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Making A Pen Case


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#1 my63

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 20:29

 I read an excellent review of a fountain pen case with almost ballistic levels of protection and I thought to myself who would need such a case.

 

The very next day I read in another thread about a member whose pen had been damaged in an accident and I thought that could happen to anyone. 

 

It was an expensive case and although I am not tight I don't have a budget for buying pen cases or pens for that matter.

 

So the next question I asked was can I make one.

The case reviewed was made with leather and a sandwich of material called Kydex which gives the strength I have found a supplier in the UK and have placed an order.

 

To mold the leather a mold is required I made mine from plywood

 

10579758033_e42e1ce478_z.jpg
IMG_5435_1 by my0771, on Flickr

 

This is my blank my pen is 22 mm in diameter so my blank is 25mm I put this blank onto another piece of plywood and drew around it then cut out the shape.

 

10579499156_d7eea312d5_z.jpg
IMG_5429_1 by my0771, on Flickr

 

As you can see I did a little sanding

 

The blank was fixed to a base

 

10579735043_507ff765da_z.jpg
IMG_5428_1 by my0771, on Flickr

 

 

I have read that veg tanned leather can be molded when wet and will hold the shape when dry as I don't have any veg tanned I needed another solution.

After a cup of tea or two I decided to try gluing the suede liner to the leather and then clamp the pieces together when the glue dries the leather should hold the shape.

 

10579466235_317d2a3878_z.jpg
IMG_5431_1 by my0771, on Flickr

 

I am going to let this dry overnight I am hopeful the leather will hold the shape, Although I am sure that the kydex will resolve the shape issue when it arrives.

 

Thanks for looking

Michael



#2 my63

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 21:07

Well it worked the leather has held the shape

 

10580582064_d1df9230b1_z.jpg
IMG_5438_1 by my0771, on Flickr

 

I need to make a bock piece and sew it all together.

 

Michael



#3 scrivelry

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 22:46

Wow!I can't wait to see what you do with the special reinforcing...



#4 Dr_P

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 22:54

my63, keep on posting. It's very interesting and I'm looking forward to see the next developments.



#5 my63

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Posted 30 October 2013 - 23:04

Thanks Scrivelry the kydex is on its way this prototype is going together quite well.

I will make another when the kydex arrives

 

10581934856_d6dc800481_z.jpg
IMG_5443_1 by my0771, on Flickr

 

10582175593_16fd576893_z.jpg
IMG_5444_1 by my0771, on Flickr

 

This is where I am tonight  I intend on sewing around the edges and tidying it up a little.

At least I understand how the mold works now I might get soe kip leather next week when I visit the leather supplier.

 

If anyone has any experience please let me know

 

Thanks for looking

 

Michael



#6 Plume145

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 01:16

Jaysus but you are good at this stuff. Your threads never fail to inform, delight, and inspire! That is all :) 


I'm not affiliated with ANY of the brands/retailers/shops/ebay sellers/whatever I mention or recommend. If that ever changes, I will let you know :)

 

Looking for a cheap Pilot VP/Capless - willing to put up with lots of cosmetic damage. 


#7 OakIris

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 13:57

Wonderful, Michael!  I read that same thread about the leather and kydex "bullet proof" pen case and was intrigued by the possibilities.   Your first attempt is already looking quite nice.

 

As always, I will wait for you to be the guinea pig and show the rest of us how it is done, then I will venture to make my own at some point in the future.   :D

 

Holly

 



#8 my63

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 22:51

My new diamond point leather chisels arrived today just in time to punch the holes for stitching up this case.

 

10599084815_4949152309_z.jpg
IMG_5453_1 by my0771, on Flickr

 

My stitching should improve with practice.

 

10599109244_0b3fb2d60b_z.jpg
IMG_5457_1 by my0771, on Flickr

 

This picture gives an idea of how much the leather has stretched

 

10599086624_fc85529d40_z.jpg
IMG_5446_1 by my0771, on Flickr

 

The shape needs to be trimmed neatly so I will ask my wife to do that for me.

There are one or two areas that I am not too happy with but as it is a first attempt it is not bad

 

Thanks for looking 

 

Michael



#9 Hauseda

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 12:32

Good job MIchael! When the Kydex arrives maintain patience. It takes a bit of practice to nail it all properly but your efforts thus far are admirable! Dave (dragonleather.net)



#10 my63

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 13:40

Thanks Dave praise indeed from a craftsman such as yourself.

The kydex has arrived I am about to start experimenting with shaping it.

I will update on my progress soon

Thanks again

 

Michael  



#11 my63

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 18:49

Ok here is my first attempt well to be totally honest it is my first piece I have molded it three times until I am happy with the result so far.
 
10613204586_55bc205646_z.jpg
219 by my0771, on Flickr
 
I plan on reversing the mold to fold the pieces over to form the back although I might stick the suede liner inside first it will not be possible to fi the suede after.
I had thought of making it in two pieces however if the back was separate it might just crush the pen inside.
Other considerations are making the liner adjustable to suit different sizes of pens.
I am not going to attempt to sew through the Kydex I will glue the liner to the Kydex and the outer to the Kydex and then stitch the two together.
Thanks for looking
 
michael  

Edited by my63, 02 November 2013 - 15:16.


#12 my63

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 16:41

My second attempt I have made a couple of changes to my mold to allow the kydex to be held in place while being heated, I also added two pins to allow the two pieces of the mold fit together accurately.

 

10628379965_ffd64eea10_z.jpg
IMG_5464_1 by my0771, on Flickr

 

I could not get the front and back from one piece so will be adding a back later I am going to fix it between two pieces of leather so my worries about the pen being crushed are not an issue.

 

Thanks for looking

 

Michael



#13 GTOZack

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 19:02

if anyone cared, that is how the Norse and their Irish brethren build their scabbard to house their most prized possession, the broad sword. 

they had layers of laminated wood, leather,  some decorations. sandwiched with its symmetrical twin glued with tree sap and gently tapped in place with thin needle-like nails circa 793-1000

 

I do want to see some fellow irish or celtic scabbard inspirated pen case.   maybe id make one 


'The Yo-Yo maneuver is very difficult to explain. It was first perfected by the well-known Chinese fighter pilot Yo-Yo Noritake. He also found it difficult to explain, being quite devoid of English.

So we left it at that. He showed us the maneuver after a sort.  B*****d stole my kill.'

                                                                                                        -Squadron Leader K. G. Holland, RAF. WWII China.


#14 my63

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 20:05

Hi GTOZack

I am sure it would be possible to add decorations into the process however I am going to stick with the plain ones for the moment.

 

The inner suede has been glued in place

 

10631427984_e279beca2b_z.jpg
IMG_5485_1 by my0771, on Flickr

 

I had some problems fitting the inner with kydex and then the outer leather into my mold so the leather was molded separately and then glued to the other pieces. 

 

10631400854_f09be7e7fb_z.jpg
IMG_5473_1 by my0771, on Flickr

 

 

10631422616_489948c610_z.jpg
IMG_5475_1 by my0771, on Flickr

 

 

Here we have all of the components waiting for assembly

 

10631703043_02043555ff_z.jpg
IMG_5493_1 by my0771, on Flickr

 

Thanks for looking

 

Michael



#15 GTOZack

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 20:22

excellent progress, what are you using as the press?  wood chock clamps or the ratchet type of clamp?


'The Yo-Yo maneuver is very difficult to explain. It was first perfected by the well-known Chinese fighter pilot Yo-Yo Noritake. He also found it difficult to explain, being quite devoid of English.

So we left it at that. He showed us the maneuver after a sort.  B*****d stole my kill.'

                                                                                                        -Squadron Leader K. G. Holland, RAF. WWII China.


#16 my63

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 20:41

I use a pair of quick action clamps I should make something to speed things up which I will consider if I decide to make more.
Fixing the kydex edges to the mold is key to getting smooth results.
The molds are shown in the first post I used the size from my largest pen.
I plan to get some kip leather next week when I go to see my leather supplier I try not to go there too often as I always spend a lot of money when I go there.
Incidentally there are always people in the store buying leather to make armour for re inactments (not sure that is a word) I am sure you know what I mean.

Michael

#17 my63

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 08:40

In between other projects I have finished off my first single pen case in leather I have trimmed the edges and used a dark wax to tone down the turquoise suede that was sandwiched between the brown leather.   10665818733_bdcb58572d_z.jpg IMG_5501 by my0771, on Flickr   I am quite pleased with the way this case has turned out   10665589715_47f8ef5f7c_z.jpg IMG_5510 by my0771, on Flickr     10665647364_3fc3537d54_z.jpg IMG_5511 by my0771, on Flickr   10665834103_c5eb5b1fae_z.jpg IMG_5508 by my0771, on Flickr 10665632174_3983f79133_z.jpg IMG_5503 by my0771, on Flickr   I am not so happy with the inside of the lid which I closed when the wax was wet and it left a mark on the suede, The  stitching around the flap does not look right I am not sure what has caused this the thread appears twisted. If anyone can tell me where I am going wrong here then please let me know.   I am going to finish the red case with the kydex inside soon and I plan to make one from veg tanned leather next. Thanks for looking    Michael


Edited by my63, 04 November 2013 - 09:07.


#18 my63

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 10:55

I have brought the two pieces of the case together I have used some pva glue here to stop the pieces from moving around while I am stitching it together.

 

10667750734_4d868ab1bf_z.jpg
IMG_5519 by my0771, on Flickr

 

Looking at the case now I am thinking I could have cut a slot in the side of the case to pass the loop through which might have given a neater look but as this is still a prototype then I will leave it for now and amend future versions

 

Michael



#19 scrivelry

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 14:51

WOW!

 

I would never have guessed these were your first cases, Michael. 

 

I think the loop on the outside is better than a slit in the leather to get the flap through, Michael. I don't see how you would get the flap through the Kydex, and the leather being loose from the Kydex at that point would not be a plus.  But perhaps I am not picturing what you mean properly.

 

I do think the bit of leather strap looks fine, but also, it is a point that one could embellish if one wanted to.  Or if a buyer wanted one to.  Just a thought.

 

T



#20 my63

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 17:15

Hi T

The idea was to split the side just above the line of stitching and thread the existing loop through the side and out between the upper section and the lower section.

I am going to make another red one I might try a double one this time.

This type of leather is not suitable for the type of embossing I can do  

 

I spent a little time today stitching the red case together.

happy with the front

 

10672396095_50e3367247_z.jpg
IMG_5529 by my0771, on Flickr

 

Happy with the middle

 

10672452326_8366d3c5e4_z.jpg
IMG_5528 by my0771, on Flickr

 

Not happy with the flap

 

10672666323_cf6efe1444_z.jpg
IMG_5527 by my0771, on Flickr

 

As this is only the second case I have made using this method I suppose it is not too bad. I think this type of leather is not ideal for this method I will be getting more suitable leather when I visit the supplier

 

The kydex clearly offers significant protection I am tempted to give it a really good whack with a large hammer but it would be a shame to wreck it.

 

Thanks for looking

 

Michael



#21 Dr_P

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 22:55

Nice job! And the cases are beautiful! 

 

Congratulations and thank you for posting all the photos.

 

Dr_P



#22 scrivelry

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 23:27

For the second one you've made it is utterly amazing.

 

I am just not able to put together in my head what you mean = I will be waiting to see what it looks like when it is there!

 

T



#23 discopig

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 03:03

That case looks awesome, great job.



#24 my63

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 06:28

Thanks for the kind comments I really do appreciate them.

I am going to make some more I have made a wooden form to help me with the stitching as I think the red case was spoilt by the stitching, 

To be honest I have considered cutting out the stitching and trying again but I think you would be able to see the holes anyway.

I went to the leather supplier as it was close to the vets where Stan was having an operation. I was proud of the fact that I only bought what I needed.

So I will also be making a case from fine veg tanned leather I am also thinking of having a go at vacuum forming.

 

Thanks again

 

Michael  



#25 my63

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 13:54

This is the stitching template that I have made to help me stitch in a straight line.

 

10707389744_462f75aaea_z.jpg
IMG_5550 by my0771, on Flickr

 

One of the other issues I faced was the kydex both heating and molding or should it be moulding anyway I had problems with it.

My last attempt I clamped the kydex with pieces of oak screwed to the plywood of my negative mold unfortunately it moved during the process.

 

I searched the internet for a solution that did not involve building a vacuum system I was not successful rather than get into vacuum forming in a big way I decided to try a more low tec way first.

 

I got out my big staple gun and fired some heavy duty staples into the plywood to fix the kydex into place while I heated it and through the forming process.

 

10707342505_6478dd4ac3_z.jpg
IMG_5557 by my0771, on Flickr

 

next time I will ad more staples

 

10707399874_c1bf138579_z.jpg
IMG_5553 by my0771, on Flickr

 

Although I am only interested in the top section although it might have been useful to fold the base over rather than add another piece later.

 

Thanks for looking

 

Michael



#26 persco

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 11:13

Michael,

 

I think it was my review of Dave Hauser's kydex-reinforced leather pen case that you referred to. Your work is really impressive. If you can get the kydex to work, it's pretty amazing to have in the case. Like a bullet-proof jacket for the pen. I am super happy with it. The case almost feels like a high end Goodyear welted shoe (the sort the English are so famous for!).

 

Keep posting your progress on this project. It's an awesome thread.

 

scott



#27 my63

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 13:12

Hi Scott

Yes indeed it was your review of Daves fantastic case that inspired me to have a go myself.

I now have some thin veg tanned leather but I think I will make a new mold as the current one is flat on the top.

The kydex is tricky to work with and it is possible I may need to adopt some form of vacuum system.

Can I ask does your case have kydex all the way around or is it just the front.

Thanks

Michael



#28 my63

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 18:34

To make improvements to the design I have rounded over one of my molds to remove the flat spot.

 

10744170554_9ea64a13d0_z.jpg
IMG_5572 by my0771, on Flickr

 

I am much happier with this shape and I seem to be getting used to heating the kydex I did not staple this piece down I simply held the hot air gun further away.

 

I spent some time at my leather suppliers the other day when I wanted to buy the hide for this case http://www.leprevo.co.uk/

They are a very friendly bunch who are happy to offer advice. I bought the best hide they had for the purpose I explained to them.

As it is veg tanned it is quite easy to mold to the required shape by holding it under a running tap until it is wet then allowing 15 to 30 mins for the water to soak in.

 

10744388633_1db8278cb8_z.jpg
IMG_5584 by my0771, on Flickr

 

Once the water has soaked in I placed it into the same mold the kydex had just been taken out of and left it to dry. 

 

This is my inner lining I then put the kydex back into the mold and added the second piece of leather which will be the outer layer of leather.

 

10745585116_01078aaf99_z.jpg
IMG_5589 by my0771, on Flickr

 

This is the inner lining taken off the mold

 

10745595586_69a251f9f4_z.jpg
IMG_5593 by my0771, on Flickr

 

As you can see the leather has held the shape really well

 

10745615554_e01157b234_z.jpg
IMG_5592 by my0771, on Flickr

 

I will roughen up both sides of the kydex and glue these three pieces together I will make the piece of kydex for the back and sandwich those three pieces together and then stitch all six pieces together.

 

I am beginning to understand how these items are so expensive to buy because they take some time to make and there is a lot of wasted time waiting for items to dry. fortunately I have a few projects running at the same time.

 

While I was at the leather suppliers I decided to have a go at making some dog collars our foster dog Stanley was a working dog and did not have a collar. So I made him this 

 

10727360565_217c23e089_z.jpg
IMG_5565 by my0771, on Flickr

 

I explained to the staff that he was a rescue dog so they found some high quality Italian belt leather so I bought enough to make four 1 for Stanley and one each for my own dogs.

 

Thanks for looking

 

Michael

 

 



#29 persco

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 03:05

Hi Scott

Yes indeed it was your review of Daves fantastic case that inspired me to have a go myself.

I now have some thin veg tanned leather but I think I will make a new mold as the current one is flat on the top.

The kydex is tricky to work with and it is possible I may need to adopt some form of vacuum system.

Can I ask does your case have kydex all the way around or is it just the front.

Thanks

Michael

 

To be honest, I have no idea. The kydex is utterly invisible, sandwiched between two layers of leather. Only Dave Hauser knows how he made this.



#30 my63

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 23:29

Thanks Scott

Earlier on today I started to assemble the components there were three pieces for the top section and three for the lower section.

Two pieces of leather and a piece of kydex. 

I used pva glue to stick the pieces together before bringing the top and bottom sections together again using pva to hold them together.

 

I did not take many pictures this is the top and bottom sections being glued together prior to sewing. 

 

10766816436_1028dc0e67_z.jpg
IMG_5608 by my0771, on Flickr

 

In this case the kydex is sandwiched between the pieces of leather the stitching will hold the front and back together.

 

10766749075_8cb987cdbc_z.jpg
IMG_5610 by my0771, on Flickr

 

After assembly I allowed the glue to dry and started again late in the afternoon I marked out the holes and used a diamond shaped punch to make the holes.

Then it was just a case of stitching it all together and I ended up with this.

 

10767030743_b1eccf67fc_z.jpg
IMG_5612 by my0771, on Flickr

 

The whole point of making this case is to hold this pen which I think it does very well

 

10767040093_bfd6b2d0b6_z.jpg
IMG_5615 by my0771, on Flickr

 

I am much happier with the stitching I have a template the hole punching chisel follows. I still need to do a little sanding of the edges

This is just plain veg tanned leather I have some wax that I thought might darken the colour a little it might need some dye.

 

10766834976_ecdb30c02f_z.jpg
IMG_5616 by my0771, on Flickr

 

10766870966_94cc292e3d_z.jpg
IMG_5621 by my0771, on Flickr

 

Thanks for looking

 

Michael