The Story of the Strop Wallet
The Strop Wallet (Photo by Will, @everlastingember)
Note: the Strop Wallet will be available November 17, 2020 at 5 p.m. Mountain Time. Limited quantities in the first run.
A Knife Strop Wallet is Born
So there I was-- sitting at work at CRKT around the year 2014-- just doing my thing, and this random dude named Rick sent CRKT a message via Instagram. I was the guy who received his message about a new product he was developing. Here's how the conversation went, probably:
Rick Caballer, designer of the OG strop wallet. The beard jealousy is real.
We chatted a bit over the next few months, I encouraged him to pursue his idea on his own, then I watched it blossom in the EDC community. Rick had fire, and it was fun to watch him chase his vision via his brand ADD Tactical. I gave him some advice about how to make products in the knife industry, and he sent me the wallet as a thank you. Life happened, and I never carried it, instead opting to continue carrying my ugly name brand wallet for the next half decade until it wore out. For shame.
The original strop wallet Rick sent me. I started carrying it October 2019 and fell in love with the thing.
Bringing it Back
Fast forward 5 years, and my ugly wallet needed replacing. I remembered Rick's gift in my drawer and added it to my EDC. I was blown away. I loved it! I was honing my knives on Zoom calls and wondering why I'd been carrying an ugly wallet for so many years. So, I went looking for Rick to tell him thank you. He'd disappeared. Gone. No trace of him or his company. So, I started digging (read: stalking) and found him via Facebook. Turns out, he'd closed up his biz to focus on his family. We chatted again, and I asked if I could bring his wallet back to market. He was thrilled. I was thrilled. We struck a deal where Knafs pays him a royalty and we create the product together. That's when things started getting good.
Sooooo many samples. Finding a quality leather supplier was a major challenge.
Rick suggested from the beginning to have the wallet made in the USA, but being the cheap sucker that I am, I decided to shop around. I contacted suppliers around the world, from Asia to New England to South America. The samples came back in varying degrees of quality, from the cringe-worthy to the so-close-but-not-quite-there. I talked to Rick and he suggested using a leatherworker that he had found while I had been busy digging around the globe. He was located near Rick's home in South Carolina: Keith Burriss of KB Leather runs his own brand and shop, and he graciously made a couple samples for us. They were premium. So good. I was sold. Keith was the man to make the Knafs Leather Strop Wallet.
Keith Burriss of KB Leather-- the man who makes wicked good strop wallets.
Keith Makes it Magical
Let me tell you about Keith: he loves leather. When he talks about leather, his thick Southern drawl gets a little dreamy as he describes the thickness, the tanning methods, and the beauty of the thing. He also happens to be a perfectionist whose work is second to none. He insisted on using the highest quality chemical-free, eco friendly vegtan leather. In his words, "You could chew it, and it wouldn't hurt you." The leather comes from Wickett and Craig, the gold-standard tannery that's been processing eco-friendly leather since 1867. It's made from English bridle leather that takes 30 days to tan, giving it that buttery feel and premium quality. Keith split the leather to about 3.5 oz and had it staked for softness-- meaning it's thin, folds nicely, and is malleable. He used #138 nylon bonded thread and a Cobra Class 3 sewing machine to assemble the wallet pieces. The edges are burnished with water, and he used Fiebings leather dye to give them a finished look. This is a premium, made by Keith in the USA product. And it ain't cheap.
Cheap Sucker vs. Buy Nice
This wallet goes against many of my personal "cheap sucker" philosophies. But it's perfectly in line with my "buy nice, or buy twice" philosophy. This wallet is $69.99 because we did it right. I could have cut the retail cost by 50% if I made it overseas, and it was really close to right. But I wanted it to be 100% right-- something I knew was darn near perfect, and something we could all be proud to carry. And that's what Keith created. This is a nice wallet, and it costs a pretty penny. It's going to last you a good spell, and it's the sort of thing that will make you smile every time you pull it out. If you've read this far, get one. Or save up, then get one. Your knives will thank you.
What are the holes for? Decoration, plus I like to put my cash on that side. There's nothing quite like looking down at your wallet and seeing a few blessed dollars through those holes.
- 2 strop panels for honing knives to hair-popping sharp
- 4 card pockets that fit a total of 10-14 cards or folded cash money-- dolla' dolla' bills.
- Size: 4" x 2.75" x .25"
- Color: Medium Brown
- Leather: vegtan English Bridle leather (the good stuff!)
- A Rick Caballer design
- Made in South Carolina, USA
- Includes Green Ultra Fine Strop Compound