- 4-5 oz vegetable tanned cowhide
- Pigskin, goat hide, or other suitable lining leather
- Leather dye
- Leather cement
- D ring
- Burnishing compound
- Strap cutter
- Craft knife (X-acto or similar)
- Stitching groover
- Edge beveler
- Wool dauber
- Spray bottle
- Stamp/tooling kit
- Skiving tool
- Leather roller or soft-faced hammer
- Rotary cutter
- Sewing machine or hand stitching tools
- Sandpaper or sanding belts and belt sander
- Edge dyeing tool
- Burnishing machine or burnishing tool
- Canvas scrap
- Heat source- flame or torch
- Cotton swab
- Rivet setter & anvil
- Leather hole punch- rotary or other
A suitable strap for the collar may be purchased pre-cut, or you can cut one yourself from a 4-5 oz veg tanned cowhide using a strap cutter. Make sure the width matches the width of the buckle and D-ring chosen. For a medium to large dog, I generally cut them about 26 inches long and use 1 inch hardware.
Cut the end of the collar to a pleasing point. There are plenty of specialty tools for this job, but I prefer to simply freehand it. I also cut the very corners off the buckle end to give a more finished look.
Set the stitching groover to about as thick as the veg tan plus the lining leather, and cut a groove down each side for the thread to lay into. This makes a neater look and improves durability, helping to prevent thread from abrading.
Next, the edge beveler is used to round off the edges of the collar. Only bevel the grain side at this point. I’m using a #0 here.
The collar is now dyed. For this one, I used turquoise…
And airbrushed purple on the sides. Don’t bother dyeing the edges yet.
Now, case the leather using your preferred method. Here I simply sprayed with water and gave it time to equalize, though for better detail you can quickly dip the leather in water, wrap in wool or plastic, and leave it in the fridge overnight.
Once cased, stamp or tool the collar with your pattern of choice.
Now, flip the collar over and skive about the last six inches of the buckle end, and the last two of the pointed end. It doesn’t need to be feathered, just thinned out to reduce bulk.
Apply your favorite leather cement to the back of the collar and back of your lining material. Allow to dry, then carefully align and press together.
Use a roller or soft-faced hammer to set the cement bond.
I then use a rotary cutter to carefully remove excess lining material,
Then the edge beveler again, this time on the lining side.
Now it’s time to stitch the layers together. A sewing machine makes quick work of the job, but hand stitching is definitely more satisfying.
With the veg tan and liner stitched together, it’s time to begin the finishing process. I sand the edges up to 800 – 1000 grit,
Then dye the edges. An edge dyeing tool is very helpful for this, especially when the front is much darker than the back.
Now, a finish is applied to the front of the collar. I’m fond of acrylic resolene.
Edge burnishing is next. My current approach is Seiwa tokonole and burnishing with wood, then beeswax softened over a flame, applied to the edge, and buffed with canvas.
Mounting hardware begins by cutting a slot for the buckle. An oblong punch may be used, or simply punching two holes and cutting out the middle.
Apply dye to the inside of the hole with a cotton swab, being careful not to get it on the liner on back. Burnish the hole as well.
Insert the buckle, punch a hole for a rivet, and set the rivet in place. Do the same for the D-ring.
Finally, punch sizing holes. I generally use the stamp pattern as a guide, and punch 4-5 of them. Use a cotton swab to dye these too, and burnish.
Finished. Thanks for reading!