Quality Leather Belts

Bridle leather belt for men full grain leather dark brown

One gray Friday morning, while the Duvall Leatherwork shop starts to come alive, craftsman Nathan Matusek sits perched over the stitching horse clamp.  He’s handcrafting belts today, The Upland Belt, three black, six dark brown bridle leather (fun fact:  The Upland Belt and Metro Belt belts are two of the most popular quality leather belts at Duvall Leatherwork).

Making quality leather belts starts with the finest full grain leather.  We use luxurious bridle leather from Hermann Oak Leather Co. in St. Louis to make our full grain leather belts.

Full grain bridle leather in a leather workers workshop

First, Nathan cuts each one to size, and punches holes for the belt buckle.  The leather near the belt buckle, where the end folds back on itself, needs to be skived.  So he uses a head knife to shave it down.  He uses a pricking iron, a punch with tiny teeth, to mark the spots for threading. Sewing leather isn’t like sewing cloth.  You could never push a needle through with your bare hands, so you need to first mark the spots.  Pricking irons are numbered by how many holes per inch they make. For example a No. 6 iron makes six holes per inch.  Our full grain bridle leather is rather thick, so we use an awl to stab the holes deeper and wider before they’re finally ready for stitching.

Master craftsman using a round knife to skive leather

The makers stamp is the last step of a quality leather belt.

Clamped firmly in place, Nathan hand sews the leather using a saddle stitch – two needles bringing a single piece of heavy, waxed nylon thread back and forth across itself – to firmly secure the folded leather around the belt buckle.  The clamp jaw squeaks and creaks tight against the leather belt, like pieces of a saddle rubbing against each other on a slow ride through the hills.   Maybe that’s another reason they call it a stitching horse.  So what’s a stitching horse?  Click here to find out!

Using a saddle stitch to hand sew a leather belt


When the belt is securely assembled, it needs an inspection.  Jonathan takes a look at Nathan’s work and clears him to finish the job.  The craftsman forces the Duvall Leatherwork name into the full grain leather just below the belt buckle.  It’s our way of marking a complete quality leather belt, and it reminds you that you’ve invested in the best every time you put it on.