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Thick Leather Keychain

brown leather keychain side view

I build everything from the best leather and hardware I can find and this thick leather keychain is no exception. It is beefy and I ain’t tryin’ to make a play on words with y’all. As you can see from the image above that’s 5 layers of durable bag leather (full-grain, vegetable tanned of course).

It feels good in your hands because it has a subtle weight to it. The idea for this handmade leather keychain came from my constant pursuit of simplifying items we tend to use in everyday life. Just one solid brass rivet holds this guy together, and that should be all it needs for a lifetime.

The keyring is a special square screwpin version made with solid brass as well. You’ll need a mini screwdriver to undo it and get yer keys on there. The clip is solid stainless steel and I like to hook mine on a belt loop just above my right pocket so the keys can tuck inside. Take a look at the quick little video I made below, then get yours made by going to the shop.

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The Leather Number Stamp

Years ago, in a small workshop in the Desert Southwest, I stamped the first leather wallet to go out the door with the number 001. It may have ended up with a friend or a customer, it’s so long ago I can’t quite say for certain, but odds are it’s still out there doing it’s job just like on day one. The number stamp was and still is a way for me to keep track of every piece I have ever made. I hand stamp every single piece that is made in the shop with a unique and sequentially increasing number. It tells my customer and me the order in which that item was made in the history of all of my leather goods. A lucky few still have some of the first hundred to go out. Leather Number Stamp

Several months ago my girlfriend’s father stopped in the workshop wanting me to spiff up his belt with some more conditioner and give the edges some polishing…it was #062. Kind of surprising for me to see these older pieces and remember where I was when I made them! Above is a prime example of what most wallet stamps look like nowadays.stamping-leather-wallets-with-numbers_0009

I keep track of every number and the item that bears it in a small notebook. I think that’s important, it gives me a sense of fulfillment knowing that each piece is made one by one here in the workshop. It’s how I need to do things if I want something made well…piece by piece. Leather Number Stamp

Here’s a look at the stamping process in action. I use an old American made number wheel with a rawhide mallet. First I cut out the wallet shape and punch the holes (after dyeing the entire hide), then I wet the leather right where the stamping is done – this helps to keep the impression in the leather for its lifetime, next I stamp away in an even line. One by one each style gets its stamp.Leather Number Stamp

The block everything sits on is a giant slab of polished granite. It makes it easy to stamp on top of because of the incredible amount of inertia…keeps things from vibrating when you hit the hammer onto the number wheel and into the leather. It also dampens the noise in the workshop quite a bit! I used to hammer things on an old wood table and my eardrums certainly regretted it!Leather Number Stamp

A finished stamped number, the number wheel, and rawhide mallet. This wallet is ready for the next stage  – oiling and waxing. Do you have one of the Mr. Lentz original numbers in the low hundreds? Leave a comment – I’d love to get a photo of your wallet!

New Passport Wallet and GIVEAWAY

UPDATE 9/12/15: WINNERS ANNOUNCED!

Well – I picked 3 winners at random to select the color of their choosing. Thank you all for being a part of this giveaway and helping to spread the word about my goods! (There were over 200 total entrants with 1287 total entries for the Passport Wallet.)

Don’t worry – if you didn’t win, you can still purchase one at 20% off until this Sunday! Just use this code when checking out: PASSME20

I will email all three winners to collect your shipping info.

Until next time, cheers!

a Mr. Lentz giveaway

Well, it sure has been a long while since I put together a giveaway for my leather goods. y’all have been so patient and I am going to reward the winner ( 3 winners total) to one of my newest designs, the Double Leather Passport Wallet. The idea for it started a few years back when I kept receiving multiple requests for a Passport Wallet that would hold two passports, one for the traveler and one for their spouse typically.

Leather Passport wallet for two passports

Well, here it is and I decided to take things a bit further. The Double Leather Passport Wallet is not only designed to hold two passports, but it will come with a medium sized lined notebook and steel pen in case you decide to travel solo and want to take some notes. It’s also hold all yer credit cards and IDs, plus a small stash of cash. All the while fitting into regular sized jeans. It is truly a thing of beauty and I can’t wait to start making these and shipping them out to my traveling customers as they journey across the world.

Leather Passport Wallet with notebook and pen

I can go on and on about this wallet, but there are really just a few more important points… One – It’s built with the highest quality Full-Grain, Vegetable-Tanned leather sourced from the top U.S. Tannery. Two – it’s all riveted together and thus built for a lifetime of heavy use. Three: It’s made by hand per order in small batches to ensure you get a well built, solid wallet. Four – It’s covered under my 100 Year Guarantee. Five…see I could go on and on! If you can’t wait to get yer hands on one of these, go ahead and check it out in the shop here: Double Passport Wallet.

 

Oh yeah – a bit more info on the giveaway! It starts today and ends at midnight on Sept. 11th 2016. You can enter using the options above and different entries are worth differing amounts of entry points, giving you an advantage the more you help promote my shop! The winners will be announced within 3 days of the ending. That’s it, have at it!

Brown leather passport wallet leather passport case leather passport and notebook wallet leather notebook wallet leather-passport-wallet-travel-case-document-wallet_042_0049 tan leather passport wallet leather-passport-wallet-travel-case-document-wallet_042_0110

Wallet Selfies in the Woods

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Wallets tend to travel as much as we do. I took mine on a quick backpacking trip in the high Sierra mountains. Not exactly the most practical thing to carry, but I thought it might make for a few fun shots. Here are the most scenic spots, of course the Minimal Leather Wallet – Extra is at center focus.

Leather Wallet over lake

That really is the color of the lake, no joke. It felt like a tropical ocean in the middle of the mountains. And nope, I ain’t givin’ away the location!

Leather wallet and lake

This area wasn’t quite as tropical, more apocalyptic. Up near Mammoth, CA there is a lake or two that suffers from high levels of carbon dioxide off-gassing from an earthquake years ago. Aparently it causes the lake to drain and vegetation around it to die off. Well, the wallet went there too.

Leather wallet with Aspen Trees

Aspen trees are one of my favorite parts of getting into the back-country. They make this soft relaxing noise as the wind passes through their leaves. They usually grow in large clusters and it’s easy to see through the forest when you’re under them, in case – you know – a stray cow comes barreling down the path towards ya. Happy summer, go enjoy the last few days while you can.

How to Condition A Leather Wallet

 

I, Mr. Lentz, believe that high-quality leather deserves high-quality care. This is exactly why I provide a free tin of my own handmade all-natural leather conditioner with every leather goods purchase. It is important to know how to properly maintain and care for leather so that it will last you the better part of your lifetime. After several emails asking how this is done in practice – I decided to make a short video and write this post to bring light to a very simple and quick process that will keep your Mr. Lentz goods looking great.

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The first thing to note is the importance of conditioning leather.

My goods are made with the highest quality full-grain vegetable-tanned leather you can buy in the U.S. This leather contains a bit of natural oils in it already – as well as a bit from the tannery. After I cut, brand, stamp, edge, wet, dye, and shape the leather…it tends to lose a bit of its oil and therefore needs some replenishing. I hand rub every piece with the same oil/wax conditioner that is in the tin – my own Mr. Lentz Spiff N’ Shine. This tends to darken the piece slightly and gives it some pliability and softness before I ship them out. Leather conditioner also allows the fibers in the leather to be more durable and less likely to dry out and tear. If your leather purchase seems a little stiff or dry after several months to a year, its probably time to apply a bit of Spiff N’ Shine.

 

  • Mr. Lentz Spiff N’ Shine leather conditioner works best on vegetable tanned leathers. All goods made by Mr. Lentz are vegetable tanned.
  • Typically you will not need to apply any conditioner within the first 6 months of use up to a year. It all depends on how you use the goods. For example if it is in your pocket every day and being handled a lot it may be fine for quite some time because it tends to absorb the oils from your skin. If the goods get wet – this may flush out some of the oil and it could be time to apply some Spiff N’ Shine.
  • To apply, simply take a very light coat on your fingers or soft cloth and gently rub into the leather on the smooth side of the surface. You can rub it into the rough back (flesh) side, but the oil will absorb quicker and may not be as even.
  • Make sure to apply to all edges, creases and slots as well – and anywhere where the goods get a lot of wear and tear action.
  • If you let it sit for a few minutes to 20 minutes the oil should absorb completely. If a heavy coat was used it may take a day or two for the oils to spread out evenly in the goods.
  • Since Mr. Lentz Spiff N’ Shine contains beeswax as well, you can buff the leather with a soft cloth after the conditioner has dried for a subtle shine. Otherwise, you should be all set.

 

If you need a refill of Spiff N’ Shine at any point be sure to check the shop, or if unavailable contact me and I will get you going.

 

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How to make a bar stool DIY (Day 3)

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how to make a wooden bar stool

 

Well, it usually takes a day or two off to realize that you might have made a big mistake…after already doing a lot of work. Here I noticed that I didn’t account for the relative angle of the drill press table, or rather the entire drill press sitting on a sloped floor. This made my holes about 1.2 degrees off, which is kind of significant for a stool. Luckily there’s a way to fix it.how to make a wooden bar stool

Above I cut out the template for the legs to sit against at 7 degree angle as per the plans. This simple setup will help make the measuring and cutting of the dowels a fairly simple task.
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How to make a bar stool DIY (Day 2)

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wood-stool-diy-ho-to-make-bar-stool-tutorial_0040Alright, it’s day 2 of the DIY workshop stool. I’ve finished figuring out how to put together the Grrripper (a device that lifts your hand away from the wood as you feed it through he table saw – they include a DVD which if you still have one of those ancient players it is well worth watching through), and now it’s time to prep the table saw. Initially I fed a piece of lumber through the table saw only to feel it resist an abnormal amount. It was not a pretty sight and felt a bit dangerous so I quickly hit the ‘stop’ button on the saw with my knee. After all the last thing you want is kickback – where the board slams you in the face and you have to come up with excuses for your girlfriend. Turns out my table saw needed a bit of rust sanded off the surface and a wax job. Now everything slides right through, always take care of your equipment. I ripped each leg of the stool to be 1.5 inches wide.
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How to make a bar stool DIY (Day 1)

View Day 2 View Day 3

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Now I’m not typically a ‘precision’ kind of guy. At least in the field of woodworking and joinery (in leatherwork I couldn’t stop that evolution). So when I decided to build this stool for my workshop I kind of thought it would be fairly simple. Boy was I wrong…and sometimes you have to face that as a DIYer. The fact is, with a stool – the more precise you can be in measuring lengths and angles…the less headaches you will have down the road. That’s why I bought this electric angle gauge:

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It measures down to 1/10 of a degree – allowing me to set up my drill press and table saw precisely. Unfortunately as you will read on further into the DIY, I may not have calculated the relative angle of slope of the garage. That’ll make more sense later though so let’s get on with it.

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As you can see above there are a few specialty tools you can use to make this a whole lot simpler. Starting from top left to bottom right: pencil, tape measure, ruler (I know this one looks special but any old ruler will do), right angle attachment for the drill (super handy), Kreg jig (very handy for attaching the seat), digital angle reader, rounded edge router bit (1/2 inch), forstner bit for cutting dowel holes, drill, Grrripper used to push wood along table saw (seems safer than other methods). I am sure I have skipped a few but, let’s just go with that for now!
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Father’s Day Sale on Leather Goods

It’s the age old question: What do I buy for my father for Father’s day? There’s also all of those husbands out there and grandfathers…what do they need or can use in their lives? Well to be honest there’s only a few things in life a man needs and one of them is a good quality built wallet that will last through a lifetime of heavy use. I think that’s where I come in – I have chosen a few of my popular wallets for y’all to get started with the browsing. Everything is currently on sale for a very short period of time.

It’s 10% off an order of $60 or more…or 20% off an order of $120 or more

mens leather wallet brown bifoldThis shot above shows a personalized wallet – branded with a super hot branding iron.

mens leather wallet tan bifoldmens leather wallet black bifold

mens leather walletThis simple bifold is a classic men’s wallet for those who enjoy functional minimalism.mens leather walletmens-leather-wallet-minimal-bifold_black-0077

mens leather wallet

Another version of a minimal bifold. This one keeps it slim while also making it easy to access your cash with a separated bill section.

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leather passport walletleather passport walletFor those traveling dudes out there – a leather Passport Wallet is an easy choice to help secure travel documents and a few cards as well.

Surprise Wallet

GrabBagToday a temporary product hits the shop…the Surprise wallet. When making leather wallets the natural way – hand cutting, dyeing and oiling – there can be a few mistakes made… or even just natural blemishes that appear. I will never purposely ship out a wallet that don’t look its best, so what I have been doing is slowly acquiring a small stack of random wallets that just didn’t quite pass the beauty test. That may be a little harsh – the reality is that they have very subtle surface blemishes on them. Say for example a minor scratch, or a discolored spot, an oddly placed scar, a dented rivet – you know the kinds of things that full-price doesn’t justify. All of these wallets are in great useable shape and the blemishes will not affect their durability of longevity in any way – so they are now for sale here. The more you buy at once, the more you save. Cheers!

Sale on Sun Tanned Natural Wallets

leather wallet saleGet ’em while their hot. I recently overbought a bunch of hides and decided that rather than let them sit here in the shop for too long, I’d  put out a sale on specific wallets in the Sun Tanned Natural Color. The wallets on sale will shift randomly, so if you see one you’ve been wanting – make sure to grab it. As of the writing of this post these wallets are on sale: Traditional, Thin, and Simple Snap.

A Vast and Empty Space

BackPackJTree03__0024The Desert is a vast and empty space, capable of absorbing all thought going in and expelling the visitor with a mindless sense of calm. It stretches its broad and parched plains outward in all directions, seemingly without end. Silence prevails here, not a drop nor tweet nor howl of the wind. A silence so stark the heartbeat can deafen. A silence broken only in the night by the packs of roaming coyotes out on their nightly prowl.

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The desert is a place I go to recapture my sense of primal humanity. Over the last year I have journeyed out into the arid lands once every few months. It clears out my thoughts, and reminds me of how incredible and serene the natural world truly is. Significant thoughts of a few days earlier become meaningless as I press on gaining miles and searching for spots to sleep before nightfall.

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BackPackJTree03__0001When backpacking, the basic daily needs of back-country life take over your focus, and all that is left are a few stray thoughts from your city life well beyond the horizon.

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In hiking through the wild, I try to step off the trail for at least half the journey. Breaking my own path narrows my focus down to only a few key thoughts: watch out for rattlers, keep track of time – pace – heading – and approximate position, dodge the thorny plants, keep an eye out 15 yards ahead for the best route through the brush, and find a spot to settle for the night out of the prevailing winds.

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When I head off the trail I typically get vast distances all to myself without a single person in sight. I generally pay for it though by having to work my way through unexpected obstacles not apparent on the map. A simple ridge descent can turn into a long and slippery slope sliding down loose rocks and having to push through thorny brush while keeping from going over either edge.

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But no complaint is ever made when campsites like those above are found. The views are endless. The night is quiet.

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I now travel fairly light. It helps in getting me further into the wild. Above is my entire cook kit. A light titanium mug, a tin foil lid, and beneath is a small container that holds a bit of 180 proof liquor used as fuel.

BackPackJTree03__0069As I have always said, try to take a break yourself and get out into nature. It’ll cure you of some of those city-borne ailments in no time.

 

Belted Briefcases…and a larger size

Well, the time has come to upgrade my line of briefcases. After several fans out there requested a larger size…I went ahead with it and upgraded the fastening system to a belt design, giving things a sturdier feel and a nice way to adjust the tension for those who carry more. The larger size option will give you 2 extra inches of space lengthwise and 1 inch more vertical. That means y’all can fit yer Macbook Pro 15 inch laptops in there. These guys should be ready in the shop for purchase within a week – just gotta photograph them first and put up the new details.

Brown leather briefcase

A New Year, a New Horizon

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Well yet another year has come and gone and instead of taking a look back into the dust to see what was accomplished I thought I’d set my sights on the horizon this time. It’s best to travel forward and be inspired by what”s to come. Don’t get me wrong – the last year was full of huge and wonderful changes…but it’s this next one that I am looking forward to. Every year around this time I start to get quite a few ideas rattlin around my brain. I finally have some time after the Holiday rush of orders to settle back into a rhythm in the workshop and plan out the year ahead. How about some New Year’s Resolutions to kick off 2016:

Get outside more.

This includes just some of the simple pleasures like taking a nice walk on down to the workshop in the morning, perhaps as the sun is rising out over the foothills to the East.

Go further outside and closer to nature.

Over the last year or so I have been honing some of my backpacking skills and cutting down on gear and weights. Taking a few ultralight trips out into the deserts in the Eastern edges of California. Solo trips are the best and going light is a must, especially in the desert where you typically need to carry all of your water. This next year I plan to make quite a few more trips out into the sticks and take some photos along the way to share on here.

Acquire some new leatherworking skills.

I already have a head start on this one with my whipmaking adventure (see post here). In doing so I am learning a great deal about plaiting leather which can come in handy to create a whole different style of braided items. I am also looking into dragging my leather sewing machine out of storage to see if I can fire it up again and potentially add to the complexity of bag designs in the next year. I am all for rivets in my work, but there are a few applications that can benefit from the stitch. Anyhow -the idea is that the learning never stops and that’s probably the most fun part of working with your hands. Always something new to master.

Blog about things that inspire me.

This past year I focused a lot on building up my social media presence for the biz. It is a ton of work and very distracting The end result I find is that I post things that are of semi-importance without much real substance behind them. You know – photos taken just for that instagram post or a product shot to promote a new design on Facebook. In doing this I had neglected this blog, my photography and other artistic passions I used to pursue in favor of the quick and dirty social media post. Well, I am drawing the line right here and now. I aim to post right here on the blog first – about things that inspire me. If you dig deeper back into this blog site to my first posts you will get an idea of what I will be aiming for in the next year. Just a bit more pure unfettered artistic expression.

Try to stop answering customer emails after 9pm.

Ha! That’s a tough one because I never really feel that I am working now that I have found something I  love to do. Though any form of technology should probably be shut off for me around this time and instead – just grab a good ol’ fashioned book.

Take a few risks.

I am not sure what they are quite yet, but there are always plenty to choose from in a year. I like taking calculated ones, but sometimes you gotta just jump right into it and cross your fingers.

I hope all y’all have some things in mind to help guide you into the new year, feel free to share them in the comments below. It’s good to have a focus and some thoughts on how we can keep improving our lives. Just keep on traveling forward, the horizon will always be just in sight.

 

 

 

Happy Holidays from Mr. Lentz!

Happy Holidays From Mr. Lentz

Happy Holidays to all y’all out there!
Did you know that this cowboy does hereby find himself sincerely grateful for your support this year and holiday season? Well..I do and I wanted to send out one last email this year to let ya know. So, thank you from the bottom of my western held heart. You, my friend are one heck of a Compadre.

As every year comes to a close and orders ramp up like a dust storm from the high heavens, I tend to burn the midnight oil and keep goin strong to make sure everyone gets their leather goods on time. I hope you were satisfied with my service and I do hope y’all come back again soon. Next year will have quite a few more bag designs and accessories as well as a handful of new wallet ideas. I will be looking into more belts and general all-purpose goods as well. My continued passion for leatherwork drives me to keep makin the finest leather goods out there.

Now quite a few of you who just purchased an item from me…as well as quite a few that have owned one for a while now, might be interested in how to keep that high quality Vegetable Tanned leather in good shape, so it can keep servin you for years to come. I’ve got just the answer for you, so if you’re ready – go ahead and skip on over to that page here.

As a final note, for those that did place an order this season you received a little somethin’ extra in your package. A card worth $10 to come back in the future. I sure would appreciate if you passed that along to a friend or family member (or heck, just use it on yourself). It’s an important part of growing a small business like mine. I ain’t lookin to get too big, just to have a solid following of good natured people that know quality when they see it.

Ok well the wind is pickin up out here and the darn internet is gettin all chopped up so I better head on out. I wish you all a very Happy Holidays and well an even better New Year.

Sincerely,
Mr. Lentz