The first step to building any strap is selecting the right section of leather. In this case, it was based on a section without any flaws, as well as a thickness the client requested.
The first strip is always wider than the finished strap, as it is later cut to size. What will end up being the buckle end is cut precisely to the width that I need.
Then I'm left with this to begin crafting your strap.
Next, I find the center of what will become the long side of your strap. The very center will then be thinned down a bit so it won't rub on the inside of your lugs. This is one of many details that can't be seen on the Website, but is one that I believe is important to do.
Here you can see how it looks from the side.
Next, all but the center section that I thinned is brushed with a special adhesive. The adhesive is exceptionally durable and waterproof, yet flexible.
Next, the strip is folded over onto itself and put into a clamping device that is lined with leather.
The long section is then put into a vice, clamped, and needs to be left here for a minimum of 5 hours.
Now it's time to work on what will become the buckle end of your strap. The center is found and an oblong hole is punched in the right location for how long it needs to be.
Next, the edges and inside of the punch hole are stained. Before it is finished, there will be 5-6 coats applied.
After several coats of stain have been applied, the stitch holes for the buckle are hand punched.
It is then folded over and hand saddle stitched.
Once the long side has cured in the vice, it is then cut to the correct width and the tip is punched.
A line is then made around the perimeter.
That line is then followed with what's called an over-stitch wheel. This marks each point where a stitch hole will be hand punched.
This is where a great deal of patience and experience are required. Each stitch hole is hand punched with as much precision as possible. The slightest fraction of a millimeter off will be magnified and will look crooked in the finished product if time and attention to detail is not taken.
After all of the stitch holes are punched, it is then hand saddle stitched. This method uses 2 needles, approximately 5 feet of stitching, and about 40 minutes to complete. If it is done skillfully, there is absolutely no comparison to a strap stitched by a sewing machine.
Once completed, it should look like this.
Time and experience offers precision.
The edges are hand burnshed, then several coats of stain are applied.
A strip is then cut to the exact width to be used for both keepers (loops). Afterwards, the edges of the strip are stained with the same number of applications as the rest of the strap.
Each keeper is individually made for the strap it will be used with. They are made somewhat snug, with the anticipation of it stretching slightly. They are cut to length, the ends skived (thinned/beveled), then adhered, and finally stitched.
Going back to the buckle side of the strap, a line is drawn in the section that will make the correct finished length. It is also a line that will be used to skive a "flap" portion to form the lug end.
This shows what skiving is all about, and how the leather is shaved and thinned. One cut that's too deep means it's time to start over.
This shows what the lug flap looks like after skiving and after some finishing cuts have been made. Afterwards, any cut edges are stained to match the rest of the strap.
Next, it's time to install the first sewn in keeper. Every one of my handmade straps will come with this feature, and it is a better strap because of it.
After the sewn in keeper is positioned, the rest of strap is adhered into place and clamped. The adhesive needs to remain clamped and cure for 5 hours.
After the adhesive has cured, the portion of the leather where the flap will be secured is sanded. A line is drawn to indicate where adhesive cannot be applied (the center section), so it will form perfectly around either a tube or spring bar.
Adhesive is carefully applied to both sides (the flap and the sanded area), then the lug end is wrapped around either a tube or spring bar.
The freshly made lug end is now clamped and must remain this way for 5 hours.
Like the long end was done earlier, lines around the perimeter are made in preparation for stitching.
After all of the stitch holes have been punched, it can then be hand saddle stitched.
One detail is always trying to bridge the seam of the flap with a stitch, which takes some practice since it is being angled from the front side. This makes it permanently secured.
Next, the long side of the strap is stamped on the back with the Europelli Custom Handmade logo. A lasting impression and reminder of who crafted the strap just for you.
If a client's wrist measurement is known, the strap is further tailored by strategically placing the adjustment holes. The center of the strap is found, then each of the appropriate locations are marked.
Measure twice...punch once.
Each adjustment hole is then punched by hand, using a diameter that will fit the tang of my buckles perfectly.
Step 35: Enjoy and wear it in the best of health!
These photos show the finished product and the same strap that has been illustrated throughout its crafting. The photo on the right was taken with lighting that could be better controlled, and shows its true color. Chocolate "North of Cordovan" Chromexcel was used, along with White stitching.
As you can see, I don't exaggerate in the least when I say:
100% Custom Handmade To Your Specifications
100% Custom Handmade To Your Specifications
Strap Anatomy: A Europelli Custom Handmade Strap
An inside look at how the famous 100% handmade straps are crafted, from beginning to end.
I've been asked many times about how a certain aspect of a handmade strap is made. How do you do this? How do you do that? How long does it take? Is it really 100% handmade?
The term "handmade" is thrown around quite a lot in the strap world these days. Far more often than not, it's claimed with a few liberties. It may be put together by hand, but often times it's stitched with a sewing machine. This introduces an inferior lock stitch - one that can unravel if just one is cut, and it significantly reduces the build time. When a sewing machine is used, it isn't completely handmade - it's partially handmade.
Below you will find a pictorial documentation that illustrates the crafting of a typical Europelli Custom Handmade strap. Every single strap is taken through these steps. By the time you reach the finished product, it's my hope that you will have enjoyed seeing how everything comes together, as well as appreciating the time that is devoted to each and every one. It's also my hope that you will come to a greater understanding of what 100% handmade means to me...and what it should now mean to you as a customer.
As always, don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions about how one can be created just for you. Treat yourself to one today, then enjoy it with pride and in the very best of health!
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