E3 Supply Co. Leather Moto Glove Lanyard Review – $40

The E3 Supply Co. Leather Moto Glove Lanyard is a product that solves a problem you didn’t realize you had. I hadn’t thought about the inconvenience that carrying around my motorcycle gloves is until this lanyard eliminated it! This is a great quality-of-life product for any motorcycle rider.

About E3 Supply Co.

E3 Supply Co. began from a passion for building custom motorcycles, and has now extended to creating killer leather accessories for their riders. This company prides itself on hand making each product from start to finish, all at their headquarters in Brooklyn. As far as companies go E3 is as cool as they come.

I highly recommend following their Instagram, which includes cross-country camper adventures, musical pursuits, and, of course, plenty of leather (and sometimes discounts on said leather!). It’s been my pleasure to get to know David, Erin, and their crew over at E3 over the course of several reviews (with many more to come!).

Leather & Construction

The Moto Glove Lanyard is made with Horween’s famous Chromexcel leather, E3 Supply Co’s leather of choice. Chromexcel is a soft and beautiful leather with a strong reputation. Holding the Chromexcel in place is military grade metal: a single snap rivet, two sliding loops, and tipped with an Hk style rifle sling clip. The leather is cleanly cut and well assembled. 


I used to cram my motorcycle gloves in the back pocket of my jeans if I didn’t have some kind of bag with me. It worked well enough, but wasn’t ideal. I’d need to remove them to sit, and could easily end up forgetting them (as, unfortunately, I’ve been known to do fairly often). The Moto Glove Lanyard is a great alternative.

The function is simple. With the lanyard clipped to the belt loop on your pants, you put your gloves in the lanyard and secure them with the sliding loops. When you need your gloves again, you slide the loops up and grab your gloves. Easy!

The biggest concern I had with the lanyard was that my gloves might not be very secure. I’ve stress tested the hold a bit, swinging the lanyard around and tugging at my gloves. So far I haven’t had any issues! The sliding loops wedge the gloves in nicely.

Another perk to using the Moto Glove Lanyard is that it makes your pair of gloves a single unit. Even if I had a bag or didn’t want my gloves clipped to my pants, using the lanyard keeps them together and makes them easier to quickly grab or find in your bag.


Chromexcel is a gorgeous leather, and it’s hard to go wrong with a product made with it. The color shifts slightly as the leather is folded and moved. The hardware maintains the sturdy, rugged look that is perfect for a motorcyclist’s gloves.


E3 Supply Co.’s Leather Moto Glove Lanyard is a handy accessory for anyone who frequently uses gloves. It works perfectly as intended, looks nice, and won’t break the bank. It’s a great way to keep your gloves secure and out of your way. I’m happy to recommend this lanyard as a Buy It For Life product.

Pad & Quill Oxford Leather iPad Pro 9.7 Case – $120

Looking for a flashy yet stylish way to carry and protect your iPad Pro? Look no further than the Oxford Leather iPad pro case from Pad & Quill.

With a simple a slim design, this case doesn’t add the unwanted bulk. Perfect for an office setting, travel and anywhere else you’d take your iPad pro to work and show off!


About Pad & Quill

Kari and Brian, founders of Pad & Quill, are out to make their mark on the world of eCommerce. Instead of outsourcing their products to the lowest bidder, they have a strict code that they want all of their products to adhere to, which you can read about here. They have a 25-year warranty on their bags, showing their commitment to longevity. From their website:

“We think there are folks out there who have the same sense of awe as we do when they behold a beautiful thing. Who marvel at how a handful of seeds can become a majestic stand of Baltic Birch, that are then transformed, in artisan hands, into a gorgeous, organic product. There are friends who share our sense of adventure and love to have a bag they pull from their closet with 15 years of travel written upon it, and miles to go. Pad and Quill products will never resemble a trinket pulled from a fast food bag.”


This case is crafted from a single piece of full-grain bridle leather with a soft black colored American leather interior. The stitching is marine grade nylon and the closing strap is a sturdy elastic band.



There is also a magnet stitched into the interior front cover to trigger the iPad’s ‘sleep’ function.

Residue free adhesive technology keeps the iPad securely in place. Although you can easily remove the iPad from the case, it is recommended that you do this minimally to preserve the adhesive strength. Otherwise, replacement adhesives can be ordered -here-.


An optional Apple pencil accessory is available as well and can be purchase separately -here-.


Closed the case measures 10 inches by 7.5 inches and .75 inches think with the iPad in it. Opened, the case measures 14.5 inches.


The overall basic function of this case is to offer basic protection to your iPad’s screen. Similar to a leather book binder, the cover acts more as a cover than a protection case. Sure it will protect the case and screen from dust and minor drops and bumps, but I do not see it protecting it in a more rugged environment. The inside pocket also serves as a handy place to put notes, receipts or other loose papers. The elastic band holds the case very secure when closet.

There is also, of course a wide rectangular cut out for the iPads rear camera on the back cover.



As mentioned previously, the look and feel of this case is like a leather bound journal. Of course, it will bound to get more of those desired leather beauty marks ad patina with age and surely outlast the electronic devise(s) it holds.

Although I do not own the keyboard attachment for the iPad, I can see that it will work quite nicely with the design of the case and the ‘prop up’ design.



The interior flap makes a great hand pocket for carrying although you couldn’t use it for taking pictures since it blocks the back camera lens.


At first, I wasn’t sure if I liked the adhesive feature in the case and thought for sure that this may be a less desirable way to hold the case over time and especially if you wanted to remove the ipad from the case or swap cases from time to time. However, the adhesive system is very sturdy and well designed to stay hidden and add less hardware or bulk to the case.

I also don’t own an Apple pencil but the added accessory (that attaches with the same adhesive system) seems very useful to keep the iPad and pencil conveniently together.

BestLeather Conclusion

Although at first glance, the piece does appear to be expensive, further examination of the quality craftsmanship, materials used and design validates the price. If you want quality, you usually have to pay for quality and that theory applies here.

Cases are made for both the 9.7 inch and the larger 12.9 inch iPad Pro models and is available in two different colors.

Check it out -here-.

E3 Supply Co Passport Notebook & Tactical Keychains Review

The first time I went to E3 Supply Co’s website, I thought my web browser had auto-filled in a website from my history–why was I going to a page about motorcycles? I was in the right place though. E3 began by making custom motorcycles, and carried that spirit of freedom into making killer leather accessories. We’re going to look at a couple items that would fit right in with any biker’s every day carry–E3’s Passport Notebook and Tactical Keychain series.


Horween Leather Passport Notebook

There’s lots of great options out there for a small leather notebook cover. E3’s Passport Notebook is distinguished in that it’s kept very simple (no card or pen slots), but can hold two smaller Scout notebooks. The Horween Chromexcel used is nice and thick, and as soft yet strong as we’ve come to know and love of this leather. It looks great and E3’s wing logo is very cool.


Elastics at the centerfold are used to hold the notebooks in the cover, and another elastic is used to keep it closed when not in use. This is a great system that makes the Passport Notebook very easy to use. It’s quick to pull out and jot notes when the moment comes, and with some flexing can lay nice and flat. One unexpected use I found when I only needed one notebook was to use the freed-up elastic to hold cash or receipts. A drawback about the elastics is that they’ll be far outlived by the Chromexcel, but they should be quite simple to replace once they wear out.


Chromexcel Tactical Keychain V1 & V2

Everyone needs keys, and every key needs a good keychain. E3 offers two options of their Tactical Keychain, and I’ve had the chance to test out both. V1 is for those who prefer to clip their keys to their belt loops, and V2 is for those who like to snap the entire keychain to their belt and unclip their keys when they need them (or perhaps those who want to save a few dollars on the less expensive of the two). I’ll let the visible wear-in on mine show which I preferred!


Both versions are well made with the same thick Chromexcel as the Passport Notebook. V1 uses a thick stitch at each corner to hold three folded layers of leather together and the hardware in place, and V2 uses a single snap rivet to keep its two layers of folded Chromexcel in place. Hardware is military spec Hk style rifle sling clips. The PVD coating on the clips is starting to wear on the contact points of my clips, but this shouldn’t affect function or longevity. Everything involved is tough enough to handle the abuse a keychain takes for years to come.


BestLeather Conclusion

E3 Supply Co. is a cool company with some great products. Their Chromexcel Passport Notebook and Tactical Keychains are simple, well put together items with our recommendation. Prices are reasonable as well–the Passport Notebook is $45, and the tactical keychains are $39 for V1 and $29 for V2. 



E3 has many other great accessories to offer, as well. Be looking forward to a review of their Holster Style Slim Wallet in our upcoming wallet roundup as well as a review for their Apple Watch straps in the coming weeks.


Andrews Leather Monarch Shoulder Rig and Holster Review — $250

I’m not in law enforcement, and I don’t wear a gun on a daily basis. The truth is, my interest in holsters comes primarily from Indiana Jones and Uncharted.

In other words, I was imagining a quest for Shangri La instead of considering functionality. I spent a lot of time looking for a certain style, something with a renegade panache. I was pleasantly surprised to discover the Andrews Leather Monarch Shoulder Rig and Holster, which excels in both style and utility.




About Andrews Leather

When I found pictures of the Monarch Shoulder Rig, I knew it was exactly what I wanted. But the site seemed a decade out of date, and I couldn’t find a place to order. I saw a phone number and called. A friendly voice greeted me: “My name’s Sam Andrews. I’m the owner.”

He spoke with a kind, mild, sincere tone. And although he mentioned being overloaded with orders, he seemed in no rush as he chatted with me. He told me he doesn’t do email—his hunt-and-peck typing is just too slow. And he prefers speaking directly with the customer anyway.

Sam said he’s been doing leatherwork for 41 years. It began when as a teen he cut apart a ruined police holster. Later he served as a police officer but left “because of the politics.” That’s when he stumbled into leathermaking as a career, and his business has been quite successful ever since.




I first put on Sam’s Monarch shoulder holster while standing in front of a mirror, and I couldn’t help but grin.

The shoulder straps are made of a lightweight suede, which at first seemed a little too lightweight. But I soon realized this was for comfort. The suede trades durability and gains softness. It’s comfortable against your back and conforms to your body. I’ve never tested my bodyweight against it though, and I wouldn’t plan on hanging from it while sliding down a zipline. But it’s more than adequate for carrying a Glock and a couple loaded magazines.

The holster, on the other hand, is made of a heavy, cowboy sort of leather, stamped with the Andrews brand. Its weight helps balance the rig—the opposite of top heavy—keeping the equipment where it should be.

Sam shapes each holster to fit an exact model of gun, in my case a Glock 19, and you’ll see this in the contours of the molded leather.

I ordered the regular-sized Monarch Shoulder Rig, but Sam also makes an XL, because “some customers can’t fit their shoulders through a doorway.” That comment made me chuckle.





“Most shoulder holsters are designed by people who’ve never used one,” said Sam.

By contrast, he has years of law-enforcement experience and knows what functionality is needed. Even today, he tinkers with his designs, intent on finding what works best and what’s most comfortable. He told me this iterating makes the job fun. It also means he takes feedback from customers seriously.

One feature that grew out of this expert knowledge is the back strap, which steadies the rig and keeps it from swinging, particularly when you’re bending down or leaning forward. It’s a helpful feature that you won’t find on competitor’s rigs.

The holster is snug and grips the gun tightly even without the snap. In fact, there’s a specific screw outside the trigger guard that will let you adjust this tightness.

The holster snap is directional (this fact was even marked with a tag). That means you don’t snap it on straight down, but sort of at an angle, like you’re hooking over a latch. Just something to be aware of.

The holster also includes a belt strap, so you can take it off the shoulder rig and put it on your belt.

I’ve worn this rig a lot, for hours and hours. Since I don’t regularly carry a gun, I wore it during more mundane activities: making an omelette, doing pushups and pullups, watching Stranger Things, doing laundry, and driving to the shooting range. I’ve put in enough time to confidently say that this rig is very comfortable—I’ve even taken a nap wearing it. I love it.

There’s one functionality caveat I should warn you about. The barrel of the gun points horizontally behind you when you’re wearing this rig. It might even point slightly up, depending on how the straps are situated. This means the gun points at people during regular use. I don’t consider that a safety issue, but it made a few bystanders uncomfortable as I wore it.





The Monarch design is beautifully simple: four leather straps held together by two layered cross-pieces and a bunch of thumb screws.

I will mention that when I first got the rig, the suede underbelly shed all over my shirt. Now that I’ve used it a bit, the shedding is gone.

Interchangeable pins in the shoulder straps make the rig adjustable, which is great. You can unscrew them with just a fingernail, but the thread angle is so shallow that I’ve never worried they might come loose. I changed my rig to make the top section (above the cross) longer and the lower section shorter. This shifted the cross more squarely between my shoulder blades (I’m all about the look).

And speaking of the look, Sam told me something for the sake of “sheer bragging.” A new Magnificent Seven movie came out September 23rd, and all the stars in it are wearing Andrews Leather. Also, two of the heroines in the upcoming Fast 8 movie will be wearing Monarch rigs—just like the one you see here. (As Sam told me this, he mentioned that Hollywood is king of last-minute changes, which “had me running around with my hair on fire.”)

In my mind, this connection with the movie business serves as a solid endorsement for the aesthetic.



BestLeather Conclusion

I love my Andrews Leather Monarch Shoulder Rig and Holster. It’s a fine piece of craftsmanship that looks awesome and works even better. Seriously. I’ve given you details on what I like with a couple very minor caveats. Overall, I think it’s a fantastic product.

Normally a link to the product page would be enough. In this case, I’ll also link you to Sam’s contact page. When you call, tell him J at BestLeather sent you.




Intrepid Bag Co. Leather Tech Roll – $139

Picture this scenario: You’re traveling with a cellphone (as most would), a laptop, tablet, camera, and perhaps a kindle. You open your briefcase to retrieve the said cord to charge the right device and the inside of your briefcase is a tangled knot of cords and wires. Even worse, you can’t locate where one cord begins and the other ends.

Well in our age of multiple devices and other digital equipment, a professional and functional solution is needed to save time and perhaps embarrassment.

Intrepid Bag Co. has just released a new set of leather accessories to complement their original designs. Among them is this beautiful full grain saddle leather tech roll.



The leather used in this piece is full grain USA saddle leather with a rich Mahogany color. The interior features a gray canvas lining with 3 cord slots, one middle pocket with a leather flap closure, and a large zippered pocket on the opposite end of the cord pockets. The entire piece is stitched with top quality nylon stitching.



The roll is secured with two straps that fasten into simple leather closures.


Rolled, the tech roll measures 7.5 inches long by 5 inches across and 1.5-4 inches deep (depending on how much you stuff in there). Unrolled it measures about 15 inches.

Having never really owned or used a tech roll before, I can say that at first I as hesitant to give it a fair shot in my daily carry as I usually like to pack as light and minimally as possible. But as I recalled SEVERAL incidents when traveling where I got slightly frustrated that I couldn’t find a cord or the cord I needed was wrapped around an article of clothing, so I decided to give it a fair chance.

One thing that was a little awkward was getting the cords in the pockets, but I imagine that in time it won’t be a big deal at all for the time and headaches you save on the road.


 The function of the piece is to neatly organize cords, chargers, battery packs or external hard drives as well as a few other accessories like adapters or cleaning clothes. The interior’s 3 cord slots have slits in the bottom to allow the cord to feed through so it can be used without having to remove the whole cord.

The center pocket is large enough to hold a smart phone or thin battery or external hard drive with, again, a small slit in the bottom to allow a cord to feed through. As the zippered side pocket is all canvas, a good amount of small accessories can be stuffed in. However, the more stuff in the roll and pockets, the bulkier the piece is when rolled.



 The mahogany saddle leather on the roll is very sturdy and already is breaking in nicely. As mentioned above, the roll does get bulky when crammed with a lot of stuff but what doesn’t? I really love the simplicity of the case and can tell it will age for many phone and device updates.

 At $139, I feel the tech roll Is well worth the money considering the material used and the design. Anyone who is looking for a solution to organizing varies electronics while maintaining a look of elegance, professionalism, and function will be happy with this piece. Check it out -here-!

J. Ryan & Co Leather Shaving Strop Review

All strops are not created equal. As a matter of fact, I have heard countless times throughout my years in the wet shaving and barbering industry that a shaver’s strop is quite irrelevant, and “the cheaper the better”—a partial truth, to be sure, because who doesn’t like to get good quality products for good prices? In some cases, individuals will have gone out and found a quality vintage or used strop for a decent price, but with the recent explosion in wet shaving paraphernalia, this antique find is becoming harder and harder to acquire. Often times, someone coming into the wide and wonderful world of wet shaving or professional barbering will do a quick google search or stop by their local antique store only to be disappointed with cheap “pleather” products, or antique leather so dried out or heavily used that the tool would work better on display in a museum rather than in a washroom or on a barbering chair. Let it be known that a strop has the ability to either refresh your blade upon every pass, or roll the edge to a “perfect dull” with every pass. Therefore, I reiterate—all strops are not created equal.

Click here to buy.



There are quite a few companies and artisans currently producing leather strops, many of which don’t have any experience professionally stropping an actual razor or even shaving with a straight razor, and this shows in the quality of their strop. No fault on the character or ethos of the company, they simply don’t know what is required of a strop that will last this lifetime, and maybe many more! A few months ago, I was checking out at a leather strop used by many of the wet shaving enthusiasts, and I was sorely disappointed with the quality of the product compared to the price. I thought, “perhaps the golden era of wet shaving products is over?” Then something quite wonderful happened—I received a J. Ryan & Co. strop.

j-ryan-and-co-strop-review-6Let me give you a little back story here. I run a small wet shaving site where I offer straight razor restorations and custom shaving brushes for those looking to get into artisan wet shaving products. I am also a consultant and marketing specialist for a large barber supply company which allows me to travel to barbershops all over the U.S., many of which ask me to hone their razors and teach them new techniques for blade maintenance and general straight edge practice. Over the past few years, I have honed and stropped thousands of razors of all various shapes, sizes, and quality. This means I have also used quite a few different strops. When the crew at BestLeather.org sent me the J. Ryan & Co. strop to review, I immediately knew that this strop was different than others—it wasn’t just a tool, it was clearly an artwork.


I received the strop folded in a light-weight linen drawstring bag, and when loosened the twine, I was hit with that pungent, quality leather smell we have all grown to love so very, very much. At this point, I knew nothing of this product other than it came from a gentleman who makes strops. I knew nothing of the leather, nothing of the hardware, the width, length, etc…this was all a surprise for me, and boy was I surprised! Most leather strops on the market come in general width sizes with the most common sizes sitting somewhere between 1.5” to 2” wide. This particular strop I received boasts an impressive 3” width with an overall length of 30”, 17” of which is the proper stropping interval. When I pulled the strop out of the bag, I was immediately impressed with this behemoth’s overall size. The length and width are certainly not uncommon in the world of strops, but it does my heart well to see such a quality strop in this size.


Now, when it comes to strops, the leather quality either makes or breaks the product. I have come across other strops that happened to be this size or even bigger, but each strop I have seen that can even be compared to its size lacks the leather quality necessary to be considered a viable straight edge tool. Quality leather is obviously not cheap, so crafters will often use cheaper leather in order to offset the cost of the strop’s length and width in order to keep the product within a certain price range. Not so with the crew at J. Ryan & Co. In fact, where most crafters will only use a single length of leather coupled with a single length of linen or cotton, the crafters at J. Ryan & Co. decided to use finest Horween leathers for all of it’s leather components. For those of you familiar with the different parts of a strop, you are already aware the purpose each side serves. For those of you wondering why one length of leather is not good enough, let me take a moment to elaborate a little on strop maintenance—in order to keep this as a brief introduction, lets refer to each side as the light side (secondary length) and the heavy side (main body).


The light side of a strop serves two purposes. (1) to remove any burrs or rust on the edge of the blade in order to prepare the edge for a good “refreshing,” and (2) to warm the edge’s metal by means of friction in order to allow the heavy side to properly refreshen the blade. This obviously means that the heavy side is specifically for refreshing the blade in a quicker and more efficient amount of time than if you were to simply use the lighter side. Now that this is finished, lets get back to the review!


The main body is crafted from Horsehide Chromexcel in what I am guessing is in 6-7 oz. leather, which certainly makes for an impressive main strop body given its heavy draw. The main body on the strop I received is beautifully dyed in rich burgundy, which only adds to the discerning character of this piece. Where other crafters utilize a length of linen or even cotton for the second part of the strop body, the crew at J. Ryan & Co. decided to trash the idea of cloth all together and dedicate this strop as a full leather product—something which resembles the quality strops of yesteryear, and quite a breath of fresh air for myself, if I might add. This lighter side utilizes Horween’s Snuffed Suede leather in what I am guessing is 4-5 oz. leather instead of a cloth substitute. A wise choice, in my opinion. It looks as though the suede side is dyed at the tannery in a stonewashed gray, something which compliments the burgundy wonderfully.


Moving onto the rest of the strop, I am thoroughly impressed with the handles and hanging component J. Ryan & Co. included within this product. Lets start from the top and move down—first, the hanging component of the strop serves two purposes. (1) It attaches the hardware required to hang the strop, and (2) it binds both the light and heavy lengths together. This component feels like something you would find on a horse’s saddle—its rigid and unmovable! It feels and looks like leather, but its solid and sturdy like a hard material—a fantastic quality to have for this component! Because of it’s inherent purpose, this part of the strop usually always go out first. The constant wear on this “hinge” usually results in the strop falling apart from the top down, but I don’t see that happening with this component anytime soon. The handles of the strop are even more ridged and durable, as it is comprised of 3 layers of horsehide which have been bonded and stitched together. The handles are then hand beveled and rounded, then stained to match the rest of the strop and finished with beeswax for a high sheen.


J. Ryan & Co. didn’t just stop with quality leather, they also ensured their product was adorned with quality hardware as well—solid brass. The hanging component is a solid brass bolt snap accompanied with a brass ring. This allows the shaver to comfortably use the hanging component with large hooks and small “clip on” surfaces alike. Should something catastrophic ever happen (dog chew toy, *cough* *cough*), take heart knowing that the lengths are bound together by solid brass Chicago Screws, so if you do need to change one length or another, you are able to do so with ease and more importantly, without having to purchase another strop.


Lastly, I want to touch on what I think is one of the coolest parts of the strop—the logo. The stamp is deeply embossed in the leather handles and the strop lengths, which offers 4 opportunities to gander at this beautiful creation! Inspired by medieval artistry, the stamp exhibits a coat-of-arms and a bold font which scream “simplistic, yet exquisitely refined.” I recently returned home after a stint in Scotland, and the stamp artistry ushers me back to the castles I visited and the “old world feel” associated with 14th and 15th century Europe. No joke, when I look at this strop, it makes me want to go back to Scotland. There is certainly something to be said about that which invokes such emotions and memories.


Now with the general information of the strop covered, let’s move on to my experience with it! When I received the strop, it was definitely new. So new in fact, that it was actually quite difficult to use the main body of the strop. This is of no fault to J. Ryan & Co., and really is not a fault at all. Good quality leather takes time to break in, especially with the main body sitting somewhere in the 6-7 oz. range! There are sturdy bags made with that kind of leather! It should be noted that the lighter side has been comfortable since day one, which once again is of no fault, rather the result of lighter leather. Before touching pen to paper with my thoughts on this strop, I wanted to spend at least a month with it. In one months time, I had the opportunity to use this strop every singe day, multiple times a day. I was able to strop somewhere around 50 razors with it, and used it for my personal razors every morning. Everyone has a specific way they like to strop, so I am not even going to touch on that theme here, but I will say that I stropped each razor approximately with 60 passes on the lighter length and 30 passes on the heavy length, so I have come to know this strop fairly well in such a short amount of time.



j-ryan-and-co-strop-review-4I was not taught to use a stropping a blade on brand new Horsehide Chromexcel so that actually took a little getting use to. After a week, the leather finally started to break in and I was able to get an actual feel for what this strop was going to perform like. After two weeks, I actually got excited to use the strop, and at the end of the second week, I decided to perform a test. I took my favorite strop that I have been using for the last three years and compared it to the J. Ryan & Co. strop that I had been using for 2 weeks. I used the same razor, with the same number of passes, and conclude that the J. Ryan & Co. strop was more comfortable, and seemed to polish the edge of the razor so much better than my previous strop. I credit most of this to the lighter Horween Snuffed Suede leather length instead of a linen length, however, these can be no doubt the main body of the strop plays a huge  (if not the primary) role in refreshing the edge. For those curious, I used a Wade & Butcher true-wedge for this test, but most often used a late 1890’s H.G. Long & Co. french tip in quarter-hollow—my every day straight edge.


One unfortunate thing about strops is that no matter how gorgeously beautiful they happen to be, you will inevitably cut gouges and slivers out of the leather over time. When you are performing thousands of passes with an instrument so sharp it could cut hair just by lightly passing the edge over the center, it is inevitable that you will damage the leather. After the first week, I cut a sliver in the top of the main length and nearly cried out of disappointment. After another week, you can barely tell that there was a sliver cut in at all, and I imagine than after another month or two, it will be completely gone. The Chromexcel leather was a grand choice for the main body, as my little mishap proves that minor scratches and slivers can be buffed out through further use.


A month into using the strop, I couldn’t be happier. I have taken it to barber shops all across Washington state and Idaho within the past few weeks and have received many compliments over what an amazing tool this is. There is one thing that I feel obliged to include, not because it’s particularly an issue, rather because I would feel somewhat guilty if I had not offered some sort of criticism in a review. When I pulled the strop out of the bag on the first day, I noticed that the stamp on the top of the main length was slightly crooked. I thought perhaps it was an optical illusion of some sort since it is ever so slight, but after utilizing a ruler, I found that the stamp was off ever so slightly. Does this effect anything concerning the function or durability of the strop? Certainly not! However, given the nature of this luxurious item, I feel obliged to include it within the review, but I want to ensure the reader knows that this does not alter my opinion on the quality of the product.


Let’s talk pricing. First, this is a difficult thing to compare. There really are no other strops on the market aiming to compete with the quality of this strop. From my knowledge, save for a few long term, low-quantity artisans, there isn’t really a directly related strop to fairly compare this with. It would be like me trying to compare a McLaren with a Kia. Sure, both will get you places, but one will probably do it in style and efficiency, and I’m not talking about the Sportage! (Disclaimer: I own a Sportage…don’t you even dare give me a hard time) At $200, this strop is about twice as much as other strops in the market, but I will say that it is over twice the quality as well. The J. Ryan & Co. strop is for the discerning gentleman’s washroom, and for the professional barber who sees multiple heads a day. This is a strop for the person committed to wet-shaving or professional barbering who doesn’t want to have to buy another strop again, and who wants the absolute best quality product, which gives the absolute best quality results for their razors. You spent $400 on your favorite razor, so why wouldn’t you spend the money on a piece of practical art which will last the rest of your life? Don’t just pass down that razor collection of yours, pass down this J. Ryan & Co. strop as well. And remember, all strops are not created equal.


Artumie Orange Spice Leather Candle Review – $22

Artumie is a small-batch candle company based in Chicago, IL and run by Lauren Hernandez. Like her father, who opened up his own small-batch distillery, Lauren grew her business from her favorite hobby – making her own scented candles. Named after the Etruscan goddess of night, moon, and nature, Artumie strives to produce candles with earthy and natural scents. Today we are reviewing the Orange Spice Leather Candle.


How it’s made

The Artumie candle is all about simplicity and environmental consciousness. First, the candle is hand mixed with phthalate-free, environmentally friendly oils and scents prior to being hand poured into small 6-8 jar batches at a time. Because every candle is made using 100% soy wax, they burn twice as long as paraffin wax candles and can push out approximately 50 hours of burn time. The design is reminiscent of an apothecary’s jar and was chosen for its multipurpose re-usability (I hope that’s a real word). This particular 11.5 oz candle has a clear wide mouthed jar and fits my Yankee Candle Illuma-Lid perfectly. For those searching for a darker look, the same candle can be found in a 9 oz amber jar with a brass twist lid. The label is equally environmentally friendly and made from 100% recycled paper. When you’re done with the jar, a quick wash with warm soapy water will quickly remove the label if desired.

ArtumieOrangeSpiceLeatherCandle1 ArtumieOrangeSpiceLeatherCandle5 ArtumieOrangeSpiceLeatherCandle7


The Orange Spice Leather candle was designed to be attractive to both men and women with a gender-neutral smell. The base smell is a rough classic leather with earthy tones. This is balanced with a sweet hint of citrus to give the candle throw an added dimension. What I particularly like in this candle is the consistency of the smell when lit or unlit. The throw is quite strong, possibly due to the wide mouth of the jar but that is something I look for in a candle. No one likes forking over their money to buy a candle that smells good in the store, only to realize that you can’t smell anything when it’s burning! On top of that, it’s one of those background smells that you never get tired of and won’t give you a headache.


Bestleather Conclusion

The Artumie Orange Spice Leather Candle is an attractive blend of styling and smell all in one small jar but don’t judge it based on its size. At $22, this hardworking candle will produce over 50 hours of burn time and a superior throw that will fill any room with a well-balanced soothing scent that will please any true leather lover.


West Coast East Leather Tool Roll Review – $60

When I’m looking to organize my tools or gear I want something that’s going to be built tough, catch the eye, and be versatile. Just as I have curated a fine selection of tools of my trade over many years, I want to find a great case to protect and show them off. After a bit of hunting, I found these elegant leather tool rolls handmade by Gail Carrigan and her shop West Coast East.


Gail started building these tool rolls about 2 years ago when she needed a small, retro style tool roll to fit in the small trunk of her 1960’s sports car. Having worked with leather earlier to recreate the vintage bags of her parents, she self taught herself to make these tool rolls with a main objective: to produce a useful utilitarian product with a craftsman approach.


The leather used for this tool roll is a 4-5 ounce weight black oil-tanned Kodiak leather with a black suede inside. The inside has 12 tool pockets (6 in the back and 6 smaller in the front) as well as a larger pocket to the right, a snap closure pocket and a key fob. The stitching on the seams of the outside and pockets is a 2.5 pound boded polyester black thread. The other hardware include solid nickel rivets, snaps, and key fob and a natural horn button for the closure. Laid flat (unrolled) the bag’s dimensions are 22.5 inches long x 12.5 inches wide. When rolled, the dimensions are 6 inches wide x 12.5 inches long and .5-1 inch thick. The weight of the roll when empty is about 1 pound.



Whether you keep it in the boot of your sports car for wrenches, use it for small chefs knives,  brushes for an artist,or any other small tools for a trade or hobby, this tool roll is extremely versatile. In my case I have been using this roll for Oyster knives and other shellfish tools for my catering service. It is small and compact enough to put in a backpack or briefcase and is especially convenient at a job site where space sometimes lacks. Like a fine leather briefcase, this roll tucked under your arm suggests an organized artist or craftsman (if that exists) with a high value for his tool and trade.


A few things I would like to point out is that although there are the pockets in front, they are small and will more easily hold flat tools. Tools that are thick or rounded fit awkwardly and therefore the tool roll won’t roll evenly. Although a minor detail, I had hoped to be able to fit business cards in the snap closure pocket but unfortunately, the pocket was not long enough. The pocket is great for small items such as car fuses, matchbooks, coins for parking meters, or pencil erasers.



Just as it was designed for, this piece is a real homage to a retro tool roll for a sports car. The jet black oiled leather outer and inner suede is striking and gorgeous. Since the lining is suede it will easily pick up dust and bits of whatever is on your tools. Being black, however, I suspect that it won’t appear dirty if you are to carry your well loved and used tools around in it from day to day. Of course with me, my well loved tools are as clean as they are when I took them out and with a tool roll like this you will be sure to keep your tools as clean as you would like to keep your tool roll.

BestLeather Conclusion

For the price this is a real great value for a handmade piece of such high quality and materials from the USA. The design is simple yet highly useful and versatile. I am sure there are dozens of more applications I will have for this tool roll when I’m not bringing it with me to shuck some shellfish. Check it out -here-.

Holdster Fist Model Coasters Review – $29.99

In the Holdster Model 01 and Model 05 reviews, we saw two creative accessories designed to make the everyday act of drinking just that much better. Today we’re taking a look at the Holdster Fist Model Coasters, the perfect accessory to the accessory, ideal for anyone who loves a refreshing cold drink but hates water stains.



The Holdster Fist Model Coaster is a simple design. It is a single piece of thick full-grain vegetable-tanned leather from Hermann Oak or Chahin Tannery cut in a circle. Tadaa! There are no gimmicks or artful design choices in this yet Marsh Gooding still expects the same amount of effort and attention to detail in each one. The edges are in black finish and the fist with the lightening bolt is proudly debossed in the center of each one.



These coasters are firm and perfectly flat, therefore they work. The end.




Depending on the leather from which each coaster was cut, no two coasters will be exactly alike. There may be color variations as well as debossing variations but this definitely adds character to these leather pieces. The coasters may or may not be your cup of tea depending on whether you like large awesome logos on your coasters. If you do, these will definitely get people talking at your next get together. But wait! What if you don’t? Well, here’s the easy solution. Flip the coasters upside down! The undersurface is polished and smooth thereby creating an additional aesthetic option for these these leather coasters. Finally, feel free to let your coasters catch as much condensation as possible. After all, that’s what it was made for but the secondary benefit is you get to watch your coasters gain a worn-in patina as the leather color changes from the water.


Flip them over for another look.



The Holdster Fist Model Coasters are well worth the $29.99. You’ll be lucky if you find a set of four genuine full-grain vegetable-tanned leather coasters made in the USA for less than $40. If you do, get them…and get these too because do you really just want to have three friends?

Holdster Model 05: XL Holdster Review – $34.99

You were recently introduced to the Holdster Model 01, the first of the awesome koozies for all you drinkers out there – amateur or professional, alcoholic or non-alcoholic. Well in case you thought to yourself, “Man, I could really use a bigger drink,” there’s a Holdster especially made for you. Introducing the Holdster Model 05: XL Holdster.



The Holdster Model 05 is the big brother of the Holdster Model 01. This big hunk of leather and glass is made of the same single piece of thick full-grain vegetable-tanned leather from Hermann Oak or Chahin Tannery in the 01 and still designed to fit perfectly around a Ball or Mason jar. This model design uses bombproof copper rivets instead of nylon stitching to close the ends. The result is a super strong closure ready to withstand the strongest grip. I wouldn’t test the “bombproof”-ness of the koozie though. After all, the glass will shatter before you can really test the leather. The brand logo is similarly debossed at the bottom of the koozie and absolutely every piece of this product, including the jar, is purchased and put together in the United States.



Passed the “sniff” test.


The XL next to its little brother, the Holdster Model 01


Holdster = Koozie + Ball Jar. Only this time, the Ball jar is a whopping 24oz. That’s a pint and a half for you beer drinkers and 50% larger for you math folk. This means more drink and more fun for everyone. Once again, this Holdster doesn’t have to be used for drinking. Here’s some more ideas since the last review. Raise a Betta. Catch some frogs. Make instant ramen. Swap out the lid and make a soap dispenser. Make a scented candle. Use a bunch of them, put in some electrical wires and sockets, and make a hanging Holdster chandlier. Really, the possibilities are endless.

Easy to clean.



Although the cross stitching is my favorite design of the Holdster styles, the handmade copper rivets add a sense of toughness to this koozie which works well with the larger jar. That being said, the koozie is not perfectly smooth all around the jar because there has to be some overlap of the leather by design to rivet it together. The step-off is significantly reduced by the fact that the overlapped leather portion is tapered down. It is still a handsome holder by any means which will make its owner proud.




The Holdster Model 05: XL Holdster is $34.99 on the HoldsterUSA website. Environmentally friendly, made in the USA, full-grain leather, copper, and glass wrapped around your favorite drink. What’s not to love?

Holdster Model 01: Cross Stitch Review – $33.99

Ford had the Model T, Atari had the 2600, and Holdster has the Model 01. The brainchild of Marsh Gooding, whose main goal in life is to win the Arctic Man Classic, Holdster grew out of the idea for the perfect koozie for a Ball or Mason jar to hold his coffee from the neighborhood bakery. One thing led to another, and now everyone can reap the rewards of a man chasing his dream (albeit his secondary dream).



The Holdster Model 01 is a single piece of thick full-grain vegetable-tanned leather from Hermann Oak or Chahin Tannery designed to fit perfectly around a Mason jar. Sounds easy right? Well, Marsh taught me that Ball and Mason jars are not truly cylindrical. Instead, they are truncated cones so that the geometry of the leather cut has to be absolutely perfect to fit a jar snugly with no gaps. It took him over 40 iterations before making the final pattern that works. The leather is thin stitched together with heavy duty nylon 138 thread in a cross stitch pattern giving the koozie a smooth surface all the way around. The edges of the leather are then slicked with gum tragacanth. Finally the handle is another firm strip of leather curved and secured into place using hand-tapped copper rivets which are bombproof. That’s right. Bombproof. The brand logo is subtly debossed at the bottom of the koozie and is cleverly designed off of an old-school electric company. Everything is manufactured in Ohio and each Holdster is checked before they are shipped out to its next happy owner.





The Holdster is actually two products in one. You get a koozie and a genuine 16oz.  Ball Jar. Because of that, you know this is quality glass made for people who know their coffee, beer, tea, and whisky and aren’t afraid to drink out of a jar as long as they can drink. Heck, this Holdster can literally hold anything. Use it for Jello. Make a salad and bring it to work. Hang a few on your workbench to hold nails, nuts, or screws. Hang them in your kitchen to hold spices. Use it on your office desk for your pens and pencils. Grow a plant. If you grow tired of the koozie, take it off and use the jar!


The leather does provide a good amount of protection from both heat and cold – much better than the corrugated cardboard koozies at the coffee shop. To top it off, having a reusable cup is environmentally friendly! Just a precaution for hot drinks – although Ball jars are particularly heat-resistant, any extremely cold glass can potentially shatter if extremely hot water is suddenly introduced so make sure the jar is at least room temperature or warmer and your drink isn’t too hot before you just pour it in!



The Holdster will turn heads no matter where you go, just because it’s so unique and well made. Personally the cross stitch is my favorite design of the Holdster styles because it allows the koozie to sit flush on the jar. Maybe it’s because I operate on people all day, but I just like the look of the stitching, I can tell its some mighty fine work.



The Holdster Model 01: Cross Stitch is $33.49 or $139.99 for a four-pack WITH coasters. For people who are always enjoying a nice drink, it’s well worth it. At the very least, it’s an awesome gift for a friend, groomsmen, or a loved one.

Smith Cornejo Leather Wine Satchel- $600

Inspired by drinking red wine and riding horseback across Andalucia, this one-of-a-kind design is perfect for gifting a truly special bottle, picnics in the countryside, or slinging over your saddle horn (or bike).



Smith Cornejo is a family business in West Virginia dedicated to functional leather goods of both rugged durability and elegance. Although they design and make some of the products from their workshop in West Virginia, most of the products are made in Guanajuato, Mexico, one of the leather making capitols. The leather is carefully sourced from gold rated tanneries. Although the leather comes from Mexican tanneries, most of the hides are from the US. Their partnership with Mexico ties into the family’s Mexican roots and their commitment to skilled workers and crafters.


The bag is constructed with 5-6 oz. full grain vegetable tanned leather and the straps are 7-8 oz leather. The hardware on the bag features buckles, d-rings and lobster style clasps made of solid brass. Solid copper rivets are placed stress points. The stitching is a silk thread. Lastly, the bag is fully lined with thick shearling wool. The dimensions of the bag is 13 inches tall by 6 inches wide and 5 inches deep with a single wine bottle and is about 13 inches wide by 8 inches wide and 6 inches deep when expanded to carry two bottles. Empty, the bag weighs about 3 pounds.




This tote features a design that aids in the versatility of what you can carry and how you can carry it. The bag can carry up to two standard sized wine bottle or related spirits by adjusting the to buckles on the side of the bag that extend or synch the inner compartment together. The bag closes with a lobster style brass clasp that can also be adjusted for length (for those taller bottles) with a buckle directly above the clasp.




When carrying two bottles, they fit snuggly in the shearling lining and do not clink together while traveling (or horeseback riding).


 This is one tough little tote with the thick leather, brass and copper hardware and the shearling lining. It defiantly is strong enough to hold more weight than just two wine bottles.

Another great feature to this bag and design is that there a few (if not more) ways to carry it. There is a sewn in handle on the back for the most basic way of handing it. There is also a clasp attached handle that has d-rings in which a longer strap is fed through and attached to two bottom d-rings. This design allows you to either carry it over the shoulder, cross body, or as a two-strap backpack mode. I found that if you are solely using it for a shoulder or cross-body, it is helpful to remove the smaller handle strap as it evens out the balance of the tote. Although a little cumbersome to take off the various straps, it is a well-designed system. Either way you do it, the bag is designed impeccably to be adjusted to comfort and carry.




 The handles on the back create the perfect system for mounting on ones bike, horse saddle, or wall. Seeing how this piece is artfully designed, hanging it on the wall or a nice hook is a great way to show off the piece when not being used.



When I first received this leather wine tote my initial reaction was “Wow this can’t get any fancier”. My second reaction was something along the lines of “This little tote is built solid and can be used on a mountain trek let alone a simple excursion to a friends house with wine.” Whether you plan an adventure or just want to show off a fancy (or less fancy bottle, for that matter), this bag will stand to the occasion.

My girlfriend and I took it down to a clearing in the woods where we staged an afternoon wine tasting. Although I don’t usually retreat to a clearing in the woods for a midday glass of wine, I can say that owning a bag like this just may bring out the snob in me.

The leather is tough but not too stiff, which is nice since I didn’t want to struggle getting a bottle in and out of the bag or with adjusting the straps. The shearling lining is luxury to the max. I love reaching in the bag and feeling the soft wool and imagine myself being able to crawl in there if I was much smaller.


Besides function, this piece is really a piece of art and should be displayed as such. Again, the handle is perfect for mounting on the wall. You could even put it near your bar (if you have a bar in your house) and use it to keep your favorite scotch, spirit or other treasured bottle.


Although one might contest to the higher price I can say without hesitation that it is a solidly designed piece with no noticeable design or function flaws. I would agree that the price is high and intimidating but so is the price for any such handmade luxury item made from thick full grain leather, shearing lining, and quality hardware. I’m looking forward to the age and wear on the piece. Although meant to carry wine bottles or other spirits, it can, of course be used for various other daily carry. And when not in use, it is beautiful piece of art to hang and admire. Check it out –here-.

Mascon Leather Custom Leather Chef Knife Roll Review – $650

A chef’s knives are almost as important as their hands. Chefs use their hands to hold their knives, precisely cut the plate’s components, and present the diner with a reflection of their skill and essentially themselves. When I approached Artie Shell, owner of Mascon Leather, to make a custom leather knife roll that would both showcase and protect my valuable tools, Artie applied the similar expertise with his hands to create a piece of precision and presentation to not only protect my knives, but to compliment and showcase them.


Artie Shell has been crafting handmade leather pieces in Williamsburg, Virginia since early 2011. What originally started as a hobby to make more durable book covers, knife sheaths and cell phone covers for his kids has since turned into a more serious and dedicated business. He named his company Mascon Leather after his family’s business, ‘Mas-Con Construction’ (masonry and concrete), started by his grandfather. Although Artie’s grandfather has passed on, his legacy and pride for family and hand-built items lives in Artie’s leatherwork. Sourcing the best leather hides, thread, and tools available, Artie designs custom one-of-a-kind pieces including wallets, knife sheaths, axe covers, knife/tool rolls, and messenger bags with the upmost attention to detail and customer consultation. Each piece is designed to be timeless and constructed to age beautifully. Artie also currently contributes and works with a growing leather community on Facebook. For the short time Artie has been working with leather, I am sure I am not alone when I say he has accelerated in his craft and far exceeded the expertise to a professional leatherworker.



This particular knife roll is made from almost one whole hide of 5.0 oz (2 mm) weight English Dublin tan Horween leather. The hardware features 80 solid copper rivets and nickel plated brass hardware including 2 buckles with strap keeps, lobster-style clasps for the removable shoulder strap and a buckle on the shoulder strap with two strap keeps and d-rings. The stitching on the inside business card slot and gadget pouch is a high quality polyester thread. There is also an exposed aluminum bar on the underside of the handle for additional support.

Once unrolled, there are 12 knife/tool slots (including 2 small inverted ones towards the top), a business card slot, a pen or thermometer slot, a slot for a utility kitchen scraper, and a removable (snaps in and out) gadget pouch with d-rings on the back (to hang from a oven handle or pot rack).

The knife roll dimensions are 20 inches long x about 7 inches wide when rolled and when unrolled is 35 inches long x 7 inches wide. Without anything in it the case weighs about 5 pounds.


Lastly, the leather knife roll has a handle on top and a removable and adjustable cross body shoulder strap.



This leather knife roll is extremely functional as my main knife case to use for a job. Sometimes in small work areas it is a bit awkward to unroll and reroll because of its size, and takes getting adjusted to.

Deep leather pockets with rivet dividers were custom cut and made to my knife specifications. The knives point downward with the handles exposed rather than the handles in the pockets and the blades exposed for reasons I’ll discuss in the aesthetic section of this review.


The inside gadget pouch holds about 3-5 tools (depending on size) and closes with a simple flap tuck design. Again, the gadget pouch is removable and is easy to snap in and out of the knife roll.

  IMG_7592                                         IMG_7591


To say the only function of this leather roll is to hold and protect my knives is a crime. This bag is more like a piece of art or a fashion accessory that also happens to carry knives and tools. Expect to get a lot of head turns and compliments when going out with a piece like this.



No amount of words can describe seeing this piece in person. I unwrapped it similarly (if not more carefully) to a kid on christmas.


The piece with its various stretch, pull-up marks, scars, and hardware components is a heavy duty industrial strength piece of equipment. It has some serious heft as one would expect in a full grain leather piece and when full of knives, it is even heavier. Long walking commutes may be straining on one’s shoulder and back. It definitely takes time to get used to but in my opinion I like the heaviness of it. It shows quality and durability.


The pockets on the inside hold my knives very snug and securely with a little room incase I was to replace a knife (I will NEVER have to replace the knife roll) or a tool down the road in my profession. A debate that may arise with chefs is the decision to put the blades into the pockets with the handles pointing out rather than the other way as many other knife cases are designed. I chose this so my knives were more protected and less likely to hit against each other in travel. A concern I had as well was if the blades would rub against the rivets that are separating the pockets and damage the blade over time. Artie quickly assured me that the space between the rivets and the leather was significant that it would never be an issue. He even drew me a picture. Of course, Artie can design the pockets to hold the handles with the blades facing up if that is what you prefer.


The knife roll unfolded features a large flap that covers the knives before being rolled. The large flap is left rustic, without a finished edge for style. I really love the edge as this is how the hide was originally. Others may prefer to have this edge finished and Artie is happy to accommodate. Another concern I had with the flap is that it did not fasten to the knife roll and therefore it was hard to align it just right to roll the case evenly every time.  Artie told me that the leather will be stiff for a bit but with more use it will form like a glove and soften up to make this task easier.  After 2 months of use I already see this happening.


I requested a gadget pouch in the knife case because like other chefs I carry around various vegetable peelers, pastry brushes, wine openers, or other knick knacks that need a home too. Artie took this idea and made it even better than I could imagine. Not only did he create a perfect sized pouch but he made it removable with snaps and attached small d-rings to the backside to hang if desired. This idea is incredibly cool! It is very convenient to remove that pouch and keep it handy on my work station than to have to keep unrolling and re rolling to fetch a small tool.


This is not just a knife roll though, it’s a chef briefcase. Nothing screams professional and class more than this leather knife roll does. To that extent, this is not the case you’ll want to take everywhere. Being that it is heavy and large, it may not be the tool case for a job in a small and busy kitchen. It’s comparable to a nice pair of leather shoes or boots – you wear them on a fancy or professional related situation and you aren’t going to necessarily wear them to a soccer game, a picnic, or a muddy day.



I’ll say it here and say it boldly-Artie Shell is one of the most personable, friendly, and accommodating custom craftsmen that I have ever had the pleasure to work with. Artie first set up an initial phone call to gauge what type knife roll I wanted, the size, and functionality. An experience you may find close to this may be a custom suit taylor or shoe maker. After I sent Artie the dimensions of all my knives and tools I wanted to carry in the leather roll, Artie immediately began to draw up ideas and shoot me input and questions through emails. It was a fun process seeing the stages of Artie’s work and being able to have constant input on different options along the way. I could tell from the beginning that Artie wanted to put as much time and dedication into my knife roll to make me 200% happy and satisfied.


It was a throughly enjoyable experience to converse with Artie over the phone and through emails (about 50 or so). A great relationship formed between the two of us, the mind of a chef and the mind of leatherworker. Here are a few of my favorite converses between us:

Artie: “No rush! This means nothing to anyone but me, but since we’re sharing…The scariest part or the WHOLE process is making that first cut into a solid 20 + Square foot hide of genuine Horween leather. It’s nerve racking. but once it’s done, the fun begins because you can’t turn back.”


Artie: “Another oddity about leather crafters- it’s so hard to toss scraps, no matter the size. I think, ‘There HAS to be something I can do with that, somewhere!’ or ‘If I toss this out today, I’m going to wish I had it next week!’ Yeah…we’re looney, us leather folks.”


Artie: “Meant to ask: How do you feel about scars showing? Some hate it, others love it. got a piece here with a gorgeous scar I’d like to try to put on the strap. Or I can avoid it.

Me: “I like the scars. It’s real leather.”


Artie: “I woke up in the middle of the night with the fear that I’d forgotten something. I forgot to put my company hang tag on the knife roll before I sent it. I’ve made about 59,000 items and put a tag on every one of them. then the flagship knife roll comes along, and I forget.

Me: “59,000 items in 3 years?? All yourself?!

Artie: “Well it feels like that for the amount of dedication and passion I put into each one of them. I rounded upward a tad (a lot).”


Artie: “Been meaning to ask: did you want your initials branded on the bag?”

Me: “No it’s not necessary. I’ll know it’s mine. As will very one else.”

Artie: “Nice one! That made me laugh out loud!”


BestLeather Conclusion

This product, like any other high quality leather pieces, may be considered a serious investment to some. With a price tag of $650 it is just that. The quality, durability, customization and time that goes into a piece like this is, in my opinion, well worth it.

Artie’s open line of consultation, willingness to try new things and get creative really speaks to the similar mind of a chef. As any chef will tell you, it starts with an idea and then a lot of preparation. The same hold’s true in Artie’s work. To own a custom leather knife roll from Mascon Leather speaks highly of the level of a chef and their professionalism.

Check it out here.


How To Make Yourself A Huge Leather Desk Pad – $150

I have been wanting a desk pad for a while but the retail cost, available sizes, and quality levels have been holding me back. Saddleback Leather wants a hefty $213 for their admittedly nicely finished desk pad. That’s too rich for my taste considering all I want is a hefty piece of leather. Amazon’s offerings are chinsy and still expensive for what they are. So fine! I’ll make my own.

A trip to the Tandy Leather Store over in Spokane netted me a large side of ridiculously thick 13-14oz cowhide on sale for $100. It was easily large enough to cover the entire desk. You can make one also, and very easily.

You will need

  1. large hunk of leather
  2. straight edge
  3. measuring tape
  4. rotary cutter or exacto knife (Olfa Cutter worked well for me)
  5. Tandy Leather Edge Beveler
  6. Tandy Leather Burnisher
  7. Fiebings Neatsfoot Oil (or some other conditioner)

installation instructions

  1. Measure your desk and mark the dimensions on your suitably sized side of leather. I made my pad a couple inches large in each direction to let the edge of the leather sag over the edge of the desk.
  2. Use the straight edge and your cutter to slice out the pad. Go slow and press down hard so that you do not have to make a second pass.
  3. Run the edge beveler over the edges to take the sharp edge off. Continue at your discretion depending on how rounded you want the edges.
  4. Get the edges wet that you wish to burnish and run the Tandy Leather burnisher back and forth quickly to sear the edge with friction. Alternatively you can implement a dremel like below which would be much faster.
  5. Put heavy items where the leather stubbornly lifts up until it submits to your will.
  6. Slather your conditioner of choice on with a piece of sheeps wool. A large pad will consume quite a bit of conditioner.


Unless you buy a really nice piece of leather like A grade Herman Oak or Wicket & Craig you will likely have scars and various imperfections in the leather. I chose to accept this since I plan to treat this pad roughly and I didn’t want to pay the hefty prices for A grade sides. Now I have an impressive piece of leather covering my desk, the cherry wood is protected, the pad will last forever (practically), and it only cost me $150 or so.

homemade leather desk pad feature1

Homemade Leather Desk Pad2 Homemade Leather Desk Pad1 Homemade Leather Desk Pad3 Homemade Leather Desk Pad4 Homemade Leather Desk Pad5What do you think?


Waxhaws Leather Co. Key Case Review – $42

Waxhaws Leather Company is a young company dedicated to producing classic and timeless full-grain leather pieces. Made of the same leather as the Waxhaws Leather Co. iPhone 5 Signature Design Wallet, the Waxhaws Leather Co. Key Case is personally designed by John Fred using Italian full grain vegetable-tanned English bridle leather carefully selected for its ability to patina and burnish gracefully.

Each product arrives in a handsome gift box.


This minimalistic key case is created with durability and practicality in mind. It is comprised of a single piece of full-grain leather folded and stitched together with a looped cotton cord through the top – simple yet tough.



Unlike your standard key case with built-in key holders, this case is created as an accessory to your own keychain. Simply attach your keychain to the inside loop. When you want to cover your keys, pull the cord tight on the outside and your keys will be brought into their protective leather case. This is particularly useful in situations where you don’t want your keys jingling in your pocket or showing through your pants and ruining your sophisticated look. Most importantly, this prevents scratches to your mobile devices or in my case, a brand new leather iPhone case that had already received a large scratch from being kept next to my keys (ARGH).

Attach keys to inside loop
Pull up on the outer loop to bring the keys inside.

One obvious downside to this case is the additional bulk to your keychain and an extra step when using your keys. Fortunately, this case can be easily slipped off in situations when you want to minimize your pocket fill or don’t care about protecting your pocket contents.


The key case arrives in the signature Waxhaws gift box. Holding the soft yet tough leather, it is immediately obvious that it is made from the same quality leather used in all Waxhaws goods. The design is simple to minimize bulk and maximize utility but lightly accented with rounded and geometric corners and the debossed Waxhaws logo. In the whiskey color, it looks rich and classic.



The Waxhaws Leather Co. Key Case is sold on the Waxhaws, Amazon, and Etsy websites. At $42.00 it is moderately priced and may not be a must-buy for everyone. It is otherwise perfect as a unique gift for those with discerning tastes in leather and a smart investment for anyone looking to protect their valuables from their keys.

Quiver Pen Holders Review – $24, $27 & $31


I like pens. I really like nice pens. As a writer and editor, I’m very partial and dependent upon pens. Even in the digital age that is upon us now, it’s imperative to have a good pen or two at the ready. I despise losing a pen and, if I may confess, I even hate losing a cheap pen. What’s even worse is when you desperately need a pen and you can’t seem to find one. Enter Quiver – an innovative company located in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois.


About Quiver

Quiver is another one of those great companies that has emerged and grown from creating a solution to an everyday problem. The problem is that of losing pens and not having one handy when it’s needed. The folks at Quiver, who are devoted Moleskine and Rhodia notebook users, have come up with several ingenious designs to aid in preventing pen “loss-age” from striking at those most inopportune times. Best of all, they utilize fine leather and attractive thread in these unique pen holders.



Quiver products feature attractive American Nappa leather and are hand assembled in Old Mexico by their own set of skilled craftsmen. The thread used to create their eye-catching stitching is heavy, waterproof, marine grade thread. Each piece created by Quiver goes through an extensive triple inspection process. Needless to say, when your Quiver pen holder arrives, you are receiving an expertly created piece.



I received three of Quiver’s most popular designs to test. Being a long time fan and user of Moleskine notebooks I was eager to test each of the Quivers out thoroughly. I received a Single Pen Quiver for Pocket Notebooks (fits A6 notebooks that are 5.5” – 6.5” tall) in brown leather with matching thread. It holds a single pen on the spine of a pocket notebook. I also received a Single Pen Quiver for Large Notebooks (fits A5 notebooks that are 8” – 9.5” tall) in dark black leather with bright yellow thread. It too holds a single pen on the spine of a notebook. The final version that I have is a Double Pen Quiver for Large Notebooks, which fits the same A5 style as mentioned earlier. This version is also in dark black leather and features a bright orange thread. The Double Pen Quiver holds two pens or pencils on the front cover of a notebook. Each of these holders features the debossed Quiver logo on them too. It’s also important to note that Quiver will deboss your company’s logo on these pen holders through their corporate gifts custom order process.


I have used all three of these Quivers for over a month now and it’s amazing how quickly they just meld into being part of your daily routine. All three designs perform their duty perfectly while at the same time making their presence known uniquely in the way they are mounted to the notebooks. I can honestly say that I’ll never be “Quiver-less” again while using any type of notebook. I now consider myself Quiver-dependent for life and I’m really happy about that…because it also means I will always have a pen available when needed!


Each of these pen holders mounts easily to the notebooks. Thanks to the ingenious elastic straps, they fit snugly and line up on the notebooks with ease. They do change the way the notebook lays on a table or desk and that’s probably the only drawback to them. But, that is really a very minor drawback and something I have quickly dismissed in favor of the benefits they provide. If you’re like me, I stuff my Moleskine with other papers, receipts, business cards, etc. that I gather from meetings and travels. So over time all of my notebooks begin to bulge a little. But, isn’t that why they feature those elastic closures? So…no big deal.



All three of the Quivers that I have look amazing. The Pocket sized Quiver creates an attractive contrast with its rich brown leather when it’s mated with a black Moleskine. I’m sure it will look great if it’s paired with Rhodia or Leuchtturm too. The black leather of the Large Notebook Quivers – both in single and double pen versions are equally eye-catching. The use of contrasting threads combines to really set them off from whatever type of notebook you choose to use.


The orange thread of the Double Pen Quiver that I have was specially created for Rhodia’s notebooks. The Rhodia family crest features this same color (which is also featured on their easily-noticed notebooks). So, if you’re a Rhodia fan, the black leather Quiver with orange thread is definitely the one to order.

Even though these are small add-on components, people notice. I was surprised by just how many people took note of them and asked about them. Since I’ve had them, they have been commented upon or questioned at just about every in-person client meeting I’ve attended. And, what I think is even cooler is that the general response to them is “what a fantastic idea…and they look beautiful too” or “man, I desperately need one of those – I lose my pen all the time”.


It’s hard to say which one of the three Quivers I like best because they all look fantastic and perform their dutiful task admirably and fashionably. I do find myself carrying my large notebook with the Double Quiver the most. Perhaps that is because I’m still insecure about not having a pen…so having two on hand is more reassuring. But, that doesn’t make it my favorite. The Pocket Quiver is looking better as it ages. I’m really looking forward to the patina it will develop over time (and I’ll make sure to report on it here for you as well). For now, no judgment is being cast as to a clear favorite. Perhaps in one of the follow up reports on the Quivers there will be a clear favorite – so stay tuned.



The price point on these pen holders is extremely reasonable considering the quality components, handmade attention to detail, and rigorous quality inspection process. If you’re an avid notebook carrier and more importantly – if you’re a fan of never being without a pen or pencil, then we encourage you to visit Quiver’s website, create your own customized pen holder, and order it right away.

Cecilia Alpaca Wool and Leather Camera Strap Review – $90

Cecilia Camera Strap

Cecilia manufactures and sells alpaca wool and leather camera straps. They have a unique website and it is interesting even if you are not in the market for a camera strap.

At their website, you can purchase from a diverse assortment of alpaca wool and leather camera straps or you can peruse the unique photo gallery they have collected. The photo gallery consists of narratives or photo essays. These narratives are a collection of three or more pictures that tell a story and the essays are produced by internationally recognized photographers. The idea is their website is more than just an online store for camera straps – it is a website dedicated to photography.
Cecilia Camera Strap around neck
Cecilia says they are part of a family leather business that has been around since 1803; but they don’t disclose the name of the business. Are they creating a mystery? or would most people never recognize the name of the family business, anyway?

We are reviewing the Cecilia charcoal baby alpaca wool with brown leather camera strap.


The wool in the camera straps are made from handwoven Peruvian baby alpaca wool and the leather is made from full-grain Argentinian cowhide. There is a precision-engineered nylon webbing running through the interior of the strap. This has a tested 250 pound tensile strength and it is supplemented with polyester to make it more comfortable. This nylon/polyester webbing is from mills, here in the United States. The hardware is made from a zinc-alloy, called Zamac.
Cecilia Camera Strap in hand
Full length, the strap is 58 inches (147 cm) and is adjustable from 26 to 52 inches (67 – 134 cm). The neck length is 20 inches (51 cn) and 1.5 inches (4 cm) wide. The tab length is 19 inches (49 cm) and 0.4 inches (1 cm) wide.

The tabs are the pieces that connect the strap to the camera – they are little straps in themselves and consist of three layers: leather, nylon and leather.


The full grain leather gives the straps their strength and durability. The alpaca fibers are hypoallergenic, do not easily absorb water and have a high tensile strength.

The strap in review was given to one of my photographers. She told me she was worried the edges would be itchy but found alpaca does not have that “wooly-itch.” She said they are quite comfortable. The strap has a low profile and a professional appearance.

Attaching and adjusting the strap on each side was time consuming. But the battle is worth the effort because the Cecilia strap does not have “strap slack” getting in the way of her fingers while she is working the camera. This is a big deal because she has constantly fought this with her other straps.
Cecilia Camera Strap tab view
Note: These pictures were taken by this photographer. The model in the pictures is her husband.


The alpaca wool comes in over twenty natural colors. According to the website, manufacturing Alpaca textiles and hand-weaving them are a Peruvian tradition and an integral part of their culture. Cecilia does more than import the alpaca wool; they have hired people local to the wool – people with centuries of experience – to weave these into the beautiful designs they offer.

The deep color of the leather and the supple feel come from the tanning process they use. And, as we mentioned earlier, they only use full-grain leather. The hides come from Argentina but are finished in the USA.
Cecilia Camera Strap hanging around


The strap has a professional appearance and it is comfortable. However, one of the greatest features is the design, using the tabs, prevents the straps from getting in the way of your fingers while taking pictures. If you have a camera, BestLeather recommends that you take a look at the Cecilia camera strap and get one.
Cecilia Camera Strap posing

Vanderburgh ‘One’ Travel Humidor- $123

Cigar aficionados (or want to be aficionados, like myself) can really be flashy at their next gathering where the ritual of cigar smoking is involved. The leather-wrapped Vanderburgh ‘One’ Travel Humidor is indeed a fancy vessel to carry around your prized smoke. What will tickle the fancy of leather enthusiasts as well is that the leather on the ‘One’ humidor is the same leather Saddleback Leather uses. Saddleback Leather has partnered with Vanderburgh to provide the leather to many of their custom humidors.



The materials used for the Vanderburgh One are of the finest materials around. A solid bar of aircraft aluminum is milled to the humidor’s shape and then anodized to protect the metal from oxidizing and staining. On the screw top is an inlay of an exotic zebrano wood. A rubber ring is placed on the fastener to create an air tight seal. The leather is a full boot grain leather stitched together with polyester marine grade thread. The color on this particular humidor is called tobacco; black and chestnut are other available colors. The dimensions of the humidor are 7.5 inches tall by 1 inch wide. Empty, the humidor weighs 4.5 ounces.





The Vanderburgh One Travel Humidor is built to carry one cigar up to 7 inches x 56 gauge in size. It works as a humidifier, as it creates an airtight seal, locking in the moisture and keeping moisture and air out. To prove this there is a video on Vanderburgh’s website that involves owner Eddie DeJong-Vanderburgh taking his humidor white water rafting.  How the leather will stand up to excess water is a concern to me. but that will be a test of time.



The Vanderburgh One is a luxuriously designed piece. The heft alone suggests that it is built sturdy and can withstand time and traveling of all sorts. Seeing as how the leather is the same leather as Saddleback Leather, it scratches and scuffs easily. Like Saddleback Leather products, these markings are meant to only add character and a patina with age and wear. While the wood inlay on top doesn’t serve any functional properties, it is another added luxury image. My first impression of the travel humidor was it was big and bulky given the design and materials used. It is essentially a luxurious product for what are expensive and collectable tobacco products: cigars. The screw top fits snuggly when fastened and is sometimes difficult to unscrew. Fortunately the leather on the outside provides a good grip and only requires a little bit more effort than one would expect to unfasten. Again, this suggests the airtight seal will let nothing out or in and provide additional insurance to that prized stogie.



BestLeather Conclusion

Considering the materials and craftsmanship that goes into each Vanderburgh One travel humidor, the price is exactly where it should be and, in my opinion, is a great value.  Perfect for throwing in your luggage, briefcase, tackle box, or on display on a bookshelf or mantle, you can be rest assured that this thing is bombproof to protect your cigar.  Although one is enough to own, in my opinion it would be better to own at least 2 so you can share a cigar with a friend as the ritual of cigar smoking usually entails. Check it out here.



Moxie and Oliver Friday Flask Review – $65

An artist’s nostalgia is perhaps a blank canvas. For artist Caitlin McNamara, her canvas is–you guessed it–leather. Caitlin’s art and passion for leather has led her to create one of a kind hand-tooled, branded and dyed pieces that are as awesome to look at as they are to use. The leather wrapped flasks are one of her signature pieces on her website, Moxie and Oliver. The Friday Flasks are meant to be fun, witty with a quote or even personalized saying, and used as one would- to carry some of their favorite spirit.


Since 2004, Caitlin McNamara has been making her pieces of art on leather. What started into making gifts for family and friends turned into a passion and obsession as her product line grew. Her innovative uses include leather bowls, leather wall panels, and colorful and exciting variations on handbags, wallets, portfolios and other leather products.


The flask is made of 18/8 stainless steel wrapped with 3-4 oz tan brown full grain leather. As with all Moxie and Oliver pieces, this leather wrap for the flask is cut, branded and dyed then finished with a protective coat before it is stitched together by hand. The stitching is a thick waxed brown nylon thread. The top of the flask features a screw top with a hinge.


As one might suspect, it holds up to 6 ounces any alcohol or liquid (4 and 12 ounce sizes are also available). Since it is stainless steel, any liquid placed in the flask will not impart metallic tastes nor will the flask stain from the liquid. The top is very functional and efficient as it does not leak when screwed on and held upside down.


The branded lettering, distressed finish to the leather, and cross-stitching on the backside makes for a very elegant piece and enhances the plain nature of just a regular stainless steel flask. Spots of liquid or oils from one’s skin enhances this piece and gives it an aged and weathered appeal. The flask is narrow and slightly curve shaped to fit nicely into a coat or bag pocket. It also is easy to grip.




BestLeather Conclusion

Whether a birthday gift, housewarming gift, bachelor gift, or gift to yourself, the Moxie and Oliver Friday Flasks are genuine pieces for genuine spirits. Caitlin has a few different quotes from famous writers available to choose from and you can even have a custom quote or saying branded into one. Enjoy your favorite spirit or just enjoy life a little more with a leather enhanced piece.

Check them out here.



Love 41 Men’s Fork Tine Bracelet – $72

Who would have thought a bracelet made with dinnerware could look so classy? Love 41, the project of Suzette Munson, is exceptional at creating leather items that look good and do good.  Suzette and her husband Dave own a leather company that just might ring a few bells—Saddleback Leather Company.

So what’s with the “do good” reference? Love 41 was created as a humanitarian-minded extension of the company, with 100% of the profits donated to charity – particularly to work being done in Rwanda. (Why Rwanda? Visit this page on Love 41’s website for a great history refresher and to learn about why Love 41 exists.)



The Love 41 Men’s Fork Tine Bracelet is a unique, good-looking accessory. Made from five strips of tough, thick, full-grain leather, and embellished with real fork tines of various thickness, the bracelet offers a great look and appeal. It also softens over time and looks as if it will age well. The leather is dyed all the way through, so the color can withstand all of the daily wear and tear that your hands and wrists are subjected to—cooking, cleaning, working, and, if you’re a forgetful goofball like me, showering.



I always appreciate a thicker, cuff-style bracelet as it doesn’t jingle or rotate too much around my wrist. With its thick leather, the bracelet has a nice weight to it, and the two nickel snaps keep it feeling secure.

The only thing that concerns me with this bracelet is the sizing. Neither my husband, my three brothers, nor my dad could fit this bracelet using both snaps. Everyone had to use a single snap, which doesn’t feel as secure. The bracelet is 10.5 inches long, but you probably only get about 9 inches of use – so if you have a larger wrist, be sure to measure before purchasing. I’m sure in the future we’ll see Love 41 offer this great looking bracelet in a few different sizes in order to eliminate this minor issue.



You can order this bracelet in four attractive colors: Black, Chestnut, Tobacco, and Dark Coffee. My Dark Coffee bracelet is a great, versatile dark brown color, and can be worn casually or when you need to be all dressed up. This bracelet has been on my wrist now for several weeks and is extremely comfortable to wear. I consider it one of my “go to” accessories now and I thoroughly enjoy wearing it. The “L41” stamped on the fork tines is subtle and tasteful, yet it’s noticeable enough that people ask what L41 means and is a great conversation starter. I enjoy sharing about Love 41’s desire to be so involved in the healing of the precious people of Rwanda. So far, I haven’t encountered anyone in my conversations who has not expressed respect and admiration for that kind of dedication from a business. So, big props to Love 41 for their focus and willingness to engage with those less fortunate in Rwanda!



The Love 41 Men’s Fork Tine Bracelet is a simple and attractive accessory that can easily be paired with any outfit. Supporting sustainable charity and handmade goods, all while looking stylish, is a no-brainer; it’s a win-win for everyone. Gents, if you’re looking for a great gift for your wife, mom, grandmother, sister, “significant other”, or even yourself, Love 41 features many great bags, jewelry, apparel, and accessories. Many of these pieces are handmade by artisans from Rwanda or through other socially responsible partnerships they’ve forged.  So, please visit Love 41 and know that you’ll not only get a great, high quality product – your purchase is going on to do some amazing work in a worthwhile way.