Leather Work - First Attempt

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shingaling
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Leather Work - First Attempt

Postby shingaling » Fri Sep 30, 2011 6:53 am

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The four 'distressed' rivets on the cell case were original from the purse.
The two sheaths were made for the same knife - an Opinel #8, but both times it didn't work out!
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Cell case has a very sturdy belt clip.
The strap on the knife sheath wraps around the belt and snaps on the front. It's very secure and comfortable.
I've always had it in mind to try some leather work - to make a sheath or a possibles bag - so back when I was at the thrift store I started buying up handcrafted leather purses hoping I'd reuse them someday.

Earlier in the summer we got new cell phones. The new model is pretty big, and since I had trouble finding a belt case for it, I decided to craft something. I tore apart one of my old purses and started looking for pieces that would work. I don't know much yet about the 'weight'/thickness of leather, but suffice it to say, all of the leather pieces I collected are quite sturdy.

I tried to get the most use out of the scraps I had - just the same as if I were trying to get the most use out of a piece of flashing or Tyvek. Some of the purses had decorative stamping patterns, so I tried to make the most out of them. I tried to work with the curves that had already been formed in the purse (and found out through trial and error that you can't always reshape some parts that were previously wet formed or bent/folded repeatedly over time).

So here are the first three pieces I made: a cell phone holder, a simple sheath (started out as a knife sheath, but was too big, so now it holds a flashlight), and a horizontal carry knife sheath.
Any road followed precisely to its end leads precisely nowhere. Climb the mountain just a little bit to test that it's a mountain. From the top of the mountain, you cannot see the mountain.

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shingaling
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Re: Leather Work - First Attempt

Postby shingaling » Fri Sep 30, 2011 7:24 am

Leather Work - Part 2

I like sheaths, and I like bushcraft sheaths that have a firesteel and maybe a few little pockets for sharpening stones, etc. However, if I'm hiking in the local suburban conservation area (which is kind of crowded), I don't like broadcasting the fact that I have a sheath knife, which might be overkill for a day hike anyway.

The solution: find a..."woods walker" knife - in this case a Grohmann Canadian Trout & Bird - and make a sheath that almost disguises the fact that I'm carrying a knife. I wanted something along the lines of a possibles pouch, that just happened to have a sheath attached as well. As with my earlier projects, I also wanted to get the most out of the designs that were stamped in the old purse, and work along the lines of the previously formed purse parts.

So I played around with the leather for a long time, configuring it every which way until I had a viable plan, and started sewing. The end result is a good size, which dangles from a belt or can comfortably be carried under a jacket with a shoulder strap.
Attachments
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The horizontal pocket is about the size of a large eye-glass case. The flap, which was the original front flap of the purse, left a large gap at the front of the pocket, so I added a tin to block the space. The tin is glued and bolted on (you can see the screw heads on the front of the flap on the other picture), and it is held closed with a silicone wrist band.
Contents of the pocket: the usual gear. It's not the most convenient pocket, so I'd probably stuff it with things I don't normally use (but should carry, just in case) like a first aid kit.
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The knife is horizontal. About 2 fingers of handle stick out on the left side. There is a welt along that long line of stitching, which prevents the blade from cutting it.
The brass coloured loop on the upper right side is a firesteel. I didn't want to waste that space above the blade.
Does the whole contraption LOOK like a sheath??
Any road followed precisely to its end leads precisely nowhere. Climb the mountain just a little bit to test that it's a mountain. From the top of the mountain, you cannot see the mountain.

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shingaling
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Re: Leather Work - First Attempt

Postby shingaling » Fri Sep 30, 2011 7:37 am

Leather Work - Part 3

Again, I was just playing around, trying to use up my purse parts. This time I was going for a little pouch which would carry a knife and a typical "Altoids tin" survival kit. There is a belt loop on the back, and it also hangs nicely from a neck lanyard.

Overall, this thing is just...a pocket. It turns out, I already had some of those on my pants and jackets, but I'm just playing around. :lol: :lol: It would be nice to have a decent sized possibles pouch, but you gotta start somewhere.
Attachments
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Once again, I wanted to fit a #8 Opinel in the knife slot, but it was too small, so I went with a sleeker Trapper style knife. An AA sized mag lite will also fit.
Contents: the usual gear. And maybe a small deck of emergency playing cards.
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There are 7 eyelets around the top to run shock cord or para cord through. Will have to play with it to find the best configuration.
Any road followed precisely to its end leads precisely nowhere. Climb the mountain just a little bit to test that it's a mountain. From the top of the mountain, you cannot see the mountain.

sudden
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Re: Leather Work - First Attempt

Postby sudden » Fri Sep 30, 2011 8:20 am

The one in part 2 looks really clever.
"People are not persuaded by what we say, but rather by what they understand."

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zelph
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Re: Leather Work - First Attempt

Postby zelph » Sat Oct 01, 2011 9:17 am

For a beginner , you sure did good on your first attemp. :D Very clever how you incorporated the original bag parts into your design. Thrift stores are soo nice for collecting goodies. I started collecting leather belts to make a "welcome" mat for my camper. Thrift store prices per belt range from .50 cents up to a $1.00
I'll get a photo of them later today. I almost bought a couple of purses to make a possibles bag or two. Lots of leather jackets in the thrift stores also.

Did you get any soft leather bags for projects?

My thoughts are going in the direction of a shoulder harness type bag worn like the police have to carry their concealed weapon. Hmmmm!!

You gotta start somewhere, as you said. You got a great start, keep the interest going. By Monday, you should have more pieces complete. :D I may even be inspired to start on my welcome mat.

I have a piece of leather that I've had for many years that was part of a "good trade" I'll take a photo of it and see if someone can identify the animal it came from.

Thanks for the inspiration :D
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shingaling
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Re: Leather Work - First Attempt

Postby shingaling » Sat Oct 01, 2011 10:39 am

Leather Work - Some lessons learned

There are pros and cons when reusing leather bags. Probably the biggest is that you don't know the true condition of the leather. In one case, a piece taken from a good looking purse got extremely brittle when I attempted to wet form it around something. Part of it remained pliable, but the bottom part - which I assume was subjected to repeated folding when the purse was in use - became as dry and brittle as a cracker.

I'm fortunate to have a good local leather supply store. Those guys gave me tons of advice, and helped me select some basic starter tools. They are pros, however, and they grumble a bit when I tell them I'm reusing leather. Part of it is my make-do, DIY mentality - I got tired of seeing so many hand made pieces being thrown out at the thrift store - but I'm beginning to see the pitfalls of using mystery leather. If you have access to such a store, they probably have bins full of scrap pieces, so pick up some virgin material, which is no more expensive than a thrift store piece.

I don't mind paying for proper tools, which will last a long while, but I found myself constantly going back for hardware, and that got a bit pricey. Some of it, like "D" rings may be easy to scrounge elsewhere, but heavy snaps and fasteners intended for leather aren't.

I also picked up 2 Al Stohlman books: The Art of Hand Sewing Leather, and The Art of Making Leather Cases V1. I highly recommend Stohlman's books, which are among the best 'how-to' books I've ever seen. Each page is crammed to the margins with drawings and instructions, written with incredible detail (for example, he breaks down the sewing of a single stitch into 21 steps!). The book about cases (1 of 3 volumes) has dozens of examples that will suffice for many starter sewing projects.

Other things learned:
They ain't lying when they call it contact cement. :oops:
Don't check how well the knife fits the new sheath when the glue inside it is still curing. :oops: :oops:
A stitching pony, however crudely put together, is extremely handy for holding your work.
Any road followed precisely to its end leads precisely nowhere. Climb the mountain just a little bit to test that it's a mountain. From the top of the mountain, you cannot see the mountain.

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Ridgerunner
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Re: Leather Work - First Attempt

Postby Ridgerunner » Sat Oct 01, 2011 10:06 pm

Nice job shingaling. I made a nice leather belt and belt buckle in a college craft class that had a lot of carving and relief work. Too bad my belt size has expanded 7 inches :oops: Do you worry about your cell screen getting scratches by the inside rivets?

I think I gave my belt away but I located my buckle from college days:
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shingaling
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Re: Leather Work - First Attempt

Postby shingaling » Sun Oct 02, 2011 9:16 am

Do you worry about your cell screen getting scratches by the inside rivets?

Yes, the eyelets did make scratches. Luckily, I have a protective 'shell' by Otter box that snaps onto the phone, and a plastic sheet guard on the screen. After a week or so I noticed the scratches on the shell, so I took my case apart and glued a protective leather skin over the back of the eyelets.

I've reconfigured the case about 3 times, after discovering mistakes that never occurred to me.
Any road followed precisely to its end leads precisely nowhere. Climb the mountain just a little bit to test that it's a mountain. From the top of the mountain, you cannot see the mountain.

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zelph
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Re: Leather Work - First Attempt

Postby zelph » Sun Oct 02, 2011 10:01 pm

and they grumble a bit when I tell them I'm reusing leather.


:lol: I could just imagine them doing that :D

Thanks for the tips on "mystery leather" and the books you say are the best. I sure would like to put to good use a large piece of leather that I have. Here is a photo of it and some photos of the belts I've accumilated for the "welcome mat":
Attachments
Woodgaz for Kelly Kettle Large 013.jpg
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Woodgaz for Kelly Kettle Large 011.jpg
Woodgaz for Kelly Kettle Large 008.jpg
Woodgaz for Kelly Kettle Large 007.jpg
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