Featuring Chris Gray’s Salty Dog Leatherworks




New Zealander Chris Gray was frustrated in his search for quality leather cuffs. He found low quality, mass manufactured leather items being sold for inflated prices, but no real handmade quality items. The harder he looked the clearer it became that nowhere in New Zealand could he find the traditionally made artisanal products he wanted.

With no experience or training, he decided to make his own. I have watched his progress from the beginning and could instantly see the talent he instinctively possessed for this kind of work. Even without the proper tools, his first cuff looked better than most of the ones on offer on the commercial sites. Once he had tools there was no stopping him. As he masters one style he is branching out to the next.

First, some photographs:


First attempt to the left (look how good it is!) and second attempt with the proper tools (see the sealed edges)
Completely handmade  hand dyed a rich dark mocha brown, hand aged leather, complimented with antique brass finish hardware.
Completely handmade hand dyed a rich dark mocha brown, hand aged leather, complemented with antique brass finish hardware.
The black section is of recycled leather. Isn't that gorgeous?
The black section is of recycled leather. Isn’t that gorgeous?
Unisex two-tone steampunk style cuff. Single buckle, Brass finish hardware.
From this….to this
From this….to this



Look at the detailing on this one!




See Chris’ work and buy his products at Salty Dog Leatherworks. Like his page so that you can see updates of all his new items in your news feed. Isn’t it nice to know that every step of the process is by hand by someone who loves the craft and is doing it out of love, rather than for love of money. For what you get and the amount of work he puts into every item, the prices are reasonable and the quality is excellent.

‘I use newer nickel roller buckles that are lighter and proportionately better, allowing for nicer thicker straps. The end punch worked beautifully to shape the strap ends, well worth the investment! I don’t believe anyone makes a cuff this good! I handmake these every step of the way, from cutting out of a sheet of the finest NZ leather, to dying, and hand stressing until a beautiful antiqued look is attained. These are very soft yet still firm offering plenty of wrist support while looking fantastic on. The inside rivet backs are even given a special coating to protect from possible perspiration corroding, and alleviate any symptoms of nickel allergy, as I realise some people can be sensitive to such things. I am really proud of this product, and It is my hope that they will be loved and well worn by anyone wishing one for themselves or a loved one. Each of my handcrafted leather cuffs is signed and dated by myself, giving you my personal assurance of the finest quality.’

Chris can accommodate odd wrist sizes and tell you more about his work and his process on the page above. He uses primarily 3mm leather as it allows some flex while still remaining firm. It is thinner than a belt leather, perfect for cuffs.


Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

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