New York

About 3 weeks ago, the partner and I made a trip to New York. She for work, me for..well, does anyone really need a reason to visit New York? New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong. These are cities that I absolutely adore, and I return to them whenever I have the chance.

24 hours of travelling later.

And, as per my habit, I made a bag for the trip.

Well actually, I redid a bag that I’d made previously for the trip. It was a smallish sling bag that I’d made then never really used.

Inspired by vintage-military style bags, it is shaped like a traditional ‘Bread loaf’ bag, it was meant to hold an iPad and assorted daily essentials.

Since I was going to do a lot of walking and making sudden stops to take photos (gawddamn tourists), I figured it something this compact would lessen the chance of an irate local crashing into me.

Went to work.

New fasteners were handcut and burnished. Hardware was upcycled from the existing bag.

And done.

It worked out perfect. Held a med-format camera (the Fuji GA645zi came along for this trip), film-pack, a book, mints, and until the heat wave hit, a scarf.

Sidenote: NY, wtf man. 38, 39 degree centigrade is NOT pleasant summer weather.

But hey, you give me photos like this, so I’ll forgive you.


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No, I am still here

Yes yes, it has been yonks since this has seen an update. Yada yada.

In between the demands of work, dog and my very patient girlfriend, I have still managed to squeeze in some leathercraft. Will share some photos of them here.

A friend of a friend got in touch with me and requested a Knife Sheath. “Interesting, I’ve never made one before. Should be fun”. So we arranged to meet, and it was after work so he was dressed in pants and a long sleeved shirt, the default uniform of salaried workers the world over. And then from his paper bag, he pulls out 3 bloody lethal-looking knives. Now these are serious hunting tools. These aren’t the knives that young boy scouts pack. No sir. These are high carbon steel blades that are designed for maximum sharpness and ease of cutting. He tried to explain that he went hunting a lot. Then clarified that he did that in Malaysia, and not urban Singapore.

The lesson here is that you never know who is packing a 3″ carbon steel blade. It almost stopped me from flipping the bird to clueless drivers for a full day. Almost.

Anyhow. I made him this. Its Veg tanned Buffalo hide, with a suede lining. Saddle-stitched along one side, with a belt hoop. Was an interesting project.

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Suddenly Tokyo

Yes, it has been almost a month since my last post. No excuses, just plain old life getting in the way.

So this would be just a quick post to update everyone on what has been happening.

I, totally unexpectedly, ended up in Tokyo for a night. Combination of bad luck (if ending up in Tokyo could ever be counted as bad luck) and other factors meant that I had one day in this fantastic city. Just one day! Sob.

This is what I came back with.


It is a Japanese-style leather craft knife, and it is GLORIOUS.

Definitely looking forward to using it. A lot.

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It has been a while.

It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to mess around with leather. A combination of my dayjob kicking in real hard, and other things meant that making leather stuff had a take a backseat for a bit.

It’s getting a little bit better, but I’m still wishing I had more hours in a day.

Anyway, I had a chance to make a few more of these babies.

They are handcut from Veg tan Buffalo hide, then hand burnished. Fits most modern cameras.

The finished straps.

I sell them here:

And, because it’s a Friday (here in Singapore at least), let’s do something special.

Follow me on Twitter, and tell someone about hide industrie.

First five who do that get one of these handmade camera straps at S$40. Thats about 25% off I think.

Have a great weekend!



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Everyone is a genius

Hey all, it’s been a while.

I’ve been a bit caught up with other parts of my life, so leather craft has taken a backseat for a while. I’ll be back in a bit though.

Let’s talk about leather craft, and how you can get started. I first got into the hobby when I foolishly concluded that it was easy, and that ‘anyone could make that, duh’. And, to a certain extent, that statement still holds true. Anyone can make an item out of leather, but how beautiful or well-made it is, that’s a deep deep chasm that divides the err men from the err boys.

Anyhow, if you want to get started, here’s what you can do.

Watch  YouTube is a godsend. As with most crafts, the art of hand-working leather boils down to technique, and techniques seldom translate well into the printed word. “The needle pierces the leather and should overlap the other side. Then thread the other needle through the same hole. Repeat” You could read that a hundred times or just watch these.

Read  Videos give you a great start to how things ‘should’ be done, but peering closely at a printed page helps to cement the concepts in your head. I bought this soon after I started, and would highly recommend it. Nicely detailed, and it contains projects that you can take on as well. I’ve heard that our National Library has good books for beginners as well, so you could pay them a visit.

Discuss  Feel free to get in touch with me if you have any questions. I’m no expert, but I’ve probably made far more mistakes than you have, and I’ll help where I can.

Then you’ll need tools. I’m located in Singapore, where leather craft shares the same heights of popularity as banjo playing. It was, and still is, a huge challenge to find good quality tools locally, which is why I’ve given up and ordered most of my stuff online. I’ve worked with GoodsJapan before, and Simon is a great guy to purchase from and the quality of his stuff is great. Tandy is yet another well known supplier, and I’ve bought a lot of hardware (buckles, snaps, rivets etc) from them as well.

For a start, I’d recommend the following set of tools:

  • Pricking irons – You’ll need at least one or two. Start with the 4-prong 1.5mm and 2.5mm irons, these two will give you a fairly flexible range for a start.
  • Mallet – Rawhide or wood, either would be fine. What you don’t want is to just use a metal hammer on your irons because the ends of the iron will deform and you will have a sadface.
  • Cutting mat – Easy enough to purchase locally. I’d recommend getting one that is at least A3 in size.
  • Punches – I’ve had luck finding punches at the local Daiso so you may want to check those out. A very viable alternative would be a Rotary Punch, commonly used to put in extra holes in your belt after a hard festive season.
  • A good knife – When I first started, I purchased a X-Acto knife from a crafts shop and was perfectly happy with it. That would work fine until you decide that it’s time to invest a little more money in the craft.
  • Leather needles – Leather needles are NOT sewing needles. They are larger, and while pointy, they aren’t sharp. You can get away with using larger sewing needles, but trust me, you’ll be online looking for proper needles after the first 20 pricks to your fingers.

And that’s about it. A basic tool set like the above would run you about $100-$120. Not exactly cheap, but with a set like this, you’ll be able to make almost any type of small leather goods. There are of course a whole ton of specialist tools that you would very rarely need, but would thank your stars for when you do need those. Get those later.

Go give it a go. You’d be surprised at how horrendous your first piece is going to turn out, but with enough good humour and patience, everyone can discover surprising amounts of genius within your fingertips.



I’m planning to put together a leather craft workshop, so if you’re interested in attending, do register your interest in the comments below. I’ll get in touch with you once details are ironed out.


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A Tall Bag

Sometimes, projects start from the oddest circumstances.

I had been working on a tote for B for a while, but she hadn’t gotten back to me about the length of the straps she preferred so that was stalled.

Then, I’d recently purchased a couple of bag claps and then there was this leather that I’d been saving up, and I didn’t have much planned for the day… So on a Sat morning, a new project was begun.

I kinda knew what I wanted to make: a larger version of the Big Clutch, but this time with straps, so that it would be workday-ready.

Straps. Pricked and ready for stitching. When you’ve a pair of straps to make, a pricking iron and good sound deadening are the two friends that will save your ass.

Clasp and strap stitched. I actually did the leather strip for the clasp twice because I suddenly decided to line the bag with pigskin. Yes kids, indecision will cost you dearly.

The leather is a waxed cow hide with a subtle grain. Glossy, but lovely to the touch. I’d liked the hide from the moment I’d seen it, and I’m glad that the design of the bag showed it off nicely.

The sewing itself didn’t take as long as I’d been bracing myself for. All in all, this bag took the weekend, from ‘staring into space’ phase to final clipping of loose thread ends.

Additional photos of the complete item follow.

An open view of the Tall Bag, shown with the first thing I could grab. In this case, a carved leather notebook from India.

A full view of it. The iPhone 4 gets a tad confused when there is too dominant a colour within the frame, which explains why it looks red here.

Overall dimensions: About 10in across, and 11in tall.

B likes it, so I guess it turned out pretty well.


Comments always welcome so say hi below.


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Something’s afoot

The weekend comes, and another project begins.


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