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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey, guys,

Here's the latest experiment with layering cowhide and trying to do a "distressed look," without tearing the proverbial envelope! I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. I was trying to do that layered top -- kinda like I did the "V-strap" -- but make the top layer rounded up by the lugs to mirror the round shape of the M28's dial and case. I used a periwinkle blue Irish linen thread, and I think the strap has an overall old and used feel. It's super soft and comfortable, even though it's a "fatboy," for sure. Been feeding it Chelsea Leather Food! Thanks for checking it out. :thumbup1:






 

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Very cool, Ladd. I really dig the curved thing going on just below the lugs. Adds a distinctive design element. How was that accomplished?

I'd love to see photos that have a darker background -- the light wood tends to wash out what's going on with the strap.

All in all, great result. Would love to see more photos if you get a chance.

Cheers,
Jazz
 

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Another fine piece of craftsmanship, Maestro
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hey, Jazz,

Here's a different background.

The curved parts of the leather up by the lugs are just additional layers of leather laminated with contact cement, then stitched, to the main layer of the strap. There's not much clearance with the M-tungstens -- at least not with my M28 -- between the case of the watch and the barrel of the strap that holds the springbars between the lugs. This causes chaffing unless the strap is really thinned between the lugs. The only way to build up the strap thickness is to add separate layers behind the point where the spingbar passes through the end of the strap. Since I had to do this, anyway, I thought it might be cool to cut the strap back in a semicircular shape to mirror the round shape of the case. I tried this with a cowhide strap I made for my V1, and I liked the way it looked. :thumbup1:

Hope this darker background makes it easier to see the circular layer up by the case.






 

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Great color!! :thumbup:
 
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Excellent job! We seem to see a lot of black and/or blue straps with the M26/M28 so this is a nice change.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Excellent job! We seem to see a lot of black and/or blue straps with the M26/M28 so this is a nice change.
Thank you!

I started out with Tandy's banana-yellow professional stain, then a layer of "British saddle tan," and then scuff-sanded and oiled it. You can see where it's worn through to the yellow stain, and that's not a terrible look with a blue dial... :wink:
 

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Hey, Jazz,

Here's a different background.

The curved parts of the leather up by the lugs are just additional layers of leather laminated with contact cement, then stitched, to the main layer of the strap. There's not much clearance with the M-tungstens -- at least not with my M28 -- between the case of the watch and the barrel of the strap that holds the springbars between the lugs. This causes chaffing unless the strap is really thinned between the lugs. The only way to build up the strap thickness is to add separate layers behind the point where the spingbar passes through the end of the strap. Since I had to do this, anyway, I thought it might be cool to cut the strap back in a semicircular shape to mirror the round shape of the case. I tried this with a cowhide strap I made for my V1, and I liked the way it looked. :thumbup1:

Hope this darker background makes it easier to see the circular layer up by the case.
Thanks for the additional photos, Ladd. The color of that strap works really well with the M28, I think.

Love the semi-circular treatment -- a great technical solution that also is a fantastic aesthetic touch. Very impressive! :thumbup1:

Cheers,
Jazz
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I like that leather on the M28 a lot. I would want it without the layer at the lugs and an open end stitch instead of the box end. The watch is elegantly simple and I would mirror that in the strap. JMO.:001_smile:
Hey, FreightDude,

I hear you, and I don't necessarily disagree with your aesthetic, either. Thanks for your input.

I'm experimenting with my M28 and trying to make a fun variety of straps for it. At some point, I hope there's a tungsten case Lum-Tec that offers a double-bored lug, sort of like Chris' V-series watches. The option to use either of two lug-hole locations to fit a bracelet or leather strap makes a HUGE difference, at least from the perspective of the custom strap maker. (or, at least the novice custom strap maker...)

My difficulty with the M28 is twofold: 1) There's minimal clearance between the edge of the tungsten case and the barrel of the springbar. 2) The bottom edge of the M28 case, where it radiuses past the springbar, is RAZOR sharp; on my M28, I can pare shavings from my thumbnail on this section of the watch's case. I think the M28's case and lug-hole locations are a "compromise" that was arrived at when designing the mating bracelet. The clearance and case sharpness issues offer some real challenges to the strap maker because there's just very little room to fit the strap to the case without the leather being abraded by that sharp, lower case edge.

I noticed this, immediately, and commented on it in my initial review of the watch last year.

The straps that ship with the M28 are quite thin, with the OEM rubber strap being the one most guys initially default to, until they can have a "custom strap" made or buy an off-the-shelf aftermarket alternative. I have seen lots of pictures of straps mounted on the M28 where the "scrubbing" on the leather between the lugs is quite apparent and unsightly. As Chris pointed out, the M26/M28 cases are slightly different than the other LT tungstens in order to accommodate the Soprod innards, so it may be that this is a problem that's limited to these two watches, and the other tungsten models don't suffer from it.

I don't know because I've never tried to make a leather strap for any other LT tungsten. This is all conjecture on my part.

The other issue is that I REALLY love thick straps -- not just the conventional, say, 8oz leather strap (1/8" thick), either -- but STUPIDLY thick straps. :w00t: Especially where the very popular "vintage" look is concerned, the thicker the strap, the better. Many Lum-Tec watch cases are VERY beefy, and the M26/M28 cases are taller than most other M-series watches -- again, to accommodate the Soprod complication.

The first "vintage" strap that I made is very much along the lines of the strap you've described. I made it with a stitched-in keeper and really loved everything about it, except that it looked too thin for my liking. These vintage straps -- most of them, anyway -- have edges that are not stained or burnished. This is the "gunny strap" style, and I really like it. Burnishing a strap edge smooths and thickens it. It's a "look" I prefer on a dressier strap, but I like the vintage straps' edges left "raw," so that's another reason why they need to be thicker (heavier weight leather, to start with).

All this blather about straps is probably making your head swim, but here are a couple of images comparing the two vintage strap experiments, so far, with my M28. Both straps started out with a 2oz leather (1/16" thick) that was folded back on itself, glued and stitched. You can see the first strap has a finished thickness of 1/8", and the second strap is substantially heavier because I added another lamination of leather. The removal of the semicircular section up by the lugs was a design decision, but also a construction concession to the case limitations described earlier.

I'm trying to figure out how to make a thicker strap, like this one, that will fit the case without scrubbing! :confused1:

I'm learning as I go, but this watch is TOUGH!

The other Lum-Tecs have been a piece of cake, by comparison. :biggrin:



 

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My difficulty with the M28 is twofold: 1) There's minimal clearance between the edge of the tungsten case and the barrel of the springbar. 2) The bottom edge of the M28 case, where it radiuses past the springbar, is RAZOR sharp; on my M28, I can pare shavings from my thumbnail on this section of the watch's case. I think the M28's case and lug-hole locations are a "compromise" that was arrived at when designing the mating bracelet. The clearance and case sharpness issues offer some real challenges to the strap maker because there's just very little room to fit the strap to the case without the leather being abraded by that sharp, lower case edge.

I noticed this, immediately, and commented on it in my initial review of the watch last year.

The straps that ship with the M28 are quite thin, with the OEM rubber strap being the one most guys initially default to, until they can have a "custom strap" made or buy an off-the-shelf aftermarket alternative. I have seen lots of pictures of straps mounted on the M28 where the "scrubbing" on the leather between the lugs is quite apparent and unsightly. As Chris pointed out, the M26/M28 cases are slightly different than the other LT tungstens in order to accommodate the Soprod innards, so it may be that this is a problem that's limited to these two watches, and the other tungsten models don't suffer from it.

I don't know because I've never tried to make a leather strap for any other LT tungsten. This is all conjecture on my part.
This strap scrapping against the case issue definitely isn't limited to just the M26/M28; I have a M25 and have also experienced this exact issue as well. :sad: I guess I was somewhat fortunate that one of my earlier custom straps suffered from this issue, so ever since I've always communicated with my custom strapmakers to make straps destined for my M25 "thinner at the lugs" and they've been able to make it work!


All this blather about straps is probably making your head swim, but here are a couple of images comparing the two vintage strap experiments, so far, with my M28. Both straps started out with a 2oz leather (1/16" thick) that was folded back on itself, glued and stitched. You can see the first strap has a finished thickness of 1/8", and the second strap is substantially heavier because I added another lamination of leather. The removal of the semicircular section up by the lugs was a design decision, but also a construction concession to the case limitations described earlier.

I'm trying to figure out how to make a thicker strap, like this one, that will fit the case without scrubbing! :confused1:
Instead of laminating another strip of leather to the top of the strap, would it be possible to glue or somehow secure that same strip of leather between the original piece of 2oz leather that is folded back on itself (kind of like having the original piece of 2oz leather sandwich the addition strip of leather)? I know little to nothing about leatherwork, so I have no idea if that would work or if there are other factors I'm not taking into account. It seems that putting the additional strip of leather in the middle would result in the same thickness you're after, but with thinner leather at the lugs and without the need to remove leather from the top layer of leather to work around the clearance issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
This strap scrapping against the case issue definitely isn't limited to just the M26/M28; I have a M25 and have also experienced this exact issue as well. :sad: I guess I was somewhat fortunate that one of my earlier custom straps suffered from this issue, so ever since I've always communicated with my custom strapmakers to make straps destined for my M25 "thinner at the lugs" and they've been able to make it work!




Instead of laminating another strip of leather to the top of the strap, would it be possible to glue or somehow secure that same strip of leather between the original piece of 2oz leather that is folded back on itself (kind of like having the original piece of 2oz leather sandwich the addition strip of leather)? I know little to nothing about leatherwork, so I have no idea if that would work or if there are other factors I'm not taking into account. It seems that putting the additional strip of leather in the middle would result in the same thickness you're after, but with thinner leather at the lugs and without the need to remove leather from the top layer of leather to work around the clearance issue.
I think this is very good thinking, man.

I'm going to try what you've suggested. The problem -- even with the lamination in the center of the two outside layers -- is that you still get a bulge at the end of the strap where the springbar passes through. You can picture what I'm talking about in your mind's eye. That third layer -- the center, sandwiched layer you're talking about -- would still cause the end of the strap to mushroom out, unless it was held back from the end. I just have to mess with it and see what happens. Sometimes something will work, where you think it won't, and vice versa. :wink:

It's all trial and error. I know that many strap-makers DO sandwich additional layers in the center, so I'll give 'er a whirl and see what happens. :thumbup1:
 

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I think this is very good thinking, man.

I'm going to try what you've suggested. The problem -- even with the lamination in the center of the two outside layers -- is that you still get a bulge at the end of the strap where the springbar passes through. You can picture what I'm talking about in your mind's eye. That third layer -- the center, sandwiched layer you're talking about -- would still cause the end of the strap to mushroom out, unless it was held back from the end. I just have to mess with it and see what happens. Sometimes something will work, where you think it won't, and vice versa. :wink:

It's all trial and error. I know that many strap-makers DO sandwich additional layers in the center, so I'll give 'er a whirl and see what happens. :thumbup1:
Ah, I see what you're saying about the thickness "mushroom'ing" out at the end. When I was picturing this process in my mind, I actually did picture the sandwiched strip of leather being held back from the end, essentially creating the hole for the springbar with its end and the bend in the outer/inner layer of leather. I guess I failed to articulate that little detail. :T

A potential issue I just thought of with holding back the strip of leather from the end could be that it'd have to be quite precise because it'd be pretty easy to create a springbar hole that is too big and the strap might scrap on the case anyway, regardless of how thin the leather at the lugs is. Another solution to the "mushroom'ing" thickness could be to slightly shave down the thickness of the sandwiched strip of leather towards the lug end of the strap to compensate for the added thickness of the bent leather.

Anyway, this is all very easy for me to talk about and theorize in my head - it's a whole 'nother matter to actually go and try making it a reality! Best of luck, Ladd! As usual, can't wait to see the end results of your experimenting. :thumbup:
 

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Hey Ladd: Just a quick thank you for putting all your efforts in creating these straps on the forum. You might think it sounds boring, but I ( & I'm sure lots of others) find it fascinating & look forward to any of your projects you post for us to follow. Always 1 of the first things I check for each day when reviewing what's been going on here while I was at work. Thanks again!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Hey Ladd: Just a quick thank you for putting all your efforts in creating these straps on the forum. You might think it sounds boring, but I ( & I'm sure lots of others) find it fascinating & look forward to any of your projects you post for us to follow. Always 1 of the first things I check for each day when reviewing what's been going on here while I was at work. Thanks again!
Thanks for taking the time to write this. I appreciate the encouragement. :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
My good man, that second strap is exactly what I was envisioning. You are right though, it does look thin. I also have to agree with you about this watch being tough. I have several gorgeous strap options for my SC B2 and M50(!), but I still hven't settled on a single custom strap for the M28. You have me thinking about a nice saddle tan with burnished edges.
I'm going to try experimenting with a different lamination using 1-800's idea -- a center layer, with a thinned end up by the lugs -- and then claim it was MY IDEA if it works. :lol::lol:
 
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