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LEJONKULAN - FAT LEATHER, HEAVY MACHINES

Heavy sewing machines, that is. A few miles outside of Stockholm, Sweden, a couple of ancient, German made sewing machines rattle away across acres of heavy gauge cattle skins. Well, to say they rattle away is possibly saying too much, their operating revs are agonizingly slow. On getting a closer look you can see that the needle is being forced through monumentally thick cow skins. Which is precisely how Krister Jung, the man who produces his legendary saddlebags here, masterminded it from the start.

It all began in 1973, when Krister learned the trade of working with leather in an Israel kibbutz. From there he went on to London, to attend the Cordwainers Technical College, then one of the world's leading colleges for leather workers. There he learned all about the basics about leather: cutting, designing, pattern making – and bags.

Back in Stockholm the freshly acquired knowledge is put to good use. Together with two friends Krister starts making clogs and sells them during the summer to foreign tourists. The money is squandered judiciously on making trips in the winter. All works well, and the time comes when new and roomier premises are found by way of a brother-in-law. A visiting leather dealer just says: “a fine lion's den you got here ...” Which helps to cut short the search for a name. Lion's den is Lejonkulan in Swedish. Bingo!

This was a long time ago, but until this day the name lives on. Krister is managing his shop now single handedly and has moved the Lion's den 5 years ago to Nacka, near Stockholm.

There high stacks of the best and finest Double Butts, cut from the centre piece of the hide, fill the workshop. Krister uses these to manufacture his Lejonkulan saddle bags, using heavy ADLER DÜRKOPP sewing machines. If you ever saw one of his bags growing under the hands of the master, you know that bags stamped with the lion logo will cost you a little more than some dubious special offer from your friendly accessories discounter. We are comfortable offering you these bags also for another reason: Not only is the manufacturing quality aiming at a lifespan good for several generations, Krister also has documented the source and treatment of his cow hides. They are from French domestic cattle and are tanned in Italy using vegetable tanning. Vegetable tanning requires gentle pre-tanning and - contrary to the common and way cheaper chrome tanning - only vegetable tanning agents are used. It goes without saying that hazardous chemicals are not used and compliance with the corresponding EU guidline CE 1907/2006 “REACH” and the 1975 Washington Convention for animal protection are assured.

These glorious hides are used to build Lejonkulan's monumental saddle bags. Just the thing to strap to your Milwaukee machinery for the next round-the-world trip or two.