Although I make and restore briefcases pen cases are my thing I currently make two different styles. This one is the round version I start off with a flat piece of plastic called Kydex.
Once heated to the correct temperature Kydex can be moulded to various shapes. I use a dowel and piece of Kip leather to roll the hot kydex around the dowel.
Here is a Kydex tube which has been rolled and trimmed and finally the edges are glued together
The next step is to encase the Kydex tube in either leather or suede
Recently I have altered this design and continued the leather/suede all of the way down the outside of the tube. This prevents the unsightly bump in the case.
When the glue on the tube has set I start to form the leather outer cover around the tube. In order to do this the leather is soaked in cold water before I start.
When the leather has softened I can shape it around the kydex tube I normally insert a suitable piece of dowel into the tube to make it easier to handle.
I have adapted a pair of sheet metal grips by covering them in leather to help me to form the leather around the tube
It usually takes an hour or so to form the leather around the tube.
I have learned that the leather stretches as it is formed around the tube so I have started to wait until this point before I dye the leather.
In the above picture you can see a mahogany case where the lower section has been formed. The lid has also been formed but flattened out to make it easier to handle for dying
Here you can see the Kydex tube with its leather wrap glued in place. I am using the bottom of the tube as a form to shape the lid piece.
Once it has had some time to take on the shape I switch the lid to its correct position and apply the glue.
I prefer to work on the case before it has fully dried I mark out the stitches with a pricking iron and then finish the hole with an awl this is the reverse side of the hole
At this point I start applying the wax I use Fiebings Carnauba wax for leather.The dye should still be damp but not wet. The application of wax will help to remove any excess colour.
I finish off with standard saddle stitch I am not going to go into further detail as I am not really good at it yet. And have been known to sew cases more than once 🙂