This is how I made Almarc-like leather handlebar cover. It's not so hard, quite cheap, just take lot of time, but gives really good effects. Maybe somebody will have a use of it.
So here we go:
The original idea is from here
and here's google translated
are all pictures I made (I will insert them in this thread soon)
The materials that I ordered of fleabay:
-leather cowhide 1.1-1.2mm thick, 50x25
, one piece would be enough, but now I have material for another handlebar
-nylon thread 1.2mm thick
, you need another needle, but I've already had one
The things I've already had:
-a piece of board - base for cutting (my truing stand)
-utility knife with new, sharp blade
The tools and the parts:
Firstly I prepared the handlebar, fit brake levers and mark their position using marker after removed levers and fittings, it's much easier to work without them.
I measured the handlebar circumference, next I cut using Stanley knife with new blade a piece of leather 3 mm LESS than measurements (the leather will stretch), so I had two pieces of leather of 500x73mm. Keep the knife at very steep angle, it will make the cutting easier.
I marked the holes using a ruler and an awl. It's very important to make all the holes very regular way. I started with making a very small prick (is that correct word?) every 5 mm and after made another run to make the awl go through the leather, but not to make the holes to big, just let the needle go to the other side. I made the distance from the edge to holes about 5-6mm but it made the stitching quite big, 3-4 mm would be good and you won't need the thread as long.
After I put the leather in a bowl of warm water to soak for 10-15 minutes and done the same again in the middle of the job, when I was approaching brake lever fitting and the leather started to dry. After removing it from the water just let it lay for a while on a towel to remove excess water.
I took about 3.5-4m of thread, waxed it using piece of beeswax. I took two needles (to fit the thread into needle hole I 'bite' with my teeth the very end of the thread to make it flat), one at each end and started stitching. The same way how shoes are laced
be careful to keep the sequence of the left and the right, which one goes over the another. I used small pliers to pull the needle out of the leather, it's much, much easier. And watch the knots that are tying randomly sometimes.
In general it was made in many small, repetitive steps: make a stitch, with left hand strongly "gather" together two borders and with right pull to string (not to strongly, you can rip the leather). Stretch the "outside" and again make a stitch... and so on... left.. right... pull... stretch...
When I was about 3-4 cm to brake position, I stretched the leather how it should be placed and made a diagonal cut 'X' in the centre position of the fittings. Firstly small, tried to fit the brake fittings and after made it little bigger until it went through.
This is the hardest part, on this bend one edge has bigger curve to cover and other much smaller. The leather should be stretched firmly on the "outside" of the bend because you won't be able to shrink "inside" on the bend and you're loosing the stitching pattern. You can see it on the photos that the pattern starts to get "angled". In the end I managed to make it nice but it was really hard job. I ordered quite thick hide (1.2mm) and I'm sure that something little thinner would make the job much easier, but on the other hand final effects are really nice, when you touch it you feel that it's solid, high quality thing. It's not moving or turning on handlebar.
At the end I tight the knot, cut the leather 2-3 cm longer than handlebar and stick it up inside of the bar. I stare at it with enormous amount of satisfaction and smile for next 10 minutes drinking green tea and listening some jazz radio...