Due to a steady weight gain, Yoshi the Shiba required a new dog collar. The previous collar was braided by my girlfriend using 550 paracord. It took a year for the collar to get snug. I ordered a Tanner Goods collar for the fatass.
Four wallets in six years. That’s a little excessive, isn’t it?
I have gone through 4 bilfold-style wallets in order to find one that I loved. Each wallet I’ve owned was wonderful, but have been lacking in one area or another. I really should stop hunting for something else, but for some reason I find myself very critical and particular about wallets. Maybe it’s because I keep it in the back pocket all day long.
The wallets in this outdoor picture are way too bright. I need to pay more attention during the picture-taking and post-processing steps. Anyways, from the top going clockwise: Corter, Saddleback, LV and Makr bifolds.
Louis Vuitton: This wallet was a gift from my mother a couple of years back. The LV bifold was my first nice wallet. Before this one I was carrying a poorly constructed canvas and velcro wallet that was well on it’s way to falling apart. The LV is the slimmest out of all four you see, built using their Epi Leather. It feels like plastic to me from the moment I touched it to the time I retired it. This eventually led me to hunt for another bifold to hold my contents.
Maybe due to how thin and plastic-y the leather was I always felt that the wallet was overpriced for what it was. Maybe someone can school me on the awesomeness of Epi Leather.
Saddleback: Thick, full-grain leather with a pigskin interior. This wallet is tough and still has a wonderful leather smell after a year of accidental liquid contact (Alcohol, beer and alcohol, rubbing to name a few.) The Saddleback arrived stiff and rough on touch, but over the course of a year the leather has developed a smooth surface with a variety of markings made from daily use.
The wallet was a little thicker than I would have liked. My preferred carry for a wallet is in the back pocket of whatever pants I wore. It’s been like that since I started carrying a wallet as a kid, and it’s not going to change anytime soon. This makes for an uncomfortable carry is I sit for a prolonged period of time. If I carried my wallets some other method the extra thickness would be wonderful. This Saddleback has been given to someone who needed a wallet upgrade.
Makr: This wallet was meant to be a replacement for the Saddleback, but in the end I only carried it for a month. This bifold is a slimmer wallet made with Horween’s chromexcel leather. Not that it’s a bad wallet, but a part of the construction of the wallet had me continue my quest for a bifold.
I don’t have a picture of it, but the interior of the wallet is stitched in a way that the two flaps of leather end up as a bulge at the big cash slot. This gave the interior a clean appearance, but it also had the negative effect of bending the objects in the slot. At worse it shortened the lives of receipts. The stitched area managed to render one of my UPS tracking numbers illegible. Checks get bent into shapes that give the Bank of America ATMs a hard time.
This is all too bad because I really wanted to like this wallet. The wallet had developed some character from the month’s worth of carrying. It’s slim without feeling weak, and denim stains have made it’s appearance on the exterior of this wallet. If I just kept cash in the main slot I wouldn’t have much of an issue with it, but due to my small collection of necessary receipts and checks the wallet had to be retired.
Corter: Of course, this gave me an excuse to check out Eric Heins’ leather-crafting.
Eric operates Corter Leather from his studio apartment in Boston. He crafts all the wallets by himself from hide to a finished product. I can only imagine the blisters from all that abuse to his fingers. I met Eric briefly when I went to his apartment pick up a wallet made with Horween’s shell cordovan. Although extremely busy with churning out orders he took some time to accommodate me. Talking to him and seeing his workplace affirmed my decision to seek him out for a quality wallet. His room/workplace is filled with leather-crafting tools, books and old as well as new products. If I had half the dedication Eric has with Corter Leather, I’d be set.
He offers an assortment of bifolds, from natural to fabric lined, waxed or dyed, but I was set on purchasing the full shell cordovan variation (As opposed to outer shell cordovan and inner veg tanned leather.) This wallet holds the glossy look and smooth feel of my other shell cordovan products. Eric even cut the leather in a way to save most of the stamp from Horween at the center of the main slot. The stitching is wonderful, and I find myself taking this wallet out a few times a day just to hold it. Yes, I’m weird.
This wallet contains all the ingredients to what I wanted in a wallet. It uses leather from the US, made locally. It’s the right size, not too thick but enough so it’s still substantial. The stitching is solid and the crafter is someone that takes pride in their work. I’ve only had this wallet for a month, but I plan on keeping this one until one of us expires. Who knows, the wallet might outlast me.
I forced myself out of bed at 10am this morning. I spent the last 24 hours a little weak in the stomach, no doubt an issue brought forth by my grandmother. My grandmother, god bless her, moved here from HK for a year in order to spend some time with us. She thinks I’m too skinny (yes, I know) and that I need to eat more (yes, I know). So what does she do? She finds all sorts of stuff in the fridge to cook for me. Great! Except a lot of it turns out to be expired. Like those sausages she made two days ago.
I chugged a bottle of water and hopped onto my mountain bike. Time to sweat the rest of it out. I’ve spent the first half of this year making excuses to myself about mountain biking. Honestly I’ve just been lazy.
Last night’s rain left a couple of mud puddles scattered all over the single track. Being that I’ve avoided riding this whole year I lost some of those muscles that held the ability for small adjustments. My bike answered my lack of coordination by flipping me off of it several times. As my friend Tutu said the other day, “Remember: It’s the Indian, not the arrow.”
A half an hour later I felt much better than I’ve had in days. I needed to be outdoors doing something active. The weather was pleasant enough for it – hot with a slight breeze that made coasting on this boardwalk pleasurable.
A couple of minutes later I throw up off the side of the boardwalk. Owell.
I arrived home covered in blood, vomit and mud. After a quick shower and meal I checked the mail and found a package addressed to me. My Makr blank key bottle opener arrived. I’m hoping that a key-smith can turn this into a serviceable key, but matching it side by side with my current key… well see. Currently it is paired with a Corter lanyard made with shell cordovan.
My keys usually clips onto one of my belt loops. Speaking of which, I need a new belt. My current Bill Adler belt has these studs that rub my camera when I rest it on the sling.
The Tellasons are wearing nicely, though a little loose around the waist area. The next pair of denim I get I’ll need to size down in anticipation of the stretch. This pair is taking a while to break in due to the fact that I wear scrubs and cargoes at work. When it is time for the first wash I plan on doing an ocean soak, like what Denim Debate and Rogue Territory did with different pairs. I’ll probably do this at the end of summer, after the sweat and smell of BBQ starts to overpower the White Oak smell.
My sister and I spent some time playing with the dogs in the backyard. I took the opportunity to snap a quick picture of one of her tattoos. She’s in the culinary field with aspirations to open her own cupcake shop.
I still need to schedule an appointment with the family tattoo artist to complete a tattoo on my upper back.
And just so you know… I’m still 3 1/2 years old. Except now I have a real wakizashi instead of a foam sword.
Shell Cordovan is slowly invading into my life. What started with a bracelet, I now own a cordovan wallet, keychain and today a watch strap.
The linen bags that came out of the envelope reeked of the peculiar smell that is shell cordovan. It is not a bad thing. I tossed the envelope aside and placed the linen bags down.
The strap that slid out of the bag was wonderfully heavy compared to the nylon ones that I’m most familiar with. The front portion of the strap holds the same shine you see in Alden boots. This makes things a little hard to photograph so I apologize in advance. I guess I could have placed it all inside a white box, but what’s the fun in looking at product in white void?
The back of the strap contains a stamped company logo. I like the logos on my stuff small and unobtrusive, and DaLuca has done exactly that.
My Marathon GSAR looks a lot better with this strap on than with the Dubstraps Selvedge NATO strap. The strap might look even better with a Submariner… anyone care to loan one to me to check?
The saddle stitching is hand-done by Daniel Luczak, the owner of DaLuca Straps. Based in San Diego, Daniel started the company around two and a half years ago with strap offerings for Panerai watches. Daniel has added wallets, belts, camera straps and other leather goods into the mix.
I was worried that the beefy Horween shell cordovan would make the strap unnecessarily chunky where the material bunches back in on the top rings, but the concern was unwarranted. Sure there was more material at the end of the strap, but I find that it added to the aesthetics rather than detract from it. The black hardware is a nice touch too. Other shell cordovan NATO bands on the market only offer matte steel, but DaLuca puts out both matte and black PVD.
The strap sits comfortably on my puny 6 1/2 inch wrist. I’ll take some wear pictures when the sky isn’t shitting lightning.
The only real concern I would have for the strap is at the weak point of the strap, the stitching. Not to say that Mr. Luczak’s stitching is off (far from it), but that the top ring where the leather first passes through is secured by a single set of stitching. If that spot manages to tear, you would lose the single point that holds the strap together. This is a minor concern since the strap is shell cordovan leather. It would take a lot of abuse to get shell cordovan to fall apart. The danger of losing your watch is very minimal due to the nature of NATO bands. The method of doubling back the extra material keeps the watch securely on your wrist even in the event of a strap failure. The only setback with a strap failure would be the time it would take to send the strap back to Daniel Luczak. He will personally answer your e-mail and make any issue right.
DaLuca NATO strap in Horween’s shell cordovan in color #8 with black PVD hardware, along with a black Maratac Zulu band (the old standby) and a Dubstraps Selvedge NATO strap.
The second linen bag held a small snap wallet in black shell cordovan. This is also saddle stitched by Mr. Luczak’s hands. Made in America goodness.
As I’ve said earlier, I like my logos small and unobtrusive, but I find myself drawn to this logo. The contrast in colors and texture of the logo makes it a nice addition to the rear of the wallet. I also hold a weird fascination to double headed raptor motifs, so the DaLuca logo appeals to me.
The wallet is minimalist, consisting of a single pocket interior held closed by a snap buckle. In order to fit money into the wallet you would have to do a double fold. I crammed 10 bills and a challenge coin into the wallet and it fit with room to spare.
Credit cards and the like fits this wallet without an issue. DaLuca also makes a bigger version of this as well as a bifold.
Overall the products are well crafted and fantastic. They’re set at a reasonable price considering its material and Handmade in America status. It’s also good to know that the owner will stand behind the product he crafted his own hands. I know who to talk to when I get another watch.
If you hop over to Daniel’s page, be sure to check out his section on retired straps!
I found myself backing up into odd corners while I tried to take a picture in the store. I had carried only the 70-200mm lens on me that day, and the space in the store wasn’t forgiving of this choice. “Is your camera a Canon or Nikon?” Mark, the owner, asked. I told him that I had a Nikon, and Mark disappeared to the back, came back and handed me a 35mm lens loan. “We’re a full service store,” Mark said with a smile.
My fascination with American-made menswear led me to discover a diamond mine in the North End: Ball and Buck. While trying to locate a specific leather dressing for my 1000 Mile Boots I stumbled upon Ball in Buck, which opened their brick and mortar store earlier this year. I resolved to check out the store the first chance I get. I wear my boots rough, and I figured that applying dressing sooner rather than later would be prudent.
Several trips later I still find myself impressed with the selection that they offer. I get the vague feeling that the company are mind readers. Though I had originally came for just leather dressing the company carries brands that I had read about and was interested in exploring further: Apolis, Barrett Alley, Makr and Tellason to name a few. They had Taylor Stitch shirts and a collection of Randolph Engineering sunglasses. They have their own line of clothing starting with their pocket tees. And everything in the store is 100% made in America. It’s a constant struggle to keep my spending in check when I step foot into Ball and Buck.
Many of the photos around the store are actually the owner Mark’s family members.
Barrett Alley leather goods. Wallets, bracelets and a sunglass case. Some of the Valerie bracelets has a bone button, others vintage metal.
The Devilish wallet is especially nice. All hand stitched in Texas using high quality leathers and antique fabrics from different eras, the wallets are constructed to age beautifully. I would be hard pressed to walk away if Ball and Buck had the shell cordovan version of the devilish wallet.
Denim from different companies. Some selvedge, all quality. I’m just starting to develop an appreciation for raw denim. Tellason’s White Oak Cone Mills denim smells wonderful. Very smoky. I picked up a pair of Tellasons about two months ago and they’re aging nicely. I’m getting a little honeycombing around the knees, and the awesome smell is still present. The Tellasons have a leather patch made by Tanner Goods.
Ball and Buck pocket tees and a WM. J. Mills and Co. cargo bag.
Lum-Tec watches. The owner of Lum-Tec is stands by his watches. The dials are ridiculously bright.
Wolverine 1000 Mile Boots next to Montana Pitch Blend leather care products. These ones are made with Horween’s chromexcel leather.
Makr Farm Rucksack.
Lodge Co. belts.
Otis James ties and bowties.
Walk Over shoes and Red Wing boots on an awesome chest. Also, a random sneaker on the far left of the picture.
I ended up buying a Taylor Stitch shirt this time around. Hard to say no when the whole store is 20% off for Father’s Day. Ball and Buck is also hosting an event this Saturday. I’m debating whether I should sleep in between my night shifts or to go and suffer the consequences.
Buttons are one of the first detail I look for in the things I buy. They are one of the items that can be easily switched with an inferior substitute as a cost-cutting measure. Companies that are looking into sustainable sources for buttons catch my eye. You would be surprised at the amount of detail that can go into a single button. A lot of the shirts I own have Corozo buttons sewn on them. Corozo uses tagua nuts in their buttons.
Corozo button on an Apolis chambray shirt
Corozo button on a Taylor Stitch gingham shirt
Bone button on a Barrett Alley Valerie bracelet
EDC (everyday carry) refers to the random things you carry on your person on a daily basis. This could range from items on your keychain to the ones in your backpack (if you actually lug one around all day). Most people EDC something on their body; a bottle opener on your keychain or a cell phone falls under EDC gear. A glimpse at a person’s EDC gear is a glimpse at their personality, or as some might argue, their personal preparedness. Since everyone is different in how they’re brought up, where they work or what they consider important, a pocket dump of their EDC gear is a fascinating window to someone else’s life.
My current EDC is kept relatively minimal.
- Knife to the left: The venerable Strider SnG has been the longest EDC item on the list. I’ve kept an SnG on my person on and off since 2003. This current one has been with me for around 4 years serving as an EDC blade for the whole time. The SnG is a workhorse of a knife designed with a solid lock and multiple gripping methods. The blade is small enough handle most tasks you would need a knife for without intimidating anyone, and the colors make it a curious item to those who take notice of it.
- Phone: The Atrix replaced my iPhone 3GS fairly recently. The Android platform is versatile compared to Apple’s idiot-proof phone.
- Watch: The Marathon GSAR is an automatic watch that contains tritium vials for markers. Tritium is radioactive and will glow continuously for a score of years. Though I can easily use my Atrix to tell time I constantly utilize a watch at my job where pulling my Atrix out would be frowned upon.
- Wallet: The Saddleback Leather wallet is made from full grain leather. It is a sturdy wallet with a beautiful patina from a year of EDCing. I plan on changing this item due to the wallet being bulkier than I’d prefer.
- Knife to the lower right: The Triple Eight s.o.l. is a tiny knife for cutting open gifts from the Brown Santa (UPS). The teeth on this knife makes it useful for cutting cordage.
- Pen: The Rotring 600 is a pen of all-metal construction. It writes fairly well and allows for a choice in refills from common stores like Staples.
It all started with the 1000 Mile boots.
Looking back now, I can’t even remember how I stumbled upon these boots that Wolverine crafts with Horween leather. I suppose I was surfing through different forums. Perhaps Selectism, or maybe GearPatrol? In any case I started becoming more and more interested in these boots with each article or review I read on them. It was shortly after I watched a video on the limited edition 721 from the 1000 Mile Collection that I decided to find a pair to try on.
After trying on a pair I fell in love with the Original boots in brown. These would be the ones made in Horween Chromexcel rather than their Cordovan, putting the cost around $325. The Cordovan pair runs a little over $700.
Very shortly after buying these boots I came to a realization: None of my clothes really match these boots. I usually dress without too much thought invested into the process, maybe a random t-shirt with a pair of jeans or cargo pants. I prefer to spend my off time in the woods rather than on concrete, so my clothing style tends to lean towards a REI/EMS hiker trend. With these boots I was going to have to change a few things.
Two months later, I’m at a point where I’ve bought my first pair of raw selvedge demin, a Cordovan bracelet and a couple of dress shirts made from quality materials (I’m also at a point where I’m accepting donations to fund this madness). In the mail is a pair of Danner Mountain Light boots to replace my hiking/work Lowa Zephyr boots. Most of these purchases are 100% made in the USA.
Buying these boots and the history that followed with them opened up an interest in finding quality goods that will last a long time. I know the 1000 Mile boots are the cost of 4 pairs of sneakers, but I also know that these boots will still be around when I’ve worn out all 4 pairs of sneakers. They look damn good in the process too.