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