Leatherworking tools

(Gilbert Townshend) #1

I’m in need of a new camera strap and rather than buy what is some leather stitched into a few rings I thought I’d make one.

I wondered if anyone had any experience sewing leather, I checked and we have some needles for it but I’m not sure what foot to use. I also have no idea what the best way to do edges would be or if we have any riveting tools to reinforce the joints.

Would anyone be willing to throw me some advice so I don’t make any expensive mistakes having it dash a camera to the floor?

(Dermot Jones) #2


(Chanelle) #3


You would need a Teflon foot. Which is a white plastic foot to help the leather easily move across the feed dogs the sit underneath the leather as you sew.

That said, the Bernina is limited in the thickness of leather in can handle and you would wand a decent thickness for your strap. The Bernina is also in need of serious service.

Without seeing the strap you are trying to replicate, I would say you can probably modify it and make a no sew version.

Some examples

I don’t believe there are any riveting tools, I could be wrong. I always bring my own. You can get them quite cheap on Amazon. The size You would need would depend on the thickness o your leather. Of your leather was say 3mm thick You would want a 4/5mm long rivet.

Tools to the set the rivet. You get away with a hole punch rotary or manual, and a hammer to set it. You could get all the setting tools but then you may aswell buy a new strap.

Your welcome to borrow my tools to complete your project and I can send some links to some very good tutorials.

Similarly, you nèeded more guidance and anyone is interested in learning some basic leathercraft skills covering, riveting, cutting and sewing happy to run a session in the space if there is enough interest.

Hope something was helpful.

(Pete Hellyer) #4

we have an air riviter somewhere, but whether it is the kind of rivets that you want is another question…


(Gilbert Townshend) #5

If the Bernina isn’t up to it I also have a really monstrously heavy semi-industrial Pfaff sewing machine that might do it, though it too seems to need a service. I’m sure it’s not impossible to find someone who could do it, assuming nobody in the space has the time or knowledge to do it justice?

It seems like I need to a bit more research into parts too, the leather I have at the moment is mostly fairly thin chromium tanned stuff that might not really be the best thing. Looks like I’m also going to need some buckles (strap clasps? not sure what to call those brass bits) as well as some rivets.

I’m away until the end of the month but I would absolutely be up for a leatherworking class.

(Chris Ratcliffe) #6

I bow to @StudioNelle here - her examples look great.
If you don’t go for the sewing option and want a quick riveted strap I reckon all you need is:

Stanley knife, a rotary leather punch, a rivet setter, leather rivets.

If you have no no rivet setter - maybe chicago screws - just punch the holes and screw together.
Chicago screws with loctite are stronger than any rivet or stitch or leather, so strap will fail before fixing!

If the space does not have these let me know and I can drop in with the appropriate tools, metal fittings and some leather.

(Gilbert Townshend) #7

Maybe if we can arrange a leather workshop you could bring them to that?

(Chris Ratcliffe) #8

Sure - I don’t consider myself a leatherworker or qualified to teach - I have just made a few belts / cuffs / replacment handles for AvoMeters etc, and there are probably members with a bit more experience than me - but I’m up for it.

If you and anyone else is interested I’m happy to share what skills and tools I have for the absolute basics - i.e - enough for everyone to learn to cut leather, punch holes, rivet and go home with something like a belt, bracelet or a camera strap.

If we get ambitous we could try edge burnishing, stamping designs with 3d printed stamps and laser engraving :slight_smile:

(Chanelle) #9

The Pfaff would definately do it - personally, I wouldn’t use chrome tan unless it was top quality. It’s really used to make bags, so it’s nice and supble, without having to split the leather to have the same effect. For a strap it just wouldn’t stand the test of time. I would recommend taking a trip down to JT Batchehlors in Hackney/Islington on Culford Mews and getting them to cut you a strap to the size that you need. It costs £4. Failing that, you can have a look through there raw cowhide scraps bin for off cuts, probably costing up to £2, they could give it to you for free, if you flash a smile!

(Chris Ratcliffe) #10

@iNerdier - not sure if you are replying to me or @StudioNelle re workshop - but if you do it I would come along

(Afshin Dehkordi) #11

I’d come to!

(Gilbert Townshend) #12

Now that I’m back in the country; would any one be up for a session this or next week? I think we might benefit from your advice @StudioNelle but I don’t want to drag you in to it unwillingly.

I’m going to try and get to Hackney this week and get some leather for my strap idea, I’m happy to take some orders if anyone else wants me to get things they have in mind.

(Afshin Dehkordi) #13

I’ll be interested, have the leather and ideas but no experience!

(Chanelle) #14

I’m happy to guide the two of you as you have your materials already.

When are you both free next. I’m around quite a bit at the moment and have my tools on me each time.

Could have a chat about your projects a quick 1hr master class on using the tools to complete your projects rather than a workshop.

Let me know how that sounds.


(Gilbert Townshend) #15

I’m (full time) job hunting and learning to drive at the moment so I’m around pretty much all week except Monday mornings or when I work on the market at weekends.

(Chanelle) #16

Ok cool I’m 4 days a week - and have Fridays off except for market days and market prep days.

So How about Tues/Weds/Thurs eve or I’m around this Sunday in the late afternoon.

(Afshin Dehkordi) #17

Great. Wednesday evening I’m free

(Gilbert Townshend) #18

Wednesday evening it is then.

(Chanelle) #19

So sorry I missed this notification. When are you both next free. I’m in tonight. But can arrange with you both separately.

If it’s tonight I’d need to k ow what your working on soonish so I being along the right tools before heading that way.

(Gilbert Townshend) #20

I’ll be in this afternoon I think, got a few things to work on. Still on with the camera strap idea, I have leather that may or may not work and that’s about it so far.