leather shapes leather shapes

KINGSMERE CRAFTS

HAND-CRAFTED LEATHER GOODS

Making a pair of bellows

The illustrations below (plus, two ½" and two 1¼" wood screws, two drawing pins, a couple of dozen or so of ½" tacks, as many upholstery nails as required and about 15" of ¹/8" square thong) show what is required to make a pair of bellows. This is what I use when I make them and the method of assembly is the one I follow. Believe me, they work!

After cutting out the usual shape the wood has to be finished before assembly (that is the surfaces that will be visible, namely the top face and bottom face plus the edges). I'd recommend a final light sanding and the application of two coats of French polish, followed by a rub down with a fine steel wool, then after wiping with a tack rag, well polished with a good wax furniture polish. Staining the wood before applying the French polish will give you a darker finish. You can if that is your preference, paint the wood.

wooden top of bellows

wooden base of bellows

some of the fittings

hinge & bellows hide

1. Assembly begins by placing panel "A" on a flat surface with the finished side down. Fasten the valve-flap over the 1" valve hole with the drawing pins, towards the handle end, place the nose block on top of panel "A" with the hinge on top of the nose block (fulcrum outwards) and secure with the two 1 ½" wood screws, through the hinge, the block and into panel "A"; attach panel "B" to the hinge with the two ½" wood screws.

2. Stand the assembly on nose block with the panels slightly open and fit the hide around the handles.

panels slightly open

secure round handles

secure round nose block

The ½" recesses, cut into the hide for the handles, are angled, but should be secured flush to the edge of the handles by pulling tight and tucking up to the handle edge (as in the illustration) in each of the four positions.

3. Place the bellows on the panel edges with the nose block away from you. Stretch the hide over the panel edges by pulling it beyond the nose block. The hide is then secured in the stretched position, at the nose block (as in illustration). However, before tacking, you should ensure that you are using as much hide as possible. The panels should be open almost as far as the hide between the handles will allow, but it should not at this point be stretched too tautly, as this could prevent sufficient coverage in other areas. You should have excess hide around the panel edges and extending beyond the nose block. Once secured in the stretched position, with three tacks at the nose block (as in illustration) the hide is tacked to the panel edges at 1" intervals.

Continues next page


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