I’m happy to report that, after an extraordinarily long time in R&D and production on this project, I now have completed the Keybrief TKL. It is a pretty limited run (100 per style), but it is currently available and shipping.
This bag is Made in the USA, primarily in California and is about as nerdily custom as it gets. There is an option for a modular numpad, which connects via military-style MOLLE loops. It uses calfskin from United Leather in Los Angeles, Made-in-USA Cordura, a soft tech suede lining, and a custom-cast zipper pull made in New England, USA.
It is designed for the Norbaforce and Norbatouch, but should fit pretty much any TKL nicely. If you don’t mind having some extra room in the bag, it should work with <80% board as well.
This video shows a bit of the production of the bags themselves:
And this one the work that goes into making the cast-metal itty-bitty Norbaforce zipper pulls (made by the same high-end jewelry workshop that does my Norbaforce keyrings).
Even though it took forever to design, develop, and produce, this was a really fun project, and I’m happy to answer any questions anyone may have.
Oh, and I also have swappable Velcro patches. I was only medium-happy with the Goldwork patches I got on the Heavy-6 bags, so I found a better vendor and am really happy with the results on this batch.
Thanks! They’ve actually been selling quite vigorously so far, to my surprise (I always operate on the assumption that the things I’m most personally excited about won’t be interesting to most people,) but you should be good until tonight.
Hi @norbauer: I found these on your website, and the description says that the patches are not compatible with the Heavy-6 bag. Could you shed some light as to why, and discuss whether such patches will be made available for the bag in the future?
Colossal factory incompetence, unfortunately. It wasn’t the fault of the bag factory but rather the company I worked with to make the patches for the Heavy-6 bags. Despite including in my instructions the following image:
…and getting samples that were correctly oriented, on the production patches the Velcro type was reversed, with the wool on the patch side. The production patches went directly to the bag factory to avoid a delay to their production schedule, so I didn’t have an opportunity catch the problem. The bag factory assumed that this was an intentional deviation from the design/sample and, trying to be helpful (but without telling me), reversed the hooks/loops orientation on the bag to be compatible with the erroneous patches that were sent. It wasn’t until the very last step of this process, when it was much too late to do anything about it and they had arrived here in Silicon Valley that I actually discovered the issue. The patches on the Heavy-6 bag are fine and they do still have the feature of allowing you to remove it for an unbranded look, which was the original intention. They’re just unfortunately not compatible with the swappable add-on patches where the hooks are on the patch side (which is the optimal way to do it).
I had actually ordered Keybrief bag patches from the same vendor, but given this error and the fact that I thought the original patch factory could have done a better job aesthetically, I threw out the whole batch of patches I had ordered for the TKL bags and ordered a new set for the Keybrief, which is a big part of why it took so long to get these to market. Those new patch replacements, which are what are currently for sale and come on the Keybrief, have the correct orientation, look a bit nicer, and will be compatible with all my bags going forward. They just arrived on Thursday.
BTW, if anybody got a Heavy-6 bag and didn’t like the particular patch they got (if QC was a little off or something on yours), just let me know. I have a mountain of them now for which I have no other use and can always send a replacement.