What sparked your interest in leather working… Part 1

One of the questions I am most often asked is “how did you get started in, or what made you want to do leather work?

Growing up I enjoyed drawing and playing music. I was never what you would call gifted at either but it was something that I found relaxing. I had tried a couple of sewing projects in a home economics class in high school and they didn’t turn out terrible, but I didn’t really enjoy the project kit feel of it, similar to pine box racers…I preferred a blank sheet of paper to start.

The first time I decided to try leather work I bought a little kit at a Tandy leather store, I think it had a coaster, and a key fob and some tools and dyes. I didn’t really care pick it up then, it was interesting but the kit was designed to put something together that looked like what was in the box…

A few years later another passion led me back to the leather store, my 2011 Harley Davidson Ultra. I was not a fan of all the chrome and had started moving to black powder coated parts, but the highway/crash bars were expensive to swap out purely for aesthetics. I decided instead to wrap them with some black chap leather and snaps. This lasted a year or so until I noticed the leather was really getting weathered so I decided to get something more sturdy. I went in and got a side of veg tanned leather, it was 6/7oz and on sale so that and one the the wooden strap cutters and a couple bottles of spirit dye and off I went. I made long strips and dyed them to compliment the color scheme of the bike. Then braided the leather onto the bars, complete with Spanish ring knots and Turk head knots ( YouTube) is your friend for learning such techniques.

Once I was complete I felt a great sense of accomplishment, and had saved a considerable amount of money, and had a fairly good sized piece of leather left… Lol. The best part was, it was mine, I could’ve put the black bars on and called it a day, with far less effort, but it was worth it to me for the process let me be creative with the look of the bike.(pics below)