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.


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.


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.


Kameel – helping out??

After the designs were ready I cut the leather.


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

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


Closeup of cutting laser cutting.


First one engraved and cut.


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 🙂


Just a light bit of stain.


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.


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


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.


Home made burnishing tools

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


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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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.


Silk lining glued in place – outer part and inner part


The sewing machine I use – Singer made around 1910.


Silk stitched in place

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


Melting the ends of the thread.

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


Glued and clamped.


One side stitched.


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.


Short term solution.


Better solution – read the manual.


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.


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.


Wax on.


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.


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.






Scroll Saw

Shop Stuff

I bought a scroll saw in the beginning of 2015. I decided a scroll saw is an ideal tool for me to work with since I like making small detailed things using wood. I spent a lot of time researching scroll saws since I know this would be one of the main tools I would use in many of my projects. I wanted one that was reasonably good quality and thus not the cheapest, big-store, specials (although there are often some good quality specials on tools which I have bought).

This is the machine I bought:

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The scroll saw in my shop

It is a Hegner, variable speed, scroll saw with a throat depth of 365 mm. In addition I bought a foot switch which allows me to start and stop the machine without removing my hands from the work piece – similar to a sowing machine . It is also reasonably quiet (64 -74 db). I also got the stand with the saw which is very nice since it is very sturdy but also has a small footprint. I did, however, cut the legs a few centimeters shorter to fit me better when I am seated at the machine.

A number of people have asked me how the saw work. I have made several videos where I use the scroll saw. Below are one but more can be seen here:

the sawing begins at 0:42

Initially I was worried that it would be very difficult to use and thus money down the drain. Luckily I did quite a bit of sewing just after moving (curtains required, also made a denim tarp), and this helped since the operation is very similar to a sewing machine. I also found a number of online resources (links at the end of the post*). These were quite helpful to work through and I learned a lot – from the of the basic theory and techniques to the more complex  techniques and difficult cuts.

The first few pieces had a few flaws but I was happy with my first attempts:

hegner (1)

The first scrolled letters I tried

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The first item I made

I bought some cheap plywood and were able to cut several images. I think I improved a bit and moved on to birch plywood of a better quality. My favorite items to make are book covers and I think some of these are quite nice (or at least unique) and I sell some of these on my Etsy store – Induku.


My most recent book – read more here


One of the most detailed patterns I designed and cut


A small puzzle from the leftover pieces of the cat book cover

I have also made loads of pendants which I also sell.


My favorite pendant to celebrate surviving Borrelia


Dog paw pendant


South Park on a Sting


A bit grim for every-day wear

I like to make other random things.


A commissioned mood barometer – read all about it here


Commissioned keychains

I am quite proud of the dart cabinet that I made. I designed the front picture and score sheet. I wrote a full post on how I made it – read it here.

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Cover on dart cabinet

Finally, I got the plans for a wooden clock for my birthday from Carina. This is something that I looked at for several years bored many people with my stories of how I am going to make one. I thus bought the wood and started cutting the pieces. The going is a bit slow but the process thus far is quite fun. I will post more updates as I go.

I am really quite happy with this machine and can recommend it for anyone who want to make small wooden objects. I will continue to post some of the projects I make. I also really want to make a few chess sets in my lifetime and at least one using a scroll saw. I have not done this yet…


**Useful links I used for learning how to use a scroll saw: