A challenging case

When I first got some of the oiled leather to work with I wanted to do some smaller testing with it before doing anything large. The first thing I did was get some small holes cut out of it so I’d know what power setting to use. I started with the heavy vegtan settings from the proofgrade library and just kept adjusting speed/power until I was getting clean cuts. My keys are always worrying holes in my pocket, so after dialing in my settings I made a little key cover.

it wraps the keys up and insulate them so they don’t rub my pocket.

Having gotten a simple project under my belt, I decided to work on something more ambitious. I’d gotten a new phone and wanted to make a nice cover for it. I took some basic measurements and got a basic layout in Illustrator for what I wanted. I didn’t trust my first draft though so decided to use some EVA foam to model it out. The craft foam is similar thickness and I can just staple it together instead of sewing it which sounded like a good draft medium to me. It worked out pretty well actually.

The fit was pretty good on the first try, so I guess I got the external measurements and guestimates of how much space to leave for seams about right.

I had a few changes to make. Adjusting holes in various directions to line up better mostly. Then it was time to try it in leather.

I should have just cut the sewing holes with the laser. I know that works well, but I was feeling lazy and wanted to use the sewing machine instead. I’m not very good at sewing it seems :slight_smile:

It fits pretty much the way I’d hoped. The edges around the display pop up a bit, but as I’ve been keeping it in my pocket it seems to be wearing in better and staying more flat. I’m tempted to wet it a bit and maybe rubber band it closed to see if it forms to the phone better.

Instead of sewing the top layer to the bottom, I could put a side in as well which might make it fit better overall. I might cut a notch out of the pocket as well to make retrieving cards out if it easier. Pretty happy with it for now though.


Great to see another successful use of oil-tanned leather. Good work!


Very nice! I’m so impressed that anyone would tackle working with leather…I’ve got a few pieces here just waiting for inspiration to strike. (And I’m so not up to tackling a case yet.) :smile:


This is awesome, and the use of the foam is a good idea! Could you share leather weight and settings used?


Love the key wrap! What a great idea!
Phone case came out beautifully.


The best way to get a better fit out of it is to cut a piece of wood the size of your phone and then place it in the holder wet. Then let it dry with low heat, near a fire place or something like that. The heat will shrink the leather. The water and heat would damage your phone but not the wood. Too much heat will shrivel the leather and make it brittle, so careful with that.


Gosh, that’s great advice, thanks!


Would a food dehydrator work about the same or do you need heat?

If I’m using applied heat (heat gun or low-temp oven) while wet molding leather, I also will put a seal of oil on the wooden form to prevent it from drying out. I’ve had pine forms crack and warp before while I had left the leather to dry and it deformed the leather.

With veg-tanned leather, I’ve also dipped the form and leather case in boiling water and then let it air dry. Don’t need to have it dipped too long. You can always dip it again and again until you’re happy with the fit. This works particularly well to curl in edges just enough.


So many ways to get leather to just the right shape. (Anyone else sleep with a baseball glove with the ball in it under their pillow? Or stand in a tub of water with their hiking boots on and then walk 10 miles?))


i’ve definitely worn a wet glove. i’m not sure i could be paid to hike in wet boots for that long, though. ugggggh.

The wettest hiking I have ever done was the Routeburn track in New Zealand. It rained so hard on the first day we could only see about three feet in any direction. It was so wet we walked under a waterfall and didn’t get any wetter apart from the water went over the top of one my boots. They had waterproof linings which meant once filled it didn’t want to dry out.

The drying room at the hut we stayed the night in was solar powered, so didn’t work when it was raining. I pointed out this seemed to be a bit of a design flaw to the staff and it didn’t go down well.

The only thing I could do to dry the boot was to swing it around by its laces to centrifuge some water out. Had to hike the next day with a soggy foot and damp clothes. Fortunately the weather was warm and sunny the next two days.


haha, oh man, that’s miserable. a couple of years ago we went up to the bruce peninsula and stayed up on the georgian bay (one of the prettiest places in canada, if you’re in ontario, you should absolutely go visit tobermory) and it just pourrrrrrrrrred. we enjoyed it but i’m glad we brought the emergency ponchos, because i had my camera with me, heh.

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Looks lovely. The closest we have been is Toronto in 1999, via Concorde. Might get back someday but it’s a lot slower now.


I was wearing a pair of brand new moto boots (alpinestar tech3s) when my bike broke down on me. I had to hide it in the bushes of someone’s driveway and walk the 20 miles home along the highway (no cell service up there). I had my thumb out, but nobody felt like stopping for me… because a hitchhiker in neon dirtbike gear, chest protector, leatt brace, and a helmet under the arm, with no bike, limping down the Peak-To-Peak Highway after dark just screams ‘axe murderer’.
My boots were broken in after that.


Now that was an aircraft. When my family visited Washington DC a couple years ago my favorite stop was the Udvar-Hazy hanger (part of the Smithsonian). My head was on a constant swivel pulled between the Space Shuttle Discovery, an SR-71, the Enola Gay and a Concord. I think I could have simply camped there for two weeks, but my family made me leave at closing time :smile: So cool you actually got to travel via the Concord!


Yes it was amazing. We got to visit the flight deck mid filght and chat to the flight engineer. Can you imagine that happening nowadays, post 911? Hundreds of analogue meters covering the wall.

It cruised at mach 2 at 60000ft. At that height you can see the curvature of the earth and the sky is very dark blue. When you look down onto a Jumbo it looks to be going backwards because you are going twice as fast and are nearly as far above it as it is above the ground. We landed earlier than we took off.

The food was lobster served with silver cutlery and cruet set. Struggled to get a glass of water but as much champagne as you wanted.

Wide comfy leather seats with lots of leg room but not enough headroom to stand until you get into the isle.

Because it had a smaller diameter body, the cabin pressure was higher so it didn’t affect my wife’s ears like normal flights do.


That is just too cool.

My parents flew on it once when it was newish, had the same complaint. Too cramped. At udvar-hazy it looks tiny compared to a lot of other aircraft.

Yes it is much smaller than other airliners. I think 100 seats arranged as two each side of the isle. Plenty of room when seated but I had to crouch to get in and out of my seat and I am only 5’10".

The acceleration on the runway was higher than a normal airliner because although it was tiny it had four massive engines. And it took off at 250 knots, which is substantially faster. When it got past Ireland we felt another kick of acceleration when they fired the afterburners to go supersonic.

Very disappointing passenger flight has gone backwards since then and there is nothing that fast now.

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