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Thread: Strap making question

  1. #1
    Registered User Gunnar's Avatar
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    Default Strap making question

    So, my mom has this huge piece of gemsbok (African antelope variety) leather that is so awesome and soft, and I want to make a strap out of it. Yes, she's ok with it (she makes journals out of it) but she wanted me to know what I'm doing before using it. So here's the question, what's the easiest way to make a leather strap? I prefer the look of a braided strap for mandolin, but I also like flat straps. What do y'all think?
    Mandolin: Kentucky KM150
    Other instruments: way too many, and yet, not nearly enough.

    My blog: https://theoffgridmusician.music.blog/
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  2. #2
    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strap making question

    If you have strap buttons at the tailpiece and heel of the mandolin, the easiest is a flat piece of leather with a hole to fit in each end.

    You can use another thinner strip of leather around the heel and under the end of the fingerboard and through the strap hole if you have an A style without a heel button

    If your mandolin is an F style with a scroll you have more options:

    1. Same as above with the extra strip of leather around the scroll.

    2. You can make a loop in the end of the leather strap with a 'slit braid' technique (which I'll describe if you need this option)

    3. Other options that I'm not thinking of at the moment. Others will speak soon.

    Addendum: Here's one I made with 'slitbraid' and extended the braid for more decoration.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Phil

    “Sharps/Flats” “Accidentals”

  3. #3
    Registered User Rodney Riley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strap making question

    Fast, easy and have a strap by tonight. Flat strap.
    Fancy, done in a day or two. Split braid
    Unique, with a few practices making cheaper/ordinary leather ones. Round braided ( at least I think the round ones would be harder. Never tried to do one tho. So just my thoughts and fears. Love how they look. Have one on my Weber Gallatin. )

  4. #4

    Default Re: Strap making question

    I've had fun making a few different designs, some flat, others braided. The braiding techniques can easily be round on YouTube by searching for 'four strand leather braiding' or similar. Some designs are round, others are flat; any of them can be learned in a few minutes.

    The straps of mine I like best are four-strand leather braided using strips of leather that are 6mm wide. I got them cut at a workshop which has the machines for cutting a hide into uniform strips of whatever width you need them. They need to be of uniform width, which means trying to cut strips yourself is going to be somewhere between pointless and impossible.

    Alternatively you can buy synthetic flat cord, braid it whatever way you like, and finish it with leather pieces at both ends to suit strap buttons or F-scroll or whatever your instrument demands. The leather and the braided parts are joined using combinations of sewing with very strong yarn and super glue.

    The simplest option for you with a hide ready to cut is to make the flat strap like the brown one in the first picture. That was done with a very sharp modelling knife and a long metal rule. The 'T' at the end allows a loop for either the instrument neck or the F-scroll, and is incorporated in the mandolin strap, meaning there is no sewing or gluing required at the 'T' end.

    Holes for strap buttons are done using a big hole punch and a modelling knife for the short slit at 12 o'clock. The hole punch needs to be about 6mm and the slit roughly 10mm.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  5. #5
    Registered User Gunnar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strap making question

    Well, I already have a strap so it's not urgent, (although my current one is thin and not very comfortable). What is a split braid? And it's function? I'm only familiar with the standard (plait?) three strand braid like you do with hair
    Mandolin: Kentucky KM150
    Other instruments: way too many, and yet, not nearly enough.

    My blog: https://theoffgridmusician.music.blog/
    My YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChF...yWuaTrtB4YORAg
    My Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/africanbanjogunnar/
    Free backing tracks:
    https://backingtrackers.wordpress.com/

  6. #6
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strap making question

    I made all my mandolin straps. Flat, with a piece of leather bootlace around the scroll or body. I don't know if they are available to you but I bought an inexpensive leather punch that will punch a small hole and larger set of hole punches that will allow me to make a larger hole for the end pin.


    https://www.harborfreight.com/search?q=leather%20punch

    https://www.harborfreight.com/9-piec...-set-3838.html
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    Last edited by MikeEdgerton; Dec-06-2019 at 11:33am.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  7. #7
    Registered User Gunnar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strap making question

    I'm pretty sure my mom has a hole punch already. I'm thinking I'll make a flat one first, and then maybe experiment with braiding one
    Mandolin: Kentucky KM150
    Other instruments: way too many, and yet, not nearly enough.

    My blog: https://theoffgridmusician.music.blog/
    My YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChF...yWuaTrtB4YORAg
    My Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/africanbanjogunnar/
    Free backing tracks:
    https://backingtrackers.wordpress.com/

  8. #8

    Default Re: Strap making question

    This the video I keep going back to when I forget how to make round (rope-like) braid from four strands of fabric or leather.


  9. The following members say thank you to Ron McMillan for this post:

    Gunnar 

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