This belt was made as a
custom order for a customer who supplied his own buckle set. It has the
look of a Ranger Belt without all of the complications that make it
bulky. It has sewn on "Billets" that are
integrated into the belt in such a way that the back of the belt is one
continuous piece of leather. What I mean by that will become
clear as we proceed. I am using this belt as an example of how handmade
belts are made because it uses basic as well as more advanced
techniques. See how this belt is made below or go directly to my Handmade
Belts Page to have your harness leather belt custom
made. First we
need a 1 1/2" belt strip cut from a 10 oz. "Shoulder". I do
this with a special setup that I made using parts from a "Jerry's"
stripper that can be bought from most craft suppliers. By putting the
jig on a metal track on the edge of the bench I can slide the jig down
the track to cut strips without moving the leather.
the belt strip this belt also needs two additional shorter strips for
the "Billets". The top
strip shown below is one of the two Billets. I have cut my desired
on one end and have split it to be 1/2 it's original
thickness. The lower
belt strip has had the top Split, or "Skived" off, so that it is
only 1/2 as thick on the ends. If you look close you can see that
I have also beveled the edges up to within an inch of where the skive
shows how the billet will be positioned on the finished belt. Notice
amount of overlap of this splice in the area where I did not bevel the
edge of the belt strip.
laying out the other billet on the opposite end of the belt. This has
to be laid out in the proper place to give me the finished length that
I want. I then split or skive off that end of the belt strip under the
billet the same way that I did on the opposite end. I put marks on the
belt strip at the point of the belt billets end at this time because I
am going to be stamping a design into the belt between the billets.
have now dampened the leather with water to make it soft for stamping
and have stamped my Inca pattern between where the billets will mount.
Look here for a better view of this stamped
letting that dry I dye the billets black and put edge Kote on the
edges. On the billets I have only beveled the top corners of the edges
because I don't want an under cut where they mate to the belt strip.
leather has dried I apply a coating of Neatsfoot oil in the center
section of the belt and flex it and work it into the leather for a more
supple belt. I do not apply oil to the skived area because I am going
to be using glue there.
The next step is
to dye the belt medium brown. Again I try to stay off the area where I
will be applying glue.
is to apply an acrylic sealer to keep the dye from coming off on
clothes. When that is dry I apply a wax finish to obtain the shine I
want. This wax will continue to protect the belt and can be buffed to
remove minor scuffs. This happens almost automatically with use during
the break in process.
applying all these products the leather is soft. While I am waiting for
the finish to dry I switch the machine over to the wheat color thread.
Here you can see that I have changed the bobbin and will now change the
top thread. On the side are a couple custom belts that were sewn with
the black thread.
can see that I have sewn the edges of the belt with the wheat thread
and have reskived the ends to remove any wax, oil, or finish. I have
cement to the split surfaces and a piece of double sided tape to the
billet end where it will mate with the finished part of the belt. After
I peal off the release paper it will hold the billet end in position
while I sew it down.
big change in the look! Ok, what I have done here is to cement the
billet in position and have trimmed it to the finished size. Now the
back to the original thickness.
The same thing is done to the other
end of the belt.
now beveled and finished the edges of the tongue, punched holes and
fitted the silver tip. The next step is to remove the tip and stitch
the edges of the billet with black thread.
view of the back of the belt after stitching on the billet. Notice that
the back is all one piece of leather. What we have done is not really a
splice, it's an inlay of leather on the top ends of the belt.
finished belt with the buckle attached. I'm sorry that I didn't get a
better picture, in better light, before I shipped it. When it's done
in the box and on it's way. It's a really nice belt and while I did
think that it was too complicated to offer on my website, customer
demand was there, so I now offer it in a slightly modified form on the
Ranger belt page at: LeatherGoods
Or, now that I've shown you how to make it,
you can make your own instead.
Some of these
products were used
to make this belt. The Tan Kote is an alternative finish and can be
used on some leathers to repair scuffs and wear. The dry cleaner is
exactly that, dry cleaning fluid. It is used for removing stains on a
wide variety of materials including some leathers.
These products and leather strips and buckles for making your
own belts are available here.
LeatherGoodsConnection Group. Become an
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handbags that were made as samples or that when we finished it we
realized we should have read the comments window info. Or maybe we got
an email from the customer saying, " OOPS, I hate to be a bother but, I
finally measured and can you make it four inches longer and I
decided on light brown instead of black".
Get advise on leather goods construction and repair, post your
your knowledge, tell us what you like, what you make, or would like to
make. Click on the "Messages" link to read answers to past questions
and leather making articles.
Because of the group news letter email format that
elliminates images, the photos that that go with the articles have to
be viewed by clicking on the photos link on the group site menu. To
provide a better reading experience I have started the "Henry's leather News"
Blog where the images accompany the text. I only have time to
post group messages every month or two, and will now include
links to new articles posted to the blog.
by Henry Hibbard
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