Eagle-eyed Hollows Leather shoppers will notice that the new site launched without one of my staple products: The Road Belt.
The leather and buckles that I've been using for Road belts have been around for quite a while now, and while I really like them, I've been itching to try out some new styles. So I've decided to say goodbye (for now) to the Road belt, and start doing a new small batch of belts around once a month. This will let me play with new hardware and color combos, and let me offer leather or buckles that are too scarce to become normal "stock" items.
First up in this series is the Quick Release Belt.
These buckles are sometimes referred to as Fireman's Buckles, which has led to the mistaken notion that Firemen used these in some kind of emergency pants-removal tactic involved with putting out blazes. The real story behind that name is that these buckles were used on the straps that held coiled hoses. Rather than trying to fuss with undoing the strap buckle with your firefighting gloves on, you could pop these buckles open and start expeditiously hosing down a burning building. Their use for belts didn't come until much later.
There's no doubt that this buckle is a gimmick, but it's a functional and really cool looking gimmick. I took a few extra steps with the hardware to turn these into something special.
The buckles are made from very nice brass, but they come with a nasty, lacquered high-polish factory finish. I take care of that by heating each buckle to dissolve the lacquer, giving each one a light brushing with steel wool, then rubbing down the whole buckle and both hinges with a little oil. Now the brass looks much better, and it can age and oxidize naturally.
I've paired them up with the full range of my nicer belt leathers. English Bridle in two colors, Natural Chromexcel, Veg Tan, and a new thick Navy Harness leather that I'm trying out.
You can check the batch belts out here.
Due to the cost of the buckles and the labor intensive process, this round of belts is pretty pricey. I'll make sure to do some future batches with pricing in line with the old Road belts, but I couldn't let the price tag dissuade me from making these, they're just too cool. The world has plenty of people seeking the cheapest solution, and I'm proud to spurn that trend and do things the best way instead of the cheapest way.
If you're really mourning the loss of the Road belt, don't worry. I'll bring it back as one of the small batches from time to time.