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I just put together one of the old tandy handbag kits, the Western Classic 2, and I have a problem with it twisting. This is my first time making a "thick" leather bag, so I'm not sure what to expect. But as you can see in the pictures the front panel is twisted, and sort of pushed in- which makes it near impossible to close the clasp. I've worked it around a bit to try and shape it back where it should be, but it's being stubborn. 

How can I prevent this from happening in future bags? Is there a trick to keep everything shaped properly? Or could it just be that it's the original old stiff (even though I oiled the crap out of it) leather thats been in the box for however long? 

For now I've just wet the inside down and stuffed some items in it to try and push it into the correct shape.

 

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22 minutes ago, Ashley55 said:

How can I prevent this from happening in future bags? Is there a trick to keep everything shaped properly? Or could it just be that it's the original old stiff (even though I oiled the crap out of it) leather that's been in the box for however long? 

Edge braiding puts pressure on the edge of the leather, sometimes causing that edge to "curl in", especially when applied to a softer leather (or even the belly section of a hide). This is because the lace is impacting the lacing holes and pulling them closer together.

The only tip I could suggest is to consider using a firmer leather, and then do your best to make sure that your braiding has even tension throughout. As you braid, the thong gets pulled through the lacing hole, and that can sometimes be the culprit, because the thong can get thinner and softer as it weaves along the leather's edge, thus snugging up to the lacing holes more than it did with the starter holes.

I know this sounds kinda rough, but I would use a rawhide mallet to pound the edge braid against a flat surface in order to release that tension. 

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That makes a lot of sense, thank you! I will try to pound the edges and see if that helps. 

How long of lace do you typically use at a time? I've read 6feet, but if does get thinner/softer from being pulled through the holes would it be better to use smaller pieces? 

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5 hours ago, Ashley55 said:

How long of lace do you typically use at a time?

That's a tough question, because it depends on the type of braid that you are doing. If you are familiar with Bruce Grant's books on braiding you might find the answer there. I know that when I was doing more braiding I learned how to splice lace.

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@Ashley55 Here is a copy of my favorite book on leather braiding. If you don't already own it, I think you might benefit from it. The section on edge braiding will answer some of your questions. The author is the master of leather braiding.

Encyclopedia_of_Rawhide_and_Leather_Braiding.pdf

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I have made several sets of saddle bags, and when I do my gussets I use rubber cement to temporarily glue the seams together or clip them together to determine how everything will fit.  It is hard to cut leather at right angles and expect everything to fit. This method allows you to make adjustments before sewing pieces together or braiding them together.  

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On 11/24/2021 at 11:51 PM, LatigoAmigo said:

@Ashley55 Here is a copy of my favorite book on leather braiding. If you don't already own it, I think you might benefit from it. The section on edge braiding will answer some of your questions. The author is the master of leather braiding.

Encyclopedia_of_Rawhide_and_Leather_Braiding.pdf 648.46 MB · 5 downloads

Excellent, thank you for that!

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