There is so much you can make with the reclaimed leather from an old baseball glove.
In this Instructable, I'll show you how to make a simple card wallet from an old Ranger baseball glove I found for a couple bucks at the flea market.
Step 1: Materials
Following are the materials I used for this project.
With the exception of the baseball glove, most of the materials and tools I bought from the Tandy Leather Company. I included the catalog number for those who may be interested in finding the exact materials or tools.
1. Baseball Glove: The most exciting part of making this type of card wallet is the hunt to find an old glove with a cool label or special stamped logo. Mine doesn't rate so high on the coolness scale, but I only paid $3.00 for the one I found at the flea market with the "Ranger" stamp. You may have a Rawlings, Wilson, or Nokona (oh, please don't cut up a Nokona glove!) stashed away in your closet that you're willing to disassemble for your project!
2. Barge All Purpose Cement (#2514-01) or any other leather glue.
3. Flat Artificial Sinew (#3610-00): For this project, I chose the natural colored flat artificial sinew because "natural" blends well with pretty much any color combination. I like this particular sinew because it can be split into whatever thickness you need for your project. For this wallet, I did not split it.
4. Stitching Needles (#1195-00): You will need two needles. The ones I prefer are the blunt needles with extra large eyes.
5. You'll need a gift card or credit card handy to check the fit and finish
Step 2: Tools
Keep in mind that these are the tools I used, because I have them readily available and they made the job so much easier! You can improvise, when needed.
1. Diamond Stitching Chisels (or pricking irons): I have the 6-prong 1/8" 3mm (#88045-06) and the 2-prong 1/8" 3mm (#88045-02). TIP: It's always good to have a 1- or 2-prong chisel to go along with the multi-prongs, to help navigate the round the corners of your projects.
2. Cardboard and pen or pencil to create your template
3. Al Stohlman Poly Head Maul, Size Small (#35060-01) or any mallet or maul of your choice. TIP: It's not a good idea to use a hammer on your tools because you can easily damage them.
4. Razor cutter
5. Craftool Pro Super Shears (#3050-00) or any scissors that can cut leather
6. Craftool Round Hole Drive Punch #14 (#3777-14)
7. Craftool Anvil (#8056-00) or any small round object to help you mark the rounded corners
8. Wing Divider (#3607-00) to help mark the stitching line
9. Craftool Edge Beveler Size 2 (#8076-02) for beveling the edges of the wallet, if you choose to do so
10. Hard surface to work on: I use a large piece of granite that I was able salvage from a local granite store
11. Rubber Poundo Board (#3461-01)
12. Wood Slicker (8121-00)
Step 3: Let's Create the Template
The first order of business is to create a template:
1. Measure and draw a 2-3/4" x 4"rectangle on your cardboard
2. Cut out the template using your razor and ruler to cut clean, straight lines
3. Round off the corners using a pen to trace around a small round object. I used a mini anvil, as noted on the tools page.
Step 4: Tips for Cutting Corners
The easiest way I've found to cut corners on leather is as follows:
1. Use your razor to make one clean cut off the top of the rounded line you marked, as noted in the illustration
2. Make a second clean cut a step down from the first
3. Make a third, fourth and so on until you have a nicely rounded corner
4. Round the corners all the way around your template
Step 5: Cut the Pocket Out of the Template
You'll need a pen/pencil, ruler and gift card/credit card to measure the opening for your wallet:
1. Using your pen/pencil, measure a 1/4" margin at the top and the right side of the template
2. Measure down approximately 1-1/2" on the right side and down approximately 1/2" on the right side. Freehand an arc to connect the two lines
3. Very carefully, use your razor to cut out the pocket opening
4. Check the fit of the pocket opening by sliding your card into it...make any adjustments necessary
Step 6: Cutting the Leather
This is where the coolness factor comes into play...
Study the baseball glove you selected. This is important, because once you disassemble the parts, that's it (unless you have the means to sew it back together).
Determine where you want to place the template on the leather to get the best use of it. You'll want to highlight any logo or label.
It doesn't matter that the leather has lacing holes, as long as you make sure the holes don't fall on the wallet edges.
Your template is actually a 2-in-1 template:
1. To make the "back side," place the template on your leather and trace around it
2. To make the "front side," do the same as the backside, but also trace out the pocket opening
TIP: If you want to have pockets on the front and back, sandwich a "back side" in between two "front sides"
Step 7: Cutting Out the Pocket
The best way I've found to get good clean corners on the inside pocket, is to use a hole punch.
In this case, I used a Craftool Round Hole Drive Punch #14 (#3777-14) to punch out the to top corners of the pocket; and then a razor to cut the lines
Step 8: Mark the Stitch Line
You can use a wing divider or a groover to mark your stitch line all the way around the front side of the wallet.
Since the width of the top section is 1/4", I marked the stitch line 1/8" from the edge.
Step 9: Fit the Parts Together
Take care to control specifically where the glue is placed. You don't want it to ooze out over the sides and you surely don't want to put so wide a strip that the cards won't slide in.
1. Follow the directions for the glue that you will be using. Some glues require just a bead around one piece of the leather. Others, such as the Barge Cement, which I'm using, require that you apply an even coat to both pieces.
2. Go ahead and apply the glue...about 1/4" wide, close to the edges.
3. With some glues (like Elmer's), you apply the glue and can immediately press the two pieces of leather together and wait for them to dry. These glues are a bit forgiving, because if you don't place the two pieces together exactly right, you can move them around a bit to make the correction.
4. Barge Cement, on the other hand, suggests that you allow it to dry for 15-20 minutes to set up before pressing the pieces together. Take your time matching up the two pieces because once the pieces touch, it's pretty much a done deal.
5. Once the pieces are together, use the flat part of a hammer to tap and set the edges all the way around the wallet.
Step 10: Prepare to Stitch
Work on a sturdy surface. I found a discarded piece of granite (approximately 14" x 16") at a local shop here in town.
On top of that, I use a rubber Poundo Board (#3461-01). You don't want to use your chisels directly on a hard surface because you will damage them. Use a mallet or maul to pound your chisels...a hammer will also cause damage to them.
Line up the chisel on the stitching line you marked. The chisel should be perpendicular to your table so the punched holes are straight rather than angled. Once you make your first set of punched holes, put the first prong of the chisel in the last hole that was punched. This way, all holes will be perfectly spaced.
When you get to the rounded corners, you will need to switch to the 1- or 2-prong chisel to make the turn. Repeat the hole punches all the way around the wallet until you meet your first hole punched.
Step 11: Stitching
1. How much sinew: The distance all the way around the wallet is a little over 13". A good rule of thumb is to multiply that distance by four to get the length of the sinew needed (52").
2. Cut approximately 52" of sinew and thread a needle on each end.
3. Start the stitching by threading one of the needles through a punched hole. Visually, it does matter where you start and finish your stitching. I always start at the bottom or at a bottom corner. Pull the needle through until you have the same amount of sinew on both sides of the wallet.
4. Put one of the needles through the next hole and then the other needle through the same hole and pull snug. The sinew should still be of equal length on each side. Continue stitching in this manner all the way around the wallet.
5. Once you reach your starting point, take an extra 2-3 stitches over previous stitches to lock in the sinew.
6. Snip the sinew close to the leather.
TIP: Some people will take a tiny bit of beeswax and press it into the last stitching hole before snipping the sinew. Once snipped, carefully (and quickly) melt the beeswax with a lighter.
7. Using a flat head hammer, tap the stitching all the way around the wallet to flatten and set it.
Step 12: Finishing Touches
1. Using a beveler around the edges on both sides of the wallet will add a finished look.
2. Once beveled on both sides, dampen the edges and use a wood slicker to rub vigorously on the edges to burnish them.
3. You can also use the wood slicker to run around the inside of the pocket to insure the fit of your cards.
No need to break this leather wallet in...that was probably done years ago!
Step 13: Complete!
If you're like me, you'll never look at an old beat up baseball glove the same way again...you'll see it as your next wallet!