I've stopped and started a few times with strap making...and at this point I think I know enough and have enough tools to be dangerous! . So off we go! (Feel free to chime in with advice and constructive thoughts)
My first project was a canvas strap made from an IDF (Israeli Defense Force) ammo pouch. I'm guessing leather wouldn't fare well in a desert? Certainly cheaper... Anyway, I bought this one and was hoping to incorporate the symbol on my "final" strap from the back. But first, a test strap.
Pic of the bag and a rifle sling that I'm working up to using for another strap.
These were the tools I had to begin with.
After disassembly (these were not built to come apart!), I decided to use parts that already had a formed fold in them and make the pieces. I used an existing strap as a template and cut the pieces. I wasn't sure if I wanted to do a leather back, as the strap is probably thick enough but decided for a test strap to go for it. I used a bit of a sample piece of leather from Restoration Hardware. It was nice and thin, so I didn't skive it. Hindsight, it needs a little skiving...
This canvas was fraying a lot, so I bought this stuff called Fray Check and it works! I wonder how other canvas straps are made so they don't fray? Are they made from a belt like strip, where the manufacturer has already taken care of that due to how it's made? Anyway, the project stalled a bit as I didn't have punches to stitch, or the stitching pony. More on the pony later. Here's what things look like now.
After a trip to Tandy (I'm lucky to have one sort of close to me), I have more tools! I upgraded the $20 stitching pony by wet-forming some scrap bits of leather around the top, letting them dry, then gluing them on. Now the top of the pony won't mark up my projects.
Then I got distracted by an old belt that I have "grown out of". It's black with some slight distressing. I used the buckle end and was going to use a roller buckle I bought for this strap. Unfortunately, I forgot and glued it, so a normal Pre-V buckle will suffice. Pics of the progress.
Instead of this (I thought exposing the holes would look more interesting)
Stitching and punching holes proved harder than I thought. First, I bought a 6-hole and 2-hole punch from Tandy. They were out of 4 hole punches. After I ordered some thread on Amazon, one of the other things people buy came up - a set of 4 hole punches that was cheap. Well.... turns out the prongs of the cheap ones are way too small and thus the holes they made were really small. You can see in this test strap that the outermost holes are too small. I then used the Tandy punch and then was able to at least practice some stitching after I butchered what I had made.
The Tandy punch is the black Craftool.
After all this I'm excited to try again and see what comes of it. Things I figured out - things that I thought would be hard were easier. I thought saddle stitching would be harder but I found a good video...and I think I did ok. Besides the awful punch line, how does it look? Punching the holes was harder than I thought, as I was punching on an angle sometimes. New things I learned - remove rivets using a power drill. The right skiver makes all the difference. I used the curvy thing before and hated it. The bigger on in this pic is the new skiving knife and I like it a lot better.
For glue I'm using Barge cement. I only have a little tube of it, but I have some rubber cement in the garage. Is this a decent alternative when I run out of the barge cement? I'll add more pics of the new strap and the progress on the canvas strap.
Thanks for your time,