We’ve reached peak denim. Menswear archaeologists of the future will look back on 2015 as the year every abandoned warehouse in the San Francisco Bay produced artisanal denim goods. Most brands won’t survive the end of the year. One new company that’s here to stay? Monrovia, California’s Railcar Fine Goods. This up-and-comer crafts quality denim using truly antique manufacturing equipment—we’re talking more than a century old.

Founder, owner and dogsbody Steven Dang still works on the production line alongside the crew. He founded Railcar four years ago when he was still working as a diesel mechanic for the Metro in Los Angeles. When I show up at his 1,000-square foot factory, office and storefront in Monrovia, a suburb about half an hour outside of the city, he’s dressed in a pair of his own jeans and a flannel shirt he made a few years ago.

Denimheads, the crowd of people who think nothing of dropping $400 on a pair of jeans, aren’t an easy group to please. It’s not terribly surprising that people who would spend that kind of coin on jeans would be so particular about such a simple garment. Most new American brands cropping up over the last few years (often derided as “peak denim”) earn themselves nothing but scorn. Dang and company, however, have quickly garnered a loyal fanbase in a crowded market, as well as respect in the overall community.

“I don’t run this like a cool, hip denim company. I run it like a manufacturing business. I’m just a regular guy. If I like something, I figure other people will like it too.”

He credits this to a total ignorance of “the industry” and an emphasis on the finished product. “Because we do everything in-house and I work the line we can catch problems right away.” Dang takes me over to the keyhole machine, a piece of industrial equipment that makes the top button hold and is older than my parents. It’s been making one stitch slightly “off.” I can see what he means when he shows me, but I probably would have worked that machine for weeks before I noticed.

Dang has a savant-like attention to detail when it comes to his own product. That’s an indispensable quality for a man running a company on antique manufacturing equipment, some of which predates World War I. “I can fix just about anything,” Dang says, boasting in his quiet, direct and honest manner.

“I’m not a denim head or a fashion guy,” he says. “I never have been.” Dang wanted good, durable clothes that he could wear for years and not have them go out of fashion. He wanted something to wear while he built cafe racer motorcycles, worked on trains for the Metro or when out to see one of his friend’s rockabilly bands. And while he’s had to become a bit of an aficionado after founding Railcar, that wasn’t the initial intention.

More than anything, he wanted to make his own clothes. “In the grand scheme of things, I’m just a maker of stuff,” he says. In addition to Railcar and motorcycles, Dang likes to work on classic cars—he owns three—in his spare time. A saddle he made for one of his cafe racers carries a Railcar Fine Goods tag. “Maybe one day I’ll sell those,” he says.

The attention to detail goes beyond just process, though process helps. His denim jackets have their pockets stitched on last, making manufacturing harder but ensuring that the pockets actually line up. When jeans come in for tapering and other alterations, they’re not actually “altered” in the strictest sense. Rather, Dang and company take the jeans apart and put them back together again according to customer specs. All stitching is continuous, meaning that if thread runs out in the middle of construction, stitching starts over. Dang’s standards are exacting, but it results in an obviously superior product.

Despite being the Rain Man of old manufacturing processes, Dang is a surprisingly normal and down-to-earth guy. “I don’t run this like a cool, hip denim company,” he explains. “I run it like a manufacturing business.” In fact, his overwhelming “normal-ness” is part of why the company is able to succeed. “I’m just a regular guy,” he says. “If I like something, I figure other people will like it too.”

This business strategy seems to have worked for Railcar Fine Goods so far. He’s got seven styles of men’s jeans, a men’s denim jacket, six varieties of women’s jeans, three handkerchief designs, a bag, an apron and a line of water-based pomades.

Railcar’s work is ultimately simple stuff for guys who don’t want a lot of flash but appreciate quality work. It exemplifies what American manufacturing can be… while simultaneously tipping its hat to America’s past.