Our handcrafted leather goods start with the best possible raw materials. We use only the highest quality, U.S. sourced leather, canvas, and denim. Our limited palette of exceptional materials delivers timeless style and unparalleled durability, so you can pass your Orox on to your kids, grand kids, or whoever else is lucky enough to be next in line.
We select our materials with great care and use them in ways that ensure optimal performance and longevity. Below you can find out more about their character, history, and properties.
Oil Tanned Leather
Oils added during the tanning process create a soft, highly durable leather. We use oil-tanned leather in many of our bags because it provides substance and structure, without too much weight. It resists humidity and water - essential for the Pacific Northwest and for your peace of mind wherever you live and wander. Over time, surfaces that are worn next to your body become shiny and smooth, while other surfaces will retain a matte finish. Most scratches can simply be rubbed off. We use oil-tanned leather in our Nuntius X and Merces Tote among other products.
All leather expands and contracts, but Chromexcel leather is especially elastic, making it perfect for wallets, cellphone cases, and other small accessories that you want to take the shape of the objects they hold. Our Chromexcel leather comes from the Horween Leather Company in Chicago. Horween, established in 1905 is one of the oldest and most storied tanneries in the U.S. and they provide leather for many fine brands.
Chromexcel leather is produced through a complicated process consisting of many steps (some of which are closely guarded secrets). The leather is first tanned with chrome salts and then retanned with a proprietary blend of bark extracts and other natural agents. The next phase is “hot stuffing” in which the leather is impregnated with oils and waxes that are solids at room temperature. Then the leather is dyed with aniline dyes and finally it receives a coat of Neatsfoot Oil. Chromexcel leather is softer than oil-tanned leather and retains its lustre or shine over time. We put Chromexcel leather to work in our Classic Bifold and our popular Utilis iPhone Case.
English Bridle Leather
When we’re looking for extra strength and durability we turn to English bridle leather. This leather has traditionally been used to make bridles and other equestrian equipment. We use English bridle leather for straps, belts, and handles so that they can withstand a lifetime of tugging and yanking (in other words, normal use). English bridle leather is vegetable rather than oil-tanned so the leather is stiffer and drier. This is ideal for the use cases described above, but not for a bag. A bag made entirely of English bridle leather would be so tough and heavy that it would take decades to break in. We use English bridle leather in most of our belts and for the straps of all our Merces Purses.
Waxed and Waterproof Canvas
Like high quality leather, waxed canvas is classic and timeless, looking at once old fashioned and of the moment. Over time, waxed canvas will become softer and accumulate various signs of wear and marks of character. Our waxed canvas comes from the Martin Dyeing and Finishing Co., a family owned business that’s been around since 1838. We love their waxed canvas and we also like the fact that we almost have the same family name. We use waxed canvas for our larger and less formal bags, backpacks, and rucksacks. It’s perfect for these because it’s waterproof, lighter weight, and lower cost than leather and it’s rugged and stylish. Waxed canvas plays a starring role in our Drawstring Rucksack and Viator Messenger.
Perhaps no material is more American than denim, born during California’s gold rush and popularized by brands such as Lee and Levi’s. Today we are in the midst of a lively denim revival. We are relative newcomers to working with denim, but we love its toughness and the way it pairs with leather and metal hardware (buckles and clasps). Our denim comes from Cone Denim Mills in North Carolina. They’ve been making denim since 1905. We don't use a lot of denim just yet, but it provides a flash of color for our Tradesman Aprons and our Viator Carryall.
Copper and Brass
Copper hardware is a distinguished counterpoint to leather and denim. Buckles, clasps, and rings are more commonly made out of brass, nickel, and brushed chrome, but we especially love copper. Our solid sand casted copper hardware is U.S. made by Clendinen Brothers in Baltimore, MD (est. 1865) and it looks great with just about everything we make. Over time it takes on a beautiful subtle greenish patina and, if you don’t like the weathered look it is easy to clean. We feature copper hardware in our Parva Rucksack, Merces Tote, and Nuntius A4.