A new Emperor

If you have one of these fantastic pens and wish to protect it then I guess this is the case for you.

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As you can see from the picture this is going to be a large case the 28 mm dowel in the middle is the form for this case.

The process is quite straight forward heat the kydex with a hot air gun and roll it around the dowel using a scrap piece of leather.

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In this picture you can see the cylinder on the right ready to be trimmed to the correct size.

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After trimming and a little sanding we have a cylinder ready for wrapping in suede

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Now the tube is ready it is time to add some suede.

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This tube does not require a rounded end as it will have matching leather end caps even less of this suede will be seen as it will have an extra layer of leather to protect the suede from rubbing on the outer cover I hope that all will become clear as we progress.

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As the outer cover slides over the inner cover the friction would damage the suede quite quickly. To prevent this I add a thin leather 0.5 mm around the suede first. Rather than have a thick joint I have skived or thinned the edges where they will overlap.

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In earlier days I would have applied the glue and  attempted  to roll the suede onto the tube in one go. I have learned the hard way that it is better to glue it in small sections.

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Now for the complicated part, The outer covers there is as you might expect a top and a bottom I start off with one piece it is the length of the case plus a little extra for the end caps.

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Once I am happy I cut it in half then using a very sharp flat bladed knife and a 45 degree ruler I cut the top of one piece and the bottom of the other piece to 45 degrees.

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Sorry it is so hard to see but it is 45 degrees honest 🙂 I rolled the outer covers around a suitable sized dowel and marked and punched the stitching holes around the top and two sides.

All of this is done with wet leather otherwise the leather would try to return to its flat state. One of the draw backs of working with wet leather is its tendency to stretch care must be taken to prevent this.

Stitching is next my first attempt I folded the join and used standard needles to stitch the two edges unfortunately I was unable to get the edges to lie flat but it was worth a try.

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My second attempt involves cut down needles and gluing the edges together first as well as long nosed pliers at least it is not a very long case. It still took  1 1/2 hours for each piece. That is why I tried the other way first.

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I am almost happy with the stitching I will live with it for a day or so.

The next area is the end caps which are discs with a 45 degree mitre around the edges

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Now you can see why I cut the angle on the top and bottom whilst it was flat along with the stitching holes the top and bottom ones were also made using a 45 degree angle so I can stitch the end caps in place.

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Here is a picture of the centre join where the top and bottom pieces meet.

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After thinking about it overnight I have decided to take a different approach to the outer covers.

Rather than using a butt joint which does not work well with the stitches crossing underneath. I have decided to make an overlapping joint instead.

After cutting the leather to size I mitred the top and bottom edges to 45 degrees I have a metal ruler which has a 45 degree edge to assist with this

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Marking out the overlaps is quite simple I used a pair of dividers set to 15 mm to mark each edge one on the inside and one on the outside.

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The normal way to do this is to use a wide bladed knife and skive (thin) the leather on an angle from the line to the edge.

My method is a little different I placed my ruler along the line then using a grooving tool I made a groove to the required depth

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After the grooving tool I used a French skive tool to flatten out the remainder of the edge

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Now that I have both edges skived I have soaked the leather ready for shaping  being very careful not to stretch the leather as I work.

After cutting and shaping the leather edges marked out the stitching holes and glued the edges together.

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Freshly formed and glued along the seam. Dying is next a word of warning leather dye is designed to dye skin and it does not know the difference between skins as my finger shows. Check you gloves 🙂

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Stitching in progress

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When stitching tubes like this a full size needle is far too long my solution is to cut the needles in half. I then use a pair of long needle nosed pliers to pull the needles with thread through the holes it takes a long time but when I get it right it will be worth while.

I am still unsure about this method as the seam is still a little more visible than I would like. There is a third method with a chamfered overlap rather than the stepped overlap I have used.

Sometimes things just don’t work out and to be honest I was about to give up on this case.

I am not a perfectionist no honestly I am not 🙂 but I do like things to look right, The first attempt did not work because the crossover stitching was on the inside pulling the inside of the seam close together and forcing the outer edges apart. The overlap joint was close together when glued but as the leather dried out it pulled apart just enough to look bad. Although it would have been possible to fill the gap so it would be difficult to see that is not how I like to make my cases.

My solution was to go back to the original method of crossover stitching using brown linen thread.

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Having stitched the two sections of the case together I turned my attention to the end caps.

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These two are ok the ones below did not make the grade.

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After mitring and a little sanding actually quite a bit of sanding I glued the end caps in place.

I forgot to take pictures of the end caps as I stitched them in place I find this type of saddle stitch very difficult and it takes a lot of concentration. I used a fine diamond shaped awl to make the holes and the continuation of the waxed linen thread from the main seam.

I have mocked this picture from some of the spare parts to show how it is stitched together. I had marked the holes around the main body of the case there were 27 holes and I needed to mark out 27 corresponding holes on the top of the end cap but in a smaller space took me a little while to work it out eventually.

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The stitching is at an angle of 45 degrees through the side and the end cap making a very strong joint.

The next challenge is the fitting of the lid section everything is formed wet and not allowed to fully dry out until the end of the process. The lid is a very tight fit so tight in fact that I have set the case aside to allow it to fully dry out for at least 24 hours. As this is the first case of this style The other Emperor case is slightly different.

There are times when it becomes apparent that something is just not going to work. I think this case with the suede lining which I am pretty sure is touching the top of the lid and creating a vacuum inside. When closing the case air can be felt being forced out.

Using a spare lid without an end cap it slides on and off with no issue, a second spare lid has had a hole made in it but I think it is not big enough.

The best solution I can think of is to make another case without the suede liner, I am thinking of making a suede sleeve to add the splash of orange.

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After fitting the wet leather I trimmed it to fit the tube without any overlap. Then I dyed it brown. I have put the join at the top hopefully as it dries it wont pull apart.

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After allowing some time for the leather covered kydex tube to dry out I started cutting the outer covers.

After squaring off one edge I used a pair of dividers to mark a line of one thickness of the leather and using the metal ruler with a 45 degree angle I cut one edge.

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After cutting I marked out the stitching holes and started forming the shape around a wooden dowel.

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I have wrapped the inner leather covered kydex tube in black pallet wrap to keep it dry.

Final step today was to dye the two pieces chocolate brown so they will be dry enough to stitch together tomorrow. Hopefully this time everything will work well.

Ok I was as you may have guessed tempting fate while forming the two pieces I managed to stretch both sides so started again.

Here are all of the attempts so far

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I made end caps in the same way as before

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After stitching the end caps in place I dyed it all chocolate brown as the thread is waxed it does not absorb any dye.

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As the original request was for a case lined in orange suede and I was not able to make that work. I decided to make a suede sleeve for the inside of the case it might be a little too tight for the emperor but for smaller pens it will work fine.

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The outer covers are darker as they are still drying out.

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I don’t like to give up on anything and I am pleased to say it now works the top is a tight fit but not as tight as the first one which has to be twisted off.

Thanks for following the journey if you want to order one don’t ask me 🙂

Michael

 

 

 

 

 

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