Jason Davis makes custom holsters, belts, and harnesses in a little workshop on his family farm in the Ozarks. He calls his leather-making company “Lenwood,” and his products are sold through Midway USA and elsewhere. Being a Missourian myself, I’ve known about his leather goods for some time, but I didn’t expect to be so enthralled with seeing him make custom holsters.
There was the smell of leather in the air and people were cutting and expertly making leather holsters by hand. The scene had this old-school charm that makes you both think of the Old West and of a modern holster perfectly fitted to your side. Then I met Davis.
Having grown up in the Ozarks up near St. James, Davis was no stranger to hunting, shooting, and the art of being self-sufficient. He said he shot his first .22 as a little tyke, seated on his dad’s lap.
When an ice storm hit southwest Missouri in 2007, it knocked the power out for several days. Davis and a few friends decided to fill their time by making moccasins out of leather kits. “They were train wrecks,” said Davis, but a stitch literally had been sewn.
After the storm, Davis bought his first handgun and decided he wanted a nice leather holster for it. He was shocked to learn that it would cost him about $150 and he’d have to wait six months for the custom work on it.
“So I thought, I can make my own,” he says. After all, his grandmother had taught him how to sew. He even used his grandma’s old Singer sewing machine that could stitch leather.
He made some leather messenger bags, too, and sold the first two at a coffee shop, namely because other coffee drinkers admired them so much.
When Davis and his wife, Erin, a nationally renowned Christian-book author, purchased the farm three years ago, Davis claimed an old onsite workshop for his leather business. He also bought a better sewing machine. Now, he makes belts, holsters, dog harnesses, and some innovative items such as a key clip, a minimalist wallet, wire belts (for keeping cords to electronic and other equipment tangle-free), and key chains.
Currently Lenwood offers four belt designs. A Lenwood hybrid belt is made especially for the concealed-carry market, and is built with premium 10-ounce, full-grain leather and then glued and sewn to a synthetic belt slab of PVC-coated polyester. Davis hand-finishes each belt’s edges and attaches a chrome-plated steel, solid brass, or a stainless steel buckle. They cost about $70.
Davis also whips up his own brand of leather cream. “People would ask me what to put on the leather items I make, so I figured I might as well sell my own stuff,” he said. Davis recommends that people be “diligent” with leather care, no matter what cream or conditioner you purchase.
Along with leather products, Davis also fashions Kydex holsters with a special custom form that makes this type of holster fit tight and close to the waist. They are available in both inside-the-waistband and outside-the-waistband models. Customers may choose from a wide range of patterns in Kydex, including popular Kryptek versions. Davis will also make magazine carriers and accommodate lasers and lights on your firearms for a superb holster fit.
Why the name Lenwood?
“When my grandpa was born, his aunt told his mom: ‘You should name him after that Lenwood guy that flew the airplane.’ This was pre-Depression. She named him Ralph Lenwood Davis, and it turns out it was actually Lindberg.” Davis’s father and his son bear the Lenwood name as well. “It’s a cool name,” said Davis.
Davis buys his leather from Weaver leather. “I’ve bought it from a couple of different outlets, but the problem is consistency. When someone sees a product on the website, I want them to get the same look exactly. Weaver delivers that,” said Davis.
If you take a look at the Lenwood site, you’ll see a photograph of a man wearing boots and work pants, standing on a Lenwood belt. The belt remains upright and unyielding under the weight. That man on the belt is the same guy who wears a canvas shirt, jeans, and boots, standing at the sewing machine, proclaiming to the world: “Hand made. Over built.”
But then, you should never underestimate Ozarkers. They take the “Show Me” part of the state’s nickname very seriously.
Check out more of Davis’ process in the photos below: