Five Star Leather Jackets

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by TooManyHatsOnlyOneHead, Sep 23, 2020.

  1. Canuck Panda

    Canuck Panda Practically Family

    Long post, readers be aware. This is a post about my 5Star journey so far:

    It started here when I saw this thread. And then I sent Shawn this for my first jacket:
    Five Star Beck Jacket Custom Details.jpg
    Yeah, I tried to copy Himels bike jacket with fur for the ladies.
    The sleeves turned out too baggy, so I corrected that and went two more: All goatskins
    5star mk123.jpg
    I tried and failed to get an "arctic issue" cycle queen grizzly, but thanks to Shawn for working with me on custom waxing the conic goat.
    Then it was onto more jackets based on the same pattern block that I now know works. I sent him some Horween green Cavalier HH which is like chromexcel but thinner and brighter color. The Teamster copy was an accident because I didn't know how much leather was needed and I sent too much. And I just lengthen the existing block to make the teamster copy.
    All goats except the greens:
    5star mk45678.jpg
    My journey came to a bump in the road when I tried out the CHL. It is not Shawn's fault. Did any of us ask for softer leather? We asked for thick and CXL finish and he delivered on both. But the leather is too stiff for jacket wear. The natural one could work, maybe.
    5star mk910.jpg
    There is nothing wrong with 5star pattern.

    I have the "best" patterns from Vanson and JL. Both does what it is suppose to do, the back stays down while the arm extend forward. 5Star does this well too, except the CHL because it's too stiff. Not pattern, but leather problem. If either of my Vanson or JL had the CHL it wouldve been the same problem.
    Vanson Highwayman Fit Washed 04.jpg
    Johnson M500 Fit Deerskin 04.jpg
    Five Stars:
    5Star Gunrunner Fit Russet Goat 04.jpg
    5Star Green Wrangler Speedster Fit 05.jpg
    5Star Dark Brown Steer 04.jpg
    CHL especially the brown one is just too stiff for jackets. I am sorry Shawn got caught up in this. I am sorry members here including myself bought into this. But it got nothing to do with Shawn as a reliable jacket maker and definitely nothing wrong with the 5 star patterns.

    More 5star jackets on the way. Yes, I am a big fan of 5star. Because it's a lot of value. The quality is on par with Western brands, but at lower price. And Shawn's willingness to try anything for his customers. JL does this too, but they cost more than 5Star.

    Have a great weekend everyone that took the time to read this post!
    Robbie79, Aloysius, navetsea and 10 others like this.
  2. Jin431

    Jin431 Call Me a Cab

    Bay Area CA
    @TheDonEffect fit pics? thanks for the detailed report and constant updates!

    @Canuck Panda man, that's crazy how many project you have already with them! 5* is pure fun lol especially when it works out
    Canuck Panda likes this.
  3. TheDonEffect

    TheDonEffect A-List Customer

    Try beating the living crap out of the CHL, mines actually softened up really nicely, so I imagine if you just leave it in the dryer for a whole day with some softballs instead of tennis balls, it should do something similar. Honestly, the leather wears in beautifully, truly beautifully, I just love the color and character of it, and it's very pliable now.

    Regarding your other points, I don't disagree, but I will interject by focusing on one aspect to hopefully make my perspective clearer. The action back gussets. They're too small given my measurements. There is no geometric chance that they will lend any benefit to when I reach forward for handle bars. Further, there's no depth to them, I could extend them fully out reaching for a door knob, there's not enough depth to them to make up for the bulk it creates if that makes sense.

    To expound on this point further, consider that many people wear fitted, CXL jackets with zero action backs, and are just fine. I am not one of those people, I need some sort of extra function so I can do simple things like tie my shoes. Or I need the jacket to be made alot bigger, ala early 90s style.

    So alot of the issues is with me, and I accept that, and I calculated that into my decision when I decided to move forward with this, and I hope I made that clear. You don't see me asking about how do I get my money back or any of that nonsense, I knew what I signed up for, Shawn delivered what he promised and was aces to deal with, and well it didn't pan out for me.

    But here's the thing to consider, the fact that he is willing and able to make anything you can dream up, for his price point, does come with a cost- there is no practical satisfaction guarantee.

    So I'm here now with a $350 beautifully made fit jacket. So if I go with second jacket, I am now at $700. That's the about the cost of a JL/Vanson jacket using their stock leathers, and I get a money back guarantee of sorts.

    With all of that said, again, the jacket is beautiful to me, so much so it's next to my work desk right now so I can think about how I can make this marriage work. The jacket does fit, it's just masochistic trying to use it for anything.

    Negative, but overall the fit is actually really good, I'd probably go a bit more snug around the forearm, everything else would just to be make it more functional, but as a jacket on me as a manikin, the fit looks good.
    Jin431 likes this.
  4. Bahabp100

    Bahabp100 Practically Family

    Did anyone order the black? 2.0mm 7506575C-BAC4-4AFC-9045-9DCE05697E97.jpeg FEBD96DA-B1B7-43C2-8EB1-9864002645EC.jpeg which Shawn says that he “softened”
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2021
    navetsea likes this.
  5. Canuck Panda

    Canuck Panda Practically Family

    Your write up on the fivestar CHL is right on point. If I had read it before I pulled the CHL trigger, I would have gone with other leather like the buffalo or back to goat. And like you said, it was not Shawn's fault or the customers, but the end product also wasn't what we were expecting.

    The 5* CHL jacket is NOT a 350 dollars CXL Jacket.

    I also think you are on point on the real CXL. Without full action backs they just don't work. No one has really talked about it before. I have CXL with plain back, shoulder gussets, fixed yoke and middle action back, and full action back. The only thing that works is full action back or when the jacket has super boxy shape like the Highwayman. Neither shoulder gussets, or fixed yoke middle action back are sufficient for mobility.
    Same as 5*, I don't think Aero has pattern problem. But the issue is the stiffness of the cold CXL leather:
    CXL vs CHL.jpg

    My experience with the real CXL only worked (in jacket's mobility) when the leather is thinner. Full action back or super boxy patterns works. Fixed yoke or shoulder gusset don't work.
    If the stiffness of CXL is about 3/10 when warmed up, and 5/10 when cold, then the CHL is always 5/10 to 6/10 in stiffness.
    The CHL needs to soften to 3/10 or better, from the factory, for it to be a real competitor of CXL. Right now it is not even close.

    I have one on order. The new black CHL.
    For comparison, I have some Badalassi cowhide in the same thickness, 2.2mm, and soft temper, 2/10 in stiffness. And the new CHL in black does look similar in softness when the leather is squeezed. From the photo it looks like a 3/10 to 4/10 stiffness.
    I will report back when I get the second generation CHL jacket. I would NOT recommend it based on my previous CHL experiences. I can only recommend goatskin for 5 Star jackets for now. Don't waste your cash on the CHL until it's proven.
  6. Bahabp100

    Bahabp100 Practically Family

    What about in a boxy Trucker style jacket ?
  7. Dionysus

    Dionysus New in Town

    Just horrible pattern, that's all. I know some people gonna bring out their price, so you spend $350 and receive something you can not wear and still saying "Hey, it is a bargain"
  8. ton312


    After 200 plus pages…largely success stories, that dog won’t hunt.
  9. MrProper

    MrProper One Too Many

    What is your problem?
    Why are you getting personal?
    MoFo and Aloysius like this.
  10. TheDonEffect

    TheDonEffect A-List Customer

    I actually would recommend the chl believe it or not, the color and character is beautiful, and also keep in mind I got the skived version as well, to like 2.5oz or so. After tumbling it in my drier the leather is soft, jacket won't stand in it's own, etc etc.

    But I would only recommend it to those that have had experience with cxl leather. For instance, I'll never recommend raw 16+oz denim to anyone that's never dealt with it before.

    But to reiterate, there are engineering issues with my jacket that's amplified by my personal fit challenges, but they are there. The construction on the other hand I find no fault in. The action back for instance lacks any depth to be usable and the opening is too short. It's like it's there for looks, like non functional cuff buttons on suits.

    But I can't fault 5* for the end product, I knew what I signed up for, allot of the ownership is on the customer end, especially when you consider there is no guarantee. So that's the rub.

    Regarding stiff leather in general, yes I'm with you, these stiff leathers are highly romanticized much like raw denim. But I will say though the character of these stiff leathers are hard to beat and hard to replicate otherwise. And whatever protective qualities they may have, it's negated by the restricted mobility.
    Canuck Panda and Riu like this.
  11. TheDonEffect

    TheDonEffect A-List Customer

    Btw, I just saw that Shawn is setting up a textile production line... So textile jackets. Now this gets me really excited, I had a Gap field jacket that I friggin loved but couldn't find a nice replacement for, so if he stocks some durable canvas, game on!
    Riu likes this.
  12. 5thumbs

    5thumbs New in Town

    Need some advice please.

    I'm looking to order a cossack style jacket from Shawn. I already have an A2 which I bought a couple of years ago from him. It fits almost perfectly as a standard off the rail size and is in the seal brown goat. I'm not too keen on that particular leather as it is a bit stiff and plasticky although in the last two years it has softened up quite a bit and looks pretty good now.

    I don't want to order a custom jacket at this stage. My plan is to buy off the rail knowing that it will fit pretty well, and to use the jacket as a basis for refining my measurements if I decide to buy another 5* jacket in future.

    My question is - should I go for the cossack in steer hide or buffalo? I understand the steer hide is generally a bit softer although I like the graininess of the buffalo better. My worry is that I don't want another stiff plasticky leather so any opinions on the leather from existing owners would be very welcome.
  13. Riu

    Riu Practically Family

    I have the steer and all I can say is that it's got no character at all, it looks almost as new after wearing it for over 6 months don't know about the buffalo though. So far their best leather was the premium goat.
    MrProper likes this.
  14. Kevin the Devon

    Kevin the Devon New in Town

    Hobbes1, Jin431 and MrProper like this.
  15. 5thumbs

    5thumbs New in Town

  16. PilotJens

    PilotJens One of the Regulars

    I will post pictures of my russet steer Cossack later .It gets some character but It takes time .The sleeves have an early taper on that pattern so it requires a more intensive break in or wider sleeves in general .
  17. Canuck Panda

    Canuck Panda Practically Family

    @TheDonEffect Wait, so the thinned down CHL leather does get softer? That's good to know. There is still hope for mine. I soaked mine once without it getting softer and I gave up. I will try your tumble dryer method to see if it helps.

    You mean Trucker jacket in boxier cut made in CHL? Ugh. This is tough.
    On one hand, CHL is the best looking leather Shawn offers now. It could possibly be full grain cow front shoulders like the Badalassi that will age beautifully.
    But on the other hand, I haven't had success to get mine to a softness level I'd like it to be. So NO. I'm sorry I still can't endorse the CHL yet, even thinned down, and boxy cut, because I haven't been able to soften it myself. Maybe a few weeks from now I will be able to soften it but not now.

    Anybody here has a leather jacket from Shawn that is "naked"? Like there is no top coat, aniline finished leather?
    Jin431 likes this.
  18. TheDonEffect

    TheDonEffect A-List Customer


    Yes, mine is the skived down version of the CHL, as far as I know I'm the first to have it too. And yes, it breaks in nicely, I threw it in the drier for about 4 hours with three tennis balls without heat, and just sprayed it down in the shower a few times, and it softened right up, nothing else, no oils or anything. I mean it's not lambskin soft/pliable, but will definitely not stand on its own, not even close, and it lost of a good amount of it's rubber-like memory and feels alot more like a bike jacket.
    Canuck Panda and Jin431 like this.
  19. Tark

    Tark New in Town

    Put in an order for a customized AN-6552 in that new seal brown Aero jacket from last year got too small thanks to exercise and Shawn's willingness to take custom measurements is a real advantage. This time I'm using the measurements of a size 38 Buzz Rickson (albeit with narrower shoulders) taken from HPA so I can fit in a thick sweater over my 92 cm chest
    Canuck Panda likes this.
  20. Mrkurtz

    Mrkurtz New in Town

    Let us know what you think of the seal buffalo. I was looking at it for a Cossack build but was concerned it may be too rigid. Most of the positive feedback on the forum seems to be on the goatskin. Other leathers seem to be more controversial. So that is why I used premium goatskin on an A1 that is in transit.

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