Monday, June 10, 2013

TOP STORY >> Maker of quality leather goods

Leader staff writer

When full-time Cabot firefighter Gabe Tischler is away from the fire station he can be found in his shop, Circle T Leatherworks, making custom belts, holsters and other leather goods.

Tischler is a self-taught leatherworker, but the craft may be embedded in his genes.

His great-grandfather was a shoemaker near Budapest, Hungary. He operated a shop selling shoes, boots and tack for horses up until the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. Tischler never met his great-grandpa and is the only one in the family still doing leathercrafting.

He began working with leather to fill a need.

“I enjoy shooting guns for recreation. I collect antique and obscure guns but can’t find holsters made for them. I’m left handed,” Tischler said.

He made his first holster 15 years ago and had been leatherworking as a hobby for the past 10 years. He started out with craft items, bracelets and key chains. He made leather goods for family and friends and decided there is a market in it.

“People are still willing to pay for quality leather products that can last a lifetime and be passed down generations,” Tischler said.

Tischler established his business, Circle T Leatherworks two years ago. He branched out making a line of firefighter gear and name plates attached to firefighting helmets. He also crafts belts and motorcycle seats, saddlebags and chaps.

Each piece starts with a cut from a sheet of leather. Tischler then crafts it from there by stamping designs, carving, molding the leather and dyeing.

“I truly enjoy carving leather, taking a sheet of leather and turning it into something one of a kind,” Tischler said.

He typically works with cow leather. 

“I’ll attempt working with other hides if they are willing to pay for it,” Tischler said.

Tischler’s biggest seller is a hybrid gun holster. It has a plastic face plate heated to conform to a gun’s shape and finished with a leather back.  

He said he has seen a 45 percent increase in concealed-carry holsters sells since President Obama was re-elected.

“I’m two months behind on orders,” Tischler said.

His advertising has only been word of mouth, on a sign on the back of his truck and a Facebook page.

Tischler hopes to have his business established by the time he retires from the fire department.

For more information, call 501-743-9256 or send an e-mail to

Prices vary on what the customers wants and customization. A basic plain belt ranges from $30 to full customized upward a couple of hundred dollars. Hand-tooled leather gun holsters start at $120.

A hybrid holster made of hard plastic and leather backing are $55.