Brettuns Village Trunks & Leather

Old Trunks, New Leather.  All from Maine.

May 2000

May 2, 2000

Hi Everybody:

Thanks for being part of the Brettuns Village Leather Newsletter group.  We do our best to keep you updated about our inventory in these pathetic little notes.   It helps us keep our costs down.

Well, we still have a few thousand square feet of each of our suede varieties in stock, and I'm tired of crawling over them to get to other stuff in the barn, so we've lowered our prices.  Cowhide suede hides are now $20 each, pigskin suede hides are $15.  Get em while you can (before I
ship em all to India).  Alright, relax, I was only kidding about shipping them out.  They'll be here when you need them.  Please need them soon.

We're still expecting the arrival of about 1,200 sides and whole hides of chrome tanned cowhides, all black, in various weights.  They've been on the way for over a month, should get here in the next couple of weeks.  You can bet we'll holler loud and clear when they arrive.

Lots of our customers have been interested in our cookie cutter sole bends - thick leather bends (section along the front half of the beast) that have had soles cut out from them.  They're sort of like cookie dough after the cookies have been cut out.  We finally got a picture of them posted on
the Sides and Hides page, so now you can see what they look like.  We sell them for $5 each,
plus shipping.  These run from 12 to 18 oz, most of the pieces you can get out of them are smaller than hand sized, a few pieces might be bigger than that, but that's where you'd find a brand or imperfection.

One final note - Every week we get about 50 requests for our catalog.  Only problem is that we don't have a catalog, we only have our sad excuse for a website.  I just thought I'd mention it because my fingers hurt from typing out explanations to folks about it.  The two fingers I use for
typing are the only ones experiencing actual pain, to be truthful.  The rest of them are just co-miserating.

Thanks, more news later.  I'll bet you're on the edge of your seat.

Churchill Barton
Brettuns Village Leather

May 5, 2000

Hi Folks:

If this is the first newsletter you've received from us here at Brettuns
Village in a while, let me assure you that we've sent out dozens of them,
and each time we've sent one out we've been selling piles of trunks,
including one exactly like the one you've been searching for, and all
priced for $5 per trunk.  We're all really sorry if you've missed the
letters, maybe you should check your e-mail a little more often.

OK, sorry about that.  If you've been with us a while you've come to
understand that our newsletter schedule is about as regular as your Aunt
Myrtle.  Fact is, this is the first one in a long time.  Things have been
going bezerk around here, in a good way.  Apparently not all e-tail is
going under, the online market for trunks, trunk parts, and leather seems
to be cooking right along.  In our next newsletter I'll fill you in on our
initial public offering.  A Maine IPO is a little different from the big
city ones.  Ours involve mostly homebrew and bagpipe tunes, not much money
though, that's for sure.

A couple of news items right up front, then I'll fill you in on some new
trunks we have in the shop.

First, we've started a wholesale outlet division, using yet more space in
the barn.  We've been viewed by most of the computer users in our area
(both of them) as a gateway to vast riches on the internet.  They got this
idea because I had enough money in my wallet a few months ago to go in the
hardware store and buy not just fishing license and not just a hunting
license, but the 'combination' license.  The Village has been all
a-flutter ever since.  Anyway, some local companies have asked us to help
them unload some unwanted inventory.  Piece of cake, we just added a new
section to the web site and shoe-horned some more stuff into the barn.  If
you know anybody who sells stuff at flea markets or has a store, let them
know.  Here's a link over to the outlet:

(sorry - long gone)

So far the inventory consists of these bizarre plastic wand thingers that
are known up here as 'Indian Towels', so, to be in tune with the new
millenium, we have to call them Native American Towels or just to make
things less controversial, the Body Brush.  It's weird, check it out.  A
local guy who really is a brilliant real estate person apparently was a
little less of a scholar in the financing end of things, he backed the
maker of the Body Brush, the company folded and our pal wound up with
thousands of these things stuffed into his hayloft.  They look like a
giant shoe horn.

The other thing we have over there right now are men's leather belts, very
high quality.  We'll soon be adding some things like pepper mills, salt
mills (for grinding table salt from rock salt), and even some drum sticks.
Good heavens.

Let's see, what else was there... oh yes, we're now taking online orders
using PayPal,it's a nice little system that is working very well for us.
Just follow the links from the site.

Next, we're working on designs for replacement leather straps, the kind
that run from the back of the trunk up across the top, and down the front,
with buckles on the front.  Many old trunks had these, but the straps are
often missing or in poor shape.  We're experimenting with some different
types of leather (we just happen to have a few thousand pounds of it in
the barn) to get a strap that is functional but still looks older.  There
are other parts companies that sell straps, but they charge way too much
for them, they look brand new, and they aren't cut the way the old ones
were cut.  Ours are going to be a bit different, and quite a bit cheaper
too.  We'll get them on the site as soon as we have a final product.

We're also adding a third line of trunk handles, these will be similar to
our TH-01 standard style, but will be longer, more like 10 inches long, to
accomodate the popular trunk handles of later model trunks, from around
1880 on up.

Also working on replacement hangers for wardrobe trunks, cut from several
templates that we acquired.  These came in several sizes and styles, we
plan to have the full range of them available, made here locally.

Camped out back the other night with my daughters, we pitched the old tent
down against the lower raspberry field, for those of you who have seen it.
We were snoozing away when all of a sudden the tent shook a bit, then it
sounded like somebody was playing the drums on the ground right next to
us, then some tree branches came down.  I wasn't scared at all, but the
girls were (they're only 6 and 8, the little darlings).  Anyway, by the
time the girls got me down from the ceiling of the tent and wrestled the
flashlight away from me the noises had increased dramatically.  The girls
tell me there was one heck of a bull moose standing right there next to
the tent.  I couldn't see it, as I had somehow gotten my head stuck in the
very bottom of my sleeping bag.  It was an hour before I could calm the
gals down and get them back to sleep.  They kept complaining about my
chattering teeth, the little stinkers.

Now we know why our raspberry canes keep growing shorter.  Thank goodness
the moose hasn't gotten a taste for swiss chard or arugula yet.  I guess
no self respecting moose would eat those yuppie greens anyway.

So we picked up a new employee in the trunk shop, Mark Graffam, and he's
been really putting in the effort.  Between the lot of us we've finally
managed to get caught up, and we've even got some trunks on the For Sale
page for you to check out.

We've also got a sort of special page with some trunks that are currently
considered WIPs (works in progress) and some that are available 'as-is'.
Prices on this special page include shipping costs, if you're interested:

Our little puppy, Jenny the black lab, isn't so little anymore.  She's
really doing well, knows her hand signals and is coming along on whistle
commands.  She's a strong swimmer, able to retrieve the bumpers from as
far as I can huck em out into the pond.  About 55 yards.  Well, Amanda
says, "Sure, that's 55 yards just like all those trout you catch are at
least 2 feet long."  So maybe it's more like 35 yards.  Would you believe
50 feet?  40?  OK, so I drop em off the end of the dock, but she goes
right after them.

I've mentioned this before, but I want to mention it again, because we've
recently had another couple of incidents where customers of ours asked our
opinion on 'Salesman Sample' trunks that they had purchased on eBay.  We
watch eBay pretty closely and have yet to see a true salesman sample trunk
there.  Every week it seems there are a couple listed that way, but they
aren't real sample trunks.  Folks like to advertise any small trunk,
child's trunk or otherwise, as a salesman's sample.  See one on eBay that
you just have to add to your collection?  Once again, we offer our help -
just e-mail us a link to the page and we'll give you our opinion, no
charge.  And we won't bid against you either.  We don't buy trunks on
eBay, although we do sell some on there every so often.

That's it for now, thanks for sticking with us.  You'd better get the lead
out if you still want to get up here this summer, 4th of July is gone,
that means only a couple of weeks until the first frost.

Churchill Barton
Brettun's Village
Auburn, Maine

May 9, 2000

Hello to our subscribers - Spring has Sprung here in Maine, flowers are starting to bloom and we've even been around the farm on the tractor. If you've been way up here at this time of year you know about the special surprise that Spring brings every year.  Ayuh, that's right.  Black Flies.
Luckily they only stick around a few weeks.

Then we start mosquito season.

Anyway, if you've been with us awhile you've heard that we made a big score on chrome-tanned black sides in a matte finish (not too shiny, not too dull).  We've bought a few hundred thousand square feet and the big truck backed into the dooryard today, so we're ready to unload this stuff.
These sides average out to 20 to 21 square feet each and are available in two thicknesses - 1.8 to 2.0 millimeters and 2.0 to 2.2 millimeters.  For those of you that haven't switched to metric in your leathercrafting this translates to thin and a little thicker.  Just kidding.  1.8 to 2.0 mm is
the same as 4.5 to 5 oz leather.  2.0 to 2.2 mm is the same as 5 to 5.5 oz.  Good, medium weights suitable for many types of projects.  For those of you who like to gauge temper (stiffness), these are considered regular temper (some call this medium temper), which means that it isn't as soft as garment leather, but not as stiff as a hard shoe leather, for example.

Most of you are familiar with how our business operates - at Brettuns Village we do one thing to build our inventory - we buy overstocks, excess, leftovers, and the like at the lowest prices we can, always keeping in mind the original goal that got us into this business in the first place - find another use for perfectly good leather so it won't end up in the dump, and buy it at prices that
allow us to turn around and sell it for lower prices than you can find anywhere else.  It's working.

These black sides are priced at $50 each, and that price INCLUDES SHIPPING in the continental USA.  Beat that somewhere else, Jack.  I'm not posting these on the site for a couple of days, so that you newsletter subscribers get first grab at them.  There's plenty to go around, so don't worry about beating any deadlines.  If you need black leather, we've got it.  Simple.

Thanks to those who have asked about Jenny (our lab puppy - now up to 31 pounds).  Since the ice left the pond a couple of weeks ago she's been dabbling around the edge, but I think she's waiting for the water temp to get above 40 degrees before she jumps all the way in.  Can't blame her.

I've got to tell you - the trout are biting like mad.  We've been really having a great time with them.  The ice fisherman had a funny season, the ice wasn't as sturdy as they like, so their catches were reduced.  Heh, heh, us flyflingers call that 'good news'.  Our 8-year old caught her first brook trout on a fly day before yesterday, it was enough to make her Dad start blubbering in the rowboat.

Grab your gear and come give the trout a try.  I'll tie up a couple of proven flies for you - I'm still looking for a beetle pattern that uses leather in it somewhere.


May 21, 2000

Thanks to everyone who has been ordering the black sides we recently received - they seem to be selling pretty well.  We know that some of you wanted to see them before buying - no problem, we finally got some photos of them on the site:

Wondering if you could use one of our fabric-backed deer hides for one of your projects?  Why not try one out - special price for newsletter subscribers only - just $10 per deer hide.  Shipping is $3.20 for one, $4.50 for two, $5.40 for three, $6.40 for four, or $7 flat for groups of five.  Just mention that you saw it in that pathetic newsletter.

We got in more 72 inch laces last week, in black, and we have them priced the same way as before - $90 per bundle of 100 laces.  Seems like a lot of money, but take a look at what your local stores charge for a pair of boot laces 72 inches long.  Our price looks a little better after that
exercise.  Now you can relace all 50 pairs of your boots at one time and save a lot of money in the process.

We recognize that we've been wicked tough to reach by phone lately - please keep in mind that we're on the road most every day, picking up or delivering leather, so evenings are the best time to reach us.  Also, I'm generally here at the keyboard most mornings from 5 to 6 am, if you're
able to speak coherently at that hour.

Thanks-  See you next time.  Trout sure are biting, hope it's the same where you are.

Churchill Barton
Brettuns Village