Frequently Asked Questions
Can you make a custom leather item for me?
Yes! The creative and innovative aspects of engineering new products is the part of leather work that I value the most. Don't hesitate to send me drawings, pictures, and ideas for a new or altered existing leather product to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What type of leather do you use?
We exclusively use full-grain, American veg tan leather from two legendary American tanneries: Horween and Wickett & Craig.
How do I care for Double Rivet Leather products?
You don't. Just use our products as hard as you'd like, and they should last for generations. The leathers we use are especially lasting and resistant to water damage. To accelerate the breaking-in period on a piece, you can apply Obenauf's Heavy Duty LP conditioner with a rag to the finished side of the leather.
What kind of thread do you use?
We only use marine-grade, German made, mono-filament polyester waxed thread. It is the strongest, most reliable thread and is used on sail boat sails because of its durability resistance to UV light. This is a costly ingredient to use which is why most leather goods on the market are held together with cotton or linen thread that with fray, deteriorate, and fail.
How is the leather stitched together?
Our leather pieces are stitched together by driving a steel lacing chisel through the leather and then passing two needles in alternating paths through those holes by hand in a saddle stitch. The saddle stitch is the strongest stitch, and can only be done by hand. Sewing machines cannot recreate it.
What rivets do you use?
We only use solid copper saddler's rivets. This is an important point. Rivets always look strong, but most leather bags are held together with hollow rivets that are cheaper to buy and able to set quickly with machinery. These rivets are significantly weaker than the solid copper rivets we use. In fact, it was a popped hollow rivet on what I thought was a well-constructed leather bag of mine that contributed to setting me on the path to learn more about leather-working that eventually led to making my first briefcase. Solid copper rivets are the strongest rivets and are called saddler's rivets because they are used in saddle-making—a product, like sailboat sails, that would have major consequences if it were to fail. They cannot be set quickly by machinery, and are more costly. They are the best, so I hand-set each one with hand tools myself.
What kind of buckles, D-rings, and swivel clasps do you use?
We only use solid brass hardware. It is extremely strong and has a chance to patina with the leather. Our hardware is currently sourced from an American company that built a foundry in China to make hardware. They make the best available solid brass hardware. We haven't found a brass buckle manufacturer in America. But we look forward to seeing industry like this return to the US, and would happily order from them once they exist. We've explored the option of having an American metalworker individually make brass hardware for us, but have yet to find someone that can provide all three types of hardware we use. Let us know if you know of an American hardware manufacturer that can match the quality of the Buckle Guy hardware we currently use: email@example.com.
Why doesn't your brass hardware look bass-colored?
Our solid brass hardware is nickle plated in a matte finish
Your snaps, what kind do you use?
The solid brass snaps we use come from Prym, a family run business in Rhineland, Germany that makes the best snap fasteners. We use a 1960s American-made hand press to set each one.
Why are you being so transparent about the materials used to make Double Rivet Leather products?
As you can tell from the above questions, no expense was spared in making our leather bags. Our materials and process are what make Double Rivet Leather unique. By being transparent about the source of our materials we can exemplify what makes our pieces better. No other leather bag company or maker uses the fewest pieces of leather for each product to the point where most of our bags are made from one piece of leather folded unto itself, minimizing seams to the absolute minimum, as well as the best of every component. Everything about our leather products are as honest as possible. The leather is unlined so as to not hide anything and thicken the leather with a cheaper lining material. Seams connecting smaller pieces of material aren't hidden inside pockets anywhere. The origin of all our materials are named. The process is also documented on this site and our social media pages.
Sam, Primary Leather-Worker for DRL
What is your commitment to the environment?
We care deeply about the future of America. That includes our waterways, air quality, and land management. That’s partly why we use veg tan leather which is tanned with natural plant oils. Chrome tanned hides, especially those tanned in other countries like Mexico and China, are turned into leather using toxic chrome-based solutions. It produces a cheaper leather that feels, smells, and performs worse than veg tan leather.
We only use leather from US steers, that was tanned in US tanneries—specifically from Horween and Wickett & Craig.
It is more sustainable to buy a bag that will last beyond your lifetime than to buy into the disposable fashion cycle of replacing cheap, fast-fashion bags every year.
What are your business' weaknesses?
We have an inherent issue with leather waste. A consequence of whole cutting entire bags from a single piece of leather is that more of the hide goes to waste. A large side of leather can make two of our briefcases, while others that make briefcases from three, four, or more pieces of leather can get more than double the number of briefcases out of the same hide. We plan to address this by offering these off-cuts for sale on our Etsy page for others' craft projects.
Although the vast majority of our products are made from vegetable tanned leather, we still use leather that has been partially chrome tanned in the form of Horween's Chromexcel leather. This leather is made with a combination of veg tanned and chrome tanned processes. We plan to work with the two American tanneries that supply us, Horween and Wickett & Craig, to develop a wholly veg tanned leather that has the characteristics we like in Chromexcel to replace it where possible.