7 braid Mystery Belt belt, secrets revealed

leather belt   If you read on I'll take the mystery out of the Mystery Braid for you. If you would rather just buy a custom made belt, Plain, Dress, Braided,  or a Ranger belt you can save this for another time and go directly to my Leather Belt page.

  If you are staying here, lets get started!

  Plenty of people make a "Mystery Braid" belt so maybe someone else has made a braided belt this way but I've never seen one. This belt has a different "twist" than the simple 3 and 5 braid belts that most leather crafters make.
  My method of locking in the braid is also a lot easier than the methods shown in most manuals.
  Braided belts are simple and in theory this belt is simple too. The hard part is knowing the shape to cut out... and actually doing it.

  Not only are both ends of the belt different, the 3/8" strips have to be evenly cut by hand with a knife and straight edge. That seems simple until you try it. Start with a 2-5/8" wide belt blank and cut one end as shown to taper to 1-3/4",. Remember both ends are different. The other end of the belt is shown below.
Leather Belt

Cut the buckle end of the belt like this as it tapers to 1-3/4" then bevel all edges and apply dye, edge finish and wax.
I leave the buckle end long until the belt is braided because the belt will get shorter when the strips don't run straight as they do now. I roughly figure that the belt will shrink 1" for each foot of braid. Figure all this out before you cut so that you will end up with the belt waist size that you want.

Leather Belt
What I do on this end is straighten out the belt strands like this while the leather is still soft from applying the dye and finish.
leather beltNow we are ready to do the "Mystery Braid". My method is simple but we need to learn a couple terms. I have divided the belt strands with 3 on one side and 4 on the other. This space between them I call "The Middle" even though it really isn't. This is our reference point. The top of "The Middle" where the middle gets narrow, in the top of the picture near where the holes start, is called "The Top". Remember where "The Top" and "The Middle" are. Ok, we start the braid by crossing over the 4th strand on the right. It is important to count the braid as you do it. When you cross over the first strand, that's ONE. When you cross over the strand on the left, that's TWO.

  This belt has 7 strands so braid 7 times. (If there were 5 strands like on the 5 braid belt you would only count to 5.)
harness beltHere's the trick to locking in the braid. Take the tongue and pass it through "The Middle".  Then the strands will be twisted as they appear in the picture below.

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This picture shows the space above the middle called "The Top" with 4 strands on the right and 3 on the left with the unfinished braid below.
braided leather beltNow  pass the tongue through "The Top" to straighten out the twists in the strands.
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That's simple enough, isn't it? That gives you this loosely braided belt. What you have done once you can do again.
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Start at the buckle end and tighten the braid. That will mean crossing 14 strands but not to worry about the count. When the strands above "The Middle" are straight we are back to where we started and can braid again, counting up to 7... then pass the tongue through "The Middle" and through "The Top". Do that as many times as you can by forcing the braid really tight to the bottom.
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You should end up with something like this. Now go through the braid and even it out by braiding it tighter on the top and feeding the looseness to the bottom. Look at this picture and the one above to see how the braid ends differently on each end.
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Here the braid is evened out and I have done one more thing. I have made a final trim on the sides of the belt where the braid starts on the tongue end. Take a look at the picture above to see the difference. I do this last because the tightness of the braid affects the angle.

  This produces a full and substantial 1-3/4" belt the same width through the braided section as on the ends.

  Now you can remeasure the length and determine where to attach the buckle so that you have the size you want. That's all there is to it.

  If  you have the tools and materials needed you can now make your own or go to my Leather Belt page to have one made for you.

Ready to learn more?
How about Making a Handmade Leather Belt or how about making a  Custom made leather Backpack

Custom made Braided belts, Harness leather belts, Ranger belts, Dress belts and Bridle leather belts are available from LeatherGoods Connection

by Henry Hibbard