Category Archives: Belts

Made In Mayhem: Made in America

Kathy sent me a link about Made in Mayhem, a San Francisco-based company that uses premium materials to create as they say: “durable sophisticated and functional goods”. What’s cool about the site is the range of products, from a simple leather wallet to a crocodile-embossed leather backpack… and a lot of things in between.The “Fredrick” on the left is a crocodile-embossed leather backpack, while the “Eleanor” is a shoulder bag of the same material with hidden, shorter handles.The “Franklin” is an iPad case with additional pockets for phone, business cards, etc.
The “Canyon Combo” features a wool blanket and leather harness.

The “Aloha Beach Bag” has a Hawaiian floral print with leather accents.

Leather belts, wallets and a variety of other goods are waiting to be discovered at Made in Mayhem.



100+ Beautiful Belts for Men and Women: Made in USA

Last Updated October 3, 2016

Everyone can hold up their pants in style with an American-made belt.Upton makes some very modern and stylish belts – and they make them in the USA.OrvisBelts Orvis has been a popular USA manufacturer for over 150 years. The men’s belts you’ll find at Orvis range from businessman to Prepster to country sportsman. orvis_womensbeltsThe company also offers several belt styles for women. The Reversible Go-to Belt (top right) is one of its most-loved designs.JohnstonMurphyBeltsJohnston and Murphy makes men’s belts for every occasion and they make these in the USA. allenedmondsbelts Allen Edmonds offers a line of 60 belts, the majority of which are American-made. Unfortunately, there is no way to separate them by search. Browse for styles you like, then click on the individual belt, where the country of manufacture is clearly marked. nordstrom_beltsBelts at Nordstrom range from chic to showy. They have women’s belts, like the Tory Burch Reversible Belt (top) and men’s styles, like the pebbled-leather belt from Nordstrom’s own brand. zapposbeltsZappos Want to see a wide variety of USA brands and styles?  Try Zappos. Just click at the left to separate men’s and women’s. Be advised that the later results in the search are less likely to be accurate as far as Made in USA.foxcreekbeltFox Creek Leather carries an interesting design for men where even the conchos are Made in the USA. brooksbrosbelts Brooks Brothers carries a few American-made belts for men, including the Kiel James Patrick brand and Cordovan styles. belts. orionleatherbeltsOrion Leather makes a wide variety of American belts for men and women.toddsnyderbeltsTodd Snyder makes belts for men in the USA. FilsonBeltsFilson belts tend to be utilitarian; the perfect on-the-job belt.  beelt1 Shinola’s belt selection for men is still small, but it’s stylish.

W.Kleinberg makes a variety of high end, custom-made belts.
belts2Matt and Jill Myer make surprisingly cool-looking belts from recycled bike tires and bike parts.


Handmade luxury belts are the specialty of John Allen Woodward


Regards, Kathy

American Bench Craft: Leather Goods Made in USA

The final stop on our weekend of maker visits was a company called American Bench Craft.

Jason and Chris Angelini, two brothers, make up the company. Jason has the hands-on maker experience, while Chris is the marketing/creative type. The brothers got their start on Kickstarter with the successful funding of a minimalist wallet made with rivets but no stitches.

Jason had decided to leave his job as an Engineer one Friday and, on the following Monday, was shopping for a wallet. He didn’t have a lot of money to spend and he finally figured out he’d be better off making the wallet himself. Hence, the idea was born.

Jason and Chris Bio Picture_edit2Chris and Jason (right) Angelini founders of American Bench Craft

The leather is sourced in the USA, but we will respect the guys’ wishes not to divulge the source. One of the challenges of being a small company, they said,  is being able to purchase the high quality material – and they need to protect that.

One of the materials they use is a vegetable-tanned bridle leather with a rich feel and finish that is completed at the tannery. The other leather  is a beautiful, full-grain hide. It is the top, dense part of the hide, so they sometimes have to  work around imperfections like the marks a cow might get from grazing a barbed wire fence. The hardware for the belts is sourced from the Weaver company in Ohio.

The shop is low-tech but the fact is, they have all the equipment they need. That includes  a manual click-press for cutting leather, a series of arbor presses for the rivets and a burnishing wheel.

shop pic 6Manual click Press.

shop pic 3A collection of arbor presses and the motorized burnishing wheel.

The wallet that Jason and Chris launched on Kickstarter was marketed as “the last wallet you will need to buy.” Afterward, they were faced with a unique problem:  How do you get people to come back if they just bought the last wallet they’ll ever need? So now American Bench Craft has new products like a front-pocket wallet, dog collars, belts and key chains.

shop pic 4A selection of the goods on display in the workshop.

I bought some of their business card holders to use as gifts, but one only got as far as Kathy, who, after checking it out decided she needed one for her Americanologist business cards!  I also purchased a Working Man’s Belt (below) which is breaking in nicely.

Belt_BRandBL__10361.1404685640.1280.1280Jason asked me to test and review a product called Hide-drator, a leather conditioner that they helped develop.  So far, I’ve applied it to my Wolverine Addison boots and an old leather attaché case, and both items look incredible. It’s different from anything I’ve used before (boot oil and standard leather conditioner) but I really like the results enough that I’m going to pay for my next tin.

Hidedrator_with_boots__62831.1426188537.1280.1280The leather Hide-drator (these are not my boots!)

What’s next? Jason indicated he wants to make a billfold and possibly launch a joint venture with another premium (and still secret)  American brand.  Jason has joined Makers Row and is looking at other opportunities to expand the product offering. We wish them the best of luck.



Two More Belt-Makers:Made in USA

Just recently I came across two more manufactures of leather goods, Bell and Oak out of Denton, TX and Narragansett Leather out of Damariscotta, ME.

Located inside his grandfather Weldon’s Saddle Shop, Clint Wilkinson has fashioned a new business of American leather crafted goods. There is a great Vimeo Clip on the Culture Page of the site featuring Clint talking about making goods here  in the USA and the quality and craftsmanship that goes into every item. There is a wide range of goods available including coasters, wallets, key lanyard and most recently a limited series of scarves.

lrg_belt_bwDraw gauge used to cut Bridle Leather

standard_rbrn1_1024x1024Std. Belt in Rich Brown

Alan McKinnon owner of Narragansett Leathers is basically retired but still makes a beautiful range of leather belts featuring English Bridle Leather. There is no business phone so email and snail mail are the only ways to contact him.

LWiderBeltsStandard 1.5″ Belts with Solid Brass Buckles

LRangerBeltsThe above is a sample of the Ranger Belt line Alan produces.

As Alan tells it “Each belt is made to order. That way I can offer a fairly large variety of color and style within the bridle type. Each belt is sized to a fraction of an inch which is good for those who are in between standard sizes. I buy the domestic English bridle type hides directly from Wickett & Craig, a tannery in Pennsylvania.”

NewBucklesAlan explained that he owns the molds for the lost wax cast buckles (oyster, lobster claw, etc) which are cast in Rhode Island. Alan finishes the buckles himself.