Sunday 3 March 2019

prototype belts

I picked up the belts from Parker Murakami a little over a week ago, and have been wearing them non-stop. I would wear them to bed if that wasn’t too weird (ok, lets face it... if Jill would let me).

The belts are, in a word, exquisite. The leather work is unlike anything I have seen before. Thick, and so solid around the buckle. The leather is full grain bridle leather, vegetable tanned in the States using Canadian cow hides.They are assembled with Chicago screws so they can be take apart (mostly so I can make modifications to the prototype buckles if I need to... but if the strap wears out when my grandchildren inherit them, they can re-use the buckle).

There were a bunch of things I wanted to check. First, that there weren’t any sharp spots... or as my friend Jameel so delicately put it, ‘Does it pinch your fat?’. I also wanted to make sure the weight of the buckle did not make them sag... and also to make sure that my buckles didn’t fall apart because there was something I had completely overlooked. 

After a week, nothing has gone wrong - no fat-pinch, no sagging, and no falling apart. I did make a small alteration to the stainless steel buckle - the inside edges were a little sharp and the leather strap passing through made a sound that wasn’t friendly... solved by a little more file work to ease the edges. It now ‘sounds’ right.

Here are a bunch of photos of the finished belts as a pair. 

I asked Riley if he would mind taking some photos of the belts being worn. He said sure... then I think the penny dropped. He smiled a bit, I smiled a bit more, and then we addressed the obvious... his first photo-shoot was taking photos of his dad’s... waist-line. We shared a good laugh about it but once we started, it was fine, and he did a great job with these images. And I for one really appreciated not having to take crotch-selfies (cause that is probably a thing... but with fewer belts...argh... will leave it there...).

I forgot to mention in my previous post that one of the other driving factors to making these was my love of Japanese raw denim jeans. I have been wearing them for several years now... and they are all I wear - in the shop, or out and about. The black pair and the dark indigo pair are both from Naked & Famous - a Montreal based company that are distributed by a great little local store in Waterloo called Loop. The Indigo pair are the first ones I bought - Elephant 6’s - a heavy, 22oz broken twill denim that took a while to break in - but now that they are, they are awesome. The black pair is their newest version - the Elephant 7 - a 20oz jean. This one also took a while to break it, but are just as comfortable as the elephant 6’s. In my mind, these belts are perfect for heavy denim - but also work well with lighter weight jeans like the light grey ones - from another Montreal company, Frank & Oak. For anyone who wears jeans in the shop and are tired of jeans lasting less than a year, I would suggest you take a look at a heavy weight raw denim jean. Oh, and each of these have been ‘soaked’ once. Raw denim isn’t usually washed in a washing machine... they are just soaked in the tub with some Woolite dark for 45 minutes, rinsed off, and hung to dry. If you want to be really hardcore - put them on when they are still damp and wear them until they are dry - ideally walking around or working... it will do that last little bit of break-in that is needed and will be perfectly molded to your body. 

I am in the process of working out the pricing details for these. Prototyping is not really a good phase to figure out pricing... everything take exponentially more time... lots of head scratching, and time at the drawing board and workbench. I am going to finish off the 4 remaining castings and see how that goes. Each buckle will have a serial number - stamped somewhere out of the way, but not hidden... a little like stamping the planes on the bed under the blade. I am still debating on a logo of sorts too. Lots of details to work out. Based on the material costs and the leather and work from Parker, I am guessing these will end up being in the $500-$600 Cdn range. They might be a little less... might be a little more... I won’t really know until I can get a more accurate picture of the time it takes to make after making a few more.

Like the planes, these are custom belts. You choose the leather you want (there is also black), let me know your waist size and they will be made to order. A few serial numbers have already been spoken for, but they will be done in chronological order based on interest. I have started a list already, so if you are interested let me know.


Anonymous fairwoodworking said...

I hadn't planned on leaving a comment, but my wife just walked in and clicking here narrowly avoided her catching me staring at another mans... AAAAnyway(s). It really is remarkable how very belt buckle like these are but still entirely of your own design/style. So cool!

3 March 2019 at 12:19  
Blogger Konrad said...

At least you didn't have to take the photos...
Glad you like them - and that they look different from the masses.

3 March 2019 at 14:55  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Konrad,
I would be interested in one of the belts if you still have room on the list.

6 March 2019 at 15:26  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Kevin,

There should be room on the list - will add you in.


6 March 2019 at 20:13  
Blogger Peter said...

Hi Konrad,

Long time fan of your blog. WIsh I had the funds to consider one of your planes, but a belt fits the budget (and the need!)

Please add me to the list if there is still room.


15 April 2019 at 14:26  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Peter,
Send me an email and I can fill you in on the details. There is room for sure!

17 May 2019 at 07:59  

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