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Spyros

Another briefcase

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I've made a few bags for myself this is by far the type I reach for the most for every day commuting.   It know it looks fairly old school but I like it for practical reasons: it sits upright so I can reach for my stuff easily (which is more than I can say for most other bags), it holds its shape, it's just huge inside, fast and single-hand closure without having to squeeze the whole bag to press some button, and it has this big pocket in the back for easy access to a book or a tablet for the train ride to work.

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Still, there were a few things I wanted to improve, which I did on this version.

First I made the strap attaching on the top.  Attaching on the sides never worked well because the straps were hitting the sides of the top flap making it buckle and wrinkle over time, and attaching on the back over the pocket made the bag a little unbalanced, the bottom was tilting towards my leg.

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Second I wanted to make the handle softer, in previous copies I had built the handle around a hard material (timber or plastic pipe) to make it rigid, but in every day use I found that a softer and flexible handle was just more convenient

I also used a softer leather for the handle (horween chromexcel) just to make it nicer to the touch, and finished it with a baseball stitch in the bottom for the same reason.

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Inside I finished it with very soft nappa, but this time different colour thread on the bobbin to match the leather in both interior and exterior.  

And lastly I added a party trick... a detachable baguette bag that sits flat on the gusset so it doesn't take much space, and secures with a twist latch.

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This comes from everyday use experience, it was annoying having things like pens and lighters rattling around in the bag.  The typical solution is to add a bunch of pockets and holders inside the bag for little things but I found what was really most convenient is some sort of case you can take out and put on your desk, and then put it back in the bag in some way that doesn't take much usable space.  And this is the solution I came up with.  

The leather is sedwick english bridle, about 1.5mm

 

And now for the difficult part: find someone to pay for it LOL

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wow thats very nice.:thumbsup: Lotta work in that . Is it for you or a client?

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2 hours ago, Bert03241 said:

wow thats very nice.:thumbsup: Lotta work in that . Is it for you or a client?

Thanks :)

Nah I don't have clients as such, I just make whatever I feel like making and then I typically get stuck with it for months LOL because the whole process of finding customers and making an effort to sell is about as interesting to me as watching paint dry

So no, not for a customer. I just made it for the love of making it, and now at some point I have to figure out what to do with it.

Edited by Spyros

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Very nice work there @Spyros. Some good design ideas there as well. Front fitting catch is a extra nice feature.

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Awesome work.  Love the colors and the shine.  The lock is great and gives me ideas for my next bag.  You should have no troubles selling this one.  

I really like the inside with the pockets.  The little case is also a fantastic idea.

 

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51 minutes ago, AzShooter said:

The little case is also a fantastic idea.

 

Thanks, probably not great for production though, it's too much work... if the bag is lined you have to line that too, and those tiny gussets are hard to fit under the machine so I had to handstitch it, then more edge painting etc

I have to come up with a simpler design

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very nice looking, that small holder is an awesome idea!! Selling for me is about the same I hate it, been looking at all the spring bazaars going on locally Jeez i hate going to those.

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excelent work!Bravo!

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That's a handsome bag!  Really like the handle and choice of leather.  Old school is timeless.

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11 hours ago, Spyros said:

Thanks :)

Nah I don't have clients as such, I just make whatever I feel like making and then I typically get stuck with it for months LOL because the whole process of finding customers and making an effort to sell is about as interesting to me as watching paint dry

So no, not for a customer. I just made it for the love of making it, and now at some point I have to figure out what to do with it.

I could've written this myself. Finding someone to part with £300 plus isn't easy. Is why I don't do bags that take that amount of time anymore and those that I do make I make as easy as possible by using templates and dies.

Excellent job on the bag. That closer takes me back to boating days, it's similar to a Pelican Hook which is sort of upside down and uses a ring that slides over it to stop it opening.

If I were to nitpick - I'd like to see bullet loops for the handles coming up from holes in the top from a single piece of leather that's sandwiched between the top flap and the reinforcing bar. I always think that if the first row of stitches fail the rest will follow.

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5 hours ago, toxo said:

If I were to nitpick - I'd like to see bullet loops for the handles coming up from holes in the top from a single piece of leather that's sandwiched between the top flap and the reinforcing bar. I always think that if the first row of stitches fail the rest will follow.

Thanks man 

I haven't even stitched the strap loops to the top flap, the whole system is held together by the rivets only.  And the reason is I don't want the loops pulling on the top flap at all, I like it 100% smooth and flat.  I want all the pulling force to be transferred to the reinforcing bar directly, and from there to be distributed across the flap from below.  Don't ask me why it just works better like that in my mind, but also in practice (I've made an identical briefcase for myself and it's my everyday carry).  I have however added reinforcing polyester tape inside the loops, and those are solid brass rivets, so I'm pretty confident the whole thing is not going anywhere.

I will however say that what you say probably looks better and I've been thinking about it so I'll see if I can build it in :)

 

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On 4/17/2022 at 1:18 AM, Spyros said:

Thanks man 

I haven't even stitched the strap loops to the top flap, the whole system is held together by the rivets only.  And the reason is I don't want the loops pulling on the top flap at all, I like it 100% smooth and flat.  I want all the pulling force to be transferred to the reinforcing bar directly, and from there to be distributed across the flap from below.  Don't ask me why it just works better like that in my mind, but also in practice (I've made an identical briefcase for myself and it's my everyday carry).  I have however added reinforcing polyester tape inside the loops, and those are solid brass rivets, so I'm pretty confident the whole thing is not going anywhere.

I will however say that what you say probably looks better and I've been thinking about it so I'll see if I can build it in :)

 

Sorry mate. I didn't realise it was riveted. My very first build was a Dieselpunkro satchel and the handle was just stitched. even when I was doing it I knew it could be better and it's haunted me ever since.

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29 minutes ago, toxo said:

Sorry mate. I didn't realise it was riveted. My very first build was a Dieselpunkro satchel and the handle was just stitched. even when I was doing it I knew it could be better and it's haunted me ever since.

Yeah those Dieselpunk patterns (and pretty much all youtube patterns) are specifically designed for people with very basic stitching skills and equipment.  Hence all the round holes so people don't have to worry about slanted holes and awls and casting the thread and things like that, even though round holes is *technically* the wrong way because you remove leather and thus weakening the leather.  But the aim in those patterns is to keep things as simple as possible and encourage people to have a try (which is actually greatly appreciated and I'm not knocking it at all), not necessarily to achieve maximum strength and longevity.

But you know what Toxo?  I suspect that sometimes we're stressing too much for no reason... at the end of the day it's just a bag, people are gonna put a laptop and their car keys in it, it's not like they'll use it to carry bricks or pull crocodiles out of the water :D

I reckon 99% of the time a few stitches with good quality thread is more than enough for a bag handle to last 3 lifetimes.  Different story if you're making horse tack or safety equipment for firefighters or something like that, but leather bags are usually just shelf queens that spend their life commuting on the passenger seat in someone's car. 

From my end when it comes to handle and strap mechanics, I mainly just want to see that they don't deform or stretch the leather in any way during common everyday use, that's pretty much all I worry about.  That, and aesthetics of course.

Edited by Spyros

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Very nice work indeed.  The lining looks very nice too.  I like the idea of the detachable bag inside.  That's a great solution to a common problem

I also was unsure of the handle attachment, but hey, if it works, it works.  And you obviously have tested it, so it is good to go.

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Beautiful work, I have a friend that makes that very same type of valise without the Accessory box, and he gets around $1,800.00 and more for his, that's nice work it would be worth every penny.

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Very nice work.

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Thanks everyone, much appreciated :)

On 4/19/2022 at 7:53 AM, Samalan said:

Beautiful work, I have a friend that makes that very same type of valise without the Accessory box, and he gets around $1,800.00 and more for his, that's nice work it would be worth every penny.

I can see those type of bridle briefcases usually go for anything between USD$1k - $1.5k.  It's not hard to see where the money is, it's a lot of leather and a lot of work, the problem is that it's hard to find the type of people who pay this kind of money for a bag.  I bet your friend has been doing this for a while to build up this kind of clientele and earn their trust as a maker.

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