Strap making resources?

Straps, bracelets and parts

Strap making resources?

Postby JJMac » May 13th 2015, 12:31pm

I wondered if any one around these parts could offer advice on resources, how-tos, etc. for making leather watch straps? I pretty much have an endless supply of leather remnants (fabric remnants too), access to industrial sewing machines, etc. through work. So, I began wondering if I couldn't just fashion my own straps - but I have zero knowledge of techniques, etc. Any insight folks may have would be greatly appreciated. Naturally, I'll do some online searching, but I'm always grateful for the "know-a-guy-who-knows-a-guy" kind of advice!
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Re: Strap making resources?

Postby 3Flushes » May 13th 2015, 2:58pm

JJMac wrote:I wondered if any one around these parts could offer advice on resources, how-tos, etc. for making leather watch straps? I pretty much have an endless supply of leather remnants (fabric remnants too), access to industrial sewing machines, etc. through work. So, I began wondering if I couldn't just fashion my own straps - but I have zero knowledge of techniques, etc. Any insight folks may have would be greatly appreciated. Naturally, I'll do some online searching, but I'm always grateful for the "know-a-guy-who-knows-a-guy" kind of advice!


Hopefully, you have access to full grain hides. The only other thing to worry about would be the right thread, which from my experience is a heavy waxed cotton type- you furniture guys must have tons of it. If you have full grain leather, a good punch, (the sewing machine is a COOL advantage) just cut it out with the best quality utility knife you can buy, stitch it, sew in the hardware (available in a million places, I like Otto Frei-), and you're out. You may want to thin out about the last 1/3 of an inch on the buckle end a little bit to make a tab before folding the strap over to glue or sew the buckle into place. You can also do the same if necessary to form the spring bar tubes, It is very easy to do with a little doohickey called a skiver. Most manufacturers glue the fold-over to save about 2 minutes worth of sewing around the buckle, but, they stitch around the entire buckle side, so when the end is folded over it appears to be stitched through. For a top grain strap, use less backing material at the end to form the tab. I like to use a wire brush to scuff up the inside a little bit and then waterproof it with SnoSeal so I can wear straps during the summer without a herd of flies following me everywhere I go. I run the edges over a flame to burn off any fuzz, burnish them between the stitching and the edge, and then dye the edges black. I have picked up lots of tips (even the best way to put them on and take them off) by reading the catalogs of custom makers; they are anxious for your business and their marketing materials reveal a great deal of information about techniques and unique touches. I have several patterns that I traced onto coffee can lids and cut out. I had a tough time drawing them free hand, especially details,tapering ends and whatnot. If you're going to use top grain scraps, the facing, backing, and inside materials, adhesives, and conditioning all become issues that make it too much of a hassle for me to screw around with at home, and I'm not certain of the best of any of it to use.

Based on what a guy on the net does, I have started looking for old fucked up vintage full grain leather messenger bags, military leather etc., to take straps out of. A little saddle soap can really bring the grain and patina of that old shit to life, and it is incredibly cool looking. I have found full grain leather messenger bags that have holes in them or unraveled stitching, or dry crackley stuff, for $2 to $10. The military stuff, even in crappy shape is a little harder to come by, but can usually be found at a good swap meet pretty reasonably.
Last edited by 3Flushes on May 14th 2015, 6:19am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Strap making resources?

Postby koimaster » May 13th 2015, 3:22pm

http://www.instructables.com/id/Leather-Watch-Strap/



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Re: Strap making resources?

Postby JJMac » May 14th 2015, 11:58am

Thanks for the video Koi...I ended up watching, I don't know, 45 minutes worth of YouTube stuff last night that was actually relatively helpful. Except most of them seem to choose some music track rather than providing instructions. Oh well, it's pretty obvious what they're doing I reckon.

And Flushes, I appreciate the commentary and the advice! I called a customer yesterday asking for some scrap leather to play around with and today I have a decent sized box of various colors, grains, etc. sitting in my office. I bet I could easily make 50 or more straps out of that one little delivery! I've also got all kinds of tool catalogs and have already been looking and asking questions to pick up some simple stuff (like the skive, a stitch groover, and a lacing chisel). It's definitely lucky to have sewing machine access, industrial adhesive access, not to mention people far more skilled at this applications than me hanging around. In fact, my complete inability to cut straight forced me to ask one of my pattern guys to make me some simple patterns in heavy-duty cardboard I could use over and over.

I'll definitely keep you posted on how I progress! And, thanks again for the assistance gents.
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Re: Strap making resources?

Postby 3Flushes » May 14th 2015, 12:57pm

JJMac wrote:Thanks for the video Koi...I ended up watching, I don't know, 45 minutes worth of YouTube stuff last night that was actually relatively helpful. Except most of them seem to choose some music track rather than providing instructions. Oh well, it's pretty obvious what they're doing I reckon.

And Flushes, I appreciate the commentary and the advice! I called a customer yesterday asking for some scrap leather to play around with and today I have a decent sized box of various colors, grains, etc. sitting in my office. I bet I could easily make 50 or more straps out of that one little delivery! I've also got all kinds of tool catalogs and have already been looking and asking questions to pick up some simple stuff (like the skive, a stitch groover, and a lacing chisel). It's definitely lucky to have sewing machine access, industrial adhesive access, not to mention people far more skilled at this applications than me hanging around. In fact, my complete inability to cut straight forced me to ask one of my pattern guys to make me some simple patterns in heavy-duty cardboard I could use over and over.

I'll definitely keep you posted on how I progress! And, thanks again for the assistance gents.


Can I come live with you and go to work with with ya and play out in the shop? I figure Finnegan will be in Montessori or whatnot soon, if he's not already, where he'll be busy mapping out his aptitudes and starting to plan out his career and life and stuff, so you shouldn't have to worry about him. AND, I'll even stay home from the gentlemen's clubs to drink 2 nights a week and watch ol' Fin for up to 2 hours, so you and the old lady can have a little private boom-boom time if you kids are still that regular. So, whataya say? I won't be any trouble at all and I have my own old man money for hookers elite escorts crack hos and everything.
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Re: Strap making resources?

Postby JJMac » May 15th 2015, 8:31am

Well, I've decided just go ahead and pull Finn out of any childcare/school responsibilities and have him focus solely on strap making. I'm starting the process by insisting he learn how to make his own shoes.

Sure, he'll be a little unaware of the world around him, but he'll have himself a solid trade goddamnit, and there's something to be said for that!

So, in other words, absolutely. You, the whores, the whole lot come on! The spare bedroom awaits!
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Re: Strap making resources?

Postby 3Flushes » May 15th 2015, 1:54pm

JJMac wrote:Well, I've decided just go ahead and pull Finn out of any childcare/school responsibilities and have him focus solely on strap making. I'm starting the process by insisting he learn how to make his own shoes.

Sure, he'll be a little unaware of the world around him, but he'll have himself a solid trade goddamnit, and there's something to be said for that!

So, in other words, absolutely. You, the whores, the whole lot come on! The spare bedroom awaits!


You're right! Cobbling is a worthy profession, and why put the kid through all the pressure of a regular education? You are a good dad. Gosh, I have so much to do, I can't wait to get there! See you kids soon.
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