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Hello again from North Wales.

We're in lock-down again and nobody can travel so I decided to make a travel bag. Obvious really.

And it's not just any travel bag. Because I'm half salmon on my mother's side, I have to find a way to swim upstream so I decided to make a bag I couldn't buy hardware for: A Gladstone bag.

Yes, yes, I know you can buy Gladstone frames commercially but they looked flimsy and cheap with that 'antique brass' finish that looks nothing at all like antique brass. 

I made the frame first, sourcing some 1/16th" x 1" brass angle and some 1/8" x 1/2" brass strip. The hinges were ready made 'desk hinges' from a restoration company and measured 1/2" x 3" when opened. They're also 1/8" thick (or 1/4" when closed.)

The hinges and frame are rivetted with traditional cold rivets that you hammer the heck out of. Hard work but strong in the ridiculously over-engineered way I happen to like.

The catches for the bag are modified 1" roller buckles: The rollers were removed, along with the sides of the buckles the tongues were attached to. The shafts the rollers were around were then wrapped in pig skin to make them a tight fit under the brass straps, giving them enough friction to only move when pushed./ The straps are fitted with Chicago screws with the screw component replaced wit M3 brass countersunk screws that fit flush on the under side pf the frame.

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The bag itself is English Bridle Hide. 2mm for the main panel and 1.5mm for the end panels because of the need to fold. The compartment is stiffened with 1.5mm carbon fibre plates on 5 sides (including the bottom) and lined with 1mm calf suede.

The edges of the main panel (originally 52cm x 110cm) were rolled and the end panels' edges were folded in and sewn through the rolled edge. This was the fiddliest sewing job I've had to date. Working inside the bag half the time, trying to find a needle sized hole in black suede in the dark... I don't recommend it as a pastime.

 

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Frame and bag are joined with glue and 13 more Chicago screws on each side. Where the handles are also screwed onto the frame, there is a 1/8" x 1/2" carbon fibre strip on the inside to provide more rigidity. 

The handles are 1.5mm leather stitched around a 9.5mm cowhide core. The 9.5mm cowhide is sold here for the drive belts of very old lathes and industrial sewing machines. It makes a stiff, firm filler for wrapped handles.

There are four rubber feet under the bag, designed for flight cases and fixed through the carbon and leather of the base with Chicago screws again.

 

 

Mistakes / lessons learned.

The frame is the same width as the end panels but should have been about 3/8" wider to account for the fact it's outside of the side panels and the end panels are inside them. The result is that when the hinges lock out, the folding gussets haven't fully opened and still lean into the opening a little. 

The tabs on the ends of the handles are too long. I feel it would be better aesthetically if they were about 3/4" shorter. I'm considering taking them off, cutting them down just above the rivet holes and reattaching them.

Where the hinges are attached, there was only 8mm of brass under them to secure the bag to, hence the two small Chicago screws either end (and either side) of the main frame. These turned out to be inadequate to hold the leather to the frame at the ends. I had to make 1.5mm x 10mm x40mm carbon reinforcing plates, cut away the lining suede and glue and screw those plates in directly under the hinges to securely trap the bag leather. I hope that as the bag gets used the leather will soften and stretch a little with bending and the stress on the screws will diminish.

Stay safe. 

 

Andrew W-R

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I don't go in for wows but WOW! You had the vision and saw it through. That there is an heirloom my friend. Well done.

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That came out great. Did you put any feet or tabs on the bottom?

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2 hours ago, maxdaddy said:

That came out great. Did you put any feet or tabs on the bottom?

Yes, Maxdaddy, four rubber feet of the type used on flight cases. 25mm x 10mm, secured with brass Chicago screws (again).

Having a carbon fibre base means it won't sag in the middle either. I tested it with my railway track anvil (about 22lb) and the base didn't visibly flex.

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Another classy bag @AndrewWR! I've made a case for the cargo area of my car for holding things and there was some fiddly sewing inside the bag there too, it's challenging for sure but you look like you pulled it off with relative ease man...beautiful job!

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Nice piece of work there, and that's a nice piece of furniture its on.

 

JCUK

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8 hours ago, jcuk said:

Nice piece of work there, and that's a nice piece of furniture its on.

 

JCUK

Yeah, I was drooling over that buffet thing as well. Beautiful piece of furniture.

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