A chance encounter with local leather worker Parker Murakami, introduced me to a new rabbit hole. Parker modified a leather camera case for me, and after a quick tour of their factory, I found myself standing at his personal workstation looking at a beautiful leather belt. It was the buckle that caught my attention. It was cast locally by old order Mennonites in the early 80’s, but sadly, is no longer being made. I asked why – ‘nobody is willing to pay for well made, well designed buckles’. I left that day with buckles on the brain and started to think about what I would want a buckle to look like. After some research, I quickly recognized that there are lots of people doing excellent leather work, and making wonderful belts… but the buckles are always disappointing... they seem to be an afterthought. They don’t match the quality of the leather they are attached to.
Meet the Belts
It was the act of dropping another bronze offcut into the scrap bucket that connected the dots for me. I can design and cast my own buckle from the bronze offcuts I had been saving for the last 20 years. The wheels were turning fast at this point, and I quickly started drawing, which turned into mock-ups and ended with a pattern. I signed up for a bronze casting class at a local blacksmith shop, and as I was waited, started designing a fully fabricated stainless steel buckle.
Both the cast bronze buckle and fabricated stainless buckle went through a few iterations, but are at a point where I am really happy with them. Each one is stamped with the customer’s initials (up to 3 letters), a serial number and a maple leaf. The leather strap is made to length from full grain bridle leather, using Canadian cowhides and vegetable tanned in the United States, and is available in 3 colours; natural tan, dark brown and black. These are heavy belt – and ideally suited to heavier, raw denim jeans. The drawing below shows how to measure for the correct length. I make a batch of 5 or so every several months or as time permits.
$675.00 Cdn + $25 flat rate shipping in North America and $50 shipping to Europe and Australia.