About Fire Dog

Fire Dog Leatherworks LLC is a small, firefighter owned business that offers durable, leather equipment designed to make emergency responders' lives easier. Every item is handcrafted in the USA, using thick, full-grain leather. While our products are geared towards Firefighters, we also make custom items for Emergency Medical Personnel, Law Enforcement, and civilians. Special requests are commonplace for many different professions and hobbies.

The creation of every item starts with some of the best, full-grain leather by Wickett & Craig. The leather we use is top quality latigo or tooling leather depending on the item. It's sourced from North American cattle and tanned in Pennsylvania. The latigo is drum-dyed and hot-dipped with oils and tallow which make it weather resistant and flexible. If offers a nice balance of durability and visual appeal. We offer it dyed either black or brown. Tooling leather can be dyed to your specification.

The excellence is in the details and each aspect of the leatherworking process is performed in accordance with best practices. All edges are sanded, dyed, burnished, and sealed with 100% bee's wax. High stress joints are securely stitched. All hardware is nickel or chrome-plated steel to resist rust and we only use DOT Durable brand snaps for our projects unless otherwise specified. Finally, all items are rubbed with Neatsfoot oil and/or sealed with a moisture-resistant finish once complete.

When it comes to sewing, we offer both machine lock-stitching and premium saddle-stitching done by hand. All work is done with high-quality thread imported from Germany. Sewing by hand using a saddle-stitch provides superior durability over machine stitching but is time and labor intensive. It also allows us to use a much thicker thread compared to a machine lock-stitch which creates a very unique look.

Our belief is that leather equipment should be tough, weather-resistant, and traditionally styled. While we offer acrylic painting, we always prefer to emphasize the natural beauty of the leather. We want our items to wear-in with the character that comes from hard work. Our goal with each item is to produce utilitarian good looks and functional equipment which you can hand down to your children after a long career.

Products

Obtaining Measurements: Radio Straps, Bunker Suspenders, Belts, and Dog Collars will require measurements as we custom fit the items to your specifications. In order to help you, we have put together a PDF which contains instructions on how to most accurately collect these. Please read the instructions carefully before ordering and if you have any concerns, contact us. We're happy to help.

 

Instructions: How to Obtain Measurements

 

 

Item Options

Detail-Stitching

We can stitch along the edges of straps, suspenders, and belts using premium thread imported from Germany. This is mostly decorative but also helps reduce to reduce strap stretch over time. We offer two types of detail-stitching: machine and saddle. Machine-stitching is done using an industrial sewing machine which creates a slanted lock-stitch pattern. We can sew the stitches straight on request. This type of sewing is an attractive and economical option for personalizing your item. Saddle-Stitching is painstakingly performed by hand using traditional methods. It uses thick, waxed thread that is both strong and creates a unique look.

Machine-Stitching Threads

Black ThreadBlack
White ThreadWhite
Cigar ThreadBrown
Red ThreadRed
Burnt Orange ThreadBurnt Orange
Orange ThreadOrange
Blue ThreadBlue
Green ThreadGreen
Light Green ThreadLight Green
Yellow ThreadYellow
Purple ThreadPurple
Pink ThreadPink

Saddle-Stitching Threads

Black ThreadBlack
White ThreadWhite
Cigar ThreadCigar
Red ThreadRed
Orange ThreadOrange
Blue ThreadBlue
Green ThreadGreen
Yellow ThreadYellow
Purple ThreadPurple
Pink ThreadPink

Stamping

Stamping (letters and numbers) is provided at no additional cost on many items. The number of characters that can fit on an item are determined by its size. We will advise you if your requested stamping will not fit your item.

We also have a selection of specialty stamps available which can be added at no additional charge. Beyond those listed, we can often have custom stamps made for an additional charge depending on how complex your design is.

US FlagUS Flag
Wichita FlagWichita Flag
Maltese CrossMaltese Cross
ShamrockShamrock
Axe & HalliganAxe & Halligan
9/119/11 Memorial
Star of LifeStar of Life
CrossbonesCrossbones
Lieutenant BuglesLieutenant Bugles
Captain BuglesCaptain Bugles
Battalion Chief BuglesBattalion Chief Bugles
FOOLS of OzFOOLS of Oz
 

Policies & FAQ

Limited Warranty

If your item fails because of a mistake we made or a defect in the construction (integral, non-cosmetic stitching breaks, a fastener pulls loose, defective snap, etc.), we will repair or replace the item as warranted for the life of the original purchaser. We reserve the right not to cover any item which is suspected of being used inappropriately, neglected, poorly maintained, or intentionally abused.

As leather is an animal product, even new items may have minor scuffs, wrinkles, scars, or cosmetic blemishes. This is part of the character of full-grain leather. Additional marks and wear from use are also to be expected. Acrylic painting of characters may wear, crack, or fade with use. These kinds of issues do not warrant repair or replacement.

Safety Disclaimer

These items do not have NFPA approval or hold any type of certification from any safety organization. They are not designed or intended to be used as life safety devices and should not replace any personal protective equipment or associated parts.

It is the responsibility of the purchaser to use any items obtained from Fire Dog Leatherworks LLC in a safe manner that is consistent with any relevant safety rules and/or regulations.

Additionally, your department may have Standard Operating Procedures or other regulations which do not allow the use of unapproved items. You should always obtain approval from your superiors and/or safety officers before using any item which was not issued directly to you by your organization. We take no responsibility and assume no liability if you use our items in violation of established safety standards, department policy, or in an otherwise unsafe manner.

On-Duty Transaction Policy

Fire Dog Leatherworks LLC does not perform any transactions (including gear measurements or delivery) on local 'B' shift days. You may place orders through this website and they will be processed the following day. Off-duty personnel may pickup items from our workshop by scheduling ahead of time.

Payment Methods

We accept cash, money order, and most major credit cards. We use Square Inc. to process credit card payments. Receipts are issued electronically by default (text or email.) If you prefer a paper receipt, please let us know.

Visa, MasterCard, Discover, AMEX

Pick-Up & Shipping

We will notify you once your item has been completed. Turn around time varies depending on the current waitlist but averages about 2 weeks until most orders are complete. The item can be picked up directly from the workshop.

Items that require shipping will be charged a flat rate of $9.50 or you may check for lower rates on our online store.

Refunds & Returns

Sales on all items are final. Please pay careful attention to the sizing instructions above and make sure the spelling is correct on any stamping requests before submitting your order. If we send you an incorrect item or do not make it according to the specifications you provided when ordering, get in contact with us ASAP and we will replace or refund your purchase.

Privacy Policy

We use your information to make your item, receive your payment and get it to you. Outside of these purposes, we value your privacy and don't share any of your personal information. We use Square Inc. to process credit card payments and provide receipts. You can view their privacy statement here.

 

Q: What is your current wait time?
A: Approximately 2 weeks from the time you place your order. This estimate is updated on a regular basis and we'll provide you a more accurate time once your order is confirmed.
Q: How do I place an order?
A: You can place an order by calling us, emailing us, or online through our store.
Q: What is the difference between machine-stitching and saddle-stitching?
A: Machine-stitching is by FAR the most common method found in any sewn items purchased today. Machines create what is known as a "lock-stitch" where 2 separate threads are "locked" around each other and pulled tight so that the cross-over point is located towards the center of the material being sewn. Depending on whether or not quality thread is used, this can be very durable. It does, however, have 2 drawbacks when compared to saddle-stitching performed by hand. First, saddle-stitching can use larger sized thread that is inherently stronger while granting a very characteristic appearance to the item. Second, saddle-stitching is done with a single, continuous length of thread which is woven in and out of the leather. This means that cutting or breaking the thread will not result in it unraveling as can happen with lock-stitches. The downside to saddle-stitching is that it is extremely labor intensive to stitch long runs like those found in radio straps or suspenders. This results in added expense as the leatherworker will need to spend several hours hand-stitching the item.
Q: Why do certain items need measurements and how do I measure myself?
A: Many of our items are custom-made to fit you. We can make generic sizes but since we're making the item from scratch, why not have it tailored? Instructions on obtaining accurate measurements can be found here: Instructions: How to Obtain Measurements. The best way to collect these measurements is with a flexible or tailor's tape measure and someone to help you out. If you're ordering this as a gift, whenever possible, measure their existing item (radio strap, suspenders, etc.) If you have any questions or concerns about this, don't hesitate to contact us!
Q: What break-in or conditioning is needed for your items?
A: There is no special conditioning or break-in needed. Leather straps may be slightly stiff when brand new but will quickly become flexible and supple with use. We apply a conditioner and sealant before delivery that helps to resist moisture, heat, and cold.
Q: What maintenance or care is needed for your items?
A: We have gone to great lengths to ensure our items are very durable. The leather is treated both at the tannery and again after it has been crafted into an item to ensure it resists the elements. However, ALL LEATHER, no matter how well crafted or expensive requires some upkeep. We have included extensive information on this subject here to help answer your question.
Q: Do straps and suspenders stretch over time?
A: Radio straps are not subject to much weight and don't really stretch any noticeable amount. Suspenders can stretch roughly 1 or 2 inches over the course of years if you add a lot of extra weight to your bunker pants (for example, you carry a lot of tools and a bailout system in your pockets.) Adding detail-stitching reduces stretch and webbing reinforcement essentially eliminates it altogether. If you're ordering suspenders, especially fixed length, and you think they'll be subject to a lot of extra weight, going with one of the aforementioned options will help.
Q: Should I purchase an adjustable or fixed length version of an item?
A: If you know exactly what length of an item suits you, and you never change it, then you'll find the fixed versions to be a great upgrade. So for instance if you've worn radio strap before and have it set exactly to where you like it, it makes sense to order a fixed version since the adjustment would never be used. If you've never worn a radio strap, you might be better off ordering an adjustable version until you're certain of the length you want.
 

Leather Care

We get a lot of questions regarding the proper care of leather equipment. This is understandable; quality leather is an investment and can last a lifetime if maintained.

What Damages Leather?

Both moisture and dryness damage leather. This might seem strange until you consider what keeps leather pliable and resilient: oil. Tanned leather contains oils (both natural and additives) that allow it to flex without cracking. When water is allowed to penetrate the leather, it can wash out these oils. Over time, the repeated cycle of getting wet and having the water evaporate off can leave the leather brittle and dry. This in turn leads to cracking and eventually total failure as the fibers breakdown (also known as dry rot.) If you add in the heat that is trapped under your gear and the salt from your sweat, the effect is accelerated. All leather will fail this way if not cared for.

Damaged Radio Strap Badly damaged, low quality leather.

What Do We Do to Prevent This?

The equipment we make has some built in protections against losing its oils. First, we only use top quality, full-grain leather. Cheaper grades of leather or leather that has been sanded down for cosmetic reasons loses its oils faster. Before the tanned hides are even shipped to us, they are treated with natural greases, oils, and tallow that is pressed deep into the leather. This is time consuming (and therefore expensive) for the tannery to do but it gives you a very durable, pliable, and long lasting piece of leather from the start. After it gets to us, we do a few things that help build on this foundation. All edges are burnished and treated with bee's wax. This helps seal the edge fibers from exposure to the elements. Next, we give the item a coat of Neatsfoot oil to protect its surfaces. Lastly, we use a different type of wax to treat both the front (the grain side) and the back (the flesh side.) These combined treatments give the item very solid resistance to moisture and dryness. That said, even the best quality, most thoroughly treated piece of leather will eventually become damaged if neglected.

Damaged Radio Strap We treat the leather with conditioners from the start.

What Can I Do?

Some very basic maintenance every few months will keep your leather in top condition. Here's a few indicators that its time to clean and oil your leather:

Sweat Stains on Leather Salt staining indicates cleaning is needed.

What do we recommend for keeping everything in good condition?