As woodworking is my main hobby, obsession, meditation etc., I do not usually venture in other crafts … usually. But I have recently been contemplating a journey into the wild and wonderful world of leather work. This is mainly a desire to make items for my tools such as sheaths and various means to protect my tool’s sharp edges from each other and my skin.
I have several cases and sheathes I have purchased or inherited and I still have several items that need to be protected. I have some Axes, adz’ and drawknives in dire need.
This was all pretty back burner stuff until I saw this article on “The Art Of Manliness” website. This is a great site for all men, young and old who want to get in touch with their inner manly self. The article describes how to build a wallet that will last the rest of your life. Not the flimsy crap you buy in a store that look great until you put stuff in it and actually use it. I knew I could make this wallet. It had a template and great instructions.
I do have some limited experience with working leather. Growing up, my neighbor was a multitalented and incredibly smart man. One of his hobbies was leather working. He made his own trick roping saddle which was beautiful and very functional. He graciously and patiently taught me to do basic stuff like tooling and dyeing. I made a belt with my name on it (i’m sure I wore this belt out). This was a very fond memory because he took the time to help a curious and eager youngster learn to craft leather. He is gone now but definitely not forgotten. His attention to detail and drive for excellence have influenced me ever since.
After deciding to make the wallet, I went over to my local Tandy Leather Factory and purchased some leather and other supplies to do the job. First off, at Tandy you cannot buy just 1’x 2′ piece of leather. They offer large pieces, scraps or kits. I chose scraps as they had some 3-4 oz. scraps big enough for this project. With supplies in hand I went home and started working.
The first thing I had to do was to print out the pattern in the correct scale. The plans say you can print it full size on 11×17 , I suggest you have it printed at a place like Kinko’s if you want to make one. I finally printed the plan in 4 sheets and taped them together. I then cut out the individual pieces and used them as the cutting guides for the parts. I actually used pushpins (in the hole locations on the corners) to attach the plan and leather to a board and then used a steel rule to cut them out. Also I had a old leather awe I bought, mistaking it for a bird cage awe, and it worked great in puncturing holes for the stitches.
After completing this project, I decided I can do leather work and that I actually enjoy it quite a bit. I love hand stitching! Who knew? In the vein of my original intent to make woodworking add-ons I made the small tool sheath for my Veritas Plow plane blades seen above. This was from the scraps I had left over from my wallet project. Now my blades do not have to hang out in the disgusting duct tape holder they were in, yuck!
I have since purchased some more tools and supplies and some more leather. I decided it would not do to have my new leather craft tools knocking around in a box, so I hastily added a tool rack to my repurposed Clementine box and the picture below shows the result. This is a temporary solution, but so far it is proving quite convenient. I see a new woodworking shop project in my future, after I build my spring pole lathe of course.