New Belts: the Harrison, the Martin and the Matchstick

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I’ve been meaning to add some new belt models for a while, and I’m happy to finally show them off. After the big studio move, things were understandably chaotic. Now that the dust is settling and some client catch-up work is back on schedule, I can get back to our own offerings.

Starting with the Harrison, I went with a bold, yet comfortable buckle. It has a feel of old folk and rock-and-roll. What belt was George wearing on the cover of “All Things Must Pass”? I’m pretty sure it looked just like this. It uses our favorite English bridle leather, but I also added a new color too – cognac. It’s available in a stout 1 1/2″ and a slightly more subtle 1 1/4″ width.

The Martin is your classic end-bar buckle shape. Timeless looks, tough W&F character. This one’s named after my Dad, but since most of you haven’t met him, you’ll have to take my work that it’s a good fit. Most honorable and hardest working guy I know. Available in a 1 1/2″ that’s good for jeans and a 1″ width – perfect for casual styles and looks great on women or guys.

Our third release is just for the W&F women… the super svelte Matchstick. It’s a clean 5/8″ width with a tiny solid brass center-bar buckle. Sizing for this one has more range, so it can be worn low on the hips or high on the waist. Very versatile for jeans or dresses. Same hard-wearing English bridle leathers, but takes on a decidedly softer feel with the thin width.

All are available in the store today! Built upon order, they ship in about 5-7 days after purchase.

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The F/M x W&F D-Ring

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I’ve been recently talking with Darian Hocking of Free/Man, for which I’d been a fan of his blog since its start. I was excited because we had been discussing of some type of collaboration… but we hadn’t finalized anything yet. Then he asked if I’d ever made a ring belt before. I had not, and up to that point, I really only thought I needed one belt. I have a pretty simple day-to-day uniform and I’d been wearing my project belt everyday for over six months – figuring I’d probably just wear that until it broke. Though after our talk, I got excited to try something new and I headed directly to the tack supply store to get some rings. I came home with some standard rings and a pair of d-rings. The d-rings worked much better, since they would lay flatter with heavier leather and put less stress on the buckle end. Once I made myself a prototype, I was instantly sold on the design.

The belts are made from North American steer hides tanned in the English bridle fashion with solid brass or nickel plated brass rings. Edges are beveled and finished with beeswax on the tan and dye and wax on the darker colors. The English bridle leather is extremely durable, yet very flexible – perfectly suited a belt. The waxes and oils used in the tanning process lock securely to the d-ring setup and will look more and more amazing as the belt ages. Each is stamped with our collaborative logo, on the underside of the buckled billet end.

From Darian: I met Matt Pierce of Wood&Faulk earlier this year through a mutual friend. Before I met him, I had greatly admired his craft, which is chock full of do-it-yourself projects around the house.

I had been searching for a dual brass ring belt, but had not yet found one that made sense for me. Matt and I have similar personalities and get along well, we both wanted to make a special product together and at a respectable price point for our customers + readers. After a bunch of conversations, we ended up going with these one inch and one and a half inch english bridle leather belts, with solid brass D-rings versus a traditional buckle. There’s something so simple about dual ring belts. They are a classic design, and have been around for a long time.

Tan/Brass belts launch today in the W&F store with brown and nickel hardware options launching in a few days. Supply for Free/Man will be in stock by Friday, August 12th.

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Belt Project Documented

Back when I started experimenting with belt making, my good friend JD said that he would make a short video to document it. JD is the super-talented design director at Instrument, and we’d previously filmed little clips of a screen printing project that he turned into an cool movie; so despite me feeling slightly awkward on camera, I knew it would be fun and turn out neat.

Now you can see the full process of how I made the first run of belts, spot some mistakes, see how I cheated and used letterpress polymer dies instead leather stamps, and see what a pain in the arse it would be to hand-edge 50 belts! As for anyone curious about me putting belts back in the store… it’s happening soon. But, then if I just showed you how to make one, will any of them sell? Uh oh.

Wood&Faulk on Vimeo
Music by Gabriel and the Hounds

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Recent Busy Weeks

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It’s been a crazy busy time around here. I’m in the middle of multiple client projects, home projects and W&F pieces. As always, most undertakings end up taking way more time than you’d like – specifically the belt project. Thankfully some started shipping last week, and the final pieces are leaving my hands today. I know that some of you wanted to meetup for local pickup, but with so many things going on, I just can’t feasibly schedule anything. Seriously, I was walking to the mailbox with bags of Priority envelopes last night at 1am. It was actually a most relaxing walk… Knowing that I can mark this project off my list!

If you are a wear-in participant, you should be seeing your package soon. Hopefully everyone is still excited about the project. It was fun to produce, and I definitely learned a lot of things about working with ridiculously heavy leather. All pieces were cut, formed and shaped by hand, so please forgive any minor tooling marks. As your belts wear-in, they should take on so many cool marks, colors & creases and I’m anxious to see how they look in a few months’ time. I’ve set up a Wood&Faulk flickr group, so if you want to post some progress, it’d be great to tag them in there. Or you might want to post/tag them in the Wood&Faulk facebook page.

As for other fun stuff, I just update the store with some Portland crafted soaps from Maak Soap Lab, and I received some fine, new bags from Heritage Leather. In stock now is the Standard 16 and a new black Deluxe 16. Both in a shorter height, which is great for a small amount of tools or more business-like items – my 15” MacBook Pro fits in there great. Gracious thanks to the brilliant Lisa Warninger for hanging out and shooting all my product shots for the new bags and Maak soap.

Also, I thought I’d throw in a photo of another project prototype I’m working on, which I can’t really share now, but it’s been fun experimenting with. It’ll be made of Oak and using the end pieces of leather straps that were too short to make a belt. I’ll throw more details out there when I can share.

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Belt Progress

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Hey everyone, I wanted to check in on the belt project and let everyone know when you’ll be receiving your product. I had hoped to have them all finished over the President’s Day holiday, but on Monday I clamped down on my hole puncher and no kidding – it exploded.

Earlier in the weekend, I’d bent the frame with my BRUTAL HAND STRENGTH. It had gotten weary from punching through the insanely heavy leather, and on Monday, it took it’s final punch – the top housing bent apart and hole-punch bits flew everywhere.

After the leather store opened on Tuesday, I got some REAL punches and am now poised to finish up. I’m sorry it’s taken so long! I’ll document the process, and probably bitch about it a little on my next post after they deliver.

So, with new punches and final bits of hardware, I’m confident that all belts will be done this weekend and shipping on Monday. Thanks for hanging in there with me, and I’m anxious to get them to you!

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Belt Making

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I really love the way certain items break-in and wear in accordance to an owner’s habits and traits. I was (and kinda still am) crazy interested in the process of breaking-in raw denim. I love how wooden items change due to use. I’m dying to see some of my carpenter bags change and break-in over time. Ever see Børge Mogensen’s own brown leather couch? Leather has to be one of the materials I most adore. The way it breaks-in and takes shape and colors and character from how you’ve used it, is really intriguing. I also like tinkering with leather, so I thought of a great way to show you all something, AND start a dialogue about the break-in process and see how ordinary items can become uniquely a person’s own belonging.

I’ve decided to create a small batch of belts with untreated vegetable-tanned leather –then send them out into the wild to my readers to wear and make entirely theirs. As an untreated belt is worn, it will take on shape from the owner’s waist, belt loop location, and buckle use. It will take colors from the type of pants you wear, the denim dye, the things you rub against. Then there will be the option of choosing your own break-in method… slap it against a log, wear it into the ocean, hand-dye it, wax it… whatever you could think of. In the picture below, you’ll see my worn-in BillyKirk wallet, of natural un-treated leather.

I’ve already bought a half-hide of 10oz. leather and am getting some simple tooling soon. I’ve chosen a buckle and will give you all a couple finish choices, and you can pick your own length. It will be modeled after my favorite belt (pictured below), but each one will start as pure, natural color leather (in a 1.5in width). Because I’m not a beltmaker, and I’m not going to make this into a business, AND because there will likely be small imperfections, I’m going to make this small batch of 20 for the cost of materials and tooling. There’s ONE REQUIREMENT if you decide to take part in this… As you wear it, I want pictures in six months and then even later as it changes, and I will share these with our readers. Also, let us know if you did your break-in, and if you treated it in anyway. Hopefully you all are interested in this experiment like I am.

I’m going to open an item in the store on Friday December 10th at 11am and will have them on advance-order basis. I won’t be able to start making these until after my Christmas trip to Kansas, so know that you’ll be getting your belts sometime in mid to late January. Should something go horribly wrong and I make no belts, you will all get a full refund. I’m also allowing international shipping on these, because I don’t want to leave anyone out. Accepting advance-orders on this will let people choose their buckle finish (so I can order them) and belt size, and I’ll be documenting the make process to share with you as well.

Few rules to participate:

  1. Only one belt per order/address/PayPal account.
  2. These are not for resale.
  3. You must want to participate fully with a rigorous break-in and report back with photos and documentation.
  4. Please make sure to submit your buckle choice and size in the comments when ordering. Best way to measure is to put on your current favorite belt and measure from the belt hole you use, completely around your waist and back to that hole.

By the way, a great site about that denim thing is Denim Debate. Also, check out the episode about denim on Put this On … one of my favorite blogs.

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