The Project Belt Revisited

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It seems like forever since the belt experiment took place, but I realized it’s barely been six months. However, some of you have seen some good wear out of them, so I figured as post was in order. It’s been great hearing from wearers, and I’ve enjoyed seeing the varied abuse.

Since that first project, I’ve learned a lot and refined my belt-making process. One defining improvement has been to slick the edges with beeswax on the new belts. For the initial project belts, they were left untouched to accentuate the break-in, but I think I definitely prefer a smoother, slicked edge. I’d just recently slicked mine, and I know Garrett did that to his.

If you guys want to clean up your own rough edges, it takes just a little beeswax rubbed in there and then you can use a slicker tool, or just a small piece of heavy canvas to vigorously rub that wax into the edge. As you rub, the wax will smooth the edges nicely. If they are really frayed, you can slick with lightly dampened water first and after drying completely – go after it with the beeswax.

Another announcement about the belt line is that it will definitely be growing. I’ll be introducing a more finished version in English bridle leather with a new buckle, and also a special announcement on Monday (Sorry folks, looks like Friday now) for a new model that I’ve recently collaborated with Darian from FREE/MAN. It’ll be available though my store or the new FREE/MAN online store (especially good for our Canadian customers to save on shipping).

Special thanks to those of you that have shared your pics – Anabela, Geoff, Evan, Garrett, Megan C, Megan R and Stacey. Also, anyone else is welcome to show off their own wear-in pics on either the Wood&Faulk flickr group or facebook page.

 

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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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This Weekend

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As I’m sitting at home, waiting for a load of firewood to arrive, I’m thinking that I need to buy a truck so I don’t have to wait on crap like this. But also, I’m thinking that I had a pretty decent weekend. Maybe I should post something to share with you guys? Should I just keep the blog more project focused? Do you even want to hear this junk? Let me know if I’m amiss. Thanks, and I hope you all had a great weekend too.

1. Found a great chair on Craigslist. Don’t know much about it -appears to be rosewood with a leather sling, and has stamped “Made in Argentina” on the frame, but no other markings. I don’t care if it’s a marked piece or not, but I’m still always curious of pieces’ whereabouts. Looks like it was mimicking some Michel Arnoult style?

2. Cut some belts. My friends Matt and JD are helping out and JD is making a little film about it too. I’m excited to see how it comes out. Also, I need to remind a few of you to get me your measurement and buckle info! I’ll send out an email to you soon.

3. Started a Wood&Faulk facebook page, if anyone is inclined to like it. Not sure what to make of it yet, but at the very least I’ll be updating when I post, as I do on twitter now.

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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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