Leather Wallets

Competitions, DIY, New Item, Shop Stuff

After making a card holder for my wife (here) I thought that I should upgrade my own wallet (see below). My confidence in working with lasers and leather is slowly growing and I thus decided to make, not only one, but 7 wallets. Below I will show all the steps for making one of these. I am happy with the final product and will keep the first (the prototype) for myself.

Photos of the finished product:

I will also give a wallet or card holder away – more information on the give away here. You are of course welcome to buy one, they are available here.

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One of these currently up for grabs!

Steps to make a leather wallet (the steps I took – not necessarily by the book):

A with everything the project begins with an idea. I also spend a fair bit of time on looking at YouTube videos of making wallets and looked at many many many wallets online. I could not find something that exactly fit what I wanted to make and created my own design. I make some ugly scratches of this to ensure that all the dimensions are right.

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All the planning done.

I wanted a wallet with card slots and a place for money but only wanted to have 2 layers of leather. I also wanted it to be a bi-fold wallet. Most of the designs I looked at had more than 2 layers of leather. I thus created this design (this it probably not new I just could not find something made in this way).

Since I wanted to make a several wallets simultaneously I spend a day getting all the images and quotes. I had some help.

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Kameel – helping out??

After the designs were ready I cut the leather.

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I love this rotary cutter – best way for me to cut leather.

This is followed by engraving and the cutting of the individual pieces.

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Closeup of cutting laser cutting.

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First one engraved and cut.

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The prototype worked – now 6 more.

A quick cleanup (just wiping the edges with towel paper) is followed by staining. I made a light red stain a long time ago. This means that I do not know exactly how much the original red stain is diluted. Some people may think this is sad. I think this is awesome since these wallets can never be reproduced exactly and will be unique 🙂

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Just a light bit of stain.

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I stain the inside where the satin is stitched also – this way no unstained leather will show.

I burnish the slots with a small burnishing tool that fit exactly. The top of both inner and outer parts were also burnished. This is where the wallet will open. The other sides will be glued and stitched together and burnished after this has been done.

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Adding some soft wax just between the slots prior to burnishing.

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Slots and top edge burnished.

My small set of burnishing tools is increasing in number. I should note that these are all home made. It is merely a stick with a nail glued in place (or in the case of the small one – just a stick). Grooves are sanded into them as wide I they need to be for the specific project.

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Home made burnishing tools

I love cutting silk using the laser cutter – which was the following step.

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Silk to make pockets and line the inside.

With all the pieces ready the slow process of assembly begins. I start by making the top 2 card pockets (the lower pocket is created by  stitching the outer and inner pieces together – I explain how these pockets are made in more detail here or have a look at this video).

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Enter a caption

The inner silk is glued and then stitched in place. It is only partly stitched. The rest of the stitches follow when both outside and inside pieces of the wallet is stitched together.

The process is similar for the outer part. The silk is glued in place and the top and bottom stitched where the inner and outer parts do not overlap.

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Silk lining glued in place – outer part and inner part

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The sewing machine I use – Singer made around 1910.

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Silk stitched in place

The nylon thread is cut and melted to stay in place.

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Melting the ends of the thread.

The outer and inner parts are then glued and stitched together. First the one side then the other.

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Glued and clamped.

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One side stitched.

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View from the inside.

Here I had a small problem with the sewing machine. The upper thread kept on breaking. Initially, I solved the problem by first making holes with the sewing machine without thread and then sew a second time with thread. Although this worked it was of course not optimal. After some searching I found the user manual and I was able to correct problem. The tension of the top thread needed to be adjusted and the problem is now resolved.

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Short term solution.

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Better solution – read the manual.

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All stitching done

I lightly sand the glued edges (not the sinlge edges that have already been burnished). This is followed by burnishing of these edges.

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Beautiful edge.

The wallet is in essence now completed and the last thing is to treat it with some leather conditioner. I add a liberal amount to the outer inner leather and leave it on for 10-20 minutes. This is wiped off with a clean cloth and the wallet is lightly polished.

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Wax on.

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Wax off.

I was planning to make a new wallet for myself for over a year now. I would have done this even without the laser cutter or the sewing machine. These items just allowed me to make a different type of wallet than I otherwise would and I do not feel that any specialized machine is needed to make stuff. This said, as soon as you start making stuff tools seem to increase around you.

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The reason for this project – my old worn wallet, falling apart a bit.

A brand new wallet

 

There are a few small things I would change if I were to make these again. First, I would move the stitches closer to the edge (from 5 to 3 mm). I will also change the arch of the line where to to be exactly the same as the arch of the corner itself. This is something very minor and would probably not be noticeable. I will also try different staining colors – just for fun.

R


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Coleoptera Backpack

New Item, Shop Stuff

For a while now I have been working with wood and wanted to make bags using it as the main material. I found inspiration from the Japanese lamellar body armor used from the 4th century. Thus designed the bag to have around 60 pieces of wood all stitched together. It worked better than I thought and after a one prototype (see below) I was able to make a fully functional backpack. The stag beetles makes it an ideal bag for any professional or amateur entomologist (it is currently for sale here).

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Since I like insects I decided to display some stag beetles on some of the wooden plates in a similar fashion that insects would be displayed in a collection. Stag beetles are quite amazing animals and this is the closet I would get to ever collecting any.

On the inside of the lid I added some additional information of these creatures.

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Inside of bag – some information on the lid.

The lid lid and latch is my second attempt (see below). The multiple panels of the lid allows it to follow the curving top and the whole bag looks less like a box. The latch is very simple and locks in place with a small wooden spiral that is attached to the lid.

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Beetle drawing for inside of lid

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Stitching the lid

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Simple latch and lock

The images are engraved on the bag and were partly inspired by a simple beetle from the first backpack I made. There are 16 beetles in total on the bag.

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Scroll saw beetle from previous bag – see below

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Engraving all the beetles at the same time

 

 

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The bag is lined with a tough brown fabric. The straps are made from leather and attached with 4 mm leather cord. I left this quite long and can be shortened and adjusted to fit anyone.

The bag is approximately 36 x 27 x 14 cm (14 x 11 x 5.5 inches) in size and has an approximate volume of 10.7 liter (28 gallon). This will comfortable fit A4 sized books and laptops.

The wood is 4 mm Baltic Birch (some places – such as the bottom – I use 6 mm). Each piece has several coats of lacquer. The bag weighs just over 1 kg (2.2 pound).

There is one hidden image on the bottom that might evoke a smile from some. A few additional beetles might be found on other places in the bag.

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My first lamellar backpack was made mostly using a scroll saw to cut the images. The is square and the latches are not very easy to operate. It is also over 2 kg, twice as heavy as the Coleoptera bag. I am still pleased with it and will probably use it myself.

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First lammelar bag

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Second attempt

Below are a few more images of the Coleoptera bag.

I still have still many plates left and will make several bags from these. Any suggestions (or commissions) of what themes I should use on these bags are welcome. The next one however is already decided – hominid skulls. Follow this blog to see when it is done and if it is successful.

Robroy

 

Wooden Laptop Cases

New Item

After I made the steampunk Raspberry Pi Laptop (this one) several people commented that it is “nice”. But while many liked the case, the computer hardware was not something they would be interested in. A better idea would would be to make cases that to carry a modern laptop. The final result is wooden laptop cases that will fit a 13″ Macbook Pro (the version with retina display – see full specifications here). Click on each of the images to learn more the specific laptop case.

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They are currently for sale (here) and the back is mostly open where a custom name can be placed as exemplified in the following image. They are therefore only partly finished and will get their final coats of lacquer after this has been done.

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There is one laptop case that is not finished yet. I have a blue felt interior and silver fittings. Any suggestions on what image to place on the cover would be nice.

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Dragon Laptop Case

The Celtic Knot Dragon is quite popular. On this case the dragon is on the front cover and the Triquetra on the back. It has a blue felt interior where the laptop is stored (buy it here).

Click on the pictures for larger images:

Reading Woman Laptop Case

I combined the images of a woman reading and a flower with a humming bird sprouting from the book as the front cover of this case. The back cover has 4 disks with flowers as the feet when the case is open. It has a red felt interior where the laptop is stored (buy it here).

Click on the pictures for larger images:

NOTE – the cases are made from plywood that warp with humidity. The bottom of the case is slightly warped and this can be seen when the it is placed on a flat surface (see video). The extend that it warps depends on the humidity and other factors. Over time the warping may reduce as the sheets of wood align with each other.

Jurassic Laptop Case

I combined the images small child reaching and a T-Rex bending down as the cover for this laptop. It is a bit of a dramatic scene and open for interpretation. The back cover has 4 T-Rex prints that serve as feet when the case is open. It has a red felt interior where the laptop is stored (buy it here).

Click on the pictures for larger images:

Specifications of the laptop cases

The laptop case is made from Baltic Birch plywood. It has a compartment for a 13″ MacBook Pro retina display laptop. It has a side compartment for the cable and charger. The back compartment is large enough to fit standard size papers and books (A4 and letter).

Weight (empty): 2.1 kg (4.7 lbs)

Outer dimensions (including feet and handle): 33 x 42 x 8 cm (12 x 16.5 x 3.2 inches)

Laptop compartment: 32.5 x 26.5 x 1.8 cm (12.8 x 10.5 x 0.71 inches)

Back compartment: 33 x 27 x 2.8 cm (13 x 10.6 x 11 inches)

Cable compartment (note – a recess is made in the back compartment where the charger fits): 33 x 5 x 5.6 cm (13 x 2 x 2.2 inches)

Additional features:

  • One side of the laptop compartment has a space where the charger, earphones and other cables can be plugged in while the laptop is used within the case.
  • The case ships with a shoulder strap that attach to the sides of the case. This strap can be replaced easily with any other type of shoulder strap.
  • There is a chain that will stop the case to be opened completely. This in combination with the small feet at the bottom will allow the laptop to be used without taking it from the case (example).
  • The felt interior provides a soft compartment to protect the laptop.
  • The back cover has space for a custom name. They are thus not completely lacquered on this side.

Note – the laptop case will ONLY FIT THE RETINA DISPLAY  13″ MacBook Pro and NOT THE OLDER 13″ MacBooks Pro models. The retina display model has a depth of 18 mm – which will fit perfectly in the felt covered compartment. Thinner models will fit but may require a additional sleeve or padding

Note – the laptop cases are made from wood and is NOT WATER PROOF. It is covered with several coats of polyurethane lacquer and is therefore splash proof. If it gets wet it is recommended that you wipe dry it with a cloth as soon as possible. It will also keep the laptop dry from minor splashes but water my get into the paper compartment. It should not be used in the rain.

Note – the cases are made from plywood that warps with humidity and other factors. The warping may reduce over time.

Note – it is easier to store the cables after the laptop compartment has been closed. It is also better to remove the cables before the laptop compartment is opened (makes for a neater opening and easier to get the charger).

Note – the case can carry up to 5 kg including the laptop. More weigh may place unnecessary strain on the wooden components and attachments.

How it is  made

A full blog will follow on how I made the laptop cases. There will also be additional images on the case that has been sold and reasoning for the design choices and laptop sizes. Subscribe to this blog or follow me on YouTube to get the post and video as it is released.

Robroy.

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