Can any leatherworkers weigh in on this potential repair job?

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Fishbowl

Well-Known Member
I'm not even sure how this happened...





I have no experience in repairing leather, but on the surface this looks like a wraparound patch job. I love this bag, but I carry laptops in it and now I can't carry it by the handle because it's hanging together with two thin threads.

Can anyone give any pointers as to where I should start with this? Could I wrap leather around and glue, or would I need to stitch something?
 

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Snow Builder

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Rather than repairing it yourself I'd suggest taking it to a shoe repair store. They'll turn it around for you in no time.
 

Fishbowl

Well-Known Member
Rather than repairing it yourself I'd suggest taking it to a shoe repair store. They'll turn it around for you in no time.
Tried that with the shoe repair places that are in my area, and unfortunately they're pretty all crap chain stores and won't touch it since "it's not a shoe", or will charge me (what I perceive to be) a fortune for it :(
 

Mockle

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Fishbowl If your not looking for looks? cut the whole handle off find a leather replacement handle get it sewn on or rivet it on depending on what you find?

$(KGrHqVHJFIE92EZwDTUBPe+DbjoYw~~60_12.jpg
 

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detenten

Active Member
If you know someone with a really strong sewing machine, you could probably stitch it on that way.

I second the idea to replace the handles and attach the new ones with rivets. The bag appears to be vinyl, which is why it ripped-- so in the end, where you rivet your new leather straps might also eventually tear, too.
 

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Carrion Man

New Member
If you are careful, you might be able to do a blind stitch using the threads that hem the handle and thing it ripped off from. If not, well, no harm done! Just take a needle and heavy thread and pull it through each one of the visible (interior) loops of the existing stitches. Given that those were not the point of failure, I think that may work. Add a little glue to the inside of the joint and on the torn cloth for good measure. Hope that made sense!
 

Fishbowl

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the suggestions everyone :)
Carrion Man: Do you mean stitch through the base of the handle and then up through the loops of the hem stitch on the detached section? I think I might give that a go first, glue it, and then probably wrap it with something and glue it again. If that fails, then plan B would just be to try and detach the handle completely and replace it.
 
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HeroOfThePeople

New Member
Depends on your priorities. Looks? Function? Strength? All three?

Personally I would replace the handle. To do that you'd need to drill out the rivet on each side (assuming it is a rivet, if its a chicago screw it is considerably easier, just unscrew it), Clip the stitches. Once that is done you can either make a new handle or buy a premade one like those pictured above. If you're making it you'll need leather (moderately thick like 4-6oz, probably on the low end of that) some barge cement, some cord, a couple of rivets or chicago screws, a couple of D rings, either a pair of needles or a speed stitching awl, and some waxed nylon thread, and if you so desire leather dye.

Cut the leather into about 1" strips the length of the handle you want plus about 4 inches, Cut each end to a point about a half an inch long.. Apply barge cement to the flesh (rough) rough side of the leather, allow it to dry. Apply a second coat. When the second coat is tacky lay the cord in the middle. Fold the leather over the cord pressing the edges together leaving about 4" at each side not folded. Put the round end of the D-ring in the middle of the unfolded portion and fold the leather back over the D-ring so that the point nestles into the crook of the other fold. Using a stitching chisel or a scratch awl punch holes along the edges of the handle. Stitch along the entire edge finishing the handle. Now you need to make tabs to attach the handle to the bags. For the tabs cut more leather into 3 to 4 inch strips pointed at both sides. Cover the tab in barge, let it dry until tacky, fold it around the flat side of the D-ring, punch stitching holes around the outside of the tab, and a larger hole in the middle for the rivet or chicago screw. And then rivet/screw and stitch it to the bag.

If you're not up for replacing the handle you'd want a wrap around patch that is attached to both the remainder of the base part and the handle part with both stitching and barge contact cement. It won't look as clean, or be as strong as a replaced handle but it'll get the job done.
 

mdb

Sr Member
That is a really common stress issue. It's because the thin laminated layers of fabric pull away from each other due to the absolute rigidity of the handle and the rivetted end- so any stress at that point (and there is a lot) cannot be transferred to the rest of the handle.

The only way to repair that and keep it looking the same is to unpick about an inch of the middle channel of the handle. Pull out some of that interior core. Use a strip of plastic that will fit inside that core to join the handle interior and the scrap of handle left on the case. Then carefully use glue, more stabilising strips, and carefully push that tiny scrap up in to the handle. Then use a giant leather needle but follow the already present holes and sew the two together.

That is why you are getting quoting "too much"- if you want to repair back to the original it's a lot of work as the layers are torn right through, there is no guarantee either than it will be stable enough to use.

Best bet really is to buy a new handle as above however I'd look for a handle that does not have a short join at the hinge (fabric or metal). Those straps above still have a weak point at the rivet on the handle part.

If you are still wanting the same look, then you can try and unpick that entire centre line of stitches on the existing handle wrap and place that over a new handle.


It's a lot of work because these products are generally made with specialised machines.
 

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Fishbowl

Well-Known Member
Depends on your priorities. Looks? Function? Strength? All three?

Personally I would replace the handle. To do that you'd need to drill out the rivet on each side (assuming it is a rivet, if its a chicago screw it is considerably easier, just unscrew it), Clip the stitches. Once that is done you can either make a new handle or buy a premade one like those pictured above. If you're making it you'll need leather (moderately thick like 4-6oz, probably on the low end of that) some barge cement, some cord, a couple of rivets or chicago screws, a couple of D rings, either a pair of needles or a speed stitching awl, and some waxed nylon thread, and if you so desire leather dye.

Cut the leather into about 1" strips the length of the handle you want plus about 4 inches, Cut each end to a point about a half an inch long.. Apply barge cement to the flesh (rough) rough side of the leather, allow it to dry. Apply a second coat. When the second coat is tacky lay the cord in the middle. Fold the leather over the cord pressing the edges together leaving about 4" at each side not folded. Put the round end of the D-ring in the middle of the unfolded portion and fold the leather back over the D-ring so that the point nestles into the crook of the other fold. Using a stitching chisel or a scratch awl punch holes along the edges of the handle. Stitch along the entire edge finishing the handle. Now you need to make tabs to attach the handle to the bags. For the tabs cut more leather into 3 to 4 inch strips pointed at both sides. Cover the tab in barge, let it dry until tacky, fold it around the flat side of the D-ring, punch stitching holes around the outside of the tab, and a larger hole in the middle for the rivet or chicago screw. And then rivet/screw and stitch it to the bag.

If you're not up for replacing the handle you'd want a wrap around patch that is attached to both the remainder of the base part and the handle part with both stitching and barge contact cement. It won't look as clean, or be as strong as a replaced handle but it'll get the job done.
I'm not sure i'll be going so far as to replace the handle by hand, but regardless, that's a brilliant run-down of how to do it, thankyou!!

That is a really common stress issue. It's because the thin laminated layers of fabric pull away from each other due to the absolute rigidity of the handle and the rivetted end- so any stress at that point (and there is a lot) cannot be transferred to the rest of the handle.

The only way to repair that and keep it looking the same is to unpick about an inch of the middle channel of the handle. Pull out some of that interior core. Use a strip of plastic that will fit inside that core to join the handle interior and the scrap of handle left on the case. Then carefully use glue, more stabilising strips, and carefully push that tiny scrap up in to the handle. Then use a giant leather needle but follow the already present holes and sew the two together.

That is why you are getting quoting "too much"- if you want to repair back to the original it's a lot of work as the layers are torn right through, there is no guarantee either than it will be stable enough to use.

Best bet really is to buy a new handle as above however I'd look for a handle that does not have a short join at the hinge (fabric or metal). Those straps above still have a weak point at the rivet on the handle part.

If you are still wanting the same look, then you can try and unpick that entire centre line of stitches on the existing handle wrap and place that over a new handle.


It's a lot of work because these products are generally made with specialised machines.
When you say "short join", do you mean the distance between the rivet and where the handle arcs up? Would I be better off using something like this? http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Heavy-Duty-Leather-Case-Handle-Briefcase-Flightcase-/150919130097 (But not that because I don't like it, just something of that style)
 

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