Inside Look: Martin Dingman’s Workshop

The second stop on my tour was Martin Dingman’s workshop.  Located in northern Arkansas (about 45 minutes from Branson), we fought a slight blizzard to make it down.  We all arrived in-tact, and I got to see where the proverbial ‘magic’ happens.  The workshop is located on a beautiful piece of property – it is large, but doesn’t look as big as it is from the street.

Inside the workshop are some offices for the marketing folks, the distribution operation, the manufacturing offices, and Martin’s office.  I was struck by how great everyone treated me – they are such a nice group of people.  They have all been with Martin for 10+ years; most have been with him much longer.  In my previous post I mentioned that Martin was a leather artist.  While Martin is the artist, the operations team are all extremely talented at crafting Martin’s designs.

The floor – to the right…

…and to the left.

The workshop is where all of Martin Dingman belts are created.  There are multiple stations (which I will get into in the next post) with equipment for specific purposes.  I was struck by how some of the equipment seemed ‘aged’.  I mentioned this to Martin, and his response: ‘Well, we’ve bought newer equipment for this or that, but it doesn’t work as well as this one, so we returned it’.  I like that – an ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ attitude.

The workshop has been expanded a couple times – mainly for storage and order pulls.  The coolest scale I’ve ever seen is in the newer section:

A good part of the workshop is the ‘back row’, which has a bunch of samples or pulls from previous seasons.  All of it was amazing – including this alligator belt:

Notice the tortoise shell roller on the buckle?  It’s the little touches that set this belt apart, like the alligator tabs and brass buckle on the pink woven belt:

Oxidized leather (on the left).

The belt every man should own.  Martin perfected the dual-buckle option.  His belts are created with hidden snaps, so swapping buckles is no problem, so those come with a silver and a brass buckle.

Making belts requires leather – lots of leather.  This part of the workshop was probably my favorite to see:

Listening to Martin talk about the characteristics of each type of leather was a treat.  This is his medium, and he knows it beyond expert level.  This is a piece that we spent time with – the leather that he uses for his belt backing:

Remember the belt that every man should own?  Guess where it came from?

Another roll

Stocked shoes

Last but not least, some of his samples that have been retired:

Shell Cordovan chukkas and oxfords

The most amazing alligator chukka boots I’ve ever seen. 

Until next time….

**Congratulations to the twenty folks who won the card cases.  You will all be contacted today.

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7 Comments

  1. Wm Lamb & Son
    03/07/2012 / 7:22 PM

    facinating ….

  2. 03/07/2012 / 7:55 PM

    The dedication that is needed to produce such great belts and wonderful shoes is what the Dingman’s have been known for all these years. As a fellow craftsman, I am proud to say that to achieve the level of craftsmanship they put into their products should be looked at as a statement to a craft which is most difficult, and by nature requires a passion that few actually achieve. Keep up the great work, I am very proud of all of you.

  3. Ted
    03/11/2012 / 6:11 PM

    toledo scales, my grandfather’s company. now called mettler-toledo.

  4. Eric Irvin
    03/15/2012 / 9:59 AM

    After reading your post, I thought “Martin Digman” rang a bell. So, I pulled out my wallet and figured it out. I bought my Martin Dingman alligator wallet from a Men’s Store in Birmingham (Mtn Brook) about 11 years ago. I love it. It just get better with age.

  5. john
    07/06/2013 / 12:12 PM

    its okay

  6. Bruce Fadem
    11/07/2013 / 6:58 PM

    Hi
    My twin brother and I are both interested in having a pair of Martin Dingman Alligator chukka boots made up for us. Just like in the picture above. We both have had 5 pair of Alligator cowboy boots made up in the past year, and would like to get a pair
    of these. I wear a 10 1/2 C and he is a 10 1/2 D. My Ralph Lauren Chukka are a 10 D, these are made by Alden..
    Please let me know what the price of the above boot would cost and if we could by these direct from your factory.. We are located in Tulsa Oklahoma
    and would be willing to drive over to your plant in Arkansas ..(to have our feet measured)
    please advise what the price would be, or please contact me at the above email or by my cell no. 918-527-8993
    Thanks,
    Bruce Fadem

    Love the look of these boots!

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