Hi! I’m Mike Zimmermann.
I design leather goods for people who love heirloom-quality everyday gear.
I camp and canoe in the Canadian backcountry as much as possible, and what started out ten years ago as simple repair jobs for walks in the woods inspired me to design and make my own leather goods for city survival and country commutes.
In 2015, I decided to quit the digital industry that I had called home for two decades, and focus on leatherwork as my one true passion.
I now design and stitch each of my products by hand in my maker’s workshop in East Toronto.
What I relish most is working with you on custom designs, where personal needs and experiences shape each piece uniquely, and each handcrafted item is a blank canvas ready to tell the story of its new owner.
I invite you to connect with me on social media:
- facebook: awordinthewoods
- instagram: awordinthewoods
- twitter: @awordinthewoods
- blog: http://awordinthewoods.com
HOW I MAKE YOUR ITEM
I use waxed & braided polyester thread for strength and resistance to rot.
I hand stitch each item using two harness needles, crossing through each hole for a strong saddle stitch only possible with traditional techniques.
Rivets and other hardware are set by hand.
STRENGTH & SUSTAINABILITY
I use only top and full grain leather—considered by many to be the most genuine of leathers, retaining the hide’s unique character and strength.
My leather items will mold themselves to your needs with use, and develop a lovely patina over time.
Leather production is a byproduct industry, in that it uses the remnants from an existing primary (cattle) industry, and produces material with uniquely useful properties.
Careful design and craftsmanship can produce products that can last for generations, further reducing potential waste.
THE TYPES OF LEATHER I USE
Refined Matte Brown
Oil-tanned, top grain leather with a stone-sanded, even and smooth finish. Will still show some surface character, although not as much as the other options. Soft and matte to the touch.
Soft Rustic Brown
Oil-tanned, full-grain leather with natural character, and a finish which imparts a subtle pull up (two-tone) effect on bends and creases. Rustic, dark-brown appearance, soft to the touch, and great patina with use. Soft to the touch.
Horween Chromexcel (Dark Honey, Merlot)
Full-grain leather only available from the famous Horween tannery in Chicago. This stiff leather takes stamping well, and feels smooth, waxy and dense—it’s the ultimate in luxury. A pronounced two-tone ‘pull-up’ effect highlights bends, stamping, and characteristics of wear over time for a gorgeous patina.
Chromexcel is still produced in the US using a bark retannage from a proprietary recipe, and then finished with a secret blend of natural oils and greases. It’s characterized by rich colours and hand rubbed finishes. Made to this day with old world craftsmanship, modern Chromexcel carries on a long history of superior comfort and durability.
A quick colour note: the Honey Chromexcel is quite dark, with the lighter honey colour showing through in folds and where the leather creases with use. The Merlot is similarly a deep burgundy colour.
Rare Brown and Tan
LIMITED AVAILABILITY. Oil-tanned, full-grain leather with striking character and two-tone effect, especially visible in the many creases. Light to dark tan, and will patina amazingly with use. Slightly waxy to the touch. No recurring supply, so when it’s gone, it’s gone.
Black, Medium Brown
Vegetable-tanned full-grain leather. Hand-dyed, then hand-finished with beeswax and oils to bring out the natural character. Usually thinner and stiffer than oil-tanned leather depending on the cut and treatment, but more resistant to surface marring. Often used to ensure maximum strength while keeping excess bulk and weight to a minimum.
English and Italian Kip
Vegetable-tanned full-grain calfskin leather. Aniline dyed and thinner but more supple than the hand-dyed vegetable-tanned leather. Smooth, tight grain surface. The English kip is slightly more waxy to the touch.
As for the articles on this site, I hope you stay, read, and enjoy A Word in the Woods.
Disclosure: I don’t receive money from any of the retailers or service-providers I mention. Any recommendations are purely my opinions, biased only by my use and research and moods.
– Mike Zimmermann
Proudly made by hand in my studio in Ontario, Canada.
A Word in the Woods · Leather Goods & Accessories
© 2017 Michael Zimmermann, awordinthewoods.com