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Guitar Straps - Making Leather Crafts
This page describes the steps that are used for crafting our leather guitar straps. After understanding the process for making our leather crafts, check out our finished custom leather guitar straps that we can personally make for you.
Pages (Guitar Straps)
First a premium piece of tooling
cowhide must be chosen. 5 - 6 oz leather thickness works well for
guitar straps to give it the strength but also enough suppleness. We
choose leather that has been properly prepared on the underneath side from
the tannery so there will be no fuzzy pieces of leather coming off on your
clothes when you are wearing the guitar strap. Leather
hides are supplied in various thickness
for different leather craft projects.
The designs and lettering are imprinted into the leather by hand.
After the leather guitar strap has been
cut, we dampen it with water on the top surface only. A firm
solid flat surface to work on such as a piece of marble or granite is
used. When stamping the guitar straps, we need a firm and solid
surface so the stamp tool will not bounce
when we hit it with the rawhide mallet. As we stamp the design down
the guitar strap, the water will start to dry out so we will have to
dampen it again with a wet sponge. If we want to stamp in a name,
now is the time to do that as well. This is a labor intensive
process since not only each stamp has to be lined up neatly but each stamp
has to be hit with the same hardness so the design will all be the same
depth. There are lots of leather
craft stamps available to decorate your special leather project.
The custom leather guitar strap is dyed by hand being careful not to go into the imprint.
After the water has dried from the
leather, we are ready to dye the top surface of the leather.
Professional oil dye by the Fiebing Company is used
for coloring our guitar straps. It penetrates deeply into the leather while allowing the
natural grains of the leather to be seen. Although it is more
expensive, we choose to use it so we will not have to worry about rub off
like some poorer quality leather dyes.
We have a folded piece of flannel cloth nailed to a wooden block. The cloth makes a nice applicator to rub the dye into the leather. The wooden block allows us to hold the applicator easily. Protective gloves are worn so we won't have to have our hands dyed for weeks. The dye is rubbed on the guitar strap being very careful not to get it into the stamped design. This is a tedious time consuming process. Many applications are applied to get an even coverage and the desired darkness we want. Keep in mind that this leather dye is meant for natural undyed vegetable tanned leather and not meant for redying leather that has already been colored.
A boarder line adds a nice touch to our imprinted guitar straps.
Once the dye has dried, we can make a
boarder design along the guitar strap with this groove tool. This
tool is also used for making stitch grooves for doing sewing for other
leather craft projects. There is a small set screw which allows us
to adjust how far from the edge we want the groove to be. This
groove tool is also a great leather
craft tool to make channels for sewing other leather projects.
The edges of the custom guitar straps are rounded with a hand beveller.
Rather than have a square edge, we
round the edge of the guitar strap with this beveller for a more finished
look. There are different size bevellers for taking off a little
from the edge to a lot. We even bevel the underneath side for a more
comfortable feel on the shoulder. Although we bevel both the top and
bottom side of our guitar straps, the bottom is a lot harder to do.
Using proper leather
craft tools makes the job a lot easier.
Now that all the design work is in the leather, we dip the guitar strap into a vat of neatsfoot oil compound to keep the leather from drying out and to give it some more suppleness. After the neatsfoot oil is absorbed over a few hours, we touch it up a bit more with some neatsfoot oil on a brush to even out the color since the neatsfoot oil darkens the leather.
The guitar strap edges are dyed and then burnished with beeswax.
The edges of the guitar straps are dyed
with a different dye than the surface. We use Fiebing's
acrylic dye because it holds down all the edge fibers of the
leather. Since it is a hard finish, we burnish the edges when dry
with beeswax using a denim applicator. Now the surface is ready to
have a couple coats of polish, letting each coat thoroughly dry before the
next is applied. There are many polishes for leather that will work
well. However, we choose Fiebing's
Resolene since it helps seal the dye as well as giving a brilliant
quality finish to the leather. There is also other types of leather
polish that give a nice finish on the leather. The leather
polishes we supply are made for vegetable tanned leather.
An old tree stump makes an excellent work bench for punching holes in the leather guitar strap.
We punch the slots for adjustment and
the round holes for the guitar knobs using a heavy rawhide mallet and an
Osborne punch. So we will not get bounce when we punch the holes, we
use a solid wooden tree stump as a work bench. These oblong leather
hole punch tools are also used for the slot when using a buckle in a
leather craft project.
The finished personalized guitar strap lays on the leather that it was started from.
Now the guitar strap is finished and
ready to be worn by a musician. This quality personalized leather
guitar strap will last for many years and will become more supple with
wear. You can see what has been involved from the unfinished piece
of leather shown in the picture to the finalized crafted product.
See more of our finished guitar straps on our web page custom
straps. If you do leather craft work, check out our leather
craft supplies pages for leather hides, snaps, rivets, leather lace
and belt buckles.
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