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Inside Carbon

by Ryan Ward June 01, 2017 1 Comment

The vice on the Vanacci workbench, with the words made in England cast into it

The other week, we got rejected from a trade show on account of us not being manufacturers. If you're reading this, you might not know that we do manufacture our products. But we do.


Man building a carbon evo wallet by hand using glue

To set the record straight, we very much manufacture. Each member of the company is involved in the manufacturing process. Whether threading bracelets, polishing steel or gold-plating cufflinks, we all get stuck in. Manufacturing is very much the lifeblood of Vanacci, with design being the soul. Everyday, we're making things to be sent all around the world, and the next day and the next day. 

Front Stainless steel component for wallet being drilled

In the beginning, we had a huge amount of Carbon wallets to produce and not long to make them. We had a hundred to build and ship out in time for Christmas that year (a window of 2-3 weeks of production and shipping once we had received materials) and a further five hundred to ship out before April the next year.

Internal components for the carbon evo wallets drying in a stack

Game on.
Once we had the components come in, it was time to build up the very first production model. Everything looked good so it was time to bring the hammer down and get to work.
There was an immense amount of filing, tumbling, gluing, hammering, bending, pressing, plating, polishing, cladding and testing that went into this very first batch. We made a lot of mistakes, some big, some small. But we managed to get everything made. There were many late nights and a lot of volunteer work from friends and family. 


Stainless steel wallet components bolted together for polishing

We learned a lot about the manufacturing process itself. Though laser cut, aluminium was a pain to work with and stainless steel was even worse. We should have used solid copper in lieu of plated brass as the plating process was extremely time consuming. Polishing metal is an activity that definitely requires purpose built facilities, not a curtain over you in a corner. Also, respirators are a good idea. Turns out superglue isn't that big a deal as an adult. We've all been stuck to stuff so many times now I doubt we'd warn our children about it. It's not a big deal.


Man building a carbon evo wallet putting in final screws

Today, we make a maximum of seven Carbon Evos per day and we can't always make them everyday. We swapped out aluminium for steel as the standard and gave Evo a laser sintered skeleton which houses the ejection and grip mechanisms. The slider is now sprung loaded, returning it to the bottom of the wallet with a satisfying 'click' and each is still hand polished and hand made by all of us here.

Nearly finished carbon wallets stacked ready for leather

The first iteration of Carbon was difficult to make. But this initial foray into
manufacturing was a steep learning curve which we continue to climb, albeit better equipped to tackle the challenges of keeping our products handmade.

Ryan Ward
Ryan Ward

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June 08, 2017


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