Our process starts well before any of our products are made. We start by seeking out high quality materials. We are proud to source our leather from Horween Co., specifically their Chromexcel leathers. One of the first characteristics of the leather you will notice is the waxy, supple, broken-in feel, which is attributed to Horween's 100-year old tanning technique and formula. Their use of oils, wax, and greases gives the leather we use the beautiful "pull up" feature that you'll notice over time. Pull-up is the temporary displacement of these oil and wax blends that causes a lightening of the leather and allows a patina to be created. Manufactured in Chicago, IL with attention to detail and quality, Horween does not sacrifice quality. Neither do we.
If Horween's Leather is the body, then hand-stitching is the soul of our process. Hand-stitching is not only aesthetically beautiful, but also has a functional purpose. Saddle Stitching, which is done by hand, is a sewing technique that uses one thread and two needles to pass through the same hole, alternating sides. This means that if a stitch should break, there's still another separate thread holding the seam together. The alternative is lock stitching, which is done by machine and is how the majority of leather products are made. Lock stitching has two threads, a top thread that locks onto a bottom thread. Since each thread is dependent on one another, if a stitch breaks, it no longer has support to hold the seam together which makes it more likely to unravel. At Smiths & Kings, we stitch all of our pieces by hand because we are deeply committed to high quality craftsmanship. A wallet that takes an hour to make by machine takes us three hours to stitch by hand. We choose to take the longer road because the process creates the strongest construction.
We take pride in every last detail of the products that leave our workbench. One of those details is the finishing touch, burnishing the edges. I use saddle soap and water to smooth the edges and create a seamless look. The next step is using bees wax and a wood burnisher to seal the layers of leather together and create a water repellent layer that will help prevent the edges from fraying. The attention to detail that goes into every step of our process is done with a single purpose in mind: To offer a well-made, unique product that you will love and will last a lifetime.