Introduction: Make a STRONG Leather Dog Leash

About: Hi, we're Dara and Nash. Industrial designers, tinkers, and mayhem builders. Follow our travels.

            I love dogs. Because dogs are AWESOME! Big dogs are SUPER awesome, but they can go through normal leashes like candy. Thankfully, Tandy's leather makes a great leather kit which holds up to serious abuse. They normally range from $8.00-25.00 depending on where you buy yours. Ebay is pretty popular. You can also do a basic web search for "leather dog leash kit." Or you can make your own kit by taking a basic belt blank ($5-8), mod it with a large stainless steel lobster clasp ($3 on ebay) or other clasp of your choice, and 4 extra long rivets.

To Make You Will Need:

leather blank
lobster clasp
metal rivets
dye (oil or acrylic)
water resistant finish
paint brush or sponge

           Here's the happy husky out for a stroll in his new pride and joy at our wedding. He loved the attention and best of all he has a great time going for walks. This has lasted over a year with serious abuse and he normally pops through a leash every 2-3 months. Did I mention huskies are strong sled dogs? I added a picture of Chino fake pulling me for laughs.

Step 1: Lay Out Your Supplies and Make Sure Nothing Is Missing

Alright, for this part, I just broke open the bag and laid out all the pieces. If you are making the Tandy kit, you should have the following:

leather handle (12-14 inches)
lobster clasp (1 1/4 inch size)
leather leash (main body) (rooughly 70 inches)
leather end
paint brush
oil dye
water protector or sealer
4-6 extra long rivets

Step 2: Add Any Designs You Want

If you're interested in a particular design or look, you can simply wet the leash and carve or press metal pieces into it to get a specific look. However, I decided to leave my blank as I prefer a natural look. Also, I was worried about compromising the strength of the leather. Although Chino is not a puller, he does occasionally "bounce" Tigger style when he's happy which has contributed to a whole graveyard of nylon dog leashes. And everyone loves a happy dog.

Step 3: Add a Primer Coat of Oil Dye

          There's two ways to do this. Some people just dump the leather in a bag with a lot of dye and allow it to soak in over time. However, I wanted an antique look to my piece so I did this in layers. That way I have a good solid finish that won't wear away, while still looking custom and hand-made. Also, it's a lot more expensive to just soak the leather in dye.

Step 4: Allow to Dry Overnight

              You should allow the leather to dry overnight between coats to help the oil soak in and make sure you are really penetrating the leather. I put on 5 layers of oil dye which is excessive, but most people will do 2-3. However, you need to let each coat dry before adding the next one to help your dye go farther. Saves you money and results in a better look.
               The leather in the front has been allowed to dry overnight, while the leather in the back just had a coat of dye applied to it so it's wet. You can see the difference.

Step 5: Add Another Coat of Dye

After you put on the primer layer and allow it to dry overnight, add another layer of dye.

Step 6: Seal It With Protector

       You can use anything from beeswax to acrylic finish for the last part. I used water protector for this point, but I'm always experimenting. The leather takes on a more matte finish after this finish compared to beeswax, but the appeal was that I don't have to reoil it every few months.

Step 7: Hammer in the Rivets

       Grab your friendly hammer and a few wacks, and voila. You have a finished piece. I used jiffy double-tap rivets. If you haven't done rivets before, I suggest watching this video by Maine Line Industries. They also discuss rivet length which most helpful and a lot of shops will leave out. They also have a good rivet section in their online store if you need to buy various depths of rivets. You can get 100 pack for a couple of dollars. Also good for the next bug project that hits you.

         I hope this helps you and have a great day with your dog.

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