I am also interested in the large bi-fold wallet
I see wallet threads pop up every once in a while across a few different forums. Buying a new wallet is a decision I had to struggle with quite recently and it was a matter I didn't exactly take lightly. I scrutinized many different options and finally landed on Saddleback Leather.
Here are some quick impressions of a few of the different offerings from SBL:
Small Credit Card / Business Card wallet in Dark Coffee:
Overall I keep 6 credit cards in my wallet. I don't like to over stuff, I carry cash as infrequently as possible and I don't file receipts in my pocket. I thought I'd give their cheapest offering a fair shot for the sake of minimalism.
I figured I'd carry my six pieces of plastic and if I ever had a few bills, I'd tuck em underneath a credit card or just fold them into the wallet. That didn't exactly work out, the wallet was just too small for my liking.
Large Passport wallet in Dark Coffee:
On the other end of the spectrum I thought I might try the passport wallet. It's considerably larger than the Credit Card wallet, plenty of room for your passport and a number of different credit cards. Also has extra spots for papers inside and on the outer flap. It felt alright, but I wasn't entirely sold.
Medium Bi-Fold in Chestnut:
This one is just about the right size. It's just your standard bi-fold wallet that everyone and their father carries.
The Chestnut leather has a distinctly different texture than the Dark Coffee. I'm no leather expert so I can't really explain this.
I also have a confession to make. I sought out these Saddleback Leather wallets based on the high praise SBL receives for their quality leather and workmanship. Especially with regards to their leather briefcases. The three wallets I tried so far didn't live up to my expectations. Build quality seemed okay, I trust in the 100 year warranty these wallets carry, but the leather was really letting me down. It was thin and didn't have an appealing texture. I especially didn't care for the texture of the chestnut colored leather.
I tried to keep it in mind however, that the thick boot leather that SBL uses for their briefcases probably wouldn't lend itself too well to small, folded wallets.
Large Bi-Fold in Dark Coffee:
That leaves us with the final wallet in my original selection, the large bi-fold. This wallet is similar in size to the passport wallet, 1/2" shorter, less than 1/4" wider. It feels a bit smaller, but the difference in size isn't really great.
The difference that stands out in my mind is the leather. This is something different altogether from what I was experiencing from the other three wallets. The leather feels thicker, more durable and has a much more appealing texture. It's difficult to explain but it feels less "processed" than the other pieces. It feels very nice to the touch!
This isn't my ideal sized wallet but it sits fairly thin in my pocket. Less than 3/4" thick compared to my last wallet's 1/2" thickness. I can live with that.
This is definitely the nicest wallet of the bunch and the one I'm keeping for every day use, although I've resolved to keep the passport wallet around and use it as it was intended: to hold my passport / travel.
No Fear in Dark Brown:
Just for fun here's my original wallet. It's old, about 13 or so years old and falling apart. I couldn't stand the thought of tossing it just yet. It originally had a metal "No Fear" tag stuck on the front which had been long since torn away. The plastic photo holder was brittle and cracking, so it was ripped out some time ago, and the stitching was coming loose from the inside. Given the fact that it lasted well past the 10 year mark after many sweaty work days, dunks in the pool and accidental washings, it really did stand up to a lot of abuse. Saddleback Leather has some mighty big shoes to fill and at this point all I can say is; I'm glad SBL comes with a 100 year warranty.
Here it is in comparison to the Large Bi-Fold. (For further reference, the L x W of the No Fear wallet is about the same as the SBL credit card wallet):
Last edited by Grimspoon; 01-11-2010 at 10:58 PM.
I am also interested in the large bi-fold wallet
I love my large bi-fold SBL wallet. It is by far the best wallet that I have ever used and I have no doubt that it will last for a very long time.
I haven't seen any of the other SBL wallets in person so I can't really comment on those other than to say that if they used the same thickness leather on the ones with multiple layered pockets I think it would end up being to thick to carry.
I carried one of "Thw Wallet" and "The Wallet Jr" for years until i bought one of the large bi-folds from SBL. This thing will definitely last. I wish it had a few more card slots and I could do without the secret money compartment as I feel this just adds another layer of thickness. I do believe it would be very hard to wear out. Probably will just be broken in in 15 to 20 yrs. from now.
Saddleback Leather Large Bi-fold in Dark Coffee. Simply the best wallet I've ever owned (or even seen).
Grim, I noticed you're in Ontario. Me too, just outside Toronto. Did you get the Saddleback stuff locally or by web order? I'm just wondering if there is any stores in Canada (online or brick 'n' mortar) that carries Saddleback?
From the "Questions" section of the website:
PS- I just today ordered the Medium Bi-Fold Wallet for my son for his 18th birthday. I'll try to post some pictures when it comes.Where can I see one of the bags in person?
I don't have any of the items in stores and we're not big fans of folks coming to our home in San Antonio because of the weirdo factor. My sister, Patricia and her husband (my Chess and Scrabble nemesis), send out the leather from their place near Ft. Worth, Texas, but again, because of the weirdo factor they're not set up to show either. If it helps, everyone tells me that they look better in person.
Can I be a distributor or sell your leather in my store?
Back when I was really dumb, my friend Steve and I hiked up Mt. Hood, starting at the treeline, from 2:00 a.m. 'til 8:00 a.m. in the snow with big fat inner tubes over our shoulders. We were going so fast down the super steep groomed corduroy-like icy glacier that when we finally got stopped, Steve smelled smoke because of the rubber that had melted off the back of his boots trying to slow down. Luckily there were no trees to hit. Anyhow, the half hour of pure joy flying down the mountain was well worth the lack of sleep, the icy cold fingers, the burning leg muscles the cold snow and ice down my pants and the risk of getting hurt.
I evaluate most things in life by whether the level of joy that comes outweights the cost. There isn't enough joy in the extra money made by selling wholesale to stores to make it worth the trade of time with my hot wife and my kids. And, if I were driven by money, I probably would, but I'm not. It's about my job being fun and the headache of stores and all that doesn't sound like fun.
All that to say...No. Plus, I don't want everyone in the world owning my bag. Exclusivity is almost as attractive as my wife Suzette. I do want to be a household name, but only in a few homes.
Do you think that the large bi-fold would be to large to carry in a front pocket?
I just ordered a medium bi-fold in dark brown. I have had a Ghurka wallet for the last 13 years, and while its held up fine, the stitching is starting to pop in a few places due to wear. $45 is a steal for a wallet of this caliber, considering my Ghurka cost $150 or so over ten years ago.
I have the Medium Bi-fold in coffee, and that has to be my favorite wallet of all time. I've been through a couple of them trying to find the right one. This is IT for me.
I have a medium bi-fold in dark coffee brown on it's way. I will post up my thoughts when it arrives.
(I posted this a while back on a different forum)
I purchased one of the Small Wallets and have been using it
for a few weeks now.
Upon arrival (fast delivery) I was very pleased with the quality
of the wallet. I ordered the dark coffee color.
The first thing I noticed was the real leather "feel" which just feels
like a well saturated (fully tanned) smooth,soft,pliable piece
of leather. This is nothing like any other wallet I have had in the past.
I normally carried a trifold wallet,which was 2 inches thick
with all the crap I had inside.
Stripping to this minimal wallet was a challenge for me.
All I carry right now is my Drivers License,ATM Bank card,
Costco card (I go often) and a few bucks cash in kind of a hidden slot.
The front has a window cut in for your License or ID (no plastic window)
There is a slot behind it for another card.
The back has 2 slots for cards.
I carry my ATM Bank card in one and the other is still empty.
In the middle,between the front and back,there is a space
for some folded bills or I guess another card.
I was a little concerned at first because the cards fit snugly
into the slots,making a pain in the anus to get them out.
I use my ATM card alot. Anyway,after a while it seems to be
getting easier to slide in and out. I dont have to pinch the card
with my fingers to get it out,I can just slide it out with my thumb.
I will tell you how this whole "skinny" wallet thing started.
I like to run and have been running marathons and longer races
for a while. Recently I started having muscle problems in my
butt. That glut was just sore. Physical therapist told
me to loose my wallet,that it pushes the muscle "somewhere"
when you sit down.
I carry this wallet in my front pocket.
Guys,this has made a HUGE difference in the way I feel.
Sitting is no longer a pain.
If you have a pain in your ass,it might be your wallet.
Bottom line: I like this thing!
(mods,sorry,I did not intend to hijack,but didnt think
this deserved a new post on its own. pls move or delete as you please)
***its been almost a year since I got this wallet.
it is fantastic.thats all I can say.
excellent review grimspoon!
I will probably order
another wallet from them soon.
Medium Bifold in carbon black.
Hands down the BEST wallet I have ever owned!!
The pigskin lining and lack of any plastic windows or nylon fabric really put it over the top for me.
My children are going to fight over who inherits this wallet.
I have the small wallet and card holder in coffee bronw. The best I have ever had. I'm going to be buying more from them soon.
These look nice, but the closer I looked, the less I liked 'em. I was looking close at the edges of the Moleskine covers, for example. The edges are just rough cut, not rolled over and sewn or ever burnished. Just rough fibers showing along the edges. My Scully notebook has rolled over and sewn edges which requires more handwork and leaves a nicer finished edge. The Saddleback stuff looks nice, though, no question.
To each his own. I like mine very much.All of our edges are unfinished and unpainted so you can see they're the same color throughout. They don't look as perfect and "Pretty boy" this way, but that's fine. They're not perfect and that's what makes them perfect.
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