Stage 1. Cut and mold
For starters, we take a dense belt leather of vegetable tanning, which is ideal for shaping (and this is just one of the many advantages of this type of leather). We use Italian leather made in Tuscany, a region that has been respected for centuries for the quality of genuine leather. The cut is done by hand, using a knife.
Next, for the formation, you need to soak the leather well in water so that the inner fibers soften and become elastic. At this stage, the leather becomes like plasticine, from which you can form something. In our case, for such modeling we use special wooden forms which were made according to the sizes of this particular model. Then we squeeze the leather between the two parts of the form and leave it dry for 24 hours. During this time water evaporates, and the inner fibers of the leather will take the desired shape and harden again.
Stage 2. Painting
After the leather has rested a bit and released excess moisture, it is ready to absorb the paint. We use Fiebing's professional American paint; they have been specializing in the production of leather care products for over a century, and their paints are specially designed to work with vegetable tanned leather.
We use several methods of dyeing. For cigar cases the well-proven manual method is best - it emphasizes the texture of the leather and allows the paint to penetrate deeper into its surface. After painting each product, there is an obligatory fixing of paint by a special finishing covering. The purpose of this process is to protect the paint from abrasion and washing and to create protection for the surface of the product. This procedure is repeated several times in the process of making leather accessories.
Stage 3. Marking the seam and punching holes
At this stage you need to prepare everything for hand stitching. To do this, we use hand punches and a special hammer. Yes, each hole is punched by hand and then sewn by hand. It takes more time but is much more reliable.
Stage 4. Pruning
After the seam is already marked you can cut off the excess parts. This is also done manually with a professional sharp knife (or several). At this stage the product begins to acquire the desired shape of the edges.
Stage 5. Stitching
Parts of the cigar case are sewn by hand with a saddle seam, using two needles. The needles alternate with each other so that each individual stitch is strong. Unlike machine sewing, where the principle of weaving the thread is different, the hand seam is stronger and more reliable. In order to dissolve it, you need to cut each individual stitch.
Waxed thread used for sewing consists of several intertwined veins covered with wax. This makes it durable and one that can survive decades of daily use of the accessory.
Stage 6. Grinding
Now we turn to the processing of the edges of the product. The degree of processing of edges is considered to be one of the most important indicators of quality of leather products - after all, edges are the parts most exposed to the physical influence of the environment: they rub, touch, touch various surfaces, etc. Therefore, how beautiful the edges will look over time directly depends on the effort spent on their processing during production.
The machining process begins with grinding, first with a special sander, then manually with a finer sandpaper. The main goal is to level the surface of the edges.
Stage 7. Cutting the edges
After grinding, we cut off the extra sharp corners with a special tool. This slightly rounds the edges and will allow us to polish them well in the future.
Stage 8. Polishing the edges
In order for the edges to be beautiful and smooth, they must be polished. We do this mostly by hand with a wooden tool called a slicker.
Apply polishing solution to the surface of the edge and start polishing with quick movements, so that the leather fibers stick together and cover the edge of the product. We will repeat this process later because polishing does not happen too much.
Step 9. Intermediate inspection
On the other hand, there are no limits to perfection, so it is important to stop and see what the edges look like. When you like the result, and the edges look even and shiny, you can go to the next step.
Stage 10. Painting the edges
The next task is to align the color of the edges to give the product a more complete look. To do this, use a professional leather paint and marker. We picked up this idea from very cool colleagues from Canada, tested it, and realized that it works!
Stage 11. Final polishing
In order to fix the paint and protect the edges, repeat the process of manual polishing and enjoy how smooth the edges look.
Cigar Сase - ready!
In the end, be sure to take a few minutes to enjoy the result.
In this article, I have described for you the main stages of making one particular product, and the steps are more or less repeated for all products made in our workshop. I hope this will give you some idea of what handmade is and why it can be of very high quality if you follow the appropriate manufacturing processes.