Thank you to my Dutch friends for publishing the wood and moss engagement ring in their issue of Home and Garden! Now off to find someone to translate this…. oh and Happy Thanksgiving!
It is quite possibly the simplest form of wallets. Though make no mistake, it still takes a few steps and a couple of tricks to get it looking just right. In this tutorial I have photographed every step in making this leather wallet from figuring out the dimensions, to preparing the edges, dyeing, and hand stitching. If you have been following along in the past month or two you may have seen my leather belt tutorial as well, it’s worth checking out after you stitch this little guy together. Since this is a fairly long post (~ 100 photos), I am going to jump right to it. Give yourself almost 2 hours if this is your first project.
Above are all the essential tools required for this wallet. From left to right: Steel ruler, wax pencil, rolling cutter, edge creaser, stitching groove cutter, edge beveler size 0, 6 diamond shaped hole punch, scissors, two hand sewing needles, waxed thread, stitching pony (I built this one myself, but you can buy them online pre-made). Up top I have a rubber pounding mat to absorb the punch later on.
The type of leather I am using is called vegetable tanned. It is a type of tanning that allows me to work with the leather, mark it, and dye it. I chose a scrap 3-4 oz. piece that measured more towards the 3 oz. side – meaning it’s a bit skinny.Pin It
This video must be shared. It makes a decent mockery of all those maker videos out there. Everything about it is well thought out – so much so…that if you were thinking of making your own video about your work/workshop/art you may want to take some notes.
A few things are straight from Hell. They include both migraines and 40 year old table saws with missing blade guards. I had both, now I am left with only one…and it’s for sale on Craigslist. If I were you, I’d pay 100 bucks just to steer clear of this thing, it’s maniacle.
First, let’s set things straight, things have been getting quite busy here and I have been writing less. Second – about 6 years ago my migraines started, and only about 6 weeks ago did I finally decide to do something about it. No more meds. Just a cowboy in yoga poses, getting pricked with acupuncture needles, and quitting the only real vice he had left…his morning cowboy coffee. It’s all working and I have been on the path to recovery for the last three weeks. So now it’s time to take care of that beast that lives in the garage, destined to return to the fiery pits of hell, along with migraines.
But before we get there…let me explain the underlying reason why it all started in the first place. When things tend to get busy in the workshop (especially this last month) – my mind likes to wander. Sometimes it gets a bit difficult to create the same things day in and day out. Certain items I sell are super popular and I get to make them a lot. Don’t get me wrong – I love making these things, I wouldn’t if I didn’t, but my creative mind loves to dream up new projects. New things to make, new challenges, and new things to learn. I had found that in the last several months the only new ideas I was thinking of creating would survive if I thought they would sell well in the shop. This is not the right way to think. Let me repeat that…ahem, you get the point. Take away that commercial part of thinking if you really want to feel that creative pulse. By only making things to sell and designing them to be affordable, I have been depriving myself of a lot of greater challenges. I am not sure what exactly brings across these epiphanies, it may be getting away for a weekend, or just stopping to actually think through problems for a second in my busy day (queue meditation, and Japanese gong).
Either way – it was a landmark epiphany that has come at the perfect time. I have decided to hunker down and start teaching myself the finer points of woodworking on larger projects. I aim to build a few pieces of furniture, something a bit more complex than my workshop table. The plan is to learn more traditional joinery techniques, a better understanding of power tools and their use on larger projects, and how I can incorporate my own design into common furniture pieces. I am looking forward to the challenge, for those that want to follow along and pick up some of the same tips that I will be getting – you might consider signing up for an account at FineWoodworking.com (definitely no – I am not at all affiliated) – it will give you access to their library of videos about woodworking tips, tricks and techniques. It seems like one of the best ones out there, though there are a few others that I might consider as well.
Step one: Find and purchase a decent table-saw. The one I have been using in the shop is not exactly the safest in the world. In fact – writing about this right now reminds me to take some pics to post here…and on craigslist. It has no blade guard, no riving knife (used to keep the cut wood from slipping back onto the saw …thus kicking back onto your face), the fence used to align the wood doesn’t lock down tightly, which is a big concern actually. And it honestly scares the crap out of me every time I have had to use it. Especially when I was cutting a huge plywood sheet for the workshop table. That thing felt like it was aiming at me from all directions. Not fun. Time to chuck it. Now I have my eye on this beauty here, and you wont believe what it does when you see it, but…just check it out:
And I ain’t talkin’ about your partner wanting you to clean the dishes tonight.
As part of my continuous addiction to improving my craft, quality and knowledge of leathercraft… I plunked down some dollar bills for a new hand press. Shiny, red and packing more than 12 tons of pressure, this here press forces pre-cut steel dies into the leather allowing me to cut out complex shapes with sheer accuracy. Each pattern used in making the steel dies has been tested for a few weeks to make sure that no further tweaking is necessary. That’s important when you get to the next step – creating a vector image of the pattern for the metal worker to cut the die shape from. Though I have heard that it is possible to mail in your paper pattern and have them create the die from it – in case you are lacking sufficient computer skills!
It is hand operated and uses a hydraulic pump – much like a car jack attached to a steel plate. You can buy these pre-made through a company called Texas Custom Dies or…if you have some welding experience – build your own! Here’s where to get started on that – a typical shop press from Harbor Freight, and a quick guide to how the press is constructed. (Just make sure to use cold rolled steel for the plates).
The morning was upon me like a load of bricks. The sun had not yet risen. It was 5 am and this morning I woke up with a pleasant cold. Not quite the best start to the day, but also not something a pot of cowboy coffee can’t handle! To turn the day around I whipped up this new wallet design. Here’s a quickie glimpse at a custom ordered biker wallet, named: Harland.
It is more or less your classic biker chain wallet with double snaps, a credit card slot, and a divided bill slot.
The bottom right corner is fitted with a grommet to hook the chain to.
If you want to know what my workbench typically looks like after a custom project, check this out above – I keep sliding things around, working in the clear spaces until it is all gone. I am considering adding this design to the shop soon… who wants one?Pin It
It’s an item most of us wear every day, and it’s also one worth considering making yourself. In this leather belt tutorial I take you through my entire process, step by step, with very detailed photos and explanations. With only a few simple tools and a cutting of leather, you can make your own leather belt in no time at all…well maybe an hour or two with some practice. Let’s jump on into it:
First you are going to want to figure out the belt size needed. The easiest way to do this is to take a belt you already own, put it on, cinch it to your favorite belt hole, and measure all the way around. In this tutorial, I am going to start from the
In my belt making toolset I use the following from left to right: Rolling razor, straight edge ruler (the longer the better), skiver, strap hole punch (1 inch long), edge beveler (size 3), strap cutter, hole puncher, belt tip cutter (or scissors), and on top the tape measure. As for materials – any long piece of 8-9 oz vegetable tanned leather will do (this is the type you can dye and really work with). Oh – and you will want to pick out your belt buckle (wideness will determine belt wideness), and your method of securing the belt buckle and belt loop. You can use line 20 snaps as I have done for a removable belt buckle, or rivet everything in place for a permanent fixture.
Now we need to create a straight edge on the leather to rest the strap cutter against. Lay your leather out flat, mark a long straight line on one side, about 45 inches for waists that measure 32 inches. Add an inch for each inch bigger of waist size. Cut down that straight line with your razor.
At each end of your cut, make a perpendicular cut – this will allow the strap cutter to enter and exit the leather.
On your strap cutter – first set the thickness knob so that the 8-9 oz leather will fit through it. Then set the width to your liking. On my belts I make them all 1 1/4 inch wide, this fits the particular belt buckle that I include with them.
Press the straight edge side of the leather against the strap cutter and slowly feed the leather into the cutter. Always make sure the side of the leather is pressed against the cutter as this will make for a nice parallel cut. Once the leather comes out the other end of the cutter, grab it with your free hand and help pull it, while also pulling the cutter towards you. Take this step nice and slow. Every time I have tried to speed things up – I ended up with a long piece of cut leather that varied in width and was unusable. When you screw up a belt – that’s quite a bit of unusable leather!
UPDATE: Giveaway closed. Winners have been announced in this month’s newsletter. Everyone else gets a coupon for $8.
So… raise your glass to winning a free:
♦ Wild Bill Wallet ♦
♦ Missouri Cuff ♦
♦ $25 Gift Card ♦
Three winners will be picked, and the winner gets to choose their loot, just one though!
How to enter:
Subscribe to the Mr. Lentz Newsletter, only sent out about once a month highlighting new creations, new tutorials, inspiring posts, and all around good news from the workshop. (If you are already signed up, don’t worry – you are automatically entered!)
Bonus entry: Share this post on Facebook, tweet it, or blog about it…they will count as extra entries! Entries will close on Sunday October 13 at 11:59pm Pacific Standard Time. Good Luck Y’all!