I’ve always appreciated a good leather strap. It’s that extra part of wearing a watch where we can take some creative licence and express ourselves. So I decided to flex my creative muscles and start making leather straps myself. Leather craft! What a world!!
Just like when you take on a new skill or hobby, leathercraft for me, is a fresh lens into a whole new world of tools and techniques and discussion that I had no previous connection to. And just like watchmaking, there are very specific tools that do certain jobs.
I stumbled into Lonsdale leather a while back on my way into the workshop, just to have a look around. Their store is a five minute walk from my workshop and they are set up great for any beginner or expert. As I toured the aisles and looked through the piles of leather and tools, it dawned on me that offering leather straps as part of my watch repair business might just be a cool next step and chance for me to learn a fun new skill. A week later, after watching as many youtube videos on the subject as I could handle, I went back into the store and filled my shopping cart with all the tools I needed to get a good start.
Pricking irons, crease makers, wax thread, stitching pony, cutting matt, hobby knife, granite skiving stone, contact cement etc etc… the list goes on. You don’t need a lot of leather to make a watch strap, so you don’t need to buy that whole 5 square foot patch to get started. I made my first strap after looking through the off-cuts of leather and finding a few small pieces. Needless to say, I won’t show you the first strap I made as it reminds me of the mask that buddy wore in Batman Begins, you know, the burlap one that freaked everyone out who was tripping on that hallucinating flower mist…anyhow, they’ve gotten considerably better and I am excited to learn all the skills and techniques to be able to offer as many styles as possible.
Now, I’m well below the 10,000 hour mark but I’ve definitely made some headway and I feel quite confident in the quality of straps that I can make. I’m also pleasantly surprised at the interest so far that people have shown who want a custom, made in Vancouver leather watch strap. Bring it on I say!
Check out this gallery of some of the straps I’ve made and the process thus far.