Many of you have commented on the craftsmanship of the custom leather sheaths that protect our Allagash Cruiser, Dirigo Belt Axe and Forester's Friend. These are all made by our partner The Holler Leather Works a company owned by Matt Theriault of Minot, Maine.
Forester's Friend Sheath by The Holler Leatherworks
As makers ourselves we are always fascinated by how others started their business and then grow and innovate in their chosen craft. Here's Matt.
1. Why, how and when did you get into leatherwork?
Christmas of 2015 my wife gifted me a leather wallet kit. I then started creating small items such as wallets and sheaths. My neighbor gave me an old roll of leather. I got hooked and really enjoyed the outlet working with leather gave me.
2. How did you learn your craft? Classes, self-taught, mentored?
When I began leatherwork, I was thrilled to find a local leather shop in Lewiston, Maine Line Leather. I took a few classes they offered. The instructor showed me a few tips that helped me start out. You Tube has also been a great resource.
3. What do you find is the most satisfying thing about making leather goods?
The satisfaction (and smell) of opening up a hide of leather on my bench and making an item is simply the best, but building a brand has been the most satisfying.
4. Can you give us an overview of the Holler Leatherworks product line?
5. What is your favorite item to make?
My favorite item to make right now is our new Field Notes Wallet. It’s made with leather from Italy that I’m really loving.
6. What is the most difficult item you make?
Good question, the most difficult items to make would be the items I'm not making haha. Finding time to come up with a new design and prototyping it is very difficult. There’s lots of trial and error, but once I get a successful finished product it’s rewarding.
7. Do you make custom items?
Yes, but it can be very difficult to find the time. I always entertain any customers with custom orders.
8. Have you found any advantages being a maker in Maine?
Networking with Maine makers has helped my business grow. We let each other know of successful events to participate in and share tips. I think a majority of us want to see each other succeed.
9. If someone is buying leather goods, what should they be looking for to make sure it is of high quality?
There’s different types of leather grain, the highest quality in my opinion and what I work with is full grain. Lower grain leather such as genuine leather (suede) will be more fibrous. It’s always a good idea to ask where the leather is sourced and who makes the final product.
10. If someone wanted to start leather working as a craft, where would they start?
Visit Dave at Maine Line Leather in Lewiston. Great family business that has everything you need to get started.
And you can buy one of his tri-card wallets with a B&C stamp on it here. Makes a great gift!