Leather Straps – Part 1


With the finishes done and cornerguards installed, the next step was to install leather straps with buckles to hold the legs during transport.  I bought a 72″ x 1–1/4″ black belt blank and a punch tool from Tandy Leather, brass buckles and loops from buckleguy.com, and brass oval-head screws and finishing washers from boltdepot.com.

I made a little hardboard template to taper the end with an x-acto knife and mark for three screws, and then punched the holes.

I marked and pre-drilled the top and attached the leather with three screws and washers.  Then I did some eyeballing to figure out where the next set of screws should go to end up with a handle.

I brought a couple legs over to estimate where the buckle should go.  Then I unscrewed the strap and punched out a slot for the buckle tongue.

Next I reduced the thickness of the leather — the proper term is skiving — so it will bend more willingly around the buckle.  I think you are supposed to reduce it by about half, and taper down even more towards the free end, but I didn’t go that far.  There are specialized leatherworking tools for this but I used a spokeshave.  It makes a mess.

Usually, the leather wrapped around the buckle is attached to itself with rivets; but that would have meant buying a rivet setter and rivets.  The traditional method is to stitch them together.  Sometimes they are just glued.  Most leatherworkers use contact cement, but I went with the somewhat cannibalistic choice of liquid hide glue.  Talk about stewing in your own juices…