I want to show some of my flasks or hipflasks I did within the last few years at my “Manufaktur“. I started to craft them right from the beginning around 2014. Some friends wanted to go on a winter snowshoe trip (I could not join) without any flask. So I gave them mine. They had a fabulous trip but the return of the flask was delayed. So I took one of the standard Chinese metal flasks and wrapped it in leather to have a replacement for my other. Christmas came 2014 and a lot of people wanted one as a present as well. I did the orders but I never liked the idea to work with such a mass product. They had no soul and on most of them is either the cap, the cap keeper or both out of plated plastic. (put your lips on it you feel it´s way warmer than the metal).
So I quit crafting them until I luckily found the traditional pewter ones made in England.
During the following years I made quite a few of them. I really like the aspects of enjoying/sharing some spirit with friends and family to special occasions. I especially like the real unique ones. Either the one which were made for two brothers with their code of arms, with antique naval buttons, or french hunting buttons, with collected feathers underneath or special sayings on them. Probably the biggest success was to work for some years with Christoph Keller – Stählemühle (Monkey47) and craft for him the “Sozius”.
Restauration of US Mail Bag 1968 by Merit Leather. 60 x 42 x 12 cm.
It was a hell of a work but for sure worth it. Merit leather sadly used a bad thread or did not wax it, so all the stitches were breaking apart. Good news however they used good leather. So to rescue this unique piece I did it right and completly took the bag apart and redid everything. I used solid copper rivets and waxed Gruschwitz Linen thread 18/5. It was all saddlestitched by hand and I´m very convinced that falling apart seams are no issues for the further decades of use of this bag.
It was quite a time consuming project but I have to say I learned a lot. One thing is to use the best materials you can get and do stuff the right way or leave it. E.g. the Swiss Army Leatherpieces I collect are sometimes nearly twice as old but I never had a breaking thread. So something the saddlers there did obviously better. This piece will find a nice place at my leatherworkshop.
I´m probably one of the first who hand sew a iPhone 6 coverout of leather. I went yesterday with the specs of the new models by Apple to the carpenter next door to get models out of wood. There have to be some little adjustments to be made, but basically the size what I have taken for the leather were ok. The leather is still a bit wet from the shaping over the form but in about an hour or two the leather will be a nice chestnut.
I just finished a improved version of my leather tote bag. First of all the leather is a bit darker and has even more character. Then I extended the length of the straps a bit. The major change went trough the inner pocket. It is now out of the same material as the other bag. I added 2 loops to hold a pen and a bigger Mont Blanc pen or Kaweco (or a mini maglite) and as well a pocket for a small knife.
Thanks to my friends of Passion Franceto equip me with some of the nicest pocket knifes France has to offer. Not only can I offer the Douk Douk or aSujetvarious knifes from Thiers, Laguiole and St-Martin are on stock now.
On the 2nd last image you see a scar on the hide. I did choose to not hide it or cut around it. Leather is a natural material which should be treated with respect and care. The scar adds character to the bag and let us memorize that it was actually from a living creature which has its life and accidents. (since the scar is hardly a fraction of a millimeter deep, rather just on the surface, it won´t seriously harm the strength of the bag).
+++ Update October 2019 +++
More than 5 years later, I made quite a few of this bags. My leatherworkshop became my profession and passion. The bag in it´s style and concept has envolved just a bit since. To get more information an updated images please check my website – Alexander von Bronewski Manufaktur
After the Denim Workshop – Webshop by Simon Tuntelder: Recently a “friend” of mine Simon Tuntelder, opened a webshop with some products he crafted out of leather but also deadstock items he gathered. I wrote “friend” and not friend, be-cause I failed to meet Simon personally yet. We are in close contact since more than a year. First via following the others blog and then having discussions about vintage stuff and craftsmanship and quality products. I call him a “friend” knowing by heart that he is one of the good guys with the right attitude and for sure a good guy to talk to.
I´m far to be in the league with Simon when it comes to working with leather. He got a great knowledge when it comes to treat/restore leather and also to craft items for himself, friends or now for you. Do me a favor and check his new website and shop to have a look at his products he crafted. Not to forget to also point you to his blogwhere he shares his findings and knowledge.