gavidoc

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About gavidoc

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  1. gavidoc

    My Swiss Army Saddlebag restorations

    Thanks everyone. I've really gotten into modifying these old bags and enjoy it quite a bit. Have a few vertical pack saddlebags inbound for something similar.
  2. Hello everyone, Thought I'd show off some restorations/conversions that I have recently done. While not as impressive as making my own stuff, this was my first foray into larger leather items outside of watch straps which I started making about 6 months ago for myself. While looking for material for watch straps I came across some beat up old swiss saddlebags in a box under a table of an old military surplus store. This first set was from 1939 and were in pretty rough shape. The bags were so nice that I decided I wouldn't reuse the leather for straps and instead put them away and began a slow process of softening up the stiff leather. Fast forward a few months and I bought another set, these dated 1941 and 1942. These were slightly different from my previous set and in much better condition. It was with these that I decided to try my hand at converting them into something different. For this first bag I did the following: Removed all threads and rivets Cleaned and flattened the leather pieces Conditioned the leather Put it all together again by hand using Tiger thread that was a good match for the original thread and custom made aluminum rivets I also added some additional pieces: Handle (used the original connecting strap between the bags) A back pouch for papers (this used one of the original saddlebags that wasn't restorable) a lower luggage strap (used a 1942 K31 swiss rifle sling) An upper luggage strap (this used the pieces/hardware from a 1946 Swiss canteen) Shoulder pad (used more leather from the 1939 nonrestorable saddlebag) Should strap (2 K31 rifle slings from 1945 and 1952). A Swiss Army dog tag A center strap using swiss army accessory straps Modified single ammo pouch from 1944 (also torn apart, cleaned and restored) A large ammo pouch from 1962 (same as the rest) The 2nd bag is one of the originals from 1939. Unlike the 1942 bag that had 2 straps on the interior for horseshoes, this one only had a single pocket for one horseshoe. In the process of restoring this bag I again took it apart, cleaned it up and restored it. At some point in it's past a connecting bar had been poorly riveted to the back that I had to remove. It also had its original D-Rings for attaching to the horse saddle removed so I had to add new square rings to accomodate the shoulder strap. When I put it back together I decided to add an additional pouch to this one and installed it between the front piece and the gusset and the welt. I also added a pencil pouch from a Swiss Army Officer's Bag from 1970. I also installed one of the straps from the unrestorable bag and moved the interior pocket to the side. I also decided to make a sleeve for my Macbook Pro just for a bit of added protection and used the same leather that was used for the handle wraps of both bags. Modifications done to this one: Removed all threads and rivets Cleaned and flattened the leather pieces Conditioned the leather Put it all together again by hand using Tiger thread that was a good match for the original thread and chicago screws I also added some additional pieces: Handle (used the original connecting strap between the bags) A pencil pouch (from a 1970 Officer's bag) Shoulder pad (used more leather from the 1939 nonrestorable saddlebag) Should strap (2 K31 rifle slings from 1943and 1944). A front center strap using swiss army accessory straps A large ammo pouch from 1962 (same as the rest) Thanks for looking.