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  1. #1
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    Default Making my own Saddle Bags

    I started leatherworking a few weeks ago with the intention of learning how to make my own saddlebags for my bike. I bought a starter kit from Tandy Leather, took an introductory to carving class and haven't stopped! I've made a few wallets, a few wristbands and have begun my quest for saddlebags.

    [IMG][/IMG]

    Started with a side of veg tan leather...

    [IMG][/IMG]

    [IMG][/IMG]

    I cut the inside and outside panels of the bag using posterboard as a template. I'd rather mess up a $.30 piece of posterboard vs. $100 worth of leather.

    [IMG][/IMG]

    tooled my floral pattern...

    [IMG][/IMG]

    Dyed the background of the pattern on the bags and made a "cover up" for some holes that the previous owner of my bike drilled in the fender. This piece will mount under my sissy bar and cover up these gaping holes.

    [IMG][/IMG]

    [IMG][/IMG]

    So here is where I stand in the project. Tomorrow I will be "antiquing" the body of the bags and hopefully cutting the flaps. After that I can start construction.

    [IMG][/IMG]
    Last edited by ridemore16; 04-03-2011 at 10:21 AM. Reason: typo's galore

  2. #2
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    wow, man that looks rad.can't wait to see the finished bags. I got some tools and started about the same time as you but have not had much time to mess with it. next month I have to go to Texas for a class and will be living in a hotel for six weeks probably be a good time to play around with it and see what I can do.

  3. #3
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    How hard is this to do? and how useful is the Tandy class?

  4. #4
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    Subscribed! I want these for my bike, lol. Inspiration for all of us. How are you making the flaps for closing the top?

  5. #5
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    @IronheadJames...I'm sure everyone has a different definition of "hard". I've never considered myself an "artist" by any means but this has come pretty naturally to me. The class at Tandy has been awesome. Like anything else, it's all about learning the fundamentals.

    @tommygun - I'm going to make the flaps like a "messenger" bag. I'm also making a "cup" on the high side of the bags to keep some water out while riding. I will be dying them to match my seat and using brass hardware.

  6. #6
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    I am just worried without a template or something I'd ruin leather. I can barely draw stick figures, and nice decoration like you've shown would be damn hard to do.

  7. #7
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    This is very cool.

  8. #8
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    I been wanting to do some leather work, this looks awesome

  9. #9
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    As someone who does some leatherwork myself, I am impressed. That is a lot of detailed carving and tooling, and perhaps even more impressive is the amount of background dying you have done on it. Nice work.

    I am keen to see how this progresses, as I am thinking of doing a small saddlebag and spare fuel holder for my own bike (it is one thing I have never actually done yet).

  10. #10
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    looking good , post pics when done.

  11. #11
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    your looking like a leather virtuoso !
    amazing work especially for your first attempt
    cant wait to see the finished product keep us posted

  12. #12
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    Can we get a pic of the wallet?

  13. #13
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    Makes me want to give it a try. Just looked at tandy, closest store is 3 hrs away.....Im subscribed, interested in the finished product!

  14. #14
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    Default Progress...

    Thanks for the kind words. I've learned a ton during this process and can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I underestimated how much TIME this kind of work takes. I'm sure it's because I'm a beginner but I'm now understanding why the Pros charge so much $$$ for this kind of work. I'm going to finish the left side bag and take a break for a little while!!!!

    Here's where I stand now.


    [IMG][/IMG]

    Just installed the "cover up" for my butchered fender!

    [IMG][/IMG]

    Dyed the components of both bags. Boarded the gussets and used a whip stitch on the bag with Kangaroo lace. Lacing is f'ng HARD and I'm not very good at it. There are a ton of mistakes but I did it and am proud. I used an antique black vs. straight black so I could get some detail to show. Beginning the flap tonight. Wish me luck!!!!

  15. #15
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    that looks awesome!

  16. #16
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    Really sharp...

    Keep us posted, this may end up in the DIY folder!

  17. #17
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    fuck yeah!!! that came out nice. I like the stitching. I was looking at one of the books I got about doing the stitching and lacing and it looks hard. Good job man!

  18. #18
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    I've wanted to try my hand at leather work for awhile now and this is just the motivation I need. You've done a very impressive job so far sir, keep it up!

  19. #19
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    Thanks again for the kind words. I added a pic of the templates I used on the opening post. It's easy to burn a piece of $.30 posterboard vs. messing up $100 worth of leather. I used the posterboard to make exact measurements for the size and width of my bag. After you get it the way you like it trace the template on the leather and get to cuttin!

    I'm also going to re-lace the back of the bag. I did it late at night and had too many beers and it came out all cock-eyed. It was a mistake that will take me 3-4 hours to correct!!!!

  20. #20
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    Wow dude, coming together nicely. Stitching looks like something I'd easily lose my cool over haha. Props bro, keep it up!

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