Frequently Asked Questions:
How do I place an order?
The best way is navigate to the Cover Page on this website and fill out the online order request form. Describe what you are looking for and your preferred method of payment and we will go from there. Most importantly I will need to know the basic design you have in mind, shield style, type of helmet it is being used on and colors. Please reference any examples you may have. Once payment is received I will place your shield in queue to be crafted.
What is your cost per shield?
Tryworks Leather provides a fully handcrafted leather front for prices starting at $195 plus s&h. (Maine Residents +5.5% state sales tax) Additional prices are as noted in the online order form. If your shield design is of an unusually complex design or size a price quote will be provided. Prices range from $195.00 to $325.00. For example a standard front handcrafted and carved from Herman Oak Leather and painted or stained a standard color is $195.00. My most popular 23.75k gold leaf shields are $240.00, Antiqued style stained shields are $230.00. Custom graphics, station patches... can be more but are generally in that ballpark depending on the work amount of work involved. Please ask and a final price quote will be provided.
How do I pay?
Please go to the Cover Page on this website and click on the order form. There you will provide a brief description of your design and some contact information for yourself and which method of payment you wish to use. Once payment is received I will begin the design process and look forward to your final approval. I accept personal check, money order, department purchase order and all major credit cards. Payment is generally placed though Paypal (PayPal Credit is available) but Venmo or Square is also available depending on your needs.
How long will it take for delivery?
Expect to have your front in 4-8 weeks depending on a variety of factors. There have been a few occasions where it takes longer and many more where delivery is much sooner.
Why do your shields cost more? I can get cheaper ones elsewhere...
Our prices reflect the time and materials used to handcraft each piece. Many hours, much creativity and a necessary eye for design go into each and every front. We use only hand selected cuts of Herman Oak leather and all of our materials (with the exception of some Italian gold leaf) are made in the USA. Our paints, threads even our topcoats are chosen for their superior performance and durability. We use no pre-fabricated lettering stamps. That means every letter must be hand cut and tooled. It is a process that takes longer but allows for unlimited customization and we believe is well worth the extra work involved. There are a small handful of shield makers out there that are turning out quality, original work. Each will affirm the amount of work that goes into keeping this tradition alive.
Do you use laser engraving or heat transfer lettering?
Laser engraving is cool... its wicked accurate and totally looks like it came off a machine. Its also super expensive, stinks to high heavens and looks totally like it came off a machine... The fire service is made of men and woman that work with their hands and take pride in their work. These shields are 100% hand cut, hand tooled and hand finished. They too are worked by hand and reflect that same pride in ones work. 100% hand made 100% of the time.
Will you design my shield before I pay? I won't have money for a couple weeks...
I used to do drafts up front and the majority of the time it worked out just fine. Unfortunately, I have done several designs (they can take several hours) only to later find them carved by another who is trying his hand at shield making for a cut rate price. I can appreciate trying to save a few dollars but that is time I could be in the shop getting shields out to those that have already paid and are eagerly waiting. I can tell you that once you pay I will do a draft. Actually - I will do AS MANY draft revisions as needed until you are 100% satisfied with your design and give final approval. If you don't have the funds now thats ok! I'll still be here when you are ready. ...or if you just cannot wait PayPal offers credit and for a small item such as this should not prove to be much of a problem.
Will you copy this shield design from another company? He is not taking orders right now and I like that design...
Probaby not... I would suggest if you really like his style then wait for him to reopen orders or pay the money he wants. I appreciate you coming to me but I consider this other handful of guys to not only be my fire service brothers but they are also fellow leather workers trying to make this small business thing work. If you have a design in mind where you would be better served by someone else I will point you in the right direction. Find what you like, find what fits your style and wait for it if thats what it takes... It will be worth it I promise.
Are your shields "fireproof"?
I get this question on a regular basis. The short answer is no. …then again neither are your bunker pants, gloves or mask. Remember your shield is a piece of leather being worn at the highest point on your body. Most of my shields have seen more than their fair share of work and they hold up great, but please do remember that your shield is a decorative piece of leather and not a steel door… leather will burn if you stick it in a flame so try your best not to do that. My best advice is not to wear your custom shield into a training burn or flash simulator, but don’t give it a second thought if you’re just doing your job.
Do you make Radio Straps, Wallets or Truckie Belts?
I am pretty passionate about making fire shields. It's what I enjoy the most and I wish to concentrate on making only the highest quality shields for now. If you want a shield I promise to give it 110%. I can refer you to someone who makes quality straps and belts.