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leather shapes leather shapes

KINGSMERE CRAFTS

HAND-CRAFTED LEATHER GOODS

Binding edges

Hand-crafted, and decorative leatherwork. How is it done? - continued

On hide above a certain thickness this is unnecessary, unless intended only for decorative purposes. On thin hide though it serves to strengthen the edges, as well as improving, the finish.

Binding should be done using thin, stretchy, leather strips, the width depending on the thickness of the edge to be covered, but usually allowing at least ¹/4" to overlap on each side (plus the thickness) as a rough guide. And, if necessary, using the same leather as the article is made from, skived to achieve the necessary thinness, and dyed to match its colour. The dyeing is best done before skiving and cutting the strips to size, to allow for any shrinkage that may occur due to the thinness of the leather. Also, dyeing very thin leather can be a bit tricky. The fact of its thinness alone means it absorbs the dye instantly, and your control over the process is minimal, consequently a lot of hard work can be wasted.

Single binding - pierce stitch holes
through all thicknesses after gluing,
ensuring the awl is kept vertical

Curved binding

For separate edge binding,  pierce
stitch holes in each piece, ensuring
you keep them in alignment

On the curved binding above, note that there are no notches cut out. Think of leather like bias tape — it can take a pretty serious curve if you are careful to smooth out the edges and pull it as you apply it. As with strap-making, I like to glue first, then stitch when I put on the leather edge bindings.

It is essentially to protect the edge, as well as to conceal its rawness, though it can be decorative at the same time. Sometimes, where the thickness is rather bulky, such as a bag gusset joining to the front, it is better to bind each edge individually before stitching them together. In such an instance (covering the edges with one length of binding) it is preferable to glue the edges (you intend to bind) together, before applying the binding. Then, too, you may also find that applying the adhesive to the front and back of the edges, then stretching and smoothing the binding over it, is preferable to trying to apply a sticky strip of leather which seems more intent on twisting about and adhering to itself, than going around the edge where you want it.


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