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My Story About The Tyger


Hello, I am Mark Goodwin and welcome to Tyger Forge.

I got into belt buckle making because I needed a buckle to wear with my kilt. Everything was factory made, chromed pot metal. Ugly and cheap. So, I bought some metal, made some buckles, and sold them around the world.

Success with my fancy kilt belt buckles led to my crafting more elaborate wildlife theme casual and dress buckles. I hand tool each unique buckle one at a time by traditional methods using 100% recycled metals including bronze, nickel, pewter, brass, copper, and tin, and gemstones such as turquoise, ruby, sunstone, and agate.* Though similar at first glance, no two buckles are the same. 

Now, bolo ties and cuff links are being added to the collections. All materials are sourced in the USA.
I specifically chose these metals because each one possesses beautiful natural colors. To make the metal shine, I rub it against stainless steel shot, and then apply a warm turpentine and beeswax finish. No paint or lacquer is used because, while these coatings are bright for a while, they eventually will yellow, crack, chip, and wear away. Wax finishes give off a soft glow, and are fairly durable. Of course, wax can be re-applied (or not) on occasion, according to the desire of the owner.

Unwaxed buckles will gradually acquire the patina colors that only come with age, wear, and atmospheric chemicals that are prevalent in your environment. 

Leather belts are USA made solid leather. Bolo ties are USA made 10 ply hand braided leather with flat neck straps, so your shirt collar lays flat and wears comfortably.

In the field, I love to wear web belts because they are comfortable and strong. However, I quickly tired of those belts because they loosened. Those slide bar buckles simply would not hold firm.

They slipped. So aggravating.

A better design was needed.

So, I spent 2 years developing my solid brass GatorGrip© buckle and ballistic nylon belt to cure that problem once and for all. The nylon belt is woven and custom dyed to my specifications.

Handsome, comfortable, strong, and rustproof. Everything a sporting man and woman wants.

When you buy one GatorGrip© belt, you will see why "My toothy grip will never slip!" You won't want any other work belt. You will buy them for your friends. They will be impressed.

I make everything to order. If I am in the studio, then it might take 2 days to 3 weeks. If I am in the field it can take a bit longer.

Mark Goodwin

Apalachicola, Florida and Tiger, Georgia

* Gold and silver are available on request 





Dr. Goodwin is internationally recognized for his belt buckles, and he is a World Champion Belt Buckle Competition finalist.


People ask: "Why Tyger?" It is because the first British explorers, upon hearing the eastern cougar and panther screams, and having had experience with 'tygers' in India, feared that there were also tygers in America. That is how Tyger Mountain got it's name. My Tiger (originally spelled Tyger) Georgia Blue Ridge studio looks out at Tyger Mountain. The Tyger is also a poem that speaks of anvil, hammer, fire, and forge. So, Tyger Forge is a natural name for me.