From Hide to Hand: The Making of our Wallets
Each of the wallets in our minimal wallet collection is made from start to finish in our Denver, CO workshop. Beginning with raw materials, we work directly with Midwestern tanneries to source high quality vegetable tanned leather that will look great and hold up over time. Then, we meticulously cut and assemble each piece using a combination of traditional tools and contemporary techniques. We've carefully designed and field tested all of our wallet styles, refining them so that they minimize clutter while maximizing function.
In this post we invite you into our workshop and show you the process of making one of our newest styles, the Slim Wallet.
Hide and Seek We source our leather hides in the form of "sides" (either the left or right side of the cow) -- in this case, 4oz Dublin cowhide from Horween Leather Co. One of our favorite wallet leathers, Horween Dublin is an extremely soft and supple leather that is vegetable tanned and infused with oils, emollients, and wax. After unrolling the hides, we inspect them for surface flaws and density variations before cutting them down into smaller pieces that are more manageable. Choosing the right parts of the hide for the right pieces is like a big puzzle. Once we divide the hides into useable pieces, we use our laser cutter to precisely cut the individual wallet pieces. The laser allows us to achieve subtle curves and shapes in our patterning, etch our logo into the surface, and efficiently create the holes that will guide our stitching.
Tools of the trade Once our pieces are cut, we clean off the ash left over from the laser cutter and wax the edges that would be hard to reach after assembly. We use a natural wax blend that helps to seal and protect the edges. After the pieces are cleaned and prepped, it's time to collect the tools needed to stitch them together, including thread, needles, and the stitching pony. We use a special industrial grade waxed thread and harness needles along with a traditional wood stitching pony, which helps to provide a "third hand" to hold the pieces in place while we work.
Final Assembly Now it's time to stitch the individual wallet pieces together into a complete wallet. Once we have the leather pieces stacked and aligned in the arms of the stitching pony, we thread our needles and begin stitching. Using a traditional saddle stitch, we start at one end and work towards the other, alternating the threads in each hand. For added reinforcement we double stitch the beginning and end of each row. No knots are needed since the waxed thread holds itself in place.
Finishing up Once all the pieces are stitched together into a complete wallet, it's time to finish the outside edges. To do this, we wax and polish the exposed edges on a buffing wheel (or by hand, depending on the leather) to seal them and give them a glossy finish. Because each hide is unique, every wallet has its own personality, from the markings on the surface to subtle color variations to slight differences in thickness. Once they go out into the world, our wallets will continue to develop character as they are used every day.
Refined Utility We hope that you'll appreciate these marks and blemishes in the leather, as they are an essential part of this organic material as well as a visible sign of the process we use to craft our wallets. Our goal in the making of our wallets (as well as our waxed canvas bags) is always one of thoughtful design and refined utility. This all adds up to a product we are proud to sell and that hopefully you will be proud to carry.
The Slim Wallet is available in four colors HERE
Browse our full Minimal Wallet collection HERE