Leather Pen Sleeve

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EricRN

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May 16, 2019
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I've been continuously on the search for a high quality leather pen sleeve that is reasonably priced. The ones that are sufficiently cheap that I can include them with my pens are lousy quality. Thin thread. Thin leather. Ugly colors. Sloppy construction. And I can never get my logo burned into them because the leather is so thin. The ones that are nice quality seem to be $20, $30 or more. After working a bit with leather in my woodworking (I posted a picture of a leather-lined valet box here awhile back), I discovered some YouTube videos that led me to think, "I can do that" with respect to my pen sleeve. Well, there's a reason those guys charge what they do. Here's my attempt. Ain't perfect; wouldn't give it away, much less sell it; but it's not a bad first attempt. Probably $1.50 in leather and thread in it, and that's super-high quality, Italian veg-tanned leather from the Conceria tannery. So if I can clean up my stitching lines and improve my edgework, I think I'll have a pretty nice leather pen sleeve that I can offer stock on my higher-cost pens or as a paid upgrade (maybe $5-10) on my lower quality pens. And--bonus--I can get a real nice embossing of my logo on there with the hot stamping machine.
 

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sorcerertd

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Nice. Did you do this by hand or with a machine? I tried with my sewing machine and was partially successful, but had problems with tension causing the thread to bunch up underneath. I tried again with a needle made specifically for leather and the presser foot on my sewing machine apparently doesn't have enough pressure to keep the material down when the needle pulls back up through it. Worked better with a standard needle, but that requires thinner thread. I guess if we both keep at it, we'll find a way to make it happen.

I wanted to do something like this
51powGG6BlL._AC_SL1000_.jpg
 

EricRN

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May 16, 2019
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Nice. Did you do this by hand or with a machine? I tried with my sewing machine and was partially successful, but had problems with tension causing the thread to bunch up underneath. I tried again with a needle made specifically for leather and the presser foot on my sewing machine apparently doesn't have enough pressure to keep the material down when the needle pulls back up through it. Worked better with a standard needle, but that requires thinner thread. I guess if we both keep at it, we'll find a way to make it happen.

I wanted to do something like this
View attachment 293827
Yeah, I hand sewed it. I ordered the sewing starter kit from Tandy leather. It comes with a bunch of needles, a stitching awl, some thread, some wax, a couple other tools I didn't use. I think it was $30-40. The best part was a very handy how-to book to get you started with stitching leather. The other thing that helped was a basic set of diamond chisels. Much easier to use those to punch the holes than to try and do it with the awl each time.
 

EricRN

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May 16, 2019
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Thats a nice start. I have been. Thinking about making a journal cover for myself. Lee Valley has kit. They also sell a punching tool for threading.

Yeah. I've been eying a journal cover too. I need to get better before diving into a big project like that. Lots of good video tutorials online. The nice thing about leathercraft (and part of what's been driving this recent interest of mine), is I can do it inside the house! It's getting cold out in the garage where my lathe and things are.

That Lee Valley tool is similar to what I used except mine is diamond-shaped, which leads to a more attractive stitch when using string (at least to my eye). The circular punch is better for lacing with leather lace, I think.
 

Humongous

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Feb 20, 2019
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Canandaigua, NY
Keep at it, it takes practice just like pen turning. I would recommend a product called Tokonole for edge burnishing. I bought a jar for around $15 on Amazon and the results are spectacular, really upped my game as I was never able to get the edge I liked with water, wax etc...
Looks like it will last a very long time since I just do small projects. You can also make some of the tools yourself, I made my edge beveler out of a flatblade screwdriver. Youtube is full of suggestions.

https://www.amazon.com/Seiwa-Tokonole-Leather-Burnishing-Leathercraft/dp/B017X8GL9A
 

dogcatcher

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Get a set of these Leather Craft Punch Tools Kit Stitching Carving Working Sewing Saddle Groover US | eBay
The smaller stitches look better but you pay for that because of the extra time used while stitching. Back when I made pen cases, I used the knife scabbard style, quicker since you only have one side and the bottom that you have to sew up. I would also look at the stitching kits that have a variety of threads and needles, experiment until you get the look you want, but that is also acceptable to buyers.

Once you have found your design, order extra needles, they will break at the eye. They are not always available locally, The waxed thread is better than plain linen. I used linen bow string because of the multiple colors that were available and at the time a friend owned the local archery shop and it was mostly free scraps.

Those neat little stitching things with a bobbin to hold the thread are USELESS, save you money and buy extra needles. A leather carving finger saver is a good accessory to help push the needle through 2 layers of leather.
 
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