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Leatherwork.

I often like to have something with me to do in those times when nothing else is happening and I am just enjoying being there.

Leatherwork is an ideal craft for such times as it requires very little equipment, the materials are usually quite light and I don’t usually need a surface to work on.

Leatherworking while the sun goes down.
A selection of leather bags for storing and carrying equipment.

It also has the advantage that I can make lots of nice and useful bits of gear.

Most of my pots and bottles now have their own deerskin bags. In the case of the cooking pots these are very practical in keeping soot and tar off the rest of my gear.

For the rest, this is mainly because I can pre-cut some leather before a trip and just take a simple sewing kit consisting of an awl, thread, needles and a small block of beeswax to treat the thread.

All these leather bags would make a real lightweight backpacker grind his teeth of course, but for me, they give an old fashioned touch to some of my modern gear and add to the simple pleasure of of doing an everyday task.

On this page you will see a few other leather projects and items I have made over the years and I will add more as time goes on.

Some of these items are eminently practical and others are made purely to satisfy a hankering for a nice piece of equipment.

One such hankering I have had for a long time is for the type of belt that I have seen being used with traditional Saami clothing.

I have acquired over time a few items of Saami equipment like my knives and kuksa.

Saami inspired belt and equipment
Saami inspired belt and equipment

It seems right then to me to bring those items together on a belt inspired by same indigenous style.

This double belt arrangement is very practical as it provides a number of different options for securely attaching stuff but also allows a strap or thong with a toggle to be slipped between the belts for more temporary fixing.

In this picture you can also see a small pouch I use for my compact camera and my new Leuku in a sheath that can be mounted on the belt in a number of different ways.

The Raven buckle is the least traditional part of this item but seemed appropriate for my own belt somehow.

Some time ago I picked up a Tibetan fire steel and had a look at a pouch from the same area too. Sadly I couldn't afford both at the time.

I did the leather work for it  while I  could still remember how the pouch was made and then I made brass furnishings, inspired by the brass work attached to the steel.

Inside there are two compartments. I keep the steel in one of them and the the tinderbox from Nepal, some flint and flax tow in the other.

Tibetan Flint and Steel set.
Tibetan pouch 2

The steel works very well and you can see how a kit like this is used on the fire lighting page.

Magnifying Glass t

Non Magnetic Magnifying Glass.

Wine Skin

Wine Skin t

After my Arctic trip in 2012 I decided it would be a good idea to have a better means of tracking weather conditions.

I noticed a weather meter that Woody was using and decided to treat myself to something like it when I got home.

It was supplied with a soft pouch case and a “tactical” nylon case which I didn’t like so I set about making the old type of case that I remembered good photographic equipment being carried in.

The hole in the side is to let air circulate around the sensors as the meter continues to monitor and graph trends even when it is not switched on which is a feature I like.

Weather Meter Pouch
Weather Meter and Case

At some point during the making of this case, another idea occurred to me.

I normally keep my tinder and tow in a little tin to keep it dry but oiled leather serves almost as well providing you don’t get a complete ducking.

The advantage of this was that I could make it just the size I wanted to keep a steel and a bit of knapped flint in with it.

Time will tell how it works I guess.

Tinder Box
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