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GregC

Today's watch with leather strap I made

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El Cheapo watch I found a couple years ago and made a leather strap for.  I made a few other leather straps and together with the scrollsaw clocks I made, that got my interest in fixing watches piqued. 

 

 

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On 5/29/2019 at 9:33 PM, yankeedog said:

very nice, please enlighten.

Making watch straps led me to fixing watches. I in the past would replace my own watch batteries and I was doing leatherwork after my accident to keep me occupied. I made all sorts of things with leather and eventually came to start making watch straps. The one you see here is made from alligator embossed leather. I could have made it with real alligator skin but alligator skin is very expensive, in the range of $400+ and I dont have a ready market for the stuff I make. But anyway, the strap is made of 2 pieces of leather glued back to back and stitched together. The edge is slicked and finished with leather dye. 

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I appreciate your work. I have made a few straps myself , much simpler than yours, most out of black nylon webbing  . Since it only has to fit me I use a heavy duty dritz snap. Sometimes I  just cut a piece of leather from a bag of scraps I got at hobby lobby.  I find the snaps work very well, they reduce the stress that bending and flexing the leather through the buckle causes.What intrigues me most though is your stichting. This is an art that just evades me,mine just look awful , so I avoid doing it. If you could please explain how you do it ,I would be thankful

 

Edited by yankeedog

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I use mostly Eco Flo products from Tandy Leather but there are others like Fiebings. The accompanying picture has some of the things used in making a watch strap and also in the pic are some of the earlier straps I made which are quite simple. You start with a fairly thin piece of leather and cut it to shape, make sure the edge is straight then you skive the edge down so it will bend to fit over the pin. You would then use an edge beveler (the thing with the mahogany colored handle in the pic) to bevel the edge so as to make it rounded on both sides, top and bottom. Then you would slick the edges with an edge slicker (the 3 wood things in the pic). You would use the groove that best fits the leather you're slicking. Just dip your finger in some water or gum tragacanth and run it along the edge and rub the slicker vigorously back and forth until the edge is slicked and smooth. Let it dry and then apply stain with a damp sponge. Let dry then fold over the ends you're going to sew, apply some glue, then mark your stitching line with wing dividers then use the stitching chisels to make the holes. There are 4 stitching chisels in the pic, the one with the most prongs is used for  long straight lines and the 2 prong for curves.  You would then get needle and thread and sew her up using a saddle stitch, backstitch 1 hole, cut your thread and burn the ends to melt it.

When stitching along the length of the strap, it is helpful to get a stitching pony, that is the gizmo on the right of the pic. You sit on it and place the work in the jaws and clamp it down in such a way that the row of holes are about 1/2" above the jaw and then to make sure the hole is clear, you would use a sewing awl. It is the awl with the short tip and you push it through the first hole you made then you start stitching. This was probably the hardest part of leatherwork for me to master.

IMG_20190602_220537.jpg

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Thank You! I am no longer clueless. The stitching chisels pre punch the leather at regular intervals so you don't have to force the needle through ,and the slicker gives you the finished edge...thanks again for the quick education!

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Its my pleasure to share what little knowledge I have. I know next to nothing about watches and clocks and even the simplest things give me lots of problems. 

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28 minutes ago, Squiffything said:

You have skills Gregg so when you post it is inspiring to others. Let’s have more of your stuff.

I dont have much more pertaining to watches and clocks, just this last leather band. I was to make a raised centre band but I got caught up in the scrollsaw cuckoo clock. I made other leather things like bracelets, wallets, belts and even art but those are not pertinent to this forum. This is another el cheapo watch and the first I came across with this type of band. The pin for some reason didnt want to come out so I actually sewed this band together on the watch and it came out pretty good. I've seen bands that guys made for pocket watches and I was gonna make one for a Bulova I have but I managed to fix the band it came with it. 

 

 

IMG_20190323_140346.jpg

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Very nice work! I would recommend using www.esslinger.com for leather punching tools, and ever other tool under the sun! They have made work a lot easier. They also do a assemble my own watch kit as well!

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Just now, sean1996 said:

Very nice work! I would recommend using www.esslinger.com for leather punching tools, and ever other tool under the sun! They have made work a lot easier. They also do a assemble my own watch kit as well!

I have all the leatherwork tools I need. I bought the buckle for this strap from esslinger in a kit of mixed buckles, however, I prefer to support my local watch supply store which I recently found not too long ago.

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2 hours ago, Squiffything said:

You have skills Gregg so when you post it is inspiring to others. Let’s have more of your stuff.

100% agreement.This is something you have explained very simply  .so that a guy with average aptitude in this area sees that he can do it too. Something I wanted to know more about,and now plan to do.

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If you guys are interested in making watch straps and looking for tools, there are kits on Amazon and ebay that have most of the tools needed plus thread for around $50-$75. These tools if bought individually would cost near $500 at Tandy or other leather shops. Tandy sells thread for $10 alone. When I started that was what I bought and I still use them. You can also get them on aliexpress along with templates for straps but you would have to wait a long time. Making a watch strap is not hard but it calls for a lot of tools and a very sharp knife.

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