For 25 years, Al was a harness maker.
In his shop, harnesses were made for working in the bush, parades and the show ring. There are many photographs in Al’s shop, including the 1995 picture of the ‘Navan Fair Fifty Horse Hitch’. His shop constructed all of lines that drove the horses – 1200 feet of leather, as well as many parts of harness that connected all 50 horses.
Al was often asked to make leather belts for customers who could not find a belt that was strong or long enough. Upon retirement, he continued to receive requests from people wanting a quality leather belt. So, as a hobby, Al started making belts from vegetable tanned cowhide – the same quality of leather he used to construct the lines of the Fifty Horse Hitch.
Most commercial ‘leather’ belts are manufactured from synthetics and a filler of pressed leather bits. Al refers to these belts a leather chip board! How many of these have you bought in the last 15 years? By comparison, one quality leather belt can be worn for at least 15 to 20 years.
Although a quality leather belt is not inexpensive, the workmanship and durability of its construction stands the test of time. You simply have to feel and see one of Al’s belts to appreciate the difference! Al’s belts are made full length and then custom cut to fit the client. A choice of buckles are available.
In addition to cowhide leather, Al also makes belts from water buffalo hide which he finds is very pliable and durable.