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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 2:14 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:27 pm
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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.

Image

So here we go:
The original idea is from here and here's google translated

Here 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
-an awl
-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
-a ruler
-small pliers

The tools and the parts:
Image

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.

Image

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.

Image

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.

Image

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...

Image

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.

Image Image Image

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... :D

Image

Finito :D


Last edited by predki on Fri Jan 25, 2013 3:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 3:27 pm 
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pics please!


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 4:01 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:27 pm
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Location: London
pics updated


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 4:19 pm 
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Wow! I'm impressed! That looks like a very good job. Thanks for the detailed instructions too!

Have you ridden on the bars yet? Does the leather move around at all? Maybe a quick spray with some sort of adhesive would help to keep it in place, if needed.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:25 pm 
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I haven't yet, but it's almost like glued to bars, there's no need of any adhesive.
Now I'm trying to rescue the saddle...


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:42 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2012 5:06 pm
Posts: 231
Location: Diepenbeek
Wow, this is some brilliant work! I can imagine it takes hours, but the satisfying feeling of having it done all by yourself will make up for that. Great to see some real handcraft instead of just buying and installing new tape! Very nice.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 8:11 pm 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:15 pm
Posts: 64
Chapeau, to you Sir.

This is an exceptionally impressive and useful piece of work!
I have 2 rebuilds that I have been toying with the idea of using leather bar covering on.
This has inspired me to have a go.

Cheers,
Nick.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:46 pm 
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Thanks!
It took a lot of time, over 6 hours for sure. Next time it will take much less. Probably I'm going to do the same to all my bikes. It really looks and feels like proper job, 100% pro, fits the bike very well and gives a lot of satisfaction. And it's not expensive, considering about £40 for brooks or VO leather tapes. It's different type of finish as well, smooth and simple with nice stitches accent, lot of character and class, beautiful. You can have most of the colours of leather and thread so it gives a lot of possibilities. Effects definitely worth the effort... 8)


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 1:15 am 
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well done,very nice :wink:


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 3:12 pm 
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really beautiful job there!


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