I recently bought my wife and i some new watches. But the watch band just didn't do it for me. So i decided to make my own. My creation isn't perfect, but it's WAY better than the silicone band that came with it.
Step 1: List of Requirements
I used the following tools during this process:
- scratch awl
- really good scissors
- a sharp knife
- a ruler of some sort
- apolstry needle
- ~1 yard of waxed string
- rag (for staining the hide if desired)
- pair of pliers
- length of heavy gauge leather as long as the watch with band currently (i used some scrap from other projects)
- a strip of light gauge leather 3 times as wide as the strap you are making, and just as long (i used a buckskin for this)
- black leather dye
- compression bars sized to fit the watch you are making a strap for (mine measured out to be 22mm)
- You'll want a watch you rarely ever need to take off (waterproof to at least 10ft is my preference)
- some spray glue (scotch super 77 is good)
Step 2: Size Up Your Materials: the Strap Base Sizing
put the watch down flat and make sure you have enough leather for the strap, that it is the correct width (trim to fit if required), and get a visual for what you plan to do next.
In this case, i'm not putting a buckle in the strap and therefor the strap does not need to be as long as a traditional buckled strap would.
MEASURE TWICE, VERIFY ONCE, AND CUT only when you are absolutely sure of what your plan of attack will be.
I decided that i wanted black buckskin against my wrist, and have it fold over nicely to get stitched onto the strap i had selected.
Step 3: Slimming Down the Strap Base for Connection to Watch
using my knife, i shaved the leather down about an inch down my starting side, just thin enough to allow the strap to loop around the spring bars for connection to the watch face.
Step 4: The Strapping Underbelly, Soft and Supple
i decided that the inside of the band should be smooth and supple, not rough like the backside of hide...
so i measured the width of the strap, and then gave myself 3x that much width so i had room to fold it over for a nice finished edge on top and a smooth seamless finish against my wrist (no more loss of arm hair I hope!)
I measure the width, I note the length of the strap i'm making, I mark my lines, and I cut with a reliable pair of scissors. It may be easier to use a razor, but I'm partial to my Cutco scissors.
Step 5: Bring in the Stain
The bright yellow of my buckskin is WAY to strong for most anything I have in my closet, so I choose to dye the leather for this black. Use stain as directed in a well ventilated area.
Step 6: Waiting...
let the stain dry fully!!! this may take awhile. Once it is dry, buff it with a lint free cloth till it shines.
optional: Condition the leather to lock in that stain
Step 7: Lock It In!
we are ready to stitch!
Get your needles and thread ready (there are many ways and styles, i prefer to use one needle with a doubled up string)
use the awl to make evenly spaced holes for the thinned edge.
Start the stitch from the inside, so the beginning knot is hidden in the folds.
cross stitch including the liner buckskin, making sure to keep your stitch tight, this is the beginning! and mistakes made here are hard to overcome once further along in the project.
Step 8: Spray Glue the Inner to the Outer
now that we have locked in the top, we can glue down the black inner hide to the thicker strap. This ensures we don't go wonky somewhere further into the process.
make sure you don't leave any glue in the spray nozzle if you intend to use this again after it has had time to dry
Step 9: Pace Your Stitch
i didn't want to put too much stitch into this, preferring the sparsely stitched look myself, i spaced my holes at 1cm and did a single stitch thru (not doubling back)
Step 10: Cut to Fit
once i had one side stitched up most of the way, it was time to find out how long my band really needed to be.
test fitting it on my wrist with the watch face over top of the open end of strap we are working on, we scratch a line where we want the crease to hold the metal spring bar, and we cut ~1in further, planning on thinning and fine trimming much like was done with the starting side.
Step 11: Locking in the Other Side
we do the same to the bottom as we did on the top, doing a double stitch here for strength, and then working down the other side to finish.
Step 12: Last Stitch
end the last stitch in between the layers of hide. tie it off and burn the end to secure the fix.
Step 13: Wax
first you gotta make it, i had some bees wax, caranuba wax, and gum turpentine around the house and made a little jar of this concoction for my boots, and other leather goods that need to be waxed for the rain.
apply with a brush preferably, but without a brush a quick dip will do, just takes longer to clean up...
Step 14: Polish, Buff, Polish Some More, Let It Rest
to get a nice finish you just need to buff that wax into the leather, takes time, but a lot of elbow grease and a rag will get you there.
after it's all polished and nice, wear it around! it fits nice, and really isn't difficult to take off when the time comes, just be careful of removing those spring pins! they can AND WILL shoot off into the darkest recesses of your home