Handmade English Bridle Leather Belts
We specialise in making beautiful bridle leather belts, by hand using the best of materials. Our handmade belts use English bridle leather and solid brass or stainless steel for the buckles & fittings.
Currently the two main ranges we offer are the original Oak Bark Belt and the Firefighter Belt.
Both use the same leather but have quite different buckles.
Introducing the Oak Bark Belt
Hand made in England using the finest of materials.
The Victory Leathercraft Oak Bark Belt has all the elements required to make what we believe to be the World’s best belt.
These British made leather belts are the result of:
- Fantastic English bridle leather, tanned using oak bark in a very long, slow process
- Thick, strong, flexible, great-smelling & stuffed with natural oils & waxes
- Solid, cast brass or stainless fittings.
- Great craftsmanship, design & finish.
All belts are 1.5 inches (38mm) wide.
What Is Oak Bark Leather?
Tucked away in the south west of England there’s a small leather tannery beside a river. There’s been a tannery there since Roman legionnaires were marching past, en-route to the local garrison and it’s been in the ownership of the current family for more than 150 years.
Whereas over 95% of leather produced these days is tanned with chromium because it’s fast and cheap (it’s done in one day), this tannery continues to produce leather in the same way it did some two thousand years ago.
Using nothing more than river water and sustainably produced shredded bark from English oak trees, the tanning process takes a full 18 months from locally sourced hides arriving to finished leather leaving.
This English bridle leather is truly wonderful. The slow, gentle, natural tanning process preserves the strength of the fibres and produces leather that’s light, super- strong, great-smelling and has a beautiful full surface grain. It’s used in bespoke shoes, saddles and luggage by artisans and makers around the world who, like me, having once discovered it, won’t use anything else. It’s the most expensive leather I’ve ever bought but it’s worth every penny. Incidentally, because this is full-grain leather it will sometimes carry marks picked up during the cow’s lifetime. From thorn-bush scratches to mosquito bites or stretch marks, these things aren’t imperfections to be sanded away, weakening the leather as is often done. I prefer to see them as badges of honour that showcase each product’s natural individuality and handcrafted nature. They aren’t flaws or faults, they simply tell a little of the story of the life the animal has led.
No matter how good the leather is, for use making quality leather belts it also needs to be thick enough & strong. Thinner belts will deform & stretch but the oak bark tanned English bridle leather we use is between 4mm and 5mm thick (between 10 and 12oz). What does this mean in practice though? Well, the average proper leather belt you’ll find on sale is usually around 2mm and will last up to 5 years if you’re lucky. A better one will be approaching 3mm thick & might give you a decade or two of service whilst costing you as much (or more) as my Oak Bark Belt. You’ve most likely never seen a leather belt of this thickness. If you want to hang a holster from it, go ahead – it’ll handle it just fine.
The belt buckles that we use for the Oak Bark Belt are solid brass or stainless steel, foundry-cast here in England. Simple and honest, none of those cheap, brittle zinc alloys used in most belts available in stores, whose plating peels off and starts to look scruffy in no time and whose pins bend and deform. We attach the buckles with tough, solid brass Chicago screws. From the front they look just like rivets but besides being stronger than most rivets, they’re removable, allowing for easy future changes of buckles if required whilst avoiding the possibility of stitch holes weakening the leather or stitches wearing out or rotting away.
Most belts, even the most expensive, have the edges either left raw & ragged or coated with a thick layer of rubbery paint that eventually starts to peel off. I hate when a product’s quality is compromised in the interests of saving money. I believe that great materials deserve great craftsmanship so the edges of our belts are dyed, then bevelled and finally burnished to perfection. It’s a labour intensive process but I wouldn’t have it any other way. There’s not another handmade leather belt that comes close.
Belt sizing – How to measure for a perfect fit.
All belts are 1.5 inches (38mm) wide.
The belts come in two-inch increments of length.
26″ 28″ 30″ 32″ 34″ 36″ 38″ 40″ 42″ 44″ 46″ 48″
These sizes are measured from the end of the buckle to the centre hole of the five adjustment holes on the belt.
This will give you two inches either way, allowing you to go up or down by 2″ and still fit the belt..
This measurement almost certainly won’t be the same as your waist size or the size you buy your jeans in! This is because most people wear their trousers more on their hips than their waist and also because, if you measured yourself over the top of a pair of trousers, you’d find that the measurement was likely a couple of inches more than expected because of the added bulk of the fabric.
So…in order to ensure a perfect fit first time, the absolute best way to find out what size belt you need is to measure a belt you already own and which fits you well. Go from the outer end of the buckle to the hole that you normally use.
This is the measurement that we need to know. We’ll make your new belt this same length, to the centre hole.
If you don’t have another belt to measure then please do at least add two inches to the waist size you buy your jeans in – you’ll be somewhere in the ballpark but measuring a belt that fits you, as detailed above is a much better way.