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Focus on iPhone Cases

Focus on iPhone Cases

Etching a new path in iPhone cases

Since 2015 we have created beautiful accessories for men and women. With an original focus on formalwear, we always felt a little bit restricted. French cuffs and ties are not part of an everyday wardrobe, and with our money clip collection we started getting into everyday carry items. Because of their utility these have been the most fun to make and use, and so today marks a foray into a new category - iPhone cases.

Greenbot said it best: only an insane daredevil wouldn't put a case on it! And bulky phone cases are like the hulking dinosaurs of the past: extinct. Our super slim cases protect your phone from scratches and the everyday wear of the world, plus keep you looking stylish with our timeless geometric designs. Speaking of timeless - our first two designs feature a stylized infinity symbol for neverending cool.

We're excited for this new chapter at Circamade, and as always we welcome your feedback as we continue to design new products.

 

Wood You? Choosing the Right Wood for Your Accessories

Wood You? Choosing the Right Wood for Your Accessories

Making the Case for Wood

The first designs I created at Circamade were all laser cut wooden accessories. Between the natural beauty, the unique quality of each piece, and the warmth of working with organic forms, wood is a very satisfying medium to design and produce in. Combined with its ease of cutting and assembly, it makes a perfect material to focus on. Plus there is the added benefit of your workspace smelling like an amazing campfire.

All of the woods I use are purchased from a family owned lumber shop based out of the mountains of Wisconsin, in the United States. The more one understands the unique characteristics of wood and its source, the more one appreciates the warmth and beauty it brings.

Types of Wood to Choose From

I use three woods primarily at Circamade: Maple, Cherry and Walnut. These cover the spectrum of light to dark, and are all well suited to laser cutting and engraving. The contrast between the three on pieces where I inlay them together is top notch.

Hard Maple wood has a light creamy color that takes a great finish.

It grows in the mid-atlantic and lake states in the Eastern US. Aside from the beautiful wood, a single Maple tree produces up to 12 gallons of sap a year. Hoove Designs mentions that it is so hard and resistant to shocks that it is often used for bowling alley or dance floors. Keep this in mind the next time you're dancing at a wedding while rocking our Tie Clips or Wood Cufflinks! Unlike other hardwoods, where the heartwood is typically used for lumber, with maple the sapwood is commonly used. This combined with the high sap content makes it a fantastic option for laser cutting and engraving.

Cherry wood has a rich reddish color that deepens with age.

With a varied wood grain and delicious fruit, Cherry develops a lush color as it ages and is exposed to sunlight. It has a high resin (sap) content, which causes the laser beam to create a dark burn and high contrast. Fun fact from Hardwood Info: early printmakers used cherry for their engraving blocks. Maybe this is one of the reasons why the engraved patterns on our Cherry Wood Money Clips are my favorite.

Walnut is a dark colored wood that develops a rich patina.

It grows commonly in the Eastern United States, but is only about half as prevalent as either Maple or Cherry. It develops a rich patina that grows more lustrous with age. Because it is a darker wood, the contrast of any engraved designs will be more subtle than with other woods. And according to the Telegraph, there is a tradition of beating up Walnut trees. To the best of my knowledge no trees were beat in the making of Circamade products.

Woods

As we continue to expand our assortment, I am always looking to try new woods. Special edition Rosewood, Purpleheart, and Wenge designs are due out later this year, and if there are any special products you want feel free to contact us and we will work with you to make the perfect piece.

When To Wear Cufflinks

When To Wear Cufflinks

When should a man wear cufflinks?

It’s not a secret: whenever he is wearing a shirt with French cuffs. Antonio at the Art of Manliness makes it clear: “If a man owns a French cuff shirt he needs cufflinks.” But there’s more to it than that. Should they be worn with a jacket or without? To a wedding or to work? What about with jeans?

Shirts that are made with a Barrel cuff have a button that fastens the cuff around the wrist. French cuffs (also known as double cuffs) require a link to stay closed, hence cuff links and cuff knots. French cuffs are much more formal than Barrel cuffs, and should be worn with a suit or a jacket.

Cufflinks and Tie

Where do you wear cufflinks?

At work they are used in more formal occasions where a man would wear a suit, such as meeting with clients or attending conferences. They may also be worn in more formal social settings. Weddings, receptions and galas where a man is wearing a suit or blazer are perfect places to wear cufflinks. They are a great way to add a sense of style over boring buttons.

The most timeless cufflink styles are made from either sterling silver or mother of pearl. For someone looking for a more creative option with a modern twist, Wood Cufflinks are a great option. And should you wear them with jeans? It’s up to you if you want to embrace the “Formal Farmer” look to its fullest.

Simple cufflinks should complement a man’s sense of style, and it is important to keep in mind that even the most subtle pair will contrast with a shirt and call attention to the wearer. Huckleberry’s blog says “cuff links should complement, not overpower, a man’s overall appearance and style.

So wear them with a suit coat and when you give off that formal vibe. Christian McQueen stated it bluntly: “Never wear cufflinks without a suit coat. Never. You’ll look more like a waiter, than James Bond, I can promise you that.” And we can all use a little more James Bond in our lives.

Has the Tie Clip Gone Extinct?

Has the Tie Clip Gone Extinct?

Is the Tie Clip dead?

In a fashion climate where pocket squares and fancy socks once ruled, men are toning down the excess and getting back to basics. A more casual look both at the office and around town means less suits and less ties. Together, formal accessories like tie clips and cufflinks have become more of a rarity. But don't call them extinct.

Bike Rider

Men's accessories are at their core functional. Tie bars keep your tie in place! They are especially useful if you happen to be active (like riding a bike around town) or when you're sitting down at the table to eat. Wear one to a wedding, and in addition to the compliments you receive you'll have one less thing to worry when the reception starts.

They also add a stylish touch to the usual shirt and tie combo. While they pair well with french cuffs and a suit, tie clips are less formal can be worn more freely. More casual options like our Wooden Tie Clips pair well without the jacket.

Cherry Tie Clip with Blue Tie

Tie Clips are not for every day.

There are definitely times to leave the tie clip off. Because they are used to keep your tie in place, if you're wearing a vest or waistcoat there is no need to clip since the tie will already be secure. And for more somber or serious occasions, you are often better off without. As style blogger Chris Law explains in this article in Men's Fitness, “A tie bar at a job interview screams, ‘I’m trying to be cool!’” No one cool ever screams that.

So as long as ties continue to flap in the wind and risk falling into your soup, tie clips will have a place to stay. Clip-on ties, however, may still see the fate of the dinosaurs.

Behind the Tools: Laser Cutting and Engraving

Behind the Tools: Laser Cutting and Engraving

Circamade and Lasers

Making things ourselves is one of our core values. It is the journey of taking our designs from idea to pen and paper to something you can wear that makes all of this so much fun. One of the most advanced steps is our use of lasers to cut and etch our handmade wooden accessories.

These tools are more than just a fancy version of that red dot you use to play with cats. These are industrial strength lasers, with the more powerful ones capable of cutting through sheets of steel like butter.

Epilog Laser Cutter

Wood is relatively easy to cut through, so we dial the power back. Otherwise it has a tendency to burn, and while the fire department is just a few blocks away we like to craft our wood tie clips and wood cufflinks without the sound of sirens here in San Francisco.

Our first foray into the laser cutting world involved $400 and a visit to eBay.

But as they say: you get what you pay for. We endured many days of electrical issues and sub-par engraving, but we proved to ourselves that lasers were the best way to make quality, consistent cuts and designs. So we upgraded. Right now we use both Epilog and Universal brand lasers, which are some of the most popular and dependable in the world. We also backed a campaign on Kickstarter for the Glowforge, a professional grade laser that you can put on your desk at home.

eBay Laser Cutter Wiring

The two settings that make the largest difference in a job are the speed and the power. It’s a fine line keeping the speed up to get jobs done more quickly, because you need a slower speed and higher power to cut cleanly through the wood. Trial and error tends to work better than science in nailing these settings down, which is often the case for handcrafted goods.

Laser cutting and engraving tends to come in two forms: raster engraving and vector cutting.

You can think of raster engraving as like an inkjet printer or a 3D extrusion machine: it goes left-to-right, moves down slightly, goes left-to-right again, and so on. Except instead of shooting out ink, it shoots out a laser. This is how we engrave a 2D surface into the wood. Vector cutting follows a line (it can be straight or curved, like in a circle), and allows for the intricate cuts and designs you see in some pieces.

At the end of a job, the smell of burnt wood reminds us of a fun night spent by the campfire. And sometimes if your box has been packed just right, you can get a whiff of it as well.