jerry m

What Are The Belt Rules Of Thumb?

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What lenght of strap for a given lenght of belt (is there a chart): were to start the first hole on the tongue: How far apart to space the holes: How do you fasten the ends of the belt keeper together. My brother asked me to make him a belt he has a 34 inch waist, there has got to be a better way then wrapping a belt lank around him and saying does that look good.

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Hello and welcome to a Great place...........

The next time you are at Tandy pick up this book

"Making Belts" by Al Stolman your questions will be answered........

PS dont take their word for their size....measure a belt that they are wearing.

Edited by Luke Hatley

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PS don't take their word for their size....measure a belt that they are wearing.

Absolutely! :gathering::17:

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Have sent you a pm with more detail but my guesstimate for a belt using a half (heel bar) or whole (centre bar) buckle:

Given it has five adjustment holes (with the centre hole being the belt size).

Length of strap = waist size + 4" (for turn at chape) + 5 x width of belt (then minus the length of the buckle tong).

Hole spacing:

Belts/straps up to 3/8" wide = 1/2" hole spacing (round holes)

Belts/straps over 3/8" and up to 1" wide = belt width = hole spacing (round holes)

Belts over 1" wide (oval holes) 1 1/8" hole spacing

Holes are placed:

One at belt size, two more towards the chape spaced at intervals appropriate to the belt width (see above) and two more towards the billet again spaced at intervals appropriate to the belt. Then the billet end from the final hole to the tip is 3 x belt width (max of 3").

All these details can be massaged to make the belt look appropriate.

Trophy buckles have slightly different measurements.

Also, belt size, waist size and trouser (pants) waist size are all different and you need to allow for the vanity factor for some customers.

There, that should have confused you.

Gary

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Absolutely! :gathering::17:

SO IT HAS HAPPENED TO YOU ALSO !

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SO IT HAS HAPPENED TO YOU ALSO !

Yes! One time for an intricate figure carved belt is ONE TIME TOO MANY :thumbsdown::blush::censored2::bawling: . (Another reason I don't make belts :party26: ...)

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Gary. I sent you a pm. I think i did it right. If i did not Thank You Very Much for the information

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Have sent you a pm with more detail but my guesstimate for a belt using a half (heel bar) or whole (centre bar) buckle:

Given it has five adjustment holes (with the centre hole being the belt size).

Length of strap = waist size + 4" (for turn at chape) + 5 x width of belt (then minus the length of the buckle tong).

Hole spacing:

Belts/straps up to 3/8" wide = 1/2" hole spacing (round holes)

Belts/straps over 3/8" and up to 1" wide = belt width = hole spacing (round holes)

Belts over 1" wide (oval holes) 1 1/8" hole spacing

Holes are placed:

One at belt size, two more towards the chape spaced at intervals appropriate to the belt width (see above) and two more towards the billet again spaced at intervals appropriate to the belt. Then the billet end from the final hole to the tip is 3 x belt width (max of 3").

All these details can be massaged to make the belt look appropriate.

Trophy buckles have slightly different measurements.

Also, belt size, waist size and trouser (pants) waist size are all different and you need to allow for the vanity factor for some customers.

There, that should have confused you.

Gary

Why would the width of the strap have a bearing on the spacing and shape of the holes? Wouldn't you space the holes according to how fine an adjustment you want to be able to make? Wouldn't the holes be shaped to match the shape of the tong? I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm just curious.

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Why would the width of the strap have a bearing on the spacing and shape of the holes? Wouldn't you space the holes according to how fine an adjustment you want to be able to make? Wouldn't the holes be shaped to match the shape of the tong? I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm just curious.

Simon,

Good questions and it has really made me think about why I do what I do.

I was taught some basic rules about strap making when I did my bridlework and saddlery courses and these have evolved over the years to come up with my own workable guesstimates. It does save time as I don't have to re-invent the wheel every time I make a belt or strap and I at least have a starting place.

I'll try and answer as fully as possible with a rationale for each point. Bearing in mind that a lot of leatherwork is art rather than science.

Strap width and hole spacing - Generally, the narrower a strap or belt the more refined the adjustment required therefore closer adjustment holes. Also, the narrower a strap, generally, the thinner the leather. If the holes are too close together you end up with a perforation rather than a line of adjustment holes, it depends on the use as well. Spacing examples, at either end of the spectrum, would be a 7/8" wide watch strap where I would put the holes much closer together than 7/8" versus a police officer's duty belt that is 2.1/4" wide and may well carry a lot of weight what with radio, baton, handcuffs, torch, etc., where I would not want to space adjustment holes to 2.1/4" apart and would go for 1" or thereabouts as a bobby wears fewer layers in summer than he/she does in winter.

Hole shape - Generally, the narrower and lighter the strap or belt, the finer the tong on the buckle; wider belts usually have larger buckles with larger tongs. Tongs are generally circular in section. As the leather is bent through the buckle and the tong is inserted there is a little deformation of the leather but this not unsightly and, if it is, round holes in a thin belt become oval after a bit of use. A wide belt, usually of heavier weight leather with a heavier buckle, deform more as they pass through the buckle and are easier to buckle and lie flatter if an oval hole is made. Also, at smaller sizes, the width:length ratio of oval buckles is less visually pronounced.

First hole from billet end - If I'm making a strap I like to have a good idea of where to put the first fixed keeper and by making it 3x the strap width from billet end to first hole you end up with enough strap to put through the keeper and for the strap not to keep falling out. Also, there is not enough excess billet to flap around in an embarassing manner.

Other variables when deciding on keeper placement also include leather weight, stress when it's being fastened, frequency of fastening, weight of keeper. Where the keeper is closer to the buckle it tends to need to be of a heavier leather to take the strain of having a thick billet pulled through. It also needs to be stitched in more securely. If it's further away from the buckle you can usually get away with a lighter weight leather.

Shaping of the billet point is usually confined to the distance back from the end of the billet that is equal to the width of the strap (apart from, as an example, a spear point billet end).

There are also other variables such as customer requirements.

If I'm making some belts or straps for stock with no particular person in mind, my rules of thumb work for me.

I think that's about it apart from one more point and that is the pleasant proportions achieved by the various elements that are seen when the belt or strap is complete. The rules above tend to produce a functional item that is also pleasing to the eye.

Simon, if you want more info I'll happily send you my more detailed worksheets.

I think I must have bored all you good folks but this has been a good mental exercise for me. And now to something much less cerebral involving a shovel and a couple of horses.

Gary

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What lenght of strap for a given lenght of belt (is there a chart): were to start the first hole on the tongue: How far apart to space the holes: How do you fasten the ends of the belt keeper together. My brother asked me to make him a belt he has a 34 inch waist, there has got to be a better way then wrapping a belt lank around him and saying does that look good.

Belts are easy to measure. There are a couple of good methods and the folks who have advised not to trust the customers measurements are correct. I use a belt I made for measuring. Quite simply, make a belt with a lot of holes punched at 3/4" centers and and mark the holes. Now all you have to do is have your customer PUT HIS BUCKLE ON THE BELT, put it on and record the hole he uses. Also discuss the length of tail he wants and use the hole numbers to record that measurement also. In otherwords record the hole number where they want the tip to end. Now you have a correct waist measurement and tail length. No guesswork involved! The next best method is to measure the old belt. My belts typically have a 2-3/4" fold which is skived thin and I punch 5 holes at 3/4" centers.

Hope this helps....

Bobby

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Belts are easy to measure. There are a couple of good methods and the folks who have advised not to trust the customers measurements are correct. I use a belt I made for measuring. Quite simply, make a belt with a lot of holes punched at 3/4" centers and and mark the holes. Now all you have to do is have your customer PUT HIS BUCKLE ON THE BELT, put it on and record the hole he uses. Also discuss the length of tail he wants and use the hole numbers to record that measurement also. In otherwords record the hole number where they want the tip to end. Now you have a correct waist measurement and tail length. No guesswork involved! The next best method is to measure the old belt. My belts typically have a 2-3/4" fold which is skived thin and I punch 5 holes at 3/4" centers.

Hope this helps....

Bobby

As always, Bob nails it with an ingenious and simple solution! You_Rock_Emoticon.gif

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