Ped's & Ro Leather Blog

Ped's & Ro Leather Blog

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Strapping Business

I would like to introduce the wonderful world of straps with a few pictures and words.

The current trend of big faced watch demands some serious strap to match it's boldness. To a mainstream consumer, the thin OEM strap that comes with the watch is sufficient. However, for an enthusiast, it hardly wet their appetites. They will crave for something more substantial, stylish and rugged.
There are a number of custom strapper that has made a name for themself. To mention a few, Shane Delaurian, Rob Montana "The Strap Smith", Greg Stephen "GSD" and a relatively new comer "dangerous9straps". These guys has been my first inspiration in the world of leather craft.

Ok, to the picture:

These two are the first two straps that I made few years back, I was stoked on how these two came out, pretty decent for first attempt. However, the leather that was used is way too thick. It's next to impossible to wear these.

For the next strap I still used the same leather but a lot of thinning was done so I can actually wear it. I've improved my skill significantly, all around stitching, cleaner edges and it can be worn!! Very rugged looking strap.

Next one is made from a hide I bought whilst traveling overseas, lovely red colour with pronounced grain. I absolutely love the hides. 

My latest creation is an absolute gem, perfect thickness, nice coloured edges and looks much more elegant. It sits well on the wrist and provide enough firmness to support the heavy watch. I traveled to Europe with this and the only noticeable changes is its patina.

Well that's my journey into strapmaking, it took me a while to honed my skill, and there's still a lot more stuff out there that need be learn, however that's what makes the journey interesting and challenging at the same time.

Monday, November 22, 2010

In the context of Patina...

I've thrown a lot of "patina" words in my first post. What does it really mean and represent? Basically, a patina is the 'wear' in the leather surface, often this will make the surface glossier. The patinated surface will also feel much softer, more supple, and gives it a much more luxurious 'hand' feel. To enchance and preserved this 'patina', I normally rub some wax into the surface and then burnish it lightly so the wax will be absorbed into the leather surface. This patina effect is much more pronounced in a vegetable tanned leather compared to a chrome tanned leather.

Depending on how the leather is worn, patina can comes in many different faces.

If the leather stays out of the sun most of the time but receive a lot of rubbing and handled by human hands most of the time, overtime the surface will become quite glossy with deeper tan colour. A good example is a phone pouch or wallet. The oils from our hands help darken the leather and the frequent rubbing will gloss the surface overtime.

If the leather receive a lot of sun exposure but rarely has its surface rubbed against or handled by human hand, the surface will tend to turn into a brownish orange colour with less surface gloss. A good example for this is a hand bag. Sun exposure will turn a vegetable-tanned leather into a brownish orange hue. Due to the lack of oils and rubbing on the surface, the original texture will be maintained.

The photo below illustrates this. The iL Bisonte bag receives a lot of sun exposure, as a result it turns brownish orange. Note the surface under the bag flap still retain its original colour. The phone pouch is much glossier due to the frequent rubbing and oiling occurring naturally by my hands. It also has a different colour compare to the bag, more brown hue than orange. The strap is a combination of both, it receives a lot of sun exposure, while occasionally rubbed by being worn. It has a slight shine in the surface but not as pronounced as the phone pouch. As a base comparison, the dog collar style bracelet was a brand new leather, still retaining its 'Virgin' colour and texture.

Another note on the iL Bisonte bag: I absolutely love the il Bisonte vegetable tanned leather!! It has the perfect texture, suppleness and feel. Hopefully in the not too distant future I can source the exact leather and work with it. That will be a dream come true!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

First Post!!

Allright, I should have done this ages ago but keep delaying for god knows what reason. Actually I'll tell you some of the reasons. I work in the finance industry, and when you work with other people's money you need to be sure that your mental focus is 100%, otherwise money goes missing and hey presto, people will do terrible things for money. This leaves me drained at the end of the day and it's a very very bad time to start writing a blog about my hobby. Other reason that occupy most of my brain space is how to make your millions. I know that is a cliche, after all I'm a young man with a dream, and money goes a long way to fulfill that dream. I speculate on a lot of things and that occupy most of my time too.

Now, lets get back to my hobby. Actually, back a few steps and start with the Ped's & Ro name. It's a combination of our (my wife and I) three dogs' names, Pedro, Nero & Roxy. Pedro and Nero are Rough Collies (think Lassie) and Roxy is a Siberian Husky. My wife came up with the idea that we should dedicate our dogs' name into this brand name which I can use for whatever stuff i want to use. She's big on marketing and suggested that a brand name is one of the first that clients will recognize so it should be catchy. Well I love it!! It's perfect.

So back to my hobby. I like creating items, it relaxes me by letting my creative side flourish. The items in question is leather. I absolutely love leather. Their smell, their luxurious feel, their ruggedness, their patina, etc, i can go on. I've always been fascinated by leather. When my mother buys a new leather handbag I will inspect it and get a good feel on how it feels. When I visit stores that sells leather bag I will make an excuse to go into the store and 'inspect' each one of them. What got me hooked up and drove me into making leather item was a leather watch band. Yup, a watch band. There are lots of impressive artisan (Delaurian, Rob Montana 'The Strap Smith', GSD, Dangerous8, etc) out there that build exceptional watch straps. It's an eye opener and is inspirational. In my opinion, building a leather watch band takes far more precision than say building a leather bag. Attention to detail prevails in such a small item, from the number of stitched holes to the way the edge is finished. People do notice these details and you'd better be sure those details exist!!

I started learning the craft by building simple straps, and each one gets better. The last one i built accompanied me to Northern Europe. Wore this for 1 months straight without any serious sign of deterioration. I was very impressed!!

My choice of leather is vegetable-tanned (not exclusive though). IMO, it's the best kind of leather. The oxidation process (scientific word for Patina) alone is fascinating. It's also extremely durable and aged exceptionally well. I'm always on the hunt for those unique veg-tanned leather. My craft is old fashioned, everything is done by hand, from cutting the leather piece, burnishing the edge, punching the stitching holes to stitching. You can say that I'm passionate about helping the environment and so only human watt is use. 

Well there goes my journey into leather craft. I'm at the stage where I can comfortably offer my creation to the general public with cash reward of course (i take gold and silver too) :). I will be posting on this blog frequently to update everyone on what items and ideas are in my head, the stuff I have made and will be made, also other unique leather articles that I've found.

Stay Tuned...