Introduction: Fixing a Broken Leather Strap
Have you ever had a strap on a bag, dog-collar or other leather item break, either by wearing out or snapping?
I would say I have too, but actually my dog's collar was due to break, and I needed a way to fix it.
This is how I did that, and I'm pretty pleased with the results.
I am by no means a leather worker or cobbler, but this worked very well.
Step 1: What You'll Need
Most important are at least two pairs of pliers.
I just brought out some random ones I have, but they were all I needed.
We'll need two nails, thin, long and of constant diameter. The head shape does not matter as we'll cut it off. The ones I used are about an inch long, and they were perfect for this scale fix. Cable or wood-joining staples could be used, depending on the size of the leather, its thickness, or how strong you need the connection to be.
I chose nails as they were of a higher quality than any staples I had, and it's much easier to tailor them to your application, by choosing the length etcetera.
- Needle-nose pliers
- Flat-nose/linesman/common pliers
- Two nails or two staples
The hole-punch in the picture is not necessary, I just thought it would be. In fact, it's best not to use it, as pretty much any hole you can make with one of these is too big for the thin nails we'll be using.
Step 2: Prepare the Leather
First, cut off the broken section using the snips. They're probably the best tool for this. Try to save as much leather as possible by cutting close to the broken part, as we will be losing some length off the strap/collar - take this into consideration first.
You should now have two parallel edges; the more parallel they are, the better.
Next, make four holes, two on each side of the broken spot. In my case, this means making a hole on either side of each of the metal studs on the collar. Make sure that the holes are not too close to the edge of the leather, as the nails could rip through if the 'seam' is too small.
To make the holes, use one of the same nails as you're using to make the 'staples'. It's probably good to use a hammer, but I just used the edge of the heavy snips as not too much force is required and I couldn't be bothered to find my hammer.
Step 3: Cut and Bend the Nails
First, use the snips to cut off the heads of the nails. Don't worry that the ends won't be very sharp after cutting, they will definitely still go into the leather.
Next, bend the nails into a 'U' shape using the needle-nose and flat-nose pliers. Each 'edge' should be roughly equal in size for this scale, but of course you can change the length of the middle section however you want. Don't worry too much about getting it square or into a perfect 'U', as we'll be bending them a lot more soon.
The beginnings of each 'leg' must be the distance between the holes, if not slightly more, as they will pull together later on.
Step 4: Insert the Nails Into the Holes
The whole point of this is to basically staple the pieces together.
Push the bent nails through each hole so that they bring both sides of the broken leather together.
I actually put one end of each in before I cut the leather, just as a test fit. This isn't really necessary, so don't worry about just cutting the leather first.
It can be pretty tricky to get your DIY staples to go through the leather, especially for the blunt cut ends. As the leather was quite soft, it was more just fiddly than hard to pierce. A hammer might be good here, but I think using pliers as in the first picture is probably better. It's not too hard to work out.
Also, as can be seen in the last picture, I made the staple on the left too long, so I took it out and made a new, shorter one. We don't want the staple to be too long as then there will be a gap between the pieces, which will be very weak.
Step 5: Flattening the Staple Legs
This is quite tricky.
Essentially, the legs of the staples need to be flattened inwards and pressed hard against the bottom of the leather, but as there is not much leverage it can be hard to bend them inwards properly.
There's not really a method, just play around with the pliers until you can get enough angle to bend them down properly.
Make sure the back of the staple (on the top of the leather) stays flat and flush against it - don't let it go round.
You're pretty much done now, just squeeze the staple from both sides using the pliers to make sure it's flat and tight on both sides. If necessary, trim off sharp ends so they don't stick into you or your dog!
Step 6: The Finished Result
Thanks for reading this, I hope it can be useful to someone.
It's a very strong joint, probably stronger than the leather itself, and if done right it can be very neat, unobtrusive and even good-looking.
As you might see, the pieces of leather have been pulled together very tight, so it looks like there was never a cut in the first place. I did not put any effort into making that happen, it just, did.
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