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I’m thinkig about making my own leather straps for both anglo and duet concertina (and might as well make a pair for my english one). What is the best leather type to use? Does the comfort depend on the thickness of the leather? 

 

Thanks

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6 minutes ago, Rod Pearce said:

Have you thought about the kit available from Mark LLoyd-Adey at Concertina spares?

I have ordered a full set of spares from my anglo from Mark back in January, unfortunately I have not yet received them. I emailed him 2 or 3 twice but still no reply whatsoever... 

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18 minutes ago, rcr27 said:

I have ordered a full set of spares from my anglo from Mark back in January, unfortunately I have not yet received them. I emailed him 2 or 3 twice but still no reply whatsoever... 

Tooling leather is used. It is a tough cow hide. It will need to be dyed and a finish applied. Thicker leather certainly last longer, but is stiff and not comfortable. Thinner leather is much more comfortable, and lasts long enough. I have been playing my Heritage concertina for 5 or 6 years and have years to go before they are worn out, and they are very comfortable, allowing for easy movement of the hands. If you want to get a bit fancier, there are tools you can get from Tandy leather which will allow you to customise your leather. Just dampen the leather before tooling and let dry before dying and finishing. Another thing..... you must determine the grain of the leather. One direction stretches more than the other. If you cut the leather going the wrong direction your straps will stretch.

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I currently use this leather for my straps.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/50-LONG-BLACK-2-2-4mm-THICK-BRIDLE-BUTT-LEATHER-STRAP-VEG-TAN-VARIOUS-WIDTH/191852269990

 

It helps with comfort if you round over the edges; there is a special 'leather edging tool' for this purpose or you can just use sandpaper. You can make them look more professional by indenting a line a short distance in from the edge; again there's a special tool for this called a 'creasing iron', or you can make do with something like a blunt knife.

Edited by alex_holden
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29 minutes ago, Frank Edgley said:

Tooling leather is used. It is a tough cow hide. It will need to be dyed and a finish applied. Thicker leather certainly last longer, but is stiff and not comfortable. Thinner leather is much more comfortable, and lasts long enough. I have been playing my Heritage concertina for 5 or 6 years and have years to go before they are worn out, and they are very comfortable, allowing for easy movement of the hands. If you want to get a bit fancier, there are tools you can get from Tandy leather which will allow you to customise your leather. Just dampen the leather before tooling and let dry before dying and finishing. Another thing..... you must determine the grain of the leather. One direction stretches more than the other. If you cut the leather going the wrong direction your straps will stretch.

Thank you! By the way, is the thickness the same for all 3? (Anglo english and duet)

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19 minutes ago, alex_holden said:

I currently use this leather for my straps.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/50-LONG-BLACK-2-2-4mm-THICK-BRIDLE-BUTT-LEATHER-STRAP-VEG-TAN-VARIOUS-WIDTH/191852269990

 

It helps with comfort if you round over the edges; there is a special 'leather edging tool' for this purpose or you can just use sandpaper. You can make them look more professional by indenting a line a short distance in from the edge; again there's a special tool for this called a 'creasing iron', or you can make do with something like a blunt knife.

Thank you, do you cut the leather with a scalpel or do you use some special knife/leather cutter? I have bought the creaser/groover tool to crease the edges on my english thumb straps: https://www.ebay.com/itm/7PCS-Leather-Craft-Tool-Edge-Stitching-Groover-Creaser-Beveller-Punch-Sewing-Set/401912998301?pageci=b9abfa2b-c873-43d8-a83c-52d3422a727d I’m guessing that’s the one. I’ve seen that you stamped your name on your straps, what tool did you use for that? 

Edited by rcr27
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Just now, rcr27 said:

Thank you, yes I have bought the creaser/groover tool to crease the edges on my english thumb straps: https://www.ebay.com/itm/7PCS-Leather-Craft-Tool-Edge-Stitching-Groover-Creaser-Beveller-Punch-Sewing-Set/401912998301?pageci=b9abfa2b-c873-43d8-a83c-52d3422a727d I’m guessing that’s the one. I’ve seen that you stamped your name on your straps, what tool did you use for that? 

 

I have the same leather multitool thingy. I had to sharpen the edger with a diamond needle file and smooth the edge of the creaser but it works well enough.

 

I brand the straps (unless the client requests a plain one) with a stamp that I engraved from brass on the CNC mill. If you want to have one professionally made, Chalco Stamp & Die are very good.

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24 minutes ago, alex_holden said:

 

I have the same leather multitool thingy. I had to sharpen the edger with a diamond needle file and smooth the edge of the creaser but it works well enough.

 

I brand the straps (unless the client requests a plain one) with a stamp that I engraved from brass on the CNC mill. If you want to have one professionally made, Chalco Stamp & Die are very good.

Great thank you, and what knife or scalpel do you use to cut the strap out of the leather with such precision?

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I liked Frank Edgley's Anglo hand straps so much that I asked him if he would sell me a pair for my Hayden duet.  He very kindly agreed and I love them.  They are the perfect combination of thickness and suppleness, they are smooth on the inside plus they are longer than the originals on my Beaumont which were a bit too short for my big mitts.

 

I tried making my own first, but selecting just the right leather is surprisingly tricky.  I think that I should have bought a fairly thick piece and then split it myself to get the right thickness.  The leather supply shop only had very thick leather for belts or thin leather for making clothing.  I did not know about splitting leather then.

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I’m wondering if it’s possible to add some sort of padding to the leather and make it kind of like a padded accordion strap, has anyone tried that before? 

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10 hours ago, rcr27 said:

Great thank you, and what knife or scalpel do you use to cut the strap out of the leather with such precision?

 

It's a vintage Stanley 199e handle with a disposable blade. The advantage of the fixed blade handle is it doesn't wobble around while you're using it like the retractable ones usually do. They still make these handles but I don't know if the new ones are as good. A new blade will work but I've resharpened the one in mine many times on a whetstone, which has altered (I would say improved) the edge geometry a bit; it's thinner and more curved at the point than a new one. I use a cheap green cutting mat underneath.

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9 hours ago, rcr27 said:

I’m wondering if it’s possible to add some sort of padding to the leather and make it kind of like a padded accordion strap, has anyone tried that before? 

 

It's certainly possible but I haven't yet found it to be necessary. Maybe it would help with a very heavy instrument.

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9 hours ago, Paul_Hardy said:

 

What width do you use for Anglos?

 

I use the same basic design for Anglos and duets (apart from No. 7 which is a custom order). The part of the strap across the back of the hand is 27mm wide, but the curved shape of the pattern means you need to start with a piece at least 32mm wide.

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On 4/4/2020 at 9:59 PM, rcr27 said:

I’m wondering if it’s possible to add some sort of padding to the leather and make it kind of like a padded accordion strap, has anyone tried that before? 

I have 'backed' leather straps with suede.  Mark L-A sells them backed.....it's quite nice ( if nice is your thing ) not padded per se but comfy and arguably 'holds' to the back of the hand better than bare leather ?  Plenty of sources for no money on Ebay in multi colours.  Bookbinders glue does a good job of connecting suede to leather.  For long line cutting I use a simple Rotary Cutter.  I'd like one of those lovely half moon blades but I suspect I would have my fingers off.

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  • 2 weeks later...

One thing I have mentioned before, but cut your straps with the grain (direction of least stretch ).  Not only will they retain their size, but they will last much longer.  Cut the wrong direction and the leather will eventually crack and stretch at points of direction change and fastening.  Fortunately long straps are easy to cut efficiently out of a side of leather, if you aren’t sure of the grain direction of your piece of leather, cut a narrow  strip  in the directions that look like choices. Try to stretch them an choose the one that stretches least.  I like the bridle butt veg tan stuff since it is created for strap making.  I also like good quality Latigo which I find holds up very well.  Usually available in black or a cordovan sort of color.  Also in different thicknesses which saves you splitting.

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