It was back in June 2014 on the Explora that we were singing the merits of fine vintage bags and how they influence the leather goods we develop here in our leather shop. Our latest reproduction of a vintage bag is a classic game bag which previously featured in our 1912 catalogue.
By examining the details on the vintage bag, our leather department has been able to recreate a new version of the bag with the same look, feel and function. Faithful to the original bag, the materials used are our house waxed cotton, our classic brass fittings; and hand-woven hemp netting from the fishing town of Bridport in Dorset.
A classic and versatile bag, which would be at home on a variety of different hunts. May many a pheasant, grouse, quail or bottle of whiskey grace its pocket. This is now available to purchase on our website here.
A Very Happy Thanksgiving to you all, we hope you have a wonderful day with family and friends!
Turkey Hunting has always fascinated me, I have heard so many hilarious stories from people sat for long hours, dressed in cammo under trees and whistling in Turkey’s to no avail, but always highlighted by a magnificent tale. It is a hunt I always wanted to try but just never seemed to be in the right place at the right time.
I know in Iceland at Christmas it is the man’s job to go into the hills and shoot Ptarmigan for the Christmas table, a task that is getting harder and harder as you need one per person. I assume in USA at one point, perhaps a similar duty fell for the preparation of the Thanksgiving feast. So for all those who managed to serve up their own hunted turkey today, congratulations! Probably the wild turkey are as tough as old boots and the market version is preferred!
Over the coming weekend we have a variety of offers on our website shop. Today 10% off the whole shop, Friday 20% off our History book, on Saturday the beautiful range of Faliero Sarti scarves at 20% off making a perfect gift, on Sunday a free Westley Richards Tweed cap from our range of 20 styles with any piece of Cashmere knitwear ordered, on Monday a free tie with any W R & Co. shirt. These will be coming through on our email newsletters.
A tweed shooting suit has always been the cornerstone of my shooting wardrobe and over the years I have had a few made in Savile Row to fill this need. One I have was made 30 years ago and is still going strong. With a shooting suit available you can comfortably accept any invitation all over Europe and when you arrive for the shoot, be it the smartest in the land or a local shoot you will never look over or under dressed for the occasion. A suit is easy to dress down or up, jacket on or off and combined with other clothing.
Over the last few years we have been trying to find a suitable suit for our clothing range and it has been a difficult search to get a nicely cut and well made suit delivered. In the end I have joined forces with David Cook of Denman & Goddard who made my first suit for me and we will now be starting to offer this hand finished, ‘off the shelf’ version in a variety of tweeds alongside a fully tailored version for clients wishing for a fully bespoke version.
Stick making is a widely practised art in England, walking and thumb sticks of all kinds are made by craftsman all over the country, each individual maker with a particular style and price point. The county and country shows have demonstrations on technique and it is obviously a satisfying pastime to go out for a walk, harvest the stick and turn it with some hours work into something of use.
My favourites, and the small group I have put together are from this maker who is at the top of his game and carves each stick with individual game, dogs with immense care and attention. They are almost too nice to take in the field and certainly some of them have protrusions that make it difficult to warrant doing so, they are actually remarkably tough though.
These are not an item for the web store as very limited in availability. They do however make a very special gift which is why I am showing them here on The Explora to what I feel is a limited audience. For anybody interested in getting one of these as a special Christmas gift please let me know and I will see if we cannot deliver in time.
For any destination you travel to shoot a gun slip is an essential piece of kit with which to protect and carry your gun or rifle during the non hunting periods. What you choose to put your gun in at this time comes in a multitude of varieties and options from very basic and cheap to exotic models made in clients own game skins.
Westley Richards has always taken the view that the gun slip should match the quality of the gun it will look after, it should also be capable of doing that job for the life of the gun. We achieve this brief by using a very expensive organic tanned leather which has deep absorption of natural fats that will keep the leather in fine condition for many years with only a small amount of annual attention to reintroduce wax to the grain. The leather we use will patinate and mature quickly becoming unique in its own way. I can always recognise my gun slips at a distance, the colour and distinct burnish marks gained over many years use of travel and use make them unique.
Hand made in our workshops using traditional saddlery skills the range of slips we offer is very comprehensive and each model can be found ‘off the shelf’ at popular lengths or made to order at specific lengths. We only use premium leathers, solid brass fittings, RiRI non scratch Swiss made zips and premium fleece lining to protect the guns. These fine components are stitched together using a combination of machine and hand sewing skills utilising strong waxed threads designed to last. The muzzle box is hand blocked for a perfect finish complete with hanging tag.
Why am I throwing this product into the pile just now? It is because each year as we approach Christmas the Deeley Slip is a very popular item and is often one that people want personalised as a gift. A variety of leather or shape or special length may be asked for and of course the initials, crest or name of the future owner. Our leather shop is a small department and we want to handle all our holiday orders in good time so this is an open hint to order early if this is a gift you may have been considering for yourself or someone else! The full range of standard gun slips can be seen here and we welcome discussing any special orders or requests you might have.
A simple yet useful addition to our range of leather shop cleaning accessory goods, is this Gun Mat which has been designed to compliment our small travel tool roll.
Providing a soft sheepskin pad for your gun cleaning or display, this roll up mat is made from our very durable ‘salt and pepper’ Swiss army canvas trimmed with organic veg tan leather binding and straps. An integral pocket allows for a small selection of cleaning kit, rod, jags, mops and cloths.
The roll is available now in our online store in standard format and is, like any other of our products, available to order with initialling and in other materials such as full leather.
I seem to be having quite a lot of luck on the miniature item front recently, the very nice small 1890 vintage .410 cartridge magazine of a few weeks past and now a very small version of our Perfecta cartridge bag, again something I had never encountered before. I was actually very surprised and pleased when the package was opened as I thought it was just a normal size bag when I bought it online.
This will certainly now head for the leather shop and a faithful reproduction! It will make a nice ladies purse size bag too, for Christmas in crocodile!
Once you have your Tweed shooting suit and your green waterproof jacket there are little areas left to create your own style. To that end I have always been annoyed at the lack of choice of caps and shooting stockings when you visit shops.
In an effort to change that for this season we have had made a wide variety of hand knitted shooting stockings which will add a splash of colour to every outfit. I would like to think people will now be spoiled for choice with this range beautifully designed and produced stockings which are each hand knitted on 4 needles by home based workers in England using the finest Cashmere and other high quality wools.
Each pair of Westley Richards shooting stockings is presented in a specially designed tube package which makes for an easy to wrap, perfect gift!
Our range of caps now has 20 different tweeds in 3 styles. All our Tweed comes from the Lovat Mill in the Scottish Borders and are made in England by one of the countries oldest hat makers.
These new products will be online in our web shop later this week and I hope that you will find something you like!
Having my own leather department downstairs gives me the advantage of making things which I like for my own personal use, as is the case with the Sam Brown belt above. I found a very nice vintage belt but without loosing 50 lbs it was never going to fit me! So I have had one made and I think it has turned out really very nicely. I used the oak tanned leather and solid brass fittings both which will age beautifully. My 10 round open wallet fits on perfectly at right hand side. The belt is a faithful copy, with nice stitching detail and a contrast backing in binding leather.
I am really pleased with this belt and should anybody else be interested I think this is an item we will offer on a bespoke basis as getting the length correct is critical to a nice fit, some will wear intruder loops and others over shirt/jacket.
Another useful item I had made for myself was an SD card holder for my photography. I always like to carry spare SD cards with me and don’t like the bulky protective ones you buy from shops. This is a neat solution and can be initialled, numbered or referenced to camera.
I have now made a few writing pads for clients who have seen the one at my desk at Westley Richards. Crafted from 5mm thick Oak Tanned or Tarnsjo Leather these make a very nice writing space and mouse mat!
The final production of the hook swivel sling is now completed. I had great difficulty in sourcing a fully covered strong leather covered buckle so have come to a compromise as illustrated. We will be offering this limited production sling in two colours light and dark brown. Those of you who have shown an interest will now be contacted, thank you for your patience.
Last year at Christmas we were asked to make a set of luggage using a customers own game skins. The skins were of an excellent quality and produced a very very nice set of luggage which were very well received.
My message is with this post that our leather department is unique in that it will entertain bespoke commissions, not only mine!, we look forward to turning your ideas into reality and I hope this post shows the diversity of the workshop we can put at your disposal please contact me for any questions you have regarding this.
Some 20 years ago now, Westley Richards took on the main dealership of the Courteney Boot Co. range of boots in the USA and UK. It was an ideal and complementary range of footwear for our brand. The simple truth that every hunter needs an accurate rifle and an a great pair of boots for every hunt, led us to look for the suitable boot to recommend to our customers headed to Africa.
I recall very well the sizes of the 2 blisters on the bottom of my feet on the day of my first buffalo hunt in Botswana many years ago. I packed a single trigger .470 droplock rifle and wore a pair of ‘custom made’ moccasins which looked great, but allowed too much movement, in all fairness I had probably not worn them enough before the trip. Anyway after a long day’s march after some buffalo I had to call it a day, it spoiled that hunt and many days after also, whilst the healing took place.
Shortly after this event we took on the Courteney Boots distributorship and we have never looked back. Thousands of satisfied customers have been served over the years and many thousands of miles have been hunted in the boots. The praise for the ‘out of box’ comfort of the range of boots never ceases to come in. Many times at Safari Club a customer will come up wearing his boots and tell me ‘I have been wearing these for 15 years’ to which I would quietly think I wish they would occasionally wear out so I could sell you another pair!
All these years later it gives me pleasure to introduce the latest creation from Courteney in Zimbabwe, the ‘Courteney Selous Shirt’, a safari shirt which Gale Rice, owner of Courteney has developed carefully over the past few years. By bringing together the company’s years of experience in the safari field and collaborating with the local professional hunters, Courteney have, I am sure, produced another winning product that will be well suited in your safari wardrobe for many years to come.