand). My wallet usually has a few bills in the front part of the wrap-around, while my ID and registration sit in the back.

If you’re already a minimalist wallet enthusiast, I would definitely recommend this piece. Everything I mentioned above is held tightly in the wallet- it takes some serious shaking to get cards to fall out. Since the whole wallet has an open design, removing items is always quick and easy.

The Card Holder has a razor thin profile

Conclusion

I’ll admit that this review is somewhat biased. Would you expect a completely honest review from a car enthusiast about the first car he got as an 18 year old kid? But here’s what you can know for certain: the Leather Card Holder from Popov leather is made with quality leather and stitching. It’s all put together and detailed by hand in their British Columbia shop. And at just $35, there are few comparable handmade products available at this price.

Thirteen50 Wrap Around Card Wallet Review- $30

Choosing which wallet to carry is a big deal for a lot of people. It’s something you use a few times a day, everyday, for years on end. A lot of folks want something that’s convenient, pleasant to look at, and durable. Thirteen50 hopes you’ll find all of that in their Wrap Around card wallet.

Last week I wrote about the Big Hoss belt from Thirteen50 Leather. If you look back at that review, you can read about how great the leather is, the quality of their production, and how their team got started in the leather business. Along with that piece, the guys sent me a minimalist wallet in a matching style.

The grains really pop in the Old World leather

CONSTRUCTION

This specific wallet is made of Old World Harness leather, just like the Big Hoss belt. Obviously, the leather used here is much thinner. It runs around 3.5 oz., just under a sixteenth of an inch. The hide is also vegetable tanned, so it has a very natural look and feel to it in your hands.

In terms of the build, the design is pretty straightforward. Essentially, the wallet is two pieces of leather laid on top of each, folded over halfway, and then sewn shut on two sides. This creates three pockets for cash and cards: two thin outer slots, and a thicker one on the inside. At the end of the process, the edges are burnished and waxed by hand.

FUNCTION

As described on the website, this wallet aims to be minimalist, and I found that to be the case. The whole thing is really thin, especially for something with two layers of leather. I’ve been using the inner pocket for four cards, a few folded bills on one side, and my ID and registration on the other. If you’re shocked by how little I walk around with, you might not be interested in a minimalist wallet at all.

I found the Wrap Around to work great for my carry. Access to the cards and cash was pretty convenient. To get a card out of the middle slot usually means sliding them all about halfway out, then plucking out the one I wanted. If that last sentence sounded tedious to you, I assure you that it isn’t.

Remember that when using this kind of leather product, any stretching the wallet undergoes can’t be “unstretched.” So if you want to switch from using six cards to three, you might find the wallet too loose.

AESTHETICS

Like I mentioned, this wrap wallet has a very natural feel to it. You can see the grains and slight imperfections which make each hide unique. It’s not as smooth as a pull-up leather, so this style may not be the one you’re looking for. But you can expect the leather to develop a nice patina and softness over time.

With that in mind, the Wrap Around comes in a variety of leathers (Bridle, Old World, Chromexcel) and colors (ox blood, black, brown, tan, etc.). If you want something more supple, one of the Chromexcel options should be perfect.

CONCLUSION

If you’re looking for a wallet that you’ll hardly notice, the Wrap Around card wallet from Thirteen50 might be what you’re looking for. It’s a quality piece, it looks interesting, and it’s incredibly thin. The wallet comes in a ton of styles and colors that can satisfy any taste you might have.

Rose Anvil Claude Minimalist Wallet on Kickstarter Review — $29

For the last 5 years, I’ve used a minimalist wallet called the Mojito.

It has gone head to head against many other wallet designs, and it won every fight.

So when I saw the Rose Anvil Claude Wallet on Kickstarter, I doubted it could beat the reigning champ.

But I tried the Claude, and I never looked back.

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Construction

The body of the Claude is cut from a single piece of leather that’s folded on one side. The cash strap is a separate piece, sewn on the outside. I love that simplicity. Just two pieces, elegantly saddle-stitched together. (Just FYI, I actually haven’t used the cash strap yet, because I don’t carry bills, but I suppose you might.)

I was worried the angular design might mean it doesn’t hold the cards securely. But I’ve been carrying (and throwing) it around for several days, and it has a firm grip. The cards sit snugly and don’t shift around.

The Claude is also very thin, as advertised, which I thought might mean a compromise for strength, but it doesn’t. This leather is high quality. Sturdy but thin. Sometimes I can’t even tell whether it’s in my pocket because the mass is approaching zero.

It’s exactly what I’m looking for in a minimalist wallet.

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Minimizing

When I transitioned from the Mojito to the Claude, I had to drop 2 cards because they wouldn’t fit. I now carry 2 credit cards, 3 miscellaneous cards, a couple blank checks, and a guitar pick. I’ll round up and say that’s 6 cards. That’s pretty much the maximum for the Claude. If you jammed 7 or 8 cards into it, I’m sure the leather would stretch and you’d be fine, but my recommendation is to get down to 6 cards.

So take out your wallet and start counting them before you order.

That said, I like that this forced me to rethink what I was carrying with me every day.

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Conclusion

Christmas is coming up. The Rose Anvil Claude Wallet would make a great gift for the beloved minimalists in your life. If you want to get one, it’s on Kickstarter right now. The campaign is already completely funded, but it doesn’t hurt to contribute to the stretch goals.

I love this wallet. It looks great, works great, and it’s super thin. It’s easily worth $29.

I might even pay double. It’s that sweet.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Larsen & Ross Three Pocket Minimalist Leather Slim Wallet Review – $55

The wallet may have more design variations than almost any other product in the world. They come in virtually every shape and size. And, they are made from every conceivable material. Of course our favorite material is leather. Multi-use wallets score big with me. I like options. Fortunately, the Larsen & Ross Three Pocket Minimalist Leather Slim Wallet (phew, that’s a mouthful) is one of those wallets that qualifies as multi-use: it’s a perfect standard wallet, an ideal front pocket wallet, and can easily be used as a great, non-conventionally styled business card holder.

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About Larsen & Ross

Jaren Larsen, founder of Larsen & Ross, has been involved in creating leather products for over twenty years. Larsen & Ross is based out of a Salt Lake City, Utah suburb and is dedicated to creating products that will last for decades. Jaren is deeply committed to using quality materials and creating a durable product that bucks the current trends of our throwaway, disposable society.

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Construction

The Three Pocket Minimalist Wallet I received is a matching companion to the Minimalist iPhone 6 Sleeve reviewed here on BestLeather in December. The wallet features the same great feeling and attractive US-sourced 4/5 oz. full grain leather. It too has the same great pull up quality to it too. The seams are symmetrical and edges are beveled and nicely burnished with beeswax. The wallet comprises two pieces of leather wrapped one inside of the other to create 3 pockets with the middle pocket being the largest.

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Function

This wallet has a small footprint (hence the minimalist name). Its overall dimensions are 4” x 2.75”. In spite of its minimalist appearance, it still holds quite a few items due to its clever design. I just pulled it out of my back pocket and here’s what I currently have in it:

  • Main pocket: 5 credit cards and a Costco receipt
  • Outside pocket #1: Driver’s license and insurance card
  • Outside pocket #2: Debit card, gas card, another receipt, and $26 cash

While out shopping earlier today, I carried the wallet in my front pocket with ease. It serves its purpose perfectly, holding a reasonable amount of items with a design that allows you to easily retrieve whatever is needed from any pocket.

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Aesthetic

It’s a simple little thing, but it looks really sharp. I find myself taking it out of my pocket and placing it on the table with my iPhone 6 case simply because I like looking at them together. The leather’s color and thread are attractive and will age well. If it’s of interest to you, Larsen & Ross does offer two other thread colors: red and blue which allow you to customize your wallet a little bit more and create even more contrast.

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Conclusion

I’ve been using Larsen & Ross Three Pocket Minimalist Leather Slim Wallet for about six weeks now and to date, I can’t think of anything about it that bugs me. It’s just one of those little utilitarian pieces that serves its purpose ideally. The fact that all of the components are made in the USA and the wallet itself is created with pride here in the USA makes it just that much better. At $55 it’s a solid choice for a wallet that gives you several carry options. It’s going to age well and outlast any wallet found in a department store.

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