Author Topic: Leather Journal  (Read 12134 times)

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Offline Saintnick001

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Leather Journal
« on: July 13, 2012, 06:52:04 AM »
So I've been making these journals for a while now. I had this posted on another board so I figured I'd share it with my B&B buddies.

Here?s how to make it!
These are the tools you?ll need. Not shown is an awl. You really do need one of these but If you?re a tough one you might get by with a needle. I also used a strap cutter but the scissors will work if needed. Shown are my pattern (make one of these before any leather cutting), scissors, a straight edge (I went old school and busted out my line gauge), marking tool (this is a china marker but a chalk stick would work too), 2 needles and thread.

Trace out your pattern onto the leather. Notice there is a square side and a rounded side.

Cut it out. I had the paper for two so I cut two out. You?ll only need one. Since this is thinner leather I?m able to use scissors to cut it. You?ll also need a strap roughly 3/8? wide and roughly 3 feet long. You?ll need it long enough to wrap around the finished journal about 3 times. I highly recommend a strap cutter but you can use the scissors or a really sharp knife with a straight edge if you don?t have one.

For these journals I?ve used five sections of ten sheets folded in half. I used an extra sheet and marked the four holes I need to punch in my paper. You can measure these but I usually just eyeball them.

I set the extra paper in the middle fold of each section and punch the holes through.

All five sections. Note: If you decide to add more sections to your project, make sure they are an odd number. 5 sections, 7 sections etc. I?ll explain this later.

Once the sections have their holes punched stack them on the leather and wrap the square end over them with the finished side outward. The edge of the squared side should come over the top but not completely. Make sure the rounded edge can wrap around over the squared end. This would be a good time to make a template from scratch. Use a large sheet of paper before you start chopping up good leather. I like to kinda fold the leather here so it slightly takes the form of the spine.

Next I like to mark the holes to stitch the pages onto the leather. Use your template from earlier as a guide. I again, kinda eyeball this too. I also like to punch all the holes after I?ve marked them. You might have to open them back up with the awl as you go but it makes it easier to I think.

Grab your thread and needles. You?ll need about 6 lengths of the spine. I usually ad an extra as I find it?s a huge PIA to splice thread. Thread each end of the thread with a needle. First run it thru the eye and then pierce the thread with the tip. Pull through to lock the thread.

From the outside, run the needles into the two middle holes of the middle section. The need for a ?middle section? is why you need odd numbers of sections.

Run the two needles through the middle holes and out the outer holes.

Now run one needle to through the outer hole in the next section and the other needle through the previous section. Don?t worry about tightening this too much right now. I always have to tighten mine when they are all in.

Attached the pages in these sections by going through the outer holes and back out the middle hole then back through the other middle hole and out the other outer hole.

Keep going until all your sections are stitched in and your spine looks like this:

This is where you should tighten the pages. Starting from the middle section again just pull gently but firmly on the thread in the direction of the stitching. Work your way in both direction toward each needle.

Once the pages are tight, stitch back through the adjacent outer hole WITHOUT going into the pages then back out the next outer hole again WITHOUT going into the pages. The backstitching will help lock the pages in there.

Leave a little loop in the second to last one and run the needle through this loop to create a knot. Run it under the stitch again and make another knot.

Now cut a slit in the rounded end big enough to run the strap through.

Make a loop that the other end can slide through snugly. I used a rivet for this one but you can stitch it as well.

That?s it!

If anything is unclear (I know the stitching sounds incredibly difficult but it?s not) please let me know and I will do my best to explain it. If anyone makes one of these post some pics up!
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Offline madmax

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Re: Leather Journal
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2012, 07:57:17 AM »
Great tut, bro. I have several of Nick's leather journals.  Great stuff. 
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Offline greyhound352

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Re: Leather Journal
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2012, 08:00:33 AM »
Thanks for sharing Nick. How is N.C. Been so far madmax?
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Offline madmax

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Re: Leather Journal
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2012, 08:11:32 AM »
Thanks for sharing Nick. How is N.C. Been so far madmax?

Maaaaaaan.  Cool at night.  Warm in the day.  Rain for the last coupla days.  No complaints.  Running the rivers.  Fishing the creeks.
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Offline OutdoorEnvy

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Re: Leather Journal
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2012, 08:23:44 AM »
Maaaaaaan.  Cool at night.  Warm in the day.  Rain for the last coupla days.  No complaints.  Running the rivers.  Fishing the creeks.

Are you in heaven Tony?   ;D
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Offline greyhound352

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Re: Leather Journal
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2012, 08:52:06 AM »
Didn't want to derail your thread Nick so let's get back on track These journals look top notch buddy.
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Offline MATT CHAOS

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Re: Leather Journal
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2012, 08:57:05 AM »
Nick:  Are the journals for sale?  They are really nice looking!
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Offline werewolf won

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Re: Leather Journal
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2012, 08:58:14 AM »
Wow!! Outstanding work!
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Offline Saintnick001

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Re: Leather Journal
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2012, 09:30:31 AM »
Thanks everyone.
Nick:  Are the journals for sale?  They are really nice looking!

It's entirely possible. PM me if you're interested.
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Offline Buckskin

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Re: Leather Journal
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2012, 10:09:36 AM »
Nice work.  I have tried to make a few of these and they have come out looking like hammered dog poo.  You obviously don't have that problem.

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Offline Gryphon

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Re: Leather Journal
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2012, 10:18:38 AM »
Yeah, I'm holding out until I can come up with either some cash or trade stock.  I want one of those too!
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Offline ECross

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Re: Leather Journal
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2012, 10:25:08 AM »
That looks great.
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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: Leather Journal
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2012, 10:27:20 AM »
Great work, and a great tutorial to go with it! Those look like they would make nice gifts to people who like to draw or write.

Thanks for posting the tutorial. :)

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Offline wolfy

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Re: Leather Journal
« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2012, 06:32:49 PM »
Hey Nick, cool journal, but I've told you that in another life ;).   I really want to do this, but I am curious as to what kind of leather you are using.  Is it something like you use to make bike leathers from or something like that?  What weight?  Full grain or split with 'suede' on both sides or something else?   The price on these things in Barnes & Noble is ridiculous and I like yours better anyway!

My needle is threaded and I'm going by a Tandy store in a couple of weeks, so let me know ASAP  8)
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Offline easy_rider75

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Re: Leather Journal
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2012, 07:04:48 PM »
Very cool  Bro
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Offline zammer

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Re: Leather Journal
« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2012, 09:26:32 PM »
My Dad did hand bound books for yrs, its great to see others continueing the craft, nice job Nick.
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Offline Saintnick001

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Re: Leather Journal
« Reply #16 on: July 14, 2012, 08:58:58 AM »
Hey Wolfy, The leather is an Oil Tanned hide. I think it's about 3-4oz.  There is a flesh side and a grain side but it's not "full grain" or something like that. I was told you cannot tool this particular leather. It's a little pricey (I think anyway) but Tandy does get odd lots that they sell fairly cheap. Cheap as far as leather goes anyway.
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Offline hushnel

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Re: Leather Journal
« Reply #17 on: July 14, 2012, 04:20:54 PM »
Very cool Nick. It's the sharing of skills that impresses me most, though your work is excellent as well.

Offline kanukkarhu

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Re: Leather Journal
« Reply #18 on: July 14, 2012, 04:28:40 PM »
Nice stuff man!   I'm gonna try that...
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Offline Barbarossa Bushman

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Re: Leather Journal
« Reply #19 on: July 14, 2012, 08:32:35 PM »
Very nice. I've never been much of a journal writer but if I had one of these on a long trek I would.
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Offline trentu

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Re: Leather Journal
« Reply #20 on: July 14, 2012, 09:08:41 PM »
Nice journal!! Kinda looks like mine.  :)
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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Tried it - Pics...
« Reply #21 on: October 03, 2012, 02:11:37 PM »
Well I just received one of Nick's journals in the mail yesterday, and decided to stay up late (very late) making one following this tutorial. They look simple enough but I have to tell you it is not as straightforward as it seems. I spent over an hour just folding the pages! I could have folded them several at a time but they didn't take the crease as well that way.

Anyhow, the story behind this one is my wife's niece is a big fan of the nickelodeon cartoon "Avatar - The Last Airbender", specifically the "Fire Nation" characters. She's also a pretty talented artist, drawing some amazing anime style characters, including her favorites from Avatar. I decided to make one of these journals a little larger using legal size paper folded in half to make a little doodle/sketch book for her, and tool her fire nation emblem onto the back for decoration.  It turned out to be a fun project, but the investment in time was significant.









Anyhow, thanks again for posting this tutorial. It would have been impossible to make this without it. I gained a new appreciation for what goes into making these journals by actually making one.

Those of you who are interested should check out NG Leatherworks - http://bladesandbushcraft.com/index.php/board,85.0.html

Offline wolfy

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Re: Leather Journal
« Reply #22 on: October 03, 2012, 04:11:05 PM »
Nice work, PW :thumbsup:     I especially like the 'fire sign' tooling in the cover.....the contrast really sets it off.  She should treasure that gift for a LONG time.   It'd be nice if we could see some of her work when she starts filling it up!
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Offline Saintnick001

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Re: Leather Journal
« Reply #23 on: October 03, 2012, 04:27:44 PM »
Yeah, really nice PW! I'm glad to see the tutorial put to use. I really like the tooling too. Can I ask what tools you used?
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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: Leather Journal
« Reply #24 on: October 03, 2012, 06:13:44 PM »
Thanks!

I used some tracing film to trace the design from one I printed out. then I cased the leather (had to use tooling leather, of course) and used the film to transfer the pattern to the leather by going over it with a ball point stylus. Then I used a swivel knife to go over the lines, and finally a smooth beveler to stamp the around the design to make it stand up from the surface. I did a terrible job with the beveler, just so you know... :doh:

But if I pretend that it supposed to look that way it's not too bad.

Offline Saintnick001

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Re: Leather Journal
« Reply #25 on: October 03, 2012, 08:13:16 PM »
Naw, I think it looks really cool. I know she'll like it. I don't have a smooth beveler. Guess that means a trip...TO TANDY!

Oh, and yeah, I fold mine one at a time too. You're right. They don't crease right if you don't.
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Offline Gryphon

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Re: Leather Journal
« Reply #26 on: October 03, 2012, 09:38:23 PM »
VERY cool PW!  Love the Fire Nation symbol...that looks great!
(Yeah, I'm an Avatar fan too...)
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Offline Red

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Re: Leather Journal
« Reply #27 on: October 05, 2012, 12:12:19 AM »
good stuff man! thanks for sharing that with us nick :)

and good job on that one of yours PW!
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Offline Quinn

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Re: Leather Journal
« Reply #28 on: October 08, 2012, 09:00:21 PM »
Good stuff, Nick!  Like it a lot.
Re; leather...yeah, Tandy is kinda pricey, though they do have some pretty good sales now and again.  Have you tried Brettuns?  I just got a whole Bison hide from them, good price (was a tannery second, so wasn't 'perfect').  I'm pretty satisfied with them.
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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: Leather Journal
« Reply #29 on: October 08, 2012, 09:41:45 PM »
Just wanted to give an update. My wife and I decided to give this gift a little early since we are terrible at waiting to give gifts...

Anyhow her niece loved it. She actually cried a little. :) All her friends think it's really cool, even the ones that arent Avatar fans.

I just want to thank Nick again for sharing this tutorial because it helped us make a kid very happy. :thumbsup:

Offline Saintnick001

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Re: Leather Journal
« Reply #30 on: October 09, 2012, 06:47:06 AM »
Anyhow her niece loved it. She actually cried a little. :)

Awww. Well that's cool. A little work can pay off BIG.
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Offline zammer

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Re: Leather Journal
« Reply #31 on: October 09, 2012, 09:49:34 AM »
Anyhow her niece loved it. She actually cried a little. :) All her friends think it's really cool, even the ones that arent Avatar fans.

Gotta love it when kids appreciate stuff...nice going Mr & Mrs PDubs... :)
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Offline Saintnick001

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Re: Leather Journal
« Reply #32 on: March 28, 2013, 12:26:10 PM »
I wanted to bump this up. I think it's good tutorial and some of the newer members might want to try their hand at it.
Maybe the mods can move this thread to the DIY subforum?
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Offline PetrifiedWood

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Re: Leather Journal
« Reply #33 on: March 28, 2013, 04:36:41 PM »
I wanted to bump this up. I think it's good tutorial and some of the newer members might want to try their hand at it.
Maybe the mods can move this thread to the DIY subforum?

Can do! :thumbsup: