Making The Bournbrook Leather Collection – Pt. 2

A couple weeks ago we featured the first part of “Making of the Bournbrook”, giving you a behind the scenes look into our creative exploration from collection concept to design. In the second and final part, we continue our journey through the rigorous detailing of material selection, production sampling, tests out in field and ultimately the delivery of our final bags.

To meet the dedicated high standards of quality that the Westley Richards name is globally recognised for, ever since our founder coined the mantra – “to be the maker of as good a gun as can be made” – we put no time limit on these stages to achieve the pinnacle of end results.

First critical decision came in the form of material selection. Westley Richards has had a long relationship with both its leather and canvas manufacturers, however we felt this an ideal opportunity to research new partners. After much time spent sourcing, meeting and testing new options nothing compared to our existing relationships… I’m sure there is an old adage for that.

All our leather is supplied by the incredible Tarnsjo Gaveri tannery in Sweden. It is amongst the last remaining 5% of tanning houses worldwide who still employ the tradition of vegetable tanning, in favour of the more time and cost-efficient chrome method.

Their sustainable approach helps respect the environment – using bark extracts, water and water-based finishing – and delivers a leather that feels both luxurious, ages beautifully over the generations and has unparalleled levels of endurance.

With our canvases, we have long been pleased to partner with Halley Stevensons. A fantastic British company regarded as the world’s leading waxed cotton fabric innovators of weatherproofed canvas. Based up in Dundee, Scotland, the regions hard weather inspired workers to experiment with applying oils and greases to cloth to make it more durable and protective to the elements. 150 years on, not much has changed except the science behind the coatings, which are now engineered to be virtually impermeable and incredibly long lasting.

Unlike our heritage gun and rifle designs, which have remained largely untouched for centuries, creating a new travel bag collection fit for our clients required countless amendments, technical drawings and samples. In fact the new fine leather goods collection you see in-store today is the summation of 50+ full-scale technical packages and bench-made samples. Our overriding focus was to deliver the finest in English style, handle and strength, with no superfluous detail.

Once the collection aesthetics were correct, befitting the truly discerning traveller, each of these samples were then rigorously tested out in the field. Taken by Ricky and Trigger on shooting trips in the UK & Spain, business trips to Paris, London & Florence, and personal vacations to Canada, Italy & US, the collection got to experience a plethora of outdoor scenarios.

On their happy return, adventures were shared and final improvements to the proto-samples were made. And in late October the Bournbrook range was signed off for production to appear in our inaugural winter brochure – Westley Richards: Collections 2020.

The Bournbrook Travel Bag Collection reflects the height of luxury and is now available to buy in-store and online in a range of vegetable tanned & exotic leather, buffalo hide and strong canvas combinations. Like all our fine leather goods we offer bespoke initialling to add that very personal touch.

westleyrichards.com/bournbrook

Fine Handmade Knives at the Westley Richards Agency

With gunmaking at its core, the Westley Richards firm has a long history of dealing in secondhand guns and rifles of all makes and models. We continue that tradition today handling some of the World’s finest firearms. However, our interest does not end at just fine guns but also includes any other items built for purpose with flawless function but also beautiful in shape, fit and finish.

I believe anyone who appreciates the guns, rifles and fine leather goods produced at Westley Richards will also see the beauty in these handmade knives I came across in my most recent travels.

Treeman 5” Trout & Bird and Treeman 6” Skagel Pattern Hunter

Jim Behring/Treeman – A longtime outdoorsman Jim Behring of Michigan is best known for his Skagel inspired knife making style. Known as “Treeman” knives, a name from a previous career cutting trees, his knives are highly regarded among collectors and hardcore outdoorsman alike.

Jim hammer forges 35 to 55 knives per month and while he is a very prolific maker, his knives are relatively rare to find on the secondhand market and certain era knives and configurations are rising in price year over year.

Pair of Behring Made 2015 Sporting Classics Knife of the Year

James Behring is the son of Jim “Treeman” Behring. Beginning his career apprenticing for six years under his father in Michigan learning the art of knifemaking, and specifically, knife designs pioneered by knife maker William B. Skagel.

In 2011, James moved to Montana and is now based out of Missoula making knives with a small team of craftsman under the name “Behring Made”. James is one of the most prolific knifemakers I know, and he is also a true outdoorsman and conservationist who makes beautiful handmade knives that are designed and made for real use.

Barry Davis Damascus Lockback Folder with Fossil scales, Damascus Switchblade with Desert Ironwood Scales and Lockback Folder with Mother of Pearl Scales

Barry Davis has been a maker since 1978. He only uses quality materials and his own forged Damascus steel. Barry Davis knives remains some of the most sought after handmade knives on the market today.

James B. Lile Small Game Skinner with Sambar Stag and Hand Signed blade & Lile Big Model 7 with Yellow Micarta Scales Engraved and Scrimshawed by James Stuart

James B. Lile – Arkansas knife maker and one of the true pioneers of the modern handmade knife, both in design and style, Mr. Lile was a contemporary of knife makers such as Robert Loveless and Bill Moran. Mr. Lile was a prolific maker with a career that spanned over 4 decades. While he is most famous for making the survival knife used by Sylvester Stallone in the First Blood and Rambo franchise of movies, his other contributions to modern knife making and design cannot be overstated.

W.D. Pease Liner Lock Folders with: Stag Scales and Engraved Bolsters, Mother of Pearl Scales with Mokume Bolsters and Gold Lip Pearl Scales and Titanium Bolsters

W.D. Pease is a former pastor turned knife maker, Mr. Pease joined the Knifemakers’ Guild in 1976 and became a full time knife maker in 1978. He specializes in high-end folders with premium handle materials and flawless fit and finish.

Antique Pocket Knives from England, France, and Germany

In addition to the handmade knives featured here and on our website, we have a very unique selection of antique pocket knives of several varieties made in England, France and Germany.

Please view our Ephemera page (https://www.wrusedguns.com/view/ephemera/) to see the knives listed here along with other interesting and one of a kind antiques and collectables.

A Vintage Holland ‘.30 Super’ Here At Westley Richards

Hollands ‘.30 Super’ cartridge is without doubt one of those all time classics that spurned a modern generation of .300 magnums. Introduced in 1925 it was developed to fill the gap between Hollands .275 and .375 Magnum cartridges, at a time when the British gunmakers were competing incessantly to cater for a booming worldwide hunting market. India and Africa were the principle hunting destinations of the time where the topography and native big game species allowed for the use of these ‘modern’ long range magnum cartridges.

Interestingly the .30 Super does differ from the .300 Holland & Holland Belted Magnum so care must be taken when loading for this particular cartridge. As a cartridge the .30 Super was capable of handling 150, 180 and 220 grain bullets all of which respectively proved devastating on medium to large game. Elmer Keith the famous American gun writer, editor and hunter was a big fan of the cartridge and built several rifles up which he used to take numerous North American big game animals including several trophy class sheep.

Complete in original canvas case with accessories, the rifle has an honest pedigree.

As the .300 Holland & Holland Belted Magnum the calibre won world acclaim in 1935 when it was used to win the Wimbledon Cup at 1000 yards. Such was the success of the calibre that it led to a new generation of American magnums including the .300 Weatherby Magnum introduced in 1944 and the .300 Winchester Magnum introduced in 1963.

This particular Holland & Holland take-down rifle was built in 1928 and so can claim to be one of the early .30 Super’s. In pretty much original condition, the rifle has a used look about it yet the bore is still sharp and the rifle a slick shooter. Contained in its original canvas case the rifle makes for a great usable vintage rifle.

Hollands side mounts with a period scope appear to be a later addition to the rifle.

Hollands take-down magazine rifle has always been a classic in the sporting rifle world.

Further details on the rifle can be obtained from Ricky Bond ricky@westleyrichards.co.uk

Making The Bournbrook Leather Collection – Pt. 1

At the end of last year we launched the first members of our new Bournbrook travel bag collection. Conceived, designed and importantly hand-fabricated by our expert leather department here at the Westley Richards’ Pritchett Street headquarters.

Unlike our fellow gunmakers we uniquely manufacture all our fine and exotic leather goods, both sporting and travel, in-house and side by side with our gun making. For myself and others alike, it is a great pleasure to witness English craftsmanship at its zenith within these four walls; and of particular importance, that Westley Richards continues the Midlands’ proud heritage as the centre of England’s leathermaking since time immemorial.

The Bournbrook’s journey begun early in 2019. With aims to expand our leather offering through a new luxury lifestyle collection, the team’s initial focus centred on ‘town and country’ as a territory. Many patrons of the company split their time between their residences, the city and the field, and therefore a collection that travels with them at every moment revealed itself as an ideal place to begin.

To inform the initial concepts we fought hard to ensure that this new collection exemplified the finest in English style, hand craftsmanship and quality, and ultimately for it to be delivered through the distinctive lens of Westley Richards and its heritage.

Being a gun company, synonymous with Africa and safari, our key ideas for the collection rightly stemmed from there. The principal twin pocket concept, seen on the front, takes the form of bellows pockets, which is drawn directly from our safari sporting attire. A great example of this can be seen on the Westley Richards Bushveld Safari Jacket.

Further inspiration comes from our celebrated bespoke gun cases, visible on those front pocket strap closures. These straps are hand-stitched together using traditional saddlery techniques, also reflecting the ancestry of the region. Another key detail arrived in the form of a repeat diamond embossing. A clear reference to gun stock checkering and originally used, at this large scale, on a hand-embossed copy of our bi-centennial book “The Pursuit of the Best Gun 1812-2012”.

Finally, and I’m sure most pertinent for The Explora reader, is the introduction of the exclusively designed lining by master engraver Paul Lantuch, used across all our travel bag collections. This wonderfully illusory illustration reveals, within its decorative design, a different face-like apparition when held in opposing directions. An ingenuous idea, absolutely befitting of such a legend.

Once the concepts were agreed the designs were established into four key bag types, catering for a classic gentleman’s lifestyle. A soft briefcase for professional life, a 48hr weekend bag with wash bag for recreational life, and a rucksack for everyday life.

In the next part – Making of the Bournbrook: Part 2 – I will share the exciting task of selecting the eventual materials, producing countless samples, hours of testing out in the field and the final presentation of the collection you see today.

The Bournbrook Travel Bag Collection is now available to buy in-store and online in a range of vegetable tanned & exotic leather, buffalo hide and strong canvas combinations. Like all our fine leather goods we offer bespoke initialling to add that very personal touch.

www.westleyrichards.com/bournbrook

 

We’re On The Cover Of Shooting Sportsman

This month we’re extremely pleased to be on the front cover of Shooting Sportsman, the leading wingshooting and fine guns publication in the US today. Do pick up a copy because inside you’ll find our collaborative article with the legendary Vic Venters, wonderfully discussing the unique bespoke journey and finer points of ordering a new best-quality English gun.

He eloquently takes the reader through seven key areas that each Westley Richards patron will usually experience on their path to receiving their very own prized best gun. From the gun’s purpose, selecting the right gunmaker, the process and relationship, letting the gunmaker lead, heritage & house style, the eventual waiting game, and how handmade delivers a gun of such rare beauty and handle that it is truly one of a kind.

Shooting Sportsman is a US-based brand with a 30-year history of presenting some of the best wingshooting and fine-gun content found anywhere—their January/February issue’s cover and feature article on Westley Richards being exemplary. The magazine and its social pages dig deep into an array of topics ranging from gunmaking to international shooting travel—all featuring great writing and spectacular images.

Subscriptions are available on shootingsportsman.com and their social media pages can be accessed via facebook.com/shootingsportsman/ and @shootingsportsmanmag