Traveler's Journal

My first venture into leatherworking since I was a kid. I made this for my girlfriend who's going to Mexico for a month – she keeps travel diaries, so I figured I'd (try to) make her one.


From Tandy Leather:

  • Single shoulder of leather (not sure the weight)
  • Oil-based dye
  • Wax linen thread
  • Letter and number stamps
  • Button fasteners

From my bookbinding colleague:

  • Leather hole punch
  • Sewing needles
  • Eyelet setter

We'll call it iteration


It took me four tries to get this thing right.

Attempt #1 failed at the binding stage when I ripped through a signature. Major mistake: not having an awl and not using the hole punch to make holes in the paper and leather. Pulling the needle and thread through was nearly impossible.

On attempt #2 I mis-struck her initials after cutting the leather. I could have layered extra leather on top of it, which would have actually looked better, but I also punched the holes in the spine too close together and several of them ripped through, so the binding was loose.


Attempt #3 was nearly the winner, but I miscalculated how the final construction would work. I also screwed up installing the button fastener so it wouldn't snap closed.


Attempt #4 had to be successful since I was out of leather. I decided to have the button strap wrap around the edges of the paper rather than wrap the cover itself around. That made it easier to close and simpler to build.

Final Product





This has definitely made me want to take up more serious leatherworking. Something more polished, with beveled/burnished edges and a beeswax finish.