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21 Step Process


“This 21 step process offers no shortcuts, only the satisfaction in knowing that most companies are not willing to go this expensive and laborious direction.”

Brenda and Manny Brulport




The key to a great meal is great ingredients...belts are no different.

      We start with full sides of the finest vegetable-tanned leather we can find. The tradition of vegetable-tanning dates back to the beginning of mankind. It is simply the process of using natural tree tannins to slowly cure the leather. The 6 to 8 week process is precise, costly and laborious for tanneries here in America so only the largest and cleanest..aka "Best of the Best" are chosen for this 2 month journey. Unlike shoe and upholstery leather, vegetable tanned leather is cured and shaded clear as to let the natural beauty be seen.
See, shoe leather, regardless of how expensive, is usually "grain corrected or top coated to cover up imperfections in the full grain. Saddle leather is just the opposite, left translucent to age with beauty. Our leather will darken and oxidize and patina over time.  You can rely on the rigid characteristics of vegetable tanned leather and to retain good self conforming shape for the life of the product. Like  a good saddle, you can easily get 50 years of exceptional wear out of our strong saddle leather belts.


"For people that know Full Grain leather and Vegetable Tanning.... There is no Substitute."

     The bovine hides are separated from the USDA beef at the Texas and Midwest packing houses. The hides are sorted and quality graded right then and there. The largest and nicest are set aside and are usually delivered to 2 vegetable tanneries in the United States, Wickett and Craig® and Hermann Oak®. They are the only two large tanneries still left in the USA making this vegetable tanned natural leather. Both tanneries have been in operation for over 100 years. Vegetable tanning uses clear aniline finishes for beautiful aging, patina, and color depth. That is why you see limited variations of color shades, usually 5 or 6 basic tones. Natural or Vachetta, Chesnut, Medium Browns, Chocolate, Mahogany, Merlot and Black. The vegetable tanneries do not correct imperfections in the grain like shoe leather tanneries. The shoe tanneries ()mostly out of the United States due to negative environmental water impacts) cure leather by means of a much shorter and much different tanning process called chrome tanning. The vegetable tanneries we buy our leather from tan leather in a  very different way. What you see in vegetable tanned leather is pretty much a lighter version of what you will get from your belt in 10 years.  For those who have a basic understanding of full grain leather vegetable tanning, there is no substitute.

      The fresh hides leave the packing houses on refrigerated 18 wheel tractors. When they arrive at the vegetable tannery the hair is removed and they are graded again for size and thickness. The average leather sides that we cut belts from are about 8 feet in length and 25-28 square feet per side!  These are truly the "best of the best" for it makes no financial sense to slow cure low grade leather hides through an expensive  6 to 8 week process. Premium vegetable tanned sides sell upwards of $290 each and it's easy to see why if you take a look at the slow vegetable tanning process.
     It takes about 40 days to transform raw hides into unique and durable vegetable tanned leather. This process is natural, environmentally friendly and it creates leather that maintains its beauty and luster.
     The leather that is created by this process is 2.5 times more valuable than its chrome tanned or "shoe leather" counterpart.

Saddle leather is an expensive byproduct of the American beef business. It is easy to spot American hides because they typically run 3-4 square feet larger than South American hides by comparison.

We use this strap cutter just about every week in the shop. It is the first process after hide inspection and blocking take place.


The leather must be “thinned” down at the buckle end. This allows for a more comfortable fit. The Skiving Process takes 20% of the lower side of the strap. This allows the buckle to be properly positioned. We start just before the second hole for full strength.



     We run every belt through this beveling machine twice to ensure even edges. This process is a bit laborious but produces 4 very clean edges with the lower edges a bit deeper than the top ones. We are constantly sharpening these unique rotary dials with circular cutting blades.


     Many years ago we decided that most belt manufacturers set their holes too far apart. Most are close to an inch...too far away in our opinion. When holes are placed 1 inch apart the belt owner can find him\herself between holes, sometimes for months or years. They might end up drilling a hole through the belt or worse, driving a nail through their belts. This will cause eventual hole cracks and failure.  

We use 8 close holes at approximately 5/8 inch apart. This has proven to be a great design. We hate to hear stories of people drilling holes or worse, just to find the middle ground between a good quality belt with holes designed too far apart.

"Here at Scottsdale Belt Company, we started using a proprietary 8 hole custom spaced cutting plate. After testing for many years by hand in my father's career,  we designed the plates for our modern multi hole equipment."
 Our full grain hides are slow tanned for superior strength and long term durability. Our 30 Year Guarantee completely protects you against natural hole failure.


     We use an imported Italian edge dye specifically formulated for vegetable tanned leather. It is blended with a compound of emollients. This expensive and natural edge coat smooths out the edges without flaking or picking off. We apply it twice and then burnish while the edge finish is still tacky. That ensures a penetration and minimal crusting.

     Many leather factories often machine roll coat their belts. Then bake the edge dry with conveyor ovens. We believe this is why many edges on other companies' leather belts and handbags will crack and peel off. The hand burnishing process forces penetration and complete adhesion without a thick and heavy look.


"There is no substitute for heavy canvas, saddle soap, and good old fashioned elbow grease."


The Second Edge Process is with gum tragacanth. This is a natural plant based edge smoothing agent.


The Final Edge Process is with an alpha hydroxy product. This lowers the pH and although expensive, offers the best final edge in leatherwork


"Germany produces the finest industrial sewing machines in the world. Our machine defines stitches with unparalleled quality."

     Below is The Autumn in Merlot Bridle. The stitch definition is the signature benchmark of German equipment. The only downside is the slower speed this German workhorse operates at, compared to the mass production models.

Most good things are worth their wait.


"Our loop making process is like a mini belt regarding labor... It's in the SBC details as to WHAT MAKES US DIFFERENT."

     The loop that holds back the belt end has to be cut, dyed, beveled, smoothed, stapled, stitched and molded as well.
A handmade Amish loop blocker is used to square up and define the loop edges.

 Currently, front loops are being sewn closer to the snap on men’s jeans either for fashion or fit. To accommodate for this we have moved the belt keeper loop closer to the buckle. You will grow very fond of this simple feature.



This electric hide brander brands AZBELT.COM onto every belt.

     Thanks for taking time to look through our time-tested process. We treat leather belt making with immense pride and passion. It would be easy to cut out steps for profit; however, pridefulness in our finished leather belts will always get in the way of shortcuts.
    Brenda and Manny Brulport
Second Generation Belt Makers