Picked up a very interesting pair of Otis Baker braces from Carter & Jasper/Rambling Irishman. Patrick Landrum (Jacks and Tens) had them artfully displayed in a rubbermaid box at the STRI combined battlefield park arty living history this past weekend. Like finding gold in a box of straw, the braces practically jumped right out of the box and into my hands, and I could not put them on my trowsers fast enough.
The history is pretty well known on the Otis Bakers, they are copied from a pair in the Jackson Mississippi museum, etc, but it is the quality of the reproductions that stuns. Tim Koehn is the maker, and his mark is nicely placed on the back. The originals were obviously custom made for Baker as they combine a few features of what we would call a "farmer" or "poor boy" pair of braces (handsewn button holes, two separate braces, no leather tabs on either end), but also feature some excellent hardware in the form of japanned two prong buckles, and with the common two tabs (per brace) front of the same custom blue/white striped webbing. These two prong japanned buckles are the best quality I have seen.
Personal preference, but I like to add an overlapping piece of material on the back of one of the braces to act as a "slide" where they cross in back. Currently in the process of throwing out most of the braces I've made myself or modified as they look like garbage next to this kind of material and workmanship.