Handmade leather saddle bag

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Handmade leather saddle bag

Postby christianeh » Wed Jan 18, 2012 7:45 pm

My brother and I have been getting into leather-work of late so the other week we decided to combine our love of bikes and leather and make some saddle bags. I've found that leather is such a great material to work with as there is so much you can do to it and you're only limited by your imagination. It took some time to work out how to make it and designing it to fit our needs, especially how to go about making the side pieces. After a few nights of sketching and researching we got started. Down to the local leather store to buy a whole hide of vegetable tanned leather (it doesn't come cheap). We decided that we wanted the side pieces to be recessed and as such spent an afternoon making a jig out of wood to mold the side pieces. Each piece took a few days in the jig to ensure that the leather would stay in shape.

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The pieces were cut out from a template my bro had drawn up in Autocad. All the edges of the leather have been bevelled and burnished to get a nice smooth edge and to lock the fibres in and avoid fraying.

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We ran the stitch groover around the edge for both aesthetics and to recess the stitching.

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Every single stitch hole was marked out and punched separately by hand.

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After all the pieces were ready we had the dilemma of which colour to dye it. I went for a dark walnut which has really drawn out the grain in the leather giving it a really cool look. My brother opted for a deep brandy which I feel looks very classic and timeless. There are lots of different coloured dyes out there; black, tan, natural and in particular honey, which I reckon could all look great. We polished it up to a gloss with some leather polish to seal in the dye and to protect the leather. With time and wear I can imagine that it will really bring out the true character of leather as I've already noticed on my brothers one. There's some subtle crease lines starting to emerge where the lid folds over the top as well as where the buckles are on the straps. I'm looking forward to see how it weathers in a few months time.

We used a stitch called a saddle stitch and is apparently one of the strongest in the world and can only be achieved by hand sewing. It's kind of therapeutic to sit for an hour or so in the afternoon, with a cold beer, slowly stitching away.

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We used rivets in each corner for added strength and to lock the stitching in place. The leather store had heaps of buckles and rivets to choose from. We decided on the bronze style rivets and brass buckles to really accentuate that classic feel. All together it took nearly a full day to make one of the bags (not including the time to mold the side pieces) but we're really excited about the outcome.

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There's enough room in there for all the necessities, or perhaps a packed lunch :D

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I reckon it goes quite well with my recovered Selle San Marco Rolls saddle.

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The photos doen't give an accurate portrayal of the colours. In person they are really deep and rich. There's a tan coloured one in there as well from my first attempt.

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100% cut, bevelled, burnished, dyed, polished, stitched and assembled by hand :D After all the hard work it's time to go for a ride and enjoy the spoils.

We might be looking at making some more. If anyone is interested PM me.
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by BNA » Wed Jan 18, 2012 7:55 pm

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Re: Handmade leather saddle bag

Postby Mulger bill » Wed Jan 18, 2012 7:55 pm

Ohhh, that is truly a thing of beauty. 8) :D

I'd be interested in one but a fair price for the workmanship let alone the raw materials would be hard to justify.
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Re: Handmade leather saddle bag

Postby stnfldr » Wed Jan 18, 2012 8:00 pm

Great job, LUV it!!
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Re: Handmade leather saddle bag

Postby sogood » Wed Jan 18, 2012 8:25 pm

Ah, memories! I remember making a leather saddle bag back in high school and used it on my old 26" Raleigh for a long time. Now where did it go? Leather work was something completely different to metal and woodwork, it's so neat.
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Re: Handmade leather saddle bag

Postby Sauce » Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:36 pm

Beautiful crafstmanship!
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Re: Handmade leather saddle bag

Postby hotfoot » Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:47 pm

Very nice work!
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Re: Handmade leather saddle bag

Postby sandberry » Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:49 pm

Those are absolutely stunning.
The photos doen't give an accurate portrayal of the colours. In person they are really deep and rich. There's a tan coloured one in there as well from my first attempt.

If that's the case, I'm even more impressed; they already look beautifully rich in those photos.

Great job!
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Re: Handmade leather saddle bag

Postby CommuRider » Thu Jan 19, 2012 12:53 am

Beauty. If you do this in roo leather I will be interested. I already have an Italian leather saddle bag. And if you do a double pannier roo leather bags, I will definitely be interested. Would prefer to buy from an Aussie artisan if they can do better than the Italians!
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Re: Handmade leather saddle bag

Postby Cruiserman » Thu Jan 19, 2012 8:29 am

Nice work- couple of things from an old leatherwork teacher - use an awl for the stitching holes your holes look a little too large and defeat the purpose of the double thread stitching, which is to still hold the item together if the top or bottom threads wear through. Somewhere around here I have the three bibles of leather case making by Al Stohlman. Unfortunately I have found sourcing good quality leather (preferably from NZ as they don't have barbed wire fences) and the tools in Australia more and more difficult. I used to use Reynolds leather but they appear to have closed.
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Re: Handmade leather saddle bag

Postby spirito » Thu Jan 19, 2012 1:07 pm

christianeh wrote:


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Beautiful work !!

I'd suggest that some revision be made to the attachment. As pictured above it would rub and feel intrusive when riding, and that quickly becomes irritating.
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Re: Handmade leather saddle bag

Postby fattima » Thu Jan 19, 2012 2:48 pm

Just beautiful, you are very talented.
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Re: Handmade leather saddle bag

Postby Mulger bill » Thu Jan 19, 2012 8:40 pm

spirito wrote:I'd suggest that some revision be made to the attachment. As pictured above it would rub and feel intrusive when riding, and that quickly becomes irritating.

Perfectly fine arrangement if you run a "real" saddle. :P
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Re: Handmade leather saddle bag

Postby ironhanglider » Thu Jan 19, 2012 8:44 pm

spirito wrote:
christianeh wrote:


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Beautiful work !!

I'd suggest that some revision be made to the attachment. As pictured above it would rub and feel intrusive when riding, and that quickly becomes irritating.


Or what you attach it to... Brooks saddles (and many copies) have metal loops at the back precisely for this purpose.

+ 1 on the beautiful work.

Do you think that you could replace the leather on a Brooks? There is another thread somewhere from someone in Perth who is looking to do that. If you could and the costs were reasonable you could breathe some life back into some old 2nd hand wrecks that pop up on ebay and make them better than new.

Cheers,

Cameron

**edit, damn! beaten to it by MB.
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Re: Handmade leather saddle bag

Postby spirito » Thu Jan 19, 2012 10:57 pm

Mulger bill wrote:
Perfectly fine arrangement if you run a "real" saddle. :P


Have you looked closely at the saddle loops in the pictures above?

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Re: Handmade leather saddle bag

Postby Yoda junior » Thu Jan 26, 2012 7:47 pm

That looks great!!!!! Where can I get one?
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Re: Handmade leather saddle bag

Postby christianeh » Tue Jan 31, 2012 12:02 pm

Thanks for the complements! Very kind :D

We were wondering for a while what the best way to attach them would be. Neither of us have a Brooks saddle so the only option was to attach the bag to the rails underneath. The reason the attachment in the above photo looks weird is that we've got my brothers saddle bag on my saddle. His rails are wider than mine and as such he went for the single loop per rail configuration. For mine I've got one loop for both rails and it sits really securely on my saddle (see below). If anyone has any other suggestions as how to attach it to a saddle without the Brooks style tabs please drop a comment :)

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As people have mentioned, your legs do to touch it when riding. However, these saddle bags were only meant to be used for casual rides. I haven't found it uncomfortable to ride with but could imagine that it would be if you're clocking many km's.

We've been thinking of trying to make some other styles. Perhaps a rectangular one and maybe one that isn't as wide so as not to get in the way. As mentioned before, we would love to hear any comments and suggestions for ways to improve them.
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Re: Handmade leather saddle bag

Postby WestcoastPete » Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:09 pm

I have one of these in black:

http://www.carradice.co.uk/index.php?page_id=product&under=other&product_id=87

It's great, but it bolts onto the flat part of your saddle rails, the same part that the seat post clamps to. This means that a) you need to have room on your saddle rails at this point to clamp it and b) it needs to be comfortable for the saddle to be mounted that far back in it's rails. Point b) is the problem I'm having - without the Bagman QR I can have the saddle mounted further forward. It's only about 10-12mm, but surprisingly it's significantly more comfortable.

So I've ordered one of these:

http://www.rivbike.com/product-p/r13.htm

It bolts to the rails further further back so I can mount my saddle all the way forward.

Carradice also do one that mounts in the same way as the Rivbike one, but doesn't have a QR (and might be a bit ugly to some):

http://www.carradice.co.uk/index.php?pa ... duct_id=86
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Re: Handmade leather saddle bag

Postby rifraf » Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:36 pm

Those are beautiful. :!:
Magic bit of work - If I didnt already have one, I'd be begging you to make me the same in black.
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I love the extra strap/buckle on your version.
Mines perfect for a tube, puncture repair kit, some tyre levers and a small bottle of chain lube.
Yours look like I could add a multi tool or indeed a small cell phone to the mix. :D
Looks like your onto a money spinner to me :idea:

Edit. Just spotted you've added a pic or two since I last saw the thread.
I dont think your photo number seven was there last time I looked, so missed your shown keys, cell phone and tube. :o
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Re: Handmade leather saddle bag

Postby MichaelB » Tue Jan 31, 2012 2:44 pm

Looks very nice indeed.

Have something that is crying out for one of those

Sent a PM to tempt me with a cost ...

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Re: Handmade leather saddle bag

Postby harboc » Wed Sep 19, 2012 12:20 pm

do you still make these bags, and if so, how much are they?
thanks in advance.
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Re: Handmade leather saddle bag

Postby wqlava1 » Thu Sep 20, 2012 3:20 pm

There's an Australian who posted something on London Fixed gear forums about how to recover a Brooks-style saddle recently. He started with rusty metal, rechromed it and did a great job of the leatherwork.

http://www.lfgss.com/thread22715.html

That's also very inspiring...
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Re: Handmade leather saddle bag

Postby christianeh » Thu Sep 20, 2012 9:53 pm

Hey man, I had a read of that thread. He did an amazing job! Wouldn't mind giving something like that a go one day. I restored a Selle San Marco Rolls a while back. If you want to check it out the URL is viewtopic.php?f=34&t=47937

I've got an old Regal that I want to restore as well bu I'm having a hard time finding where to get replacement studs from. If anyone has any suggestions I'd love to hear it.
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Re: Handmade leather saddle bag

Postby Mulger bill » Fri Sep 21, 2012 7:01 am

wqlava1 wrote:There's an Australian who posted something on London Fixed gear forums about how to recover a Brooks-style saddle recently. He started with rusty metal, rechromed it and did a great job of the leatherwork.

http://www.lfgss.com/thread22715.html

That's also very inspiring...


Pretty sure he's a member here too. Beautiful work.
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Re: Handmade leather saddle bag

Postby Clydesdale Scot » Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:24 pm

Mulger bill wrote:Pretty sure he's a member here too.

I am impressed,
with the work on the saddle bags and the detailed description and photos.
and to Mulger Bill for his memory. And finally another member has recovered his saddle and posted the result.
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Re: Handmade leather saddle bag

Postby 180 » Sat Jun 01, 2013 5:20 am

christianeh any chance you're still making the saddle bags? Or does anyone know of something similar that is handmade...nit Brooks or mainstream.
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