ABOUT D.F. Smith...



Donald F Smith of D.F. Smith Historic is a graduate of The Art Institute of Seattle & has gained knowledge over time in the mechanical arts & design from life experience.


Starting in 1980 D.F. Started working in the production machine shop of Helistrand Inc., tending 1882 Brown & Sharp Automatic screw machine, hand assembling hood cable assembly for semi-truck tractors and other steel cable products. Later becoming an 80 ton punch press and turret lathe operator, before most factories used computer aided machines.


He expanded his knowledge in illustration and multimedia art through advanced classes at Santa Barbara High School, and local Community College. Then moving on to The Art Institute of Seattle where he honed his skill in design, graphics & illustration, graduating in 1991.


 D.F. went back to school in 1994 to learn machining, welding & mechanical drafting. This again was all non-computer skill driven work.


All this results in hand work skills and a sharp eye for detail, accuracy & the ability to “read “an object or item & figure out “how” it was made, pattern and make that item with or without mechanical aid.


Later on in 1994 D.F. Smith, applied his knowledge from art & manufacturing to historical reproductions of 19th century accoutrements and clothing, starting with $34 and a sewing machine a friend gave him, he opened Trans-Mississippi Depot Company, eventually moving to Texas in 2000, making over 250 historically accurate items from scratch, as well as custom work.


D.F.’s knowledge was confirmed as equaling a Bachelor’s degree in 2003 when he was accepted into a “degreed” position as Historical Interpretive Park Ranger with Louisiana Office of State Parks at Mansfield State Historic Site, Civil War Battlefield. Solely based on his knowledge on 19th century materiel culture and life experience.


D.F. continued the ongoing quest for knowledge in the ”How” an item is made through self-taught experiences and formal education. Utilizing the skill set he has developed over 22 years, through schooling and solid experience, he has visited historical museums and private collections in Virginia, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Louisiana, California, Texas and Arkansas, as well as Canada & Ireland. Documenting original artifacts, producing detailed schematic drawings, later reproducing many of these items for private collectors.


In 2005 D.F. left Louisiana & moved his family to Arizona, where he became the Assistant Manager at Ft. Verde State Park. Leaving that position to pursue more opportunities, eventually closing Trans-Mississippi Depot Company in 2009. Accepting a position as Custom Leather Craftsman for Altai Leather in Jerome, AZ, …….and on to D.F. Smith Historic in 2016.




D.F. Smith has expanded into Modern Leather, offering depth of history to his pieces. Reflecting both functional modern design, 19th century sensibility & design aesthetics.


D.F. is offering an ongoing & developing line of creations as well as accepting custom projects from patrons. D.F. Smith can take your creative idea and make it reality.






D.F. Smith makes sure that All the items offered are copied directly from original examples in our own collection, or from examples in public museum collections or from private collections.


We strive to be as accurate as possible in all our work, to ensure you are getting the most accurate item possible, in look, feel, and materials. We strive to make your impression the best it can be.


You will find a complete list of items


Accoutrements, Haversacks, Knapsacks, Canteen & Rifle Slings, Tents,  Shirts, Underclothing & Uniforms, Caps & Hats, Personal Items


Custom work is welcome!!! D.F. Smith can make almost any item in leather, cloth and some metal work.


D.F. Smith can make your idea reality.