Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Making a Belt

Working with leather isn't that hard. That is, if you have all the necessary tools and someone with experience to help you along. I sometimes let friends make something simple like a belt, a cardholder or an iPad case, like my friend Rune did. Some days ago I helped my friend, Anders, make a belt for himself, as his old belt was starting to look a bit shabby. We went for a nice, thick, vegetable tanned leather from England and a solid brass buckle (also from England). Sometimes it looks nice when you attach the belt buckle with rivets, but the proper way of doing this is by handsewing, so that is what we did using a thick (6 ply) waxed linen thread.

Someone asked, how you use a stitching clam - I hope this answers the question.

Thick, waxed linen thread is the way to go.

The brass buckles look good, when they're new and/or polished, but they also look amazing, when they tarnish.

Holes for sewing are prepunched using a pricking iron.

The final part of making anything in leather is always the burnishing, which is best done by hand. The burnish is done using a bit of water, some thick canvas and then you just rub it vigorously creating some friction, which keeps the leather fibres down and creates a nice, smooth edge. You then repeat it using beeswax or possibly gum tragacanth. We used beeswax this time.  

Here's the final result

Notice the nice grain structure of this leather. Very pronounced, deep, rustic, defined - I could go on.

I never get tired of brass, which is why, I'm almost exclusively working with brass hardware.

Pretty flawless stitching.

A small detail taken from the equestrian world, where you number each hole to adjust the height.

Lastly - the burnish. A tell-tale sign of true craftsmanship. That being said I do also appreciate a clean cut raw edge.

 I might be making either picture or video tutorial on how to make a belt or something else, if someone would like to see this of course. 
If you would like to see, what gets made in the workshop, I suggest, that you join After the Denim's Facebook group, where I'll regularly put up (terrible) iPhone pictures of, what I'm working on at that given time.


  1. Superb, what a great belt. A really nice process to get to the final result too.

  2. I think the process is, what makes Anders appreciate the belt just a bit more. It was really a fun, but simple project, that kept us busy on a very sunny day.