DIY Strap Notching Tutorial
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  1. #1
    Member ThomasH's Avatar
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    Cool DIY Strap Notching Tutorial

    Hi folks,

    This is an illustrated tutorial about strap notching, since so many people have asked me how I do strap notching recently. Nothing like pictures, you know! Those of us on slower connections may even have to reload to get all the pictures to show, but I think it was worth the effort.

    This is not my idea, by the way, I learned how to do this from other SCWF and PMWF members, and there was even another tutorial posted, but when I found it in the mirror site, all the pictures are missing. So I decided to do mine own.

    My project for this afternoon is my Seiko SKXA47K White Knight, with its semi- integrated bracelet. I’ve wanted to put this on a strap for a long while and now is the time! Below are the basic tools I'm going to use, an Exacto blade to do the cutting, Super-Glue to hold down the 'flaps' after I cut them and magnifying goggles so I can see precisely what I'm doing.


    Click for Big Image



    I picked a 24mm pilot style strap because it seemed like the right overall width to match the White Knight case design, but you can see the problem in the picture below, the stock bracelet has a small (15mm) center part that sticks into the case to mate up. I certainly didn't want a 15mm strap on this monster of a watch, so my plan is to cut notches in the strap, on the outside corners, to create a 15mm wide center section that will mate up like the original bracelet.


    Click for Big Image



    Here I'm using a soft sharp pencil to mark the lines I'll cut on, using the case lugs as my model. You could also use the bracelet to determine where to cut. Measure and make your marks carefully, remember the advice, "Measure twice, cut once!"


    Click for Big Image



    Now the scary part, cutting the expensive strap you bought. Cut straight down from the top, but with the blade angled slight as shown, so your cut is deeper at the back of the strap that it is in the front. Cut all the way down through the 'pin loop' to the thick part of the strap, at this angle. You can always go back and cut more deeply in the front if you need to!


    Click for Big Image



    Now you cut in from the edge, on the back side ONLY, to meet the top-down cut you made. You are trying to make a 'flap' out of the corner of the strap that is in the way, so you can pull the flap to the back of the strap, out of the way, and glue it there. Then it will have a smooth 'shoulder' and look original, not like it has hacked out.


    Click for Big Image



    Below you see the first two cuts are done, and the 'flap' I'm talking about.


    Click for Big Image



    Try folding the flap down to create the notch and hold it up to the watch case to check on the fit. Usually, in my experience, but not always, the notch won't be deep enough, and now is the time to perhaps cut the front a touch deeper, but more importantly (and more effectively) trim some of the material out from behind the flap so it can fold down more and make the notch deeper.


    Click for Big Image



    Be careful when trimming the material out from behind the flaps, I had to trim some of the thick strap material below the back of the flaps in this case, so they would fold down deep enough. Try not to cut the stitching either!! Here is a picture of both sides cut, and trimmed, ready to fold over and glue.


    Click for Big Image



    And below you can see one flap folded down and Super-Glued. You can also see where I have trimmed some material away from the back of the strap on the other flap. I put the Super-Glue on the inside of the flap, fold it over, pulling tightly to make the notch as deep as possible, then hold the flap to the back of the strap until the glue sets. I occasionally lose a little skin in the process.


    Click for Big Image



    And here is the tongue side of the strap, all glued up and installed. The leather where the spring bars go through will stretch over time, so don't make the notches too deep. I usually cut them such that putting the spring bars on is fairly difficult the first time, which is a pain I'll admit. But the upside is when the leather stretches later the strap will still be a nice tight, attractive fit.


    Click for Big Image



    And below, through the magic of editing, is the whole strap, cut, glued and fitted! Quite a different look from the original bracelet, but looking very proper and professional, no rough edges. Another hint is to use a black magic marker on the remaining exposed edges of the cuts you made so they are dark black and don't distract from the professional appearance of your work.


    Click for Big Image



    Next is installing the nice butterfly deployant, and trying the completed project on! So here are a couple of hairy wrist shots of the completed project. Here's a normal top-down kind of shot.


    Click for Big Image



    And here is an angled version that shows more of the new strap. I like it!


    Click for Big Image



    That's all there is to it! It's easy and effective. Don't be tyrannized by those integrated bracelets anymore, declare your independence and notch a strap!

    And it's the same concept as these 'outside' notches to create an 'inside' notch like I had to do for my SNZC41K, shown below. You just cut one large notch out of the middle leaving two 'ears' like the original bracelet.


    Click for Big Image



    Thanks for hanging around, I hope this helps us all enjoy our watches even more!


    - Thomas

  2. #2
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    Re: DIY Strap Notching Tutorial

    Thanks for posting that. Will come in handy on a future project.

  3. #3
    Member Time Seller's Avatar
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    Re: DIY Strap Notching Tutorial

    @ThomasH:

    A belated but sincere thank you for your efforts with this thread.

    At this late date I have a line on a White Knight Automatic.

    I've been looking for a white Seiko diver to round out my collection, and I don't particularly like the Stargate (which has also become quite rare).

    The bracelet on this particular SKXA47 looks kind of beat-up, and I hadn't till recently realized that the Knight doesn't have the stock 20mm or 22mm bracelet size, like the rest of the Seikos do.

    I like to swap out straps, and in looking for info I came across this great thread.

    Now I know what the deal is if/when I score the WK.

    Thanks again!

    BTW, a question: does the original bracelet only have polished middle links, or did Seiko also have a version with brushed middle links?
    I have seen pictures of both kinds . . . or did the owners sandblast or "mattify" the original polished links?
    (In fact, the watch I'm looking to buy does appear to have a matte bracelet).

  4. #4
    Member Time Seller's Avatar
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    Re: DIY Strap Notching Tutorial

    So, it was a little work (strap is padded so more to scrape out) but it worked. Used a 22mm strap... wanted something green. Mission accomplished! Thanks, Thomas.

    Last edited by Time Seller; 4 Days Ago at 09:29.

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