Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Special Guitar Strap

In another instance where my kids volunteer my services to the people they know, I was asked to build a custom guitar strap for a teacher. After speaking with the customer, I learned a few things about what he wanted on his strap. Since this was my first guitar strap, I decided to do some research before I started the design process. I contacted my friend at Black River Laser products and requested one of their guitar strap templates. Why reinvent the wheel if unnecessary.

After deciding on the final length, the customer wanted a floral design so I decided on going with a Northwest floral design for this project. Since I had some other design ideas, I went with a partial floral layout. I cased the leather strap and transferred my design.

After cutting out the floral pattern, I wanted to add a special touch to the strap and since the customer was a former bull rider, I decided to add something to memorialize his past.

I tooled the strap and did a two tone color to the bucking bull design. Now, on to the adjustment strap.

You will notice that there are two cut outs on the adjustment strap. I decided to include a bit of my new hobby, turks head knots. I wanted this strap to stand out a bit at the same time add some strength to help out with any breakdown and stretching.

Since I will not be lining the underside, I decided to smooth the fibers down so it does not bother the user. There are two ways that I have learned to do this. Right or wrong: They work for me. Here is the reciepe for this project. I lightly dampen the underside of the strap (lightly). Using a burnishing tool (deer horn), I rubbed the strap briskly the entire strap. Before the strap dries, I take my dry rag that has had saddle soap rubbed into it and repeat what I did with the burnishing tool. Finally, when I am done I wipe on a coat of Tan Kote to the underside from tip to stern. all it to dry and you are ready to go!

After tooling, I dyed the background and border for a two tone effect. After the dye dried, I applied a light coat of neatsfoot oil. I allowed the strap to sit over night and enjoy the addition.

After applying the final finish, in this case Bee's Natural RTC finish, I worked on the edges. I recently was given a good work (almost new) motor by a friend. I decided to glue a stack of leather circles and make an edge tool with the help of my friend Clay Miller from Clay Miller Tools. I used this new tool for completing the edges for this strap.

The buckle and tip were added and completed this project.

The project was delivered to the customer and he could not stop smiling after finding all of the features that I added specifically as he had requested. I hope he enjoys it for years to come.

Until next time....thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I hope you enjoy!

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