My First Belt – Deadhead’s Belt Making Course

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Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
4,343
3,514
Mid Wales
I’ve made basic leather stuff before, but it’s all been purely utilitarian – basic knife sheaths, axe masks and the like. There’s usually more riveting than stitching and ‘pretty’ it’s not.

So, I decided I’d go on Dreadhead/Hamish’s one-day belt making course to quickly learn the basics of making some more presentable stuff. I must say I’m more than pleased with the decision.

Hamish is one of the easiest going, friendly and patient tutors you could wish for. He welcomed the small group of four of us with tea and a cafetière of fresh coffee and an introduction to his workshop. We quickly then dived into the meat of the day.

Making a leather belt may seem like a trivial task but it’s a project that covers many basic skills and, importantly, can be finished in a day – although Hamish did point out we’d be there until it was finished. He started by talking us through the types of leather, what to look for, where to buy it and how to inspect it. We then cut belt widths off a whole shoulder of 3-3.5mm bark tanned leather.

Hamish demonstrated each task in turn before we repeated them. This included:

  • Cutting the belt to length
  • Stitch-grooving around the whole belt
  • Bevelling the edges
  • Skiving the buckle area
  • Decorating the leather
  • Staining
  • Stitching the buckle on
  • Burnishing the edges
  • Protecting the leather with wax and oil
We all finished our belts by late afternoon and each of us had a unique piece of useful ‘art’ to take home – no two were alike!

All in all a very enjoyable, rewarding and successful day. I’ve caught the bug and a shoulder of bark-tanned leather is winging its way to me already :)

belt - 512 - 25.jpg
 
Last edited:

Fadcode

Full Member
Feb 13, 2016
2,514
628
Cornwall
very nice piece of work, I've always wanted a good belt, but every time I asked for it I ended up with a black eye.
 
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Nomad

Guest
Nicely done. I did the same course recently and thoroughly enjoyed it.

A couple of tips on leather dye...

It disappears at an alarming rate - two sheath sized projects, and my 4oz bottle was nearly gone. Once you've worked out which colour will be your standard, buy it by the 32oz bottle and decant into the small one.

If ordering the large bottles from LePrevo, note that they don't keep them at their main location, but in a fire safe off site, and they only transfer twice a week, on Monday and Friday. When I ordered one, it was placed on the Monday evening, so nothing happened until the following Friday when the next transfer was due.

LePrevo are a bit 'yesteryear', but their prices are good, and I've found them responsive in email. All orders so far have been correct and well packed. I find that pretending it's a world of quill pens, parchment and carrier pigeons keeps my expectations realistic.
 

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
4,343
3,514
Mid Wales
Sorry Hamish; I've only just noticed my misspelling on the title.

If a MOD could edit it please that would be great :)
 

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
4,343
3,514
Mid Wales
LePrevo are a bit 'yesteryear', but their prices are good, and I've found them responsive in email. All orders so far have been correct and well packed. I find that pretending it's a world of quill pens, parchment and carrier pigeons keeps my expectations realistic.

I agree; I just wonder how many sales they lose because of their 90's site!

Thanks for the die advice :)
 

Dreadhead

Bushcrafter through and through
Thanks for the write up mate, it was a pleasure having you up to the workshop

Leprevo are great help over the phone or email, but aye, it's back to the days of yesteryear using the archaic website

Sent from my F8331 using Tapatalk
 

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