How Our Bags Are Made
Smokin’ Holsters was established approximately 12 years ago as an individual leather craft shop. I personally make all the bags and accessories in my shop. I have no employees. All my leather products are produced by my hand and are 100% hand-made by any standard. All of my leather is purchased through 100% legal sources and I use no products that are in any way considered endangered or protected.
Generally, I start with whole hides or sides. A side is one half a whole side (1/2 the back down through the belly). A whole hide can measure upwards of 50 sq. ft and a side generally runs 17 - 22 sq. ft. Waste on a cow side runs up to 10%.
The first cuts are the any shoulder straps I need, which are taken straight from the back of the animal. Next I cut the gussets and the stiffener strips (if necessary). Lastly I cut the bag exterior panel and any exterior pockets.
The next step is generally cutting the deerskins which make up the lining and interior pockets on the majority of my bags. A deerskin runs about 10 sq. ft, give or take. Depending on the bag I can use 1 - 4 deerskins for the linings.
At this stage I typically edge dye the exterior of the bags and sew the zippers onto the gussets and get any hardware onto the bag.
Next I get the lining ready, sew any pockets onto the lining and glue the lining onto the bag shell.
For an Ultimate bag the next step is punching the leather for either stitching or lacing and the bag is sewn or laced together by hand. For a standard bag the bag is finished on my sewing machine.
For an Ultimate bag that is stitched I next dye and sand the edges several times until it is smooth and shiny.Cowhide and Deerskin
All my deerskins come from Upstate, NY from the area around Gloversvile, NY. There are several deerskin tanneries in the area and I have a relationship with a middleman up there who picks skins for me and ships them down. For the most part it is all Whitetail Deer taken in legal hunting from the surrounding states. You can typically see the kill marks, either gunshot or arrow.
While all my cowhides are ordered from facilities in the United States they can be tanned anywhere from Canada down through Argentina. One of my major leather suppliers is an odd lot dealer in Maine. By using him, I can pretty much guarantee that I will get numerous single or small lots of skins which give many of the bags I make a unique quality in that once the odd lot is gone, I can't get the skin anymore.
All the English Bridle I use comes from a Pennsylvania tannery and is top quality
All of the bison used in my shop is purchased from the Scenic Mesa Ranch in Hotchkiss, Colorado, USA. The following is taken from a description of Scenic Mesa:
Hotchkiss, Colorado is an almost impossibly beautiful place, and home to Scenic Mesa Ranch and its buffalo herd. The Valley is a patchwork of organic farms, orchards and native sagebrush neatly tucked beneath snowcapped 13,000-foot mountain peaks. Off the beaten path and on the road to nowhere in particular, it has attracted artisans, independents and visionaries for decades.
Amid this stunningly beautiful valley, visionary botanist Julie Littlefield set her sights on restoring a sprawling piece of ranchland. Aptly naming it Scenic Mesa Ranch, she established a successful organic buffalo meat business. Throughout the business development, Littlefield was determined to avoid wasting any buffalo hides. Her tanners processed the hides ecologically, and Littlefield began selling the beautiful leather to furniture manufacturers and craftsman. Littlefield continues to acquire hides from other buffalo ranches and meat manufacturers, ensuring that none go to waste.
Note: Leather is a natural product. All
leather has it's own grain and natural flaws which will vary from
product to product. Very often the flaws, in the form of scars, brands
and the animals inherent growth pattern will naturally become part of
the leather and the design of the pouch. We believe this adds to the
uniqueness of every pouch and pipe bag we design in leather. All the
leather we use, including exotic leathers such as snakeskin, bison,
etc., have been processed for legal distribution in the US and
Canada and is legal as an export product from the US. All of my
leather is purchased through 100% legal sources and I use no
products that are in any way considered endangered or protected.