Full Grain Creations – ‘The Lexington’ card wallet review

Got an interesting little piece to show you today – ‘The Lexington’ card wallet from the one-person workshop, Full Grain Creations.

The man behind Full Grain Creations is Morgan Timmann, and he creates from his workshop based in Florida, USA. His signature is the refinement and permutation of old leather work techniques – a revolution of sorts, if you like. And so it is that Morgan’s most unique work yet, The Lexington, is named after the first engagements of the American Revolutionary War.

I first came across Morgan’s work on his Instagram page, and whilst there is no shortage of card wallets on Instagram – more than I can reasonably pay attention to, in fact – his Lexington wallet is outstanding to me because it is the first wallet I’ve seen that features multi-tone saddle-stitching.

The combination of streamlined aesthetics, visually impeccable crafting and new twists on old techniques that is showcased through The Lexington made me very interested in taking a look at Morgan’s work in person.

So let’s check it out!

 

Design

The Lexington is a flat card wallet in terms of basic design.

I measure it at 8.1 cm tall and 10.5 cm wide, resulting in a surface area that is approximately palm sized.

There are three compartments in total.

One quick access card slot and one regular card slot feature on the front facing aspect of the wallet. Each card slot will hold up to three cards, though only up to two without distorting the shape of the wallet. The quick access slot works best with just one card inserted, the curve of the accent panel facilitating right-handed thumb swiping for quick retrieval of the front card.

A deeper storage compartment sits in between the two main panels of the wallet, able to accommodate folded notes without any money showing. It may be used to hold additional cards or cheques and other papers if required.

Four pieces of leather make up this wallet, but through clever paneling, the wallet is only three layers thick along the edges. The thinner edges compared with the raised body creates a framing effect around the wallet.

When empty, The Lexington is 5.2 mm at the thickest portion near the vertical center line.

Grossly speaking, the back facing aspect of the wallet is comparatively unadorned, most of the visual interest being generated by the paneling work and stamped logo at the front.

 

Leather

The entirety of The Lexington is made from Conceria Walpier’s famous Buttero leather at 1.2 mm (3 oz) thickness, in the Natural colour.

You’d have seen natural Buttero on this blog a couple of times already: it is a drum tanned and heat finished Italian vegetable tanned leather, known for its durability, slippery & somewhat glossy surface, and rigid temper. The key qualities of a dense grain, solid & firm handle and the ability to stay relatively ‘clean’ with use makes this an almost ideal carry goods leather – easy to work with, and produces good results – indeed, Buttero is very popular among craftsman who specializes in finer wallets.

The consistency and depth of colour is very good compared with most Italian leathers, but like all vegetable tanned leathers, natural scars and grain variegation do show through with some wear or a layer of conditioner. The baseline colour is also a shade darker compared to the true, unfinished colour of most hides.

Of interest, Buttero has a light, creamy smell. Very different from pure bark tanned leathers which tend do have a much more astringent scent.

Overall, Buttero is a very refined leather that has a decent tannage. Perhaps a little more ‘finished’ and lacking in grain growth compared to the highest tier of natural leathers, which are pit-tanned over much longer periods of time, but Buttero does add elegance to the streamlined design of The Lexington. Natural Buttero will age quite gracefully over time too.

 

Construction

Apart from the distinctive design, the star feature of The Lexington is Morgan’s signature multi-coloured saddle-stitching. Sewn with Fil Au Chinois waxed cable linen thread, Morgan has created a complication of saddle-stitching which allows him to place parallel, ordered threads within the one line of punched holes.

The precision and evenness of the 6SPI sewing here is something else entirely – many crafters would struggle to achieve this level of hand-stitching with just one row of saddle-stitching, let alone the triple-saddle-stitch you see here.

The colours of the threads here pay homage to the flags of USA and France, allies in the American Revolutionary War.

The edge work on The Lexington is remarkable and some of the best I’ve seen: the creasing is thorough and even, and the transparent wax burnish is slippery smooth.

I was surprised to learn that Morgan had created his own burnishing wax at the Full Grain Creations studio, after previously experimenting with painted edges – these wax burnished edges should be some of the longest lasting that could be created by hand.

Every visible edge of every panel is thus detailed. The work is some of the most careful and elegant I’ve come across.

The Full Grain Creations logo is nicely stamped too.

The panelling and cutting are, of course, without errors. Wouldn’t expect any less from Morgan once you’ve seen his stitch work, really.

Overall, the hand crafting here is truly artisan-level.

 

Thoughts

Looking through Instagram, Etsy or whatever your preferred platform of window shopping, I’ve seen more card wallets than I could count, but ultimately most are forgettable, and many are roughly made or unremarkable in terms of aesthetics. Further, and to be very honest, I’m not a fan of flat card wallets in general, as their carrying capacity is much below what I need on a daily basis and the vast majority seem quite boring to me. I’d much prefer a well built bifold or a statement mid-wallet.

Yet, The Lexington wallet from Morgan at Full Grain Creations is truly an unique piece of hand craft, and one of the most distinctive card wallets I’ve ever seen.

In terms of storage, The Lexington does surpass many of its peers due to the ability to effectively store notes, though the carrying capacity relatively to its footprint is average. However, maximum carriage and weight:capacity engineering is not the focus here.

The Lexington is about technique, aesthetics and durability.

Indeed, just by virtue of Morgan’s pioneering multi-tone saddle stitching, The Lexington would rightly be a collector’s piece. The overall elegance and refinement of the wallet is icing on the cake, and makes The Lexington a statement wallet for the gentleman who travels lightly.

I really can’t say enough about the careful and detailed hand-craft showcased here.

The Lexington is small as far as wallets go, yes, but the hand-work featured here is incredible.

This variation of The Lexington is priced at $125 USD, accounting for the extensive amount of time and work that goes into each wallet. A basic version of the same design which omits the multi-tone saddle-stitching, The Saratoga, is available too at just $60. All of Morgan’s work can be customised too, simply check out the Full Gain Creations Instagram page for some ideas, and get in touch with Morgan via his webpage.

Overall, I can highly recommend Morgan’s work, especially to leather enthusiasts who are looking to upgrade their existing carry goods or people who are interested in more refined pieces than workwear style leathers. I’d love to see the same styling and techniques applied to larger wallets, and I can’t wait to see what other designs Morgan might come up with this year.

 

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