Here it is, the belt from Voyej featuring Chahin’s 13.75 oz vegetable tanned saddle leather:
It’s usually around the 3 to 4 month mark that I notice a significant change in a belt’s evolution, and it probably takes as long to get a true feel for the functionality of the belt too.
The Chahin saddle leather has certainly aged quite well during this time, and the resulting orange tone is quite characteristic of a mixed vegetable tan.
I’m liking the result here – it is one of the most vibrant that I’ve seen on vegetable tanned leathers in a while.
(See here for a flashback to day 1)
Indeed the tan colour is alive and glows in natural light…this is not the pale yellow to dirty bistre brown (zombie) evolution which is often seen on low quality vegetable tanned leathers.
The grain is also just beginning to pop:
Initially the finish on this saddle leather was quite even & smooth, the growth & natural markings of the grain being somewhat corrected by the finish.
The definition in the grain is definitely starting to creep in now, and it’s at this stage of the game when things get really interesting.
The colour tone will continue to change, yes, but the grain itself will now begin to soften and evolve too.
Some of the natural imperfections in the leather will now become more apparent – for someone who understands vegetable tanning this only adds to the belt’s character.
Other aspects of the belt have held up quite well too:
The artificial sinew threading is keeping shape, and have somewhat faded to white at points of abrasion.
The durability of threads is not only related to the material – the important factor is technique.
Certainly the hand-stitching on this belt was done by expert hands, being precisely pulled and well-spaced.
I know not everyone agrees, but I could suggest somehow altering the bottom row of vertical stitching so that it doesn’t cut directly across the strap.
The roller buckle is easy to use, but could perhaps do with an upgrade to cater for more advanced hobbyists – a solid, forged brass buckle would elevate this belt to a new level…and probably a new price-bracket too!
The edges are keeping shape nicely, much thanks to the superb burnish.
Burnishing of this calibre isn’t usually found on off-the-rack belts, unless you’re buying Japanese, and surely demonstrate the time & effort the craftsmen have invested in each belt!
Overall, I’m quite impressed by this belt: at a RRP of $6o, Voyej’s offering certainly surpasses many of the more expensive products from the various companies that are catching on to the veggie tannage revival.
More and more I am noticing leather companies (and even private craftsmen) trying to churn out as much as possible in as short a time possible…machine-cut straps, buckles held in place by cheap snaps, roughly cut or cheaply kotted edges, etc… really, then, what is the point of “hand-made” leather goods when there is so little attention paid and the products have no soul?
I think Voyej is definitely travelling in the right direction in terms of the development and crafting of their products – even though they keep the pricing low, no short-cuts are taken in hand-crafting their leathers.
Of note, this Chahin belt is very beginner friendly, featuring solid construction and a saddle leather that evolves well & is easy to care for, an excellent start for the novice journeyman.
I would highly recommend this belt for anyone looking for a vegetable tanned work-belt but isn’t ready for (or doesn’t need) a fully customised fare.
If you’re in the market for a sub-$100 vegetable tanned belt, you’d be crazy to not consider the Chahin belt!