HAND-CRAFTED LEATHER GOODS
Wallets and note-cases
Under this heading there is a choice of a wide variety of articles and a beginner, having gained some experience in the handling of leathercraft tools and the rudiments of joining leather together, can attempt making a fairly basic wallet or note-case.
A straightforward description of a wallet is that it is flat object and opens and closes like a notebook. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of variations on this theme ranging from the note-case for the shirt pocket to the enormous ones lugged around by artists.
Wallets generally speaking follow a similar pattern, in as much they have a folding main pocket with smaller ones on the inside.
To keep all the bits together thonging (lacing) is often used instead of stitching, particularly around the outer edges,
especially if the leather being used is other than vegetable-tanned hide, though not exclusively so.
Stitching the wallet together means the edges will need to be finished properly.
Run a damp sponge round the edges of the leather and while is still slightly wet
on all four edges, that is front and back, they are rounded with a tool called
an edger. When the edger is pushed along the edge of the leather, it cuts a thin
strip off the edge, rounding it.
Surfaces that will be attached flat against another surface are not edged. This step looks so simple, yet requires great control. If the edger is not held firmly enough against the edge of the leather, it will ruin the edge instead. Always work from head to tip when edging or burnishing, so that the leather fibres are consistently flattened in only one direction.
Next, the edges have to be dyed and you can apply a coat of dye along the edges of the finished work very easily and give your work professional look using the following tool or use the methods described, for example on page 04). There is also the video demonstration to view.
Edge Dyeing Roller in action
It is though, far better to keep to a lighter-weight hide, or a firm-dressed grain leather. In the first place they don't need lining, or stiffening with sugar paper, and additionally can be embossed or stamped decoratively. The inner pockets should be of a thinner leather but none the less of a certain stiffness. Leather so thin as to be stretchy is definitely not to be used. Pockets made using thin leather are also more resistant to wear if the edges are bound or turned.
If, however, a soft-feeling wallet is a particular requirement then any of the nappas (described on page 18) and most any of the soft leathers, are fine for both the inner and outer parts, but of course all edges will need binding, or turning-over and stitching.
Any hardware such as press-studs or zips used for the closure of inner pockets must be put in before final assembly. Zips particularly are a very popular method of fastening and are easily inserted, it merely requires a slot to be cut into the leather the same length as the toothed section of the zip and the same width plus ¼", it is then centred under the slot, glued into place, and the stitch holes marked around it and then sewn in using saddle or back-stitch.
Closures for a wallet are wide ranging indeed. Turn-locks, magnetic studs, press-studs, you name it. Some of us of course prefer leather fastenings such as a tongue and loop or strap and buckle, though many wallets require no fastenings at all and are simply folded shut and nothing else is necessary.