Unique Straps / Collars
What connects dog collars with watch straps? Nothing in theory, but if you think about it for a while, it’s a lot …
Some time ago I noticed an unusual strap on one of Facebook watch groups. It caught my attention because it was undoubtedly handmade, but unlike other leather straps made by hand that I see from time to time, it had a print …
Yes, the strap made entirely of leather had a very good quality print.
Since I was looking for a long time a person who could do something like that (any print on the strap), I decided to contact with the strap maker to order something interesting to my Eterna.
The creator of the strap turned out to be Jarosław Przydryga, who has his facebook page – Unique Straps.
We talked very well and after a short time it became clear that Jarek is a reader of our blog. In order not to extend it, I will write that the effect of our conversation was to arrange our visit to his home, where after working hours, he hobbyist produces watch straps and more …
Jarek and his wife Paulina three years ago, in order to earn some extra money for their sick dog, they decided to make a collar to order. They went all out and immediately invested 2 000 PLN in equipment and 2m of leather. They both have a lot of manual skills, so they mastered the technique well, although certainly not without obstacles. Currently, collars made by Unique Collars are small masterpieces that are all made by hand. Details such as hand painting and embossing are really impressive. We had the opportunity to see how such embossing is performed – a scalpel cuts out the shape to be embossed, and then the leather is struck around the incision with a special chisel and pestle.
If someone has a dog and likes such gadgets, I recommend taking a look at the Unique Collars facebook profile, where you can not only see their designs, but also buy ready-made collars for a very affordable price.
Making one large collar is almost 10 hours of work, and in a month Paulina does about 10 of them.
- Jarek Przydryga, as he says, likes watches, has in his collection mainly Russian and G-Shocks watches, which fit great in his work (car paint mixing plant). Having at home a lot of leather and equipment for processing them, less than a year ago he came up with the idea of making a strap for one of his watches. It was then that he applied the print on the leather strap for the first time. To make this strap, however, he used suede leather, which he couldn’t impregnate then and the strap was very susceptible to signs of use …
Later, he made straps for himself and friends who asked him to. He has a lot of ideas and it’s enough to tell him what someone does, what passions or would have to present the strap, and he immediately throws ideas and projects like a hat 😊 His achievements so far don’t knock down, he made a dozen or so straps, but all the time introduces something new and experimenting, currently thinking about tattooing the leather and making straps of it. I think he would also do the embossed strap like the ones Paulina does on the collars.
And this is how the strap prepared especially for my Eterna Kon Tiki looks like.
Okay, but how exactly does such a strap is made?
Jarek and Paulina have a special room in the apartment, which is entirely dedicated to handicrafts. Each of them has its own desk there. They laughed that instead of going to parties, they spend their free evenings together at the wine making straps and collars. They are often accompanied by a cat and dog, who were also present at our meeting 😊
Work starts with making a project. Jarek makes them in the program on his tablet, he puts patterns and colors on the strap template, creating a visualization of how the strap may look. He sets the details with the client by showing him some of his ideas based on the information provided.
The next stage is the selection of leathers from which the strap will be made (top and bottom). In stock, they have a huge amount of different types of leathers, including some unusual ones, such as a sea snake or noble salmon. He orders leathers in Poland, he is also a member of Facebook groups where people exchange pieces of leather so as not to order the whole, large sheet, which will not be used in its entirety.
The shape of the strap is cut from the leather with a scalpel, then glued to the second layer of leather and left squeezed between 2 pieces of wood for about a day to allow the glue to dry. After gluing, excess leather is cut.
The sides of the strap need to be ground to smooth unevenness – always in one direction. Jarek has a saddler horse specially prepared for this by his dad, with which he can hold the strap during grinding. After sanding, the leather often rises slightly outside, so a special tool (Edge beveler) needs to be trimmed to remove excess.
Then Jarek floods the edges with rubber to the edge, and burns the edges with a special slicker (polishes) so that they become uniform and the rubber joins both layers. This operation must be repeated several times so that the layers are no longer visible.
Then comes the moment of print application (or not). From a paper printed in a regular computer printer, he cuts a previously prepared pattern with a scalpel and uses a special fluid to transfer the pattern from the paper to the leather. It’s not as easy as it seems, because the printout must be a mirror image, and at the time of application ge doesn’t see exactly where it is located – he must do it by feel.
Paints edges with edge paint – 5 to 6 layers. After applying each layer, the edge must be sanded for leveling. If the leather is raw, it is impregnated with beeswax. The strap loop is made in the same way as the entire strap, it only makes a slightly longer piece, from which it can then cut the right length.
At the end, it is possible to stitch the strap with a thread and make holes with a special punch and secure them with a heated skewer.
And it’s ready! In theory, this doesn’t seem difficult, but it’s enough for one of these actions to go wrong and the whole strap needs to be done again.
We decided to write about Unique Straps not because the quality of the straps made by Jarek is some sort of world championship – It’s not … I’ve seen a lot of hand-made straps of better quality, but Jarek has made only a dozen or so straps and he still has time to refine the technique, and his advantage is that he is incredibly creative and not afraid to experiment with things that are not entirely meant for processing leather. And the quality? Quality will come with time, when the account will already have 100 or 200 straps beautifully decorated in a unique way. And I will certainly follow with interest its development and final effects of subsequent projects, which I am convinced will be more and more