leather wrap handlebars

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You might know I like bicycles… and probably more tinkering with them than riding them. I’ve had my beige beauty for a while now, and figured it was time for a refresh. It’s been a straight-bar, fixed bike for a while now and I wanted something more relaxing. I opted to loose the skinny tires for some Ruffy Tuffy 28c and put some swept-back bars on it. I went with a Velo Orange Left Bank handlebar if you’re wondering.

After the change, I was thinking about cork and shellac, like I did with my Raleigh, but realized it’d be a shame if I didn’t try my hand at a leather-wrapped bar. So, using the similar technique as on my Landcruiser steering wheel, I went for it.

To start this project, first measure the circumference of your handlebars and then lessen the number a little, depending on how stretchy your leather is. I used Horween Chromexcel and it’s got plenty of stretch to conform perfectly around the bends. Estimate your length and add an inch or two just in case. This will be trimmed off later.

After cutting the appropriate sized leather pieces, I ran them through the sewing machine with a 23 needle to punch my lacing holes evenly. This can be done with an overstitch wheel and an awl if you don’t have a sewing machine available. Once the holes are in place, it’s time to start wrapping. Tie a loop on your thread to keep it secure in the first hole and lace it through the inner end a couple times before beginning your lace sequence. I just looped heavy nylon waxed thread in a single-needle continuous stitch. It goes slow, and you’ll need to pull and tighten the stitch every couple loops. This works best if you can have the bar loose. If you’re using a quill stem, you’re gonna have to lace at least one side on the bike.

As you get to the end, get your scissors and cut the leather so you’ll have a very tapered end. You’ll cut your stitch holes off, but you can use an awl or a punch and make new ones. The leather ends need to be sewn together in a peg-leg fashion, so the material can be cleanly folded into the end of the bars. After feeding the ends into the bars and smoothing out any lumps, I tapped in corks from the hardware store to finish (not pictured).

 

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Army Surplus Curtain DIY Revisit

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You’ll need some tools:
  • Tape measure
  • Large sewing needle
  • Shears
  • Screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Leather hole-punch
  • Elmer's glue or hot-glue gun
You’ll need a few materials:
  • Army surplus blanket
  • Pine 1x3 board, cut to the desired length
  • Leather or canvas straps, each 7/8 inch wide, 15 inches long
  • Snaps fastener kit, with setting tool and at least two complete snaps
  • Embroidery thread
  • Screws 1/2" long to mount snaps
  • Longer screws to mount board to wall

This was actually one of the first posts on W&F some time ago, but I never published the full instructions because they appeared in ReadyMade Magazine. Since then, RM has gone out of business and I’ve got folks finding pictures here and there and wanting the DIY. So here goes… Re-releasing the full DIY so you can get your windows ready for winter.

++ First Published ReadyMade Dec 2010 ++

1. Measure your window to be covered, after deciding where you’d like to mount the board… inside or outside the frame. Cut your board to length, or have it cut when buying at your local hardware store. Measure the length of your window to be covered too, and use these measurements to cut your blanket dimensions. If your board is to be mounted above the window, be sure to add enough length for the blanket to reach the window sill. (It doesn’t hurt to add a 1/2″ extra all-around to your curtain as well.)

2. Cut two identical panels of your blanket (double panels really block the light). Stack your blanket pieces and blanket-stitch around the sides and top. I like leaving the bottom open for effect, but you can sew that shut too. Sew a couple small cross stitches in the body of the blanket so it doesn’t bunch when you fold it up.

3. Assemble your straps by punching small holes in each end, one for the snap, one to mount to the board. On your snap side, cut a rounded edge on your strap. If you use canvas straps, make sure to glue the end to prevent fraying. Use your hammer and the setting tool to attach the female snap assembly to the strap, with the open end on the rough side of the leather.

4. Measure and mark where you’d like your straps to be on the blanket, generally 1/4 of the way in from your board width.

5. Lay your blanket over the board, aligning it centered width and a 1/4 inch over the top. Using the screws with the male snap piece, screw it through the blanket and barely into the wood. Lift up and put the strap (rough suede side up) into place and then completely screw assembly into the board.

6. If you’re happy where everything is lining up, you can glue the top edge of the blanket to the board to prevent sagging. Elmer’s or hot-glue works fine.

7. Then level the board over your window and screw it to the wall or window frame.

8. Fold, roll, or accordion your blanket and pull the straps to snap in place.

Tips / variations:
• Use contrasting embroidery thread to stand out or compliment the blanket color.
• Find a blanket with tags, markings, or embroidered initials for an interesting element.
• Add snaps to the middle of the blanket so you can snap it open half-way.

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Archer’s quiver DIY

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You’ll need some tools:
  • sewing machine
  • leather punch
  • rotary knife
  • ruler
  • cutting mat
  • rivet setting tools
You’ll need a few materials:
  • 8oz. strap leather
  • heavy canvas (vintage army tent here)
  • 5oz. garment leather
  • copper rivets

I took up archery not too long ago and realized it can be super relaxing when things get stressful. The bad news is, I’ve been pretty busy in the shop and haven’t shot much lately. However with all this shop time, I have been working on a quiver. When I finally do make it out to the range again, I won’t have to carry my arrows in a rubber band.

Here’s the instructions to make one for yourself. Like all my experiments on here, there’s lots of ways to do this, and modifications for your own use too. My plan went like this:

Start by cutting your main material into three parts for the body. Two pieces 6”x26” and one pocket piece at 6”x12”. Cut a piece of leather or other thicker material for the bottom at a dimension of 6”x7.5”.

Lay the pocket piece flipped and reversed onto one of the body panels and sew the bottom of the pocket to the body. Then flip the panel over into place. I added a top-stitch on as well to match the original army tent material’s construction. Sew your leather bottom panel to the bottom of the first body panel, and then the other size to the second body panel. I used tape to align panels before sewing. You can use double-sized tape too, if you want them stuck in place.

After all the panels are together, fold the panels in half, inside-out. Make sure your pocket is in the correct place and then clip or pin everything together. Sew down the side seams, stopping 2.5 inches from going all the way to the leather bottom. While still inside-out, make a tube and push the leather bottom seam to spread the open area and flatten and then sew a stitch perpendicular to the side seam. After sewn, cut the extra material off.

Last steps are to attach hardware to the quiver body. I used copper rivets, leather bits a d-ring and a small buckle to make strap attachment points. Where it attaches to the opening, I folded the end of the strap over, with a d-ring in the fold for extra utility. My strap is adjustable with the buckle at the other end, either hang on my belt loop when I’m shooting or over my shoulder when walking to the range.

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W&F Founders Revisited

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I’m excited to present our second installment of the fictional founders, this time as a bandana. Since Woodrow and Faulkner’s last appearance on the handkerchief, we’ve been plotting their return.

Illustrated by the brilliant Brooke Thompson and printed on made in USA, 100% cotton, navy bandana stock. Printed with discharge ink, so there’s no heavy ink feel at all. Wash’em tons and they’ll get softer and softer.

Brooke illustrated tons of imagery from the blog, some Kansas prairie references, hard-working tools, and my favorite bit – a little alchemy and hocus pocus.

 

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Lake Timothy Return

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Work in the shop has been crazy for the last four weeks. A little bit before it started, a few of us had a chance to get out for a day to Timothy Lake. A little bit before that, I got a delivery from Sanborn Canoe Co. As a part of the Sanborn Scout program, we get to try some of their wares, and I was the recipient of some amazing new paddles. We had a Sams’ Special and a Little Sag in our boat.

First, I was amazed at how light they are. Mostly cedar construction, so I knew they wouldn’t be heavy… I just wasn’t prepared for how easy they were to handle and made paddling nearly effortless. Such a believer in these paddles now. The bent shaft of the Little Sag helped with an extra push, perfect for stern position.

Greg has been paddling with some Borealis for a while now and we traded off for a bit. We both agreed each other’s paddles handled differently, but to similar effect. Weight was comparable, paddling was easy, though the Borealis seemed to move you a little easier presumably due to the extra degrees of bend.

After leaving Timothy, we stopped by Little Crater Lake. Which is seriously little. But nice.

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Thomas Kay Pendleton Camp Stool

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I’ve hinted at this thing for a while now with some instagrams here and there, but am finally posting the final for you to check out. We were approached by Pendleton to do a small run of camp stools with some of their fabric for The Thomas Kay Collection and were extremely excited about it.

Employing a slightly different process and a little more work, but we’re super proud of the final product. We start with yards of Pendleton wool and cut to our triangle shape. The material is adhered to the leather seat and then serged and sewn to the leather. Just as tough as our leather seat model, but with some added style and pattern. Brass hardware and ash legs as usual.

Some of you have asked if we’re going to have them in the store, and unfortunately we won’t. They will only be sold through Pendleton, and in short supply. Try checking with the Pendleton store in Portland if you’re interested.

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sample sale + new online store

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Lots of news to announce now! First of all, you might have noticed a new look to the blog and store. Just set live last night, we now have a cleaner look to the site and more unified across the blog and store. We’ve changed store platforms to help us grow, and hopefully the user experience it somewhat better (though we’re working on easier checkout still soon). Also in the store, we’re going to have FREE DOMESTIC SHIPPING with orders over $75.

Also important to announce is this weekend’s in shop only SAMPLE SALE! We’ve been collecting (I’ve been hiding and Anna has been finding) boxes of old stuff. Some samples, some blems, some experiments, some returns, some variants and all at pretty low prices. Most items are 50% off for one reason or another. Wallets and iPhone cases are 30% off because of experimental threads or minor style variants. Tons of belts… lots of smaller sizes perfect for ladies’ summer waist belts. Pics of items below.

Sample sale is in our workshop – above the Beam&Anchor retail space. 2710 N. Interstate Ave., 97227. Sale runs from 11am to 3pm. You can enter though the store below, or though the dockside door off Knott Street. We’ll have our square readers, but cash is certainly welcome.

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Sanborn Scouts

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Work around here is still real fun… Though I seem to work a lot. I have to attempt to make time for real breaks because there’s always extra projects to fill my spare time. One of the more relaxing ways to get a break is taking out the canoe. Then again, I don’t canoe as much as I’d like because of projects. Will this work better if I make canoeing a project?

So my friend Evan submitted a list of us to be potential ‘Scouts‘ for Sanborn Canoe Company. They’re a small company in Minnesota making amazing paddles and other outdoor goods. They’ve got a fantastic story and the amount of work and care that goes into their product is unreal. They are looking to boost the stories on their blog around canoe culture and thankfully chose us as their Northwest Scouts. What this means is we get a little free gear for contributing stories about our projects or trips or whatever. It’s the perfect scenario for me to take a real break and get in the boat.

So this leads me to add more content on my blog about getting outside too. I hope you enjoy some pics from my trips as much as you do some of my projects. Also, follow our progress and the other Scouts on Sanborn’s blog. They also have tumblr and instagram feeds. There’s a lot of great content in there already and I’m excited to see more stories written.

Here’s some pics from the last camping canoe trip I took with friends. Evan and I set out to Timothy Lake on a Friday, and Anna and Addy joined up Saturday. It was a excellent time and I’m already thinking of the next mountain lake trip to share.

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Leather Wrapped EVERYTHING

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I was going to do a DIY leather wrapped steering wheel on my Land Cruiser, and seem to have gotten carried away. As I was working on the steering wheel, I came across an issue of The Heritage Post. It’s a good looking magazine out of Germany that covers plenty of vintage and new pieces in clothing, cars, bikes, watches and all kinds of interesting old stuff. In the issue was a vintage Land Rover that was nearly covered with sewn-in leather – seats, door panels, headrests, visors, steering wheel and more. Needless to say, it sent me down a path.

So, next was the passenger side grab bar, then the pad on the console. Probably the shifter handle next. Visors later? I have plenty of leather, so why not?

Anyway, back to the DIY. First thing – measure your steering wheel. Write down your measurements and then subtract a little. I was using some Horween Chromexcel, and it can be very stretchy on the vertical. So cut your leather accordingly and then size down where appropriate. I wanted a really tightly stretched surface so it contours to the wheel, so I subtracted at least 1.5″ on the round and .375″ on the thickness.

After cutting the main piece, I needed lacing holes, but didn’t want to space and punch each one. If you sew the holes on your sewing machine without thread, it makes perfectly spaced holes with almost no effort. Load your machine with a huge needle so you get a decent sized hole. Next, I sewed the ends together with a lap stitch. If I would redo this, I’d French stitch the seam instead to make it smoother.

When together, stretch it over your steering wheel. Make sure it fits snugly and can easily be sewn around the wheel. I used some very thick waxed thread, with one needle and just laced it. It gives a folksy look, but I liked it. The waxed thread holds itself more securely when stitching, and just tighten your stitches every inch or so. It will take some patience to run around the whole wheel. After the outer is laced, you’re going to have to cover your spokes. I traced them roughly with some paper and a pencil and cut pieces of leather to fit. I punched holes on the sewing machine the same way again and laced everything together. It could be tighter, but not to bad for the first try.

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W&F Shop Space

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It’s been a while since I moved things out of my house, and everything has just continued to move faster and faster. So fast that I realized I’ve never even formally introduced my current shop on the blog.

If you follow W&F on Instagram, you’ve seen small bits of the place, but since my dear friend Lisa was in recently taking pics, I want to share and show the place off. As you can see, now there’s more than enough room for tools, work tables, materials and even an expert employee, Anna.

I work out of the Beam&Anchor building, which is the fantastic vision of my friends Robert and Jocelyn Rahm. It’s an old, reworked building located in NE Portland, and I’m extremely fortunate that they asked to have me included. There’s no other way I could have gotten this far and this busy without having such an inspiring place to work.

A major source of the inspiration comes from the other building’s tenants – Maak Soap Lab, Revive Upholstery, Earthbound Industries, Phloem Studio and of course space for Robert to work on his artifacts/creations and space for Jocelyn to paint. Below us all is the retail shop, helmed by Jocelyn, Currie, Robert and Patrick. It’s been an amazing experience working alongside and with such hardworking and creative folks.

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