Tags: bags, duffels, hand built, handmade, how it's made, lemolo, lemolo baggage, made in portland, made in usa, nameplate, portland oregon, process
As the official launch dates seems to finally be approaching, I wanted to show off a bit of my hard work. The following is a photo set laying out exactly how each Lemolo nameplate is made. By hand, by me.
The process starts with a 6″x18″ sheet of brass shim. The first thing that needs to be done is to cut the brass down. I use a large metal cutter provided by one of my shop mates (thank you James). You have to carefully mark the brass, line up your piece and slowly, but forcefully, swing the arm down. It cuts at a very slight angle and takes a bit of getting used to. It’s not hard once you get the hang of it, but it can be rather tedious, especially when the pieces start to get down to their final size of 1/2″x2″.
Once the brass is cut down to the appropriate size the next step is to hammer “LEMOLO” into it. I had a custom stamp made for this specific purpose. A very hard, stable surface is required for this step. A heavy, purposeful swing is required when hammering the stamp to ensure a deep, even, well-cut final result. This can take a little practice to get the technique right. It is easy to get a accidental shadow image as the brass or stamp could make a virtually un-noticable hop when the stamp is struck. You only get one shot at this, so it has to count. At about 1/3 of the way through the process it is a real bummer to have to scrap a nameplate at this stage.
The next step is to round the corners on a grinder (thanks for the use of your grinder Jordan). Not much needs to be removed, so a steady hand and sharp eye is key here. The corners just need to be rounded a bit, that’s all. Once the corners are rounded you need to brush the backside of the nameplate along the edges with the grinder to smooth out any burrs that may have formed.
Only one more step is required before you are ready to rivet the nameplate to a finished bag. For this I was previously using a handheld drill and getting acceptable, but not great results. My friend Blake stopped by the shop and offered the use of his heavy duty hold punch. You simply find where you want your hole to be and squeeze. It takes a short amount of time for each nameplate but your hand can get a bit fatigued if you have a relatively large quantity to punch. This has been a dream compared to using a drill (thank you Blake).
At this point the nameplate is finished and needs only to be riveted to a bag. I lay the nameplate where I want it then mark on the bag where to punch the holes. As every nameplate is made one by one and the holes are cut by hand there can be a slight variance in where the holes in the bag need to be. So, to be sure everything looks just right you need to be sure to mark the bag using the exact nameplate you intend to rivet to that specific bag. Once the holes are punched it is simply a matter of loading up the rivet press, lining everything up, and pressing it together.
This small run of backpacks and duffels were all sewn by real people, whom I have met, working at Portland Garment Factory in SE Portland. I am the founder of Lemolo, sole designer, and each and every nameplate was completely made from scratch and attached by me. Lemolo Baggage, all proudly made in USA.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, I hope you found it both interesting and informative!