Introducing The Firefighter Belt.
Hand made in England using the finest of materials.
For this great-looking new Firefighter Belt design, I use the same wonderful oak bark tanned leather as that in the Oak Bark Belt but add a faithful reproduction of a late 1800s Fire Service quick release buckle.
Based on an original Victorian buckle I found on a flea market, I’ve had them reproduced by an English foundry, sand cast in solid brass.
The ingredients needed to produce a great handmade leather Firefighter Belt
- Fantastic English bridle leather, tanned using oak bark in a very long, slow process.
- Leather needs to be thick, strong, flexible, great-smelling & stuffed with natural oils & waxes
- Solid, cast brass fittings in natural or nickel-plated finishes.
- 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. They’ve been tanning leather in this most natural of ways there for at least 2000 years.
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. It’s a long, slow process but I and many other master leatherworkers believe it’s the finest leather in the world. You can read more about the tannery & the process on the Oak Bark Belt page.
No matter how good the leather is, for belt use it also needs to be thick enough & strong. Thinner belts will deform & stretch but the oak bark 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 Firefighter Belt are solid brass, 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 you’ll find, 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. The ones in shops tend to be the rubber-coated type, whereas the hand-made ones tend to leave the edges raw.
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 my belts are always 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.
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.