- This is when production actually commences and we start cutting leather, carving, tooling, setting crystal embellishments, etc.
- We will continue to communicate with you by email, text, phone, etc. to report progress and confirm approval from the Customer or musician who will be using the strap. If we send pictures by email and have questions we appreciate a prompt reply to ensure that production continues.
- We may have to put your project on hold on a waiting list or if we do not receive approval of a progress update in a timely manner. During this waiting period, we will move to other custom projects that demand higher priority.
Step By Step Production Process Details:
- Cutting: First, we cut a leather strip from a hide. If it requires tooling it will not be dyed, but must be natural and dampened in order for the cuts or impressions to be made and for leather to retain the stamping shapes and details. No assemblies or dyed and finished models can be produced during this stage.
- Tooling: Tooled cowhide straps require transferring of designs with a template we make from the original sketches and many hours of cutting lines, stamping in order to raise designs by beveling, and adding textured background or borders before any dye color / finish can be added. As a general rule, all tooling and carving of designs is totally by hand including large lettering. In cases where lots of small lettering and special fonts are required, other means may be used such as laser engraving. This is done to enhance legibility and appearance only when the stamped letters would be too small and harder to control spacing.
- Special Parts: Special parts are often made for connections and these may require us to create patterns in order to custom cut. Special parts may be produced from factory dyed softer upholstery or lining leather, and some may be from tooling cowhide (which must be tooled or hand-dyed and finished to match/compliment the rest of the strap).
- Dye-Finish Process: In order to achieve the right color, contrast, and artistic effects that are durable for a long-wearing accessory, which may be subject to various conditions we spend much time on the finish of a custom strap. The numerous steps and drying times of six to eight hours between coats requires a hand finishing process that can span over several days or weeks. Most dye and finish work must be completed prior to assembly and stitching.
- Assembly: We line each strap with leather, and if special connection parts are required or additional layers to create inlays or recess for crystal work this must be glued and prepped for stitching. Gluing of all pieces can take hours to do as well. Currently, all stitching is done totally by hand with the traditional saddle stitching method of using two harness needles. This requires hand punching of all stitching holes before the three to six hours needed to hand stitch an entire strap.
- Final Trim / Finish: After all the stitching, the excess leather backing is trimmed as needed and edges are dyed, touched up and burnished using saddle soap or wax. Final finish coats may be applied and a light application of neutral wax for a final polish completes the leather finishing process. An additional 24-48 hours of dry curing time is desired prior to packaging and shipping.