Leather case and strap repair?

Recent Classifieds

Forum statistics

Threads
179,473
Messages
2,470,942
Members
94,824
Latest member
Linaz0191
Recent bookmarks
1

jay moussy

Subscriber
Joined
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
1,010
Location
Eastern MA, USA
Shooter
Hybrid
By now, through various bargain purchases, I have a number of cases and case straps for TLR, 35mm, and MF cameras in need of re-stitching or strap replacement.
I seek restored functionality, not showcase looks.

- should I equip myself with basic re-stitching tools, YT tutorial, etc.?
- replace straps by removing rivets, and rivet in new strap material?

Your experience?

Note that I have an online acquaintance who does custom leather guitar straps, so I may convince him to do a batch repair for me.
 

Dan Daniel

Subscriber
Joined
Jul 4, 2009
Messages
1,956
Location
upstate New York
Shooter
Medium Format
I don't know much about restitching and other repairs, but I do know about old leather. Lost my first Rolleicord to an old strap- let the camera down, took a step, and the dried leather gave way and the camera smashed into the sidewalk.

Best to not reuse old straps. Any work done by you or others, be sure to evaluate the leather's functional condition, not just its aesthetics.

Personally, if I knew someone doing leather work and I could afford it, I'd pay someone if for no other reason than to encourage them to keep working.
 

Getz

Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2022
Messages
8
Location
Philadelphia, PA USA
Shooter
35mm RF
By now, through various bargain purchases, I have a number of cases and case straps for TLR, 35mm, and MF cameras in need of re-stitching or strap replacement.
I seek restored functionality, not showcase looks.

- should I equip myself with basic re-stitching tools, YT tutorial, etc.?
- replace straps by removing rivets, and rivet in new strap material?

Your experience?

Note that I have an online acquaintance who does custom leather guitar straps, so I may convince him to do a batch repair for me.

If you are near a major city, perhaps Boston, you may want to call one of the old school shoe repair shops. They will usually repair all types of leather goods. Cheers.
 

ColdEye

Subscriber
Joined
Jun 14, 2011
Messages
1,450
Location
San Diego, C
Shooter
Multi Format
I make leather good from time to time. You can re-stitch, the materials are not expensive to do that anyway, but it will be time consuming. Can you post pictures of the straps? You can also try to make one yourself if you are up to the task, its a fun project. Easiest way of course would be having to have your friend repair them.

If you do want to do the DIY route, you do not need expensive, or "leather" specific tools. If you have a Tandy leather near you, you can get hard ware there like rivets.
 

Don Heisz

Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2021
Messages
2,300
Location
Ontario
Shooter
35mm RF
I have successfully restitched a Yashica tlr case. If the string is what's given out, you can reuse the holes and it will be quick. Get good thread.
 
OP
OP
jay moussy

jay moussy

Subscriber
Joined
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
1,010
Location
Eastern MA, USA
Shooter
Hybrid
Yes, it does not look very difficult, and I may get curved needles at a hobby store.
An easy case would be a starting point.
I did not study the suitable thread kind yet though.
 

Helge

Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2018
Messages
2,895
Location
Denmark
Shooter
Medium Format
Yes, it does not look very difficult, and I may get curved needles at a hobby store.
An easy case would be a starting point.
I did not study the suitable thread kind yet though.

Waxed thread of the right colour.
It’s very important to get the right tools.
The leather is brittle, and is like that as new too.
Don’t use too thick needles. As thin as possible. Preferably with a rounded tip. Never with cutting sides.
Tighten the stitches exactly so they look tight not a smidgen more.
Strong thread cuts through leather like a hot knife through butter.

You can reuse old straps if they meet the following two tests.
Inspect them for any kind of cracks or breaks. If there is any present, replace the strap, even if it’s otherwise strong.
Subject the strap to a rigorous stress test. Yank it hard a dozen times and pull it at least double as hard as the cameras weight continuously for a few seconds.
Then douse it in neatsfoot oil and wipe it down after fifteen minutes.

The rest of the case will look much better, especially when painted, if you wipe it down with neatsfoot oil or equivalent. Especially the stitching will love getting some oil.

Generally accept scratches on painted leather. They are very hard to not make worse by making it look like a persnickety repair.
If its black paint you can fill in the scratch with black leather dye to make it much less visible.
 
Last edited:

BobUK

Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2021
Messages
83
Location
England, UK
Shooter
Medium Format
Although I do use neatsfoot oil sparingly on cases and straps, I have read in a couple of leather working books that neatsfoot oil can rot cotton threads.
 

ColdEye

Subscriber
Joined
Jun 14, 2011
Messages
1,450
Location
San Diego, C
Shooter
Multi Format
My advice is to not get the curved needles at hobby stores, get a saddler's needle like this:


I bought one pack and I am still using it now for years. For thread you want waxed thread like so:


Google around to find the best prices or options for you. Amazon has cheap waxed thread, you dont need the expensive ones unless thats what you want.
 

ColdEye

Subscriber
Joined
Jun 14, 2011
Messages
1,450
Location
San Diego, C
Shooter
Multi Format
For conditoners I just use Bick (given to me). You can also use Saphir (fancy) or just mink oil.
 

awty

Subscriber
Joined
Jul 24, 2016
Messages
2,826
Location
Australia
Shooter
Multi Format
Here's a thread we prepared earlier.
 

Paul Howell

Subscriber
Joined
Dec 23, 2004
Messages
7,178
Location
Scottsdale Az
Shooter
Multi Format
I've had a few old leather bags and camera cases restitched at a shoe/luggage repair shop near me, and had a new strap made for better quality case, didn't trust the old leather seemed too brittle. It does seem that tools and materials are much cheaper for a DYI than what I paid, last bill was $175.
 

awty

Subscriber
Joined
Jul 24, 2016
Messages
2,826
Location
Australia
Shooter
Multi Format
I've had a few old leather bags and camera cases restitched at a shoe/luggage repair shop near me, and had a new strap made for better quality case, didn't trust the old leather seemed too brittle. It does seem that tools and materials are much cheaper for a DYI than what I paid, last bill was $175.

It is quite easy to do yourself, just time consuming hence the cost of paying someone.
Always good for your self-esteem to fix something yourself.
 

Sirius Glass

Subscriber
Joined
Jan 18, 2007
Messages
41,616
Location
Southern California
Shooter
Multi Format
I needed hand stitching and a strap replaced on an other great condition hand made leather 500mm lens case for the Hasselblad. I called around and found a shoe repairman who said that he was up to the job. He had to disassemble the case and remove some rivets to remove the remainder of the broken strap, matched the leather with a new strap, reriveted it to the case and reassembled the case. When he finished one could not tell that he had done the work and the case now looks very near new.
 

Helge

Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2018
Messages
2,895
Location
Denmark
Shooter
Medium Format
Although I do use neatsfoot oil sparingly on cases and straps, I have read in a couple of leather working books that neatsfoot oil can rot cotton threads.

That’s is for thicker pieces. As long as the leather sucks the oil it’s good. There is a lot of does and don’ts in leather that is followed like a religion. Some of them simply not true others only applys to saddles or stuff that gets wet frequently.
What kills leather is drying out.
 
Last edited:

Helge

Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2018
Messages
2,895
Location
Denmark
Shooter
Medium Format
It also increases mould in humid conditions.

Leather as such is good for various fungi. If that is a problem in your region/milieu then treat the leather with anti fungicide, and keep it dry.
 

Ian Grant

Subscriber
Joined
Aug 2, 2004
Messages
22,067
Location
West Midland
Shooter
Multi Format
I've repaired two Yashica TLR camera cases as well as two LF camera kit cases, one for a Kodak Specialist 2. I found that I needed a mix of needles, some curved ones. The tools were from a leather repair kit, and came with the range of needles, easy to find online.

needles.jpg


Ian
 
OP
OP
jay moussy

jay moussy

Subscriber
Joined
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
1,010
Location
Eastern MA, USA
Shooter
Hybrid
... The tools were from a leather repair kit, and came with the range of needles, easy to find online.


Ian

Yes, it is how I want to proceed, except the part "...easy to find online"
Lots of garbage tools out there, sadly.
I may have to go to a craft store and hand pick a few items after careful inspection.
 
Last edited:

Ian Grant

Subscriber
Joined
Aug 2, 2004
Messages
22,067
Location
West Midland
Shooter
Multi Format
Yes, it is how I want to proceed, except the part "...easy to find online"
Lots of garbage tools out there, sadly.
I may have to go to a craft store and hand pick a few items after careful inspection.

I tried various haberdasheries (sewing, needlework, knitting shops) even their plain needles were unsuitable, it was the same in craft centres. In the end I found a good kit in Wilko (a UK budget store loosely based on Woolworths), and a more specialist kit specifically for leather online, this had the tools needed as well as the correct threads etc.

Ian.
 

guangong

Subscriber
Joined
Sep 10, 2009
Messages
2,623
Shooter
Medium Format
My shoe repair man (who also made shoes) refused to restitch my Rollei case because it would be too time consuming. So I did it myself. It does take time. But it’s not difficult.
As for reconditioning, I bought Neetsfoot oil from a tac store...much cheaper than from supermarket. Use liberally.
Don’t use old straps. I use cases for travel and to protect camera from serious damage due to minor bumps. But strap failure can be disastrous.
 
Photrio.com contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.
To read our full affiliate disclosure statement please click Here.

PHOTRIO PARTNERS EQUALLY FUNDING OUR COMMUNITY:



Ilford ADOX Freestyle Photographic Stearman Press Weldon Color Lab
Top Bottom