Finest Materials Available

The brown folio complete, its time for some further information about the materials used for anyone who would like further details.


Sedgwick Bridal Leather

This hard wearing leather is hand finished in Walsall using Irish hides that have been tanned in Germany using traditional techniques.  It has a globally recognised reputation for quality and finish and is one of the few remaining traditional hand finishers of bridal leather in the UK.  It is used by the top leather makers around the world.  The leather is quite dense and sturdy and softens a little with use while always maintaining a solid, firm feel.  It is finished and fed in such a way that over time it forms a bloom which appears as white streaks on the surface of the leather.  A distinctive feature of fine bridal leather.  This is lightly corrected aniline leather so there is not coating of paint on the surface and yet it has a smooth and consistent surface with only light hints of the natural markings of the skin.  This makes a surface that is very tough and distinctive.  With use the surface of the leather forms a shiny patina which makes this leather age very well without looking tired.  Since the surface of this leather has not been embossed or textured it has a very smooth and natural appearance.


JF J Baker Bridal and Russia Leather

Some months ago I had been reading at the Walsall Leather Museum, about the famed Russia leather that was recovered from the 200 year old wreck of the Matta Caterina.  I knew there was no chance of my finding some that I could keep for myself.  I did not know at the time that there is a company in the UK that is replicating this lovely leather.  J FJ Baker spent some years researching and developing the techniques needed to make this amazing leather.  I have not yet had the fortune of seeing the original Russia leather but I am told by the lovely people at J FJ Leather that it is as close as possible.  They kindly sent me some samples which I have fallen in love with.  The folks at J FJ Leather have been very forthcoming with information.  I am unable to properly describe the texture, feel and scent.  Besides the Russia leather they also produce beautiful bridal leather.  I have not yet used my replica Russia leather and I hope to purchase some bridal leather from them soon.  I will put up a post once I have had a chance to use the Russia and bridal leather from J FJ Leather.  J FJ Leather are not only a supplier but also the tanner.  One of very few tanneries remaining in the UK.  They use the best hides from Irish cows and all of their leather is vegetable tanned using traditional methods and techniques.  Their leather is used by the top makers of luxury leather goods and I look forward to using it myself soon.


Goat Kid Suede (from Euroleathers Ltd)

This lining is the highest quality goat kid suede which comes from the best tanneries in the Indian sub-continent.  This region produces some of the best goat hides and the tanneries have perfected the art of safely collecting and tanning goat skins.  Goat leather has excellent shock absorbing and water repellant properties.  It is also breathable, making it the ideal material for lining.  It has a luxurious soft feel which provides superior protection to the contents of the bag.


Fil au Chinois Lin Cable Thread

Fil au Chinois is well known for producing the worlds finest linen thread for leather stitching.  The thread is produced in a unique way and in many colours and weights.  Used by producers of many high end branded and luxury leather goods around the world.  This thread is double twisted which gives a high level of durability and strength and a distinctive cabled cylindrical appearance even after stitching.  The thread used in the brown folio is a lighter weight 632 thread which is in proportion with the fine 10spi stitch density, usually seen on smaller luxury leather goods and which gives the folio a fine look and finish.



The lock is made by Abbey England in their Walsall foundries.  An un-lacquered solid brass lock has been fitted to the folio case and this is my preferred finish.  It is a traditional briefcase lock, a style often used for making luxury leather cases.  This un-lacquered brass tarnishes over time and forms a lovely patina from the oils in human skin.  The appearance of the lock over time matches the aging of the leather.  The lock can be polished to a bright shine easily if preferable.  From experience I have found that brass is more scratch resistant than lacquer and it is easier to polish out light scratches from un-lacquered brass than from lacquered brass.  I offer both options.  Both the lock and the mechanism have a solid feel which matches the substantial feel of the Sedgwick bridal leather used on this folio.


Water and Beeswax

I finish all of the edges of my pieces by burnishing with water and then sealing with traditional beeswax.  I tend not to use edge dies or coats.  Instead I prefer to use the temperature of the irons to control the depth of the colour of the edges.  This method leaves the edges pretty much bare and well protected from damage and moisture.  Edges finished in this way are shiny and very smooth and the colour variations of the fibres inside the leather are visible.  There is no ‘insulation’ from the innards and the person touching these edges is actually connecting with the depths of this amazing material!  There’s a whole story going on down there.  The benefit of beeswax is that it gives a smooth strong surface finish while penetrating the surface providing good long term protection from moisture and damage.  Leather edges can become indented and scuffed which is part of the aging process.  Having said that, beeswax finished edges can be refurbished back to original finish in most cases as long as there are no cuts or gouges in the leather.  Beeswax is a material that was and still is used for a wide range of purposes in leather craft.  Natural, fit for purpose and a pleasure to use.

Another use of beeswax is in coating the thread used to saddle stitch leather.  There are numerous benefits of using beeswax.  Namely, it protects the thread from fraying during and after stitching, it coats the inside of the stitch hole to seal the flesh of the leather, it lubricates the thread and needles and it coats the fingers giving excellent grip.  A win win all round!


Cotton and Linen

The folio comes with a completely hand stitched cotton or linen dust sleeve.  Made in house using traditional hand stitching.  My seamstress tells me that just like saddle stitching, the material will tare before the stitched seams come undone.  Machines save a huge amount of time in most cases but how often do we throw away rather than reuse or pass on our possessions.  With hand stitched items the likelihood of having to throw away is much less and for those who appreciate the effort and skill that has gone into making anything completely by hand, the hope is that they will pass it on.


The Tools

It would be unfair if I didn’t give my trusty tools a mention.  They are my friends and companions for many hours at a time.  The knives used are traditional knives used by our leather working ancestors and they are kept sharp using a strop that would have been the right hand man of many a saddler.  The pricking irons are tradition French style irons that are used for marking the surface of the leather rather than punching it through.  The pitch, width and spacing of the prongs have been carefully designed giving a stitch line that is typical of European hand stitched luxury leather items that can be found on both new and old pieces.  The edge finishing tools are all antiques or vintage and in some cases have been refurbished and slightly modified.  They are kept hot using a paraffin lamp that would have been common in workshops over 100 years ago.  Simple and effective.  A pleasure to use.  And no wires!

There is no end to how deep one can go in this subjects and this is not an exhaustive review.  If you have any comments or suggestions please leave them in the comments box at the bottom of the page.