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Thread: Restoring Leather Handles

  1. #1

    Restoring Leather Handles

    I have written down and illustrated the procedure I use for re-covering leather handles. I posted it on my website: www.gerstnertoolchest.shutterfly.com in Microsoft Word format (.docx) under the Handle Restoration Process section. Hope it helps.

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  2. #2
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    Nice!

  3. #3
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    Terry

    What do you mean by "paper tape"?

  4. #4
    joe,

    I'm an old telephone company employee. We used small rolls of paper tape that was adhesive backed to make repairs on certain types of cables that were insulated with paper pulp. I stocked up before I retired (in 2003) and use it to build up the paper bodies of these handles. It is a lot like old-fashioned tan masking tape, but only 1/4" to 3/8" wide. In a pinch, I've slit wider strips of masking tape down to use. I'm about out of it myself and will have to find a suitable substitute.
    Last edited by user459; 10-25-2016 at 05:48 AM.

  5. #5

    Paper tape

    I just got a surprise package from an old friend and fellow phone company retiree. In it was a whole stash of individually packaged rolls of 1/2" paper tape. Should be enough to last the remainder of my career as a handle restorer.

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  6. #6
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    Nice. I ended up using masking tape and then I had some pallet wrap that I sliced into 1/4" wide rolls on the lathe at work and wrapped the whole handle in it. Now I just need to find a piece of leather to use and try my hand at some sewing.

  7. #7
    I get my leather from an upholsterer friend of mine. He's always recovering furniture of car seats or airplane seats and saves the old stuff for me. I like the stuff that has a little stretch to it so it will form well over the handle. I soak it in water overnight first, then clamp it in place. I like to sew it up while it's still a bit damp, then let it dry and shrink into place.

  8. #8
    WHEW! Now if I can just learn how to do this myself. The handle on my of 42C has to be repaired and there's no way I can afford to send Scott $50 for a replacement. Looks like I'll need to get a leather hand-stitcher. I've seen them advertised over the years........just not recently. Nor do I know how to use one. Oh well, lot's to learn.
    Last edited by Chris C; 04-21-2017 at 09:01 AM.

  9. #9

  10. #10
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    Chris

    I stitched up the handle on a chest I was working on and it was pretty easy. After I trimmed the excess and then used the belt sander to get a nice even finish on the trimmed edge. A brown sharpie worked great to blend in the trimmed edge.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by user459 View Post
    Thanks, Terry. I've seen your handles info on your site and will be studying that. I especially like your tip about the stretch wrap tape to protect the paper tape from the wet leather. Cool idea. And thanks for the stitching awl links. Only going to be doing one handle, but I can't think of any way to hand stitch leather other than with one of those tools.
    Chris

    The tension between what is good enough and what is beyond that creates the space for character to become our work.

    www.chrischristenberry.com

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph1456 View Post
    Chris

    I stitched up the handle on a chest I was working on and it was pretty easy. After I trimmed the excess and then used the belt sander to get a nice even finish on the trimmed edge. A brown sharpie worked great to blend in the trimmed edge.
    Well I can only hope mine turns out to be easy. We'll see, I guess.
    Chris

    The tension between what is good enough and what is beyond that creates the space for character to become our work.

    www.chrischristenberry.com

  13. #13
    Terry, as I'm probably going to have to go to someone who upholsters with leather and pick up a scrap, what size piece do I need to start out with to re-cover a handle?
    Chris

    The tension between what is good enough and what is beyond that creates the space for character to become our work.

    www.chrischristenberry.com

  14. #14
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    Chris

    if it is only one and done think about using an upholstery needle and a pair of vice grips. it will take a bit longer to do the sewing but you can avoid purchasing the leather awl.

  15. #15
    Thanks. I understand fully. In fact, I'm checking around with all my friends in my area to see if anyone has one. I also have a bag full of sail stitching needles and a stitching palm, so I could do it as you say, "by hand". I've a close friend who used to own a saddlery and he just might have one.........though I think the Mexicans who worked for him all stitched by hand.
    Chris

    The tension between what is good enough and what is beyond that creates the space for character to become our work.

    www.chrischristenberry.com

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