The Behemoth Satchel


I developed the urge - who knows where from - to have a big leather satchel.

This is made from a 4mm shoulder, from Lyon Leathers (no web site, but very helpful on the phone). 38 quid plus carriage, and I used two-thirds of it. But I needed the full width of the skin to get the parts out for this pattern.

The buckles were 1 1/2" shiny brass ones. I blowtorched them, then suspended them in ammonia fumes for patination.

The rivets are 6-gauge saddler's copper rivets, from Le Provo. Again, I blowtorched them to make them look a bit less new. I found I had to wax the shanks to stop them collpasing as the washer was driven down.

And here are the tools - a 5-stitch-to-the-inch pricking wheel, a 2 1/4" awl, and saddler's needles. Also from Le Provo.

Bowstock also have a decent range of tools and some very helpful on-line tutorials. I also found The Leatherworking Handbook: A Practical Illustrated Sourcebook of Techniques and Projects very helpful:

It was probably two solid days of work in the end, mostly stitching. Cutting out went very easily with a Stanley knife and some determination. I mostly glued the seams with Cow Gum before awl & stitching, but that tended to come apart on me. When it stays together, the stitching goes much more quickly. Getting the seam round the corner was hard work - I had to dampen the side and form the curve into it with my thumbs to get the bits to fit. Next time I'll use a bigger radius (this was 30mm)

The edges were all chamfered and burnished, and dyed with a mid-brown spirit dye. Starting with a through-dyed skin would save a bit of trouble next time.

The whole thing weighs two and a half kilos. I'm sure it will be rugged enough for my desk-bound lifestyle.

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