Saturday, March 22, 2008

Before the Belts...

Even after all these years, I love when my leather shipments arrive.
The smell of fresh leather is overpowering to some; to me it's the aroma of possibilities.
I order my belt leather by the side, which is basically half of a hide. There are other cuts available, but for ease of handling and direction of grain, sides are my preference. Rolled out, this one measures over 7 feet in length, obviously more than I'll need for belts. The first thing I do is determine how much excess length there is and cut it away -- the end piece will go into other projects.

Then I line up and cut a straight edge with simple tools -- a metal straight-edge and a sharp utility knife.

The next tool is a basic manual strap cutter. Today I'm cutting wide belts, so i have it set to 1 1/2" for some of the straps, 1 3/4 for others. A quick pull down my straight edge and a belt strap falls away. Then another and another until there's a pile of straps and no side!

I cut them to length, trim the tips and I'm ready to go!

There are few things more exciting to me than a pile of ready straps waiting to become belts; the equivelent of an artist's blank canvas, I'm sure!

I'll take pictures of some as I go, so be sure to check back in a few days to see what becomes of this former side of cowhide.

Hope your day is as fulfilling as I know mine is going to be!

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