We recently got a new dog in the house. We shopped for a second leather leash at Petco but they didn't have any. When I saw leather lashing at the tack store, I figured I would make one. $4 bucks in leather, and $.99 for the snap and about 15 minutes.
This lead is just like the other one that we had, we walk the dogs on a harness so they aren't pulling terribly hard. It looks good, doesn't tangle, and is extremely light.
Step 1: Making the Handle
This is 1/4" leather straps that I purchased from the local tack shop. I folded one end over on itself, and about 1 inch from the end, I cut both strips down the middle. You want to leave about one inch where they come together so that you can sew the two sides together.
The slit allows you to "braid" the two sides together. You can see in the third/fourth photos that you tuck each end through the opposite slit. Then just pull them tight. This will bring the braid in tight, and leave room for the sewing.
Step 2: Sewing the Handle
Using a groover, I cut a groove right down the middle of the end of the strap. This is below where the braids are...the 1 inch you left in the previous step. I drilled holes with a 1/16 inch drill bit and then used waxed thread to sew the two sides together.
I alternated holes, and then came back over from the opposite direction. Each hole has thread going through it from each direction.
Step 3: Putting on the Snap End
Because the piece of leather I had was only 6 feet, I wanted the leash to be a little longer. I folded over the handle end, and then sewed it to itself. On the snap end, I cut off about an 8 inch strip from a second strap and folded it over on itself, cut the slits 1 inch from the end, then glued and sewed it to the rest of the leash.
This end was just like the handle: Cut, Braid, Sew. You can see in the photos how it was laid out.
Before sewing, I sandwiched the bitter end of the lead in between the two ends that I created in this step. I did use some Barge cement to glue it together, then I grooved, drilled, stitched this end.
DONE: a good looking dog leash at about 25% of what you would pay online or at a store.