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MagiKelly

Wet formed bag tutorial

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You should be proud. You obviously had a good teacher (yes, I understand you are self taught :cowboy: .) Also, thanks for the tutorial and I look forward to trying out your methods. Hawk, Virginia, U.S.A.

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What kind of leather should i use? I tried the tutorial today, made me wooden template affixed to desk, soaked the leather for two hours, but it almost wouldnt stretch, I found no way to mold it over the template. I was fighting it for an hour, resoaked it with water twice and I had to give up in the end, it was not possible to stretch it around the corners. I actually pulled out the tacks when trying to get it into shape. Since so many people are using this guide succesfully, I presume i did something wrong, but only thing I can think of is the leather itself.

I used veg-tan leather about 2mm thick, quite dense. Should I use something else instead?

Somebody please help me, I am lost :(

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As always I need to give the disclaimer that I'm not the best person to be answering but I would say 2mm leather sounds a bit thin. It does need to be veg tanned leather but for moulding I tend to use quite thick leather. Probably 3.5mm or thicker. It certainly shouldn't need soaking for 2 hours. A few minutes should be plenty, although when you take it out the water you might want to let it soak in for 5 or 10 minutes. 

The leather is never stretchy like rubber, it is pretty stiff still. That's part of the reason I rounded all my corners and edges but it was still a testing process. Starting with a shape that is shallower may help to get the feel for it.

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On 10/21/2009 at 11:09 AM, MagiKelly said:

I now mark out the stitching on the tab for the buckle and round the edge of the bag. I have used a pricking iron. If you dont have one a fork will do. You can use a marking wheel but they do not always leave very clear marks unless you are doing this while the leather is wet. I have also stamped a small makers mark in the centre of the tab stitching.

bagtut21.jpg

Time to dye all the pieces. Gather them all together along with your dye and a wool dabber. I use a spirit based dye and buy it in the 1 litre bottles as it is much cheaper that way. I still tend to decant it into the smaller bottles for use though as it is easier to handle and has a larger neck.

bagtut22.jpg

I dye the inside of the leather as well. A light inside looks strange and I can never finish with a clean edge anyway. Give the leather a good coating with the dye then set aside to dry

bagtut23.jpg

Once the dye is dry it is time to stitch on the buckle and D rings. First mark out your stitching with your pricking iron (or fork). I like the triangular pattern and my pricking iron is just the right size for marking this out.

bagtut24.jpg

Put the buckle onto its tab. Thread the tab through the slot. Open the tab out and sew in place.

bagtut25.jpg

Same thing with the D rings. Here we see one sewn and one about to be sewn.

bagtut26.jpg

And once done you can trim the tabs in the inside as seen here.

bagtut27.jpg

Some people glue the bag to the back to keep it in place but I have never got on with this method. I tend to tack the front to the back with stitched spaced an inch and a half apart. I only make the holes for these stitches with the awl at this time. I punch through the rest of the holes with the awl as I go along.

bagtut28.jpg

I punch the holes between the first two tacks, stitch this section, remove the tacks at this bit, form the holes in the next section, sew that bit and so on

bagtut29.jpg

Once finished sewing I trim the back piece round the bottom corners and also trim the edges along the sewn section to ensure they are even or as even as I can get them. Then I dye the freshly cut and trimmed bits.

bagtut30.jpg

Before I stitch the tongue on I finish the edges of the bag and the tongue with gum tragacanth and rub down with a piece of canvas.

bagtut31.jpg

Then clamp the tongue in position ready for stitching

bagtut32.jpg

Tongue stitched on.

bagtut33.jpg

Pull the end of the strap through the buckle and mark the position for the one hole needed.

bagtut34.jpg

Punch the hole. Dye the edges of the hole (cotton buds are great for this) and we are nearly there.

bagtut35.jpg

Now I cover the bag with carnauba wax. Inside and out and work it well in. (I managed to spill the wax which is why there is a puddle of it in the background)

bagtut36.jpg

Let the wax dry for a little while then polish with a soft brush.

bagtut37.jpg

Now the droppers are just two strips of leather, about ¾ of an inch wide with two press studs to close them over. You can easily work out how to make them from this picture. Cut, dye, finish edges, punch for studs, wax polish and attach studs.

bagtut39.jpg

A handy hint for attaching the press studs. Use a punch a bit bigger than the part of the press stud that goes through the leather to push the leather down. A light tap with the mallet makes sure you have enough of this bit exposed to ensure the two parts of the stud lock together well.

bagtut38.jpg

So thats us all finished. You should now have a bag that looks like this

bagtut01.jpg

bagtut40.jpg

bagtut41.jpg

I hope you found this interesting and or useful. Any questions just ask.

I was wondering, do you have to use veg tan? Or can you use any type of tanned leather? I just don't want to try a different type and ruin some good leather. 

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15 minutes ago, Richardrn80 said:

I was wondering, do you have to use veg tan? Or can you use any type of tanned leather? I just don't want to try a different type and ruin some good leather. 

Has to be veg tanned.  If you are not sure, take a strip, soak it for 10 seconds, see if it stretches easily.  If it does, you are good to go.

Tom

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On 2017-04-01 at 10:03 AM, jhora said:

What kind of leather should i use? I tried the tutorial today, made me wooden template affixed to desk, soaked the leather for two hours, but it almost wouldnt stretch, I found no way to mold it over the template. I was fighting it for an hour, resoaked it with water twice and I had to give up in the end, it was not possible to stretch it around the corners. I actually pulled out the tacks when trying to get it into shape. Since so many people are using this guide succesfully, I presume i did something wrong, but only thing I can think of is the leather itself.

I used veg-tan leather about 2mm thick, quite dense. Should I use something else instead?

Somebody please help me, I am lost :(

I would questioned that it was actually veg tanned.  Thickness doesn't matter.  Thinner leather won't need much soak time, a few seconds.  Thicker leather will of course take longer to soak through to the core.  Cut a test strip and see if it will stretch when soaked, if not, move onto another piece that is definitely veg tanned.

Tom

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That might be the trick - I had another piece of leather for gun holster. It stretched nicely despite the need to stretch it much more.

It partially helped to reduce the size of the form (it is two piece, so I could actually make it flatter). But it was the leather, I now doubt it was weg-tan. It is incredibly stiff compared to the other one, which is double the thicknes, yet easy to shape. Looks like I didnt screw up the process, just used wrong leather. Next time I am buying directly from tannery, to be sure I get what I asked for.

Thanks a lot for your input, guys. You confirmed my suspicion and directed me the right way :)

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The op did mention earlier that he did not get the coloured veg tan to work properly just the plain natural veg tan if that helps

Fantastic post I will give it a go myself

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I have a hard time with the corners forming. It bunches up. With folds. How do you get the corners to shape like that?

thanks

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I feel your pain. Working the leather round the corners is a nightmare and takes ages to get it right. Things that help are making sure the corners on the form are rounded . Using thinner leather helps but may not be suitable for the project and of course using Veg Tanned leather. Every time I do it I get to a stage where I am certain I won’t be able to get it to work and every time it works out in the end after a lot of searing.

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11 hours ago, Buttons said:

I have a hard time with the corners forming. It bunches up. With folds. How do you get the corners to shape like that?

 

5 hours ago, MagiKelly said:

I feel your pain. Working the leather round the corners is a nightmare and takes ages to get it right. Things that help are making sure the corners on the form are rounded . Using thinner leather helps but may not be suitable for the project and of course using Veg Tanned leather. 

Not only this, but also which type of veg tan to use. I mean, if you use back-bone, even thin it'll not wet mould corners easily, use belly and you can stretch it over and around the corners before locking it down. How you lock it down at the corners matters; a tight fitting outer frame or stapling will keep the leather tight. Belly leather need not be thin, it can be thick too. Wet moulding also has a tendency to harden leather up a bit so belly tightens up

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