Tandy Leather Expedition Kit: Steps before Assembly

10:41 PM

When I received my Tandy Leather Expedition Briefcase kit I had no idea what was in store. I have never worked with leather before but I thought it would be fun to try something new. What I learned right from the start was that there is a lot of other work that goes into building this bag than just setting rivets and sewing it together. There also isn't anywhere in the instruction packet explaining this to you. So here I am to help you out! I spent a lot of time at our local leather shops figuring out how to go about starting this project off on the right foot. I did get a little ahead of myself so I'm trying to prevent you from doing the same thing.

I now know why those bags I love so much run in the $400.00 range. There is a lot that goes into making a genuine leather bag. A lot more than just adding some hardware and sewing it up. I'll describe the steps needed to take before you can set the rivets, snaps and thread and then every few days or so I'll add a post detailing each process.

How to prepare your bag for assembly:

If you want to have a pattern stamped into the leather you need to do this first.
- I got a little overwhelmed with the different stamps and tools so I picked out a simple flower 3D stamp to use on the corner of the bags flap.

When your stamping is done you can stain the leather.
- I chose the Eco Flo gel vintage stain in the mahogany color. Its a good idea to stain both sides of the leather, it'll help the leather preserve longer and it gives it a nice polished look.

Burnishing the edges.
- This is done with a burnishing tool. It's a process of applying friction around the unfinished edges of the leather. Wait to burnish the sides that are going to be sew together for last. Burnishing all of the sewn pieces together will allow for a clean solid finished edge that will hold and seal the leather to make it last longer.

Lastly: Add a Finisher.
- Because the stain I used was water based I needed to use a leather finisher to seal in the stain. If I didn't the stain would run off of the leather during the first rain. This is a "must" for someone who lives in Oregon ;) I chose another Eco Flo product and selected the Satin Sheen to keep the leather looking the way it does now without the finisher on it. There are other options to choose from such as glossy or matte.

The last thing I will mention is to have patience and to have fun. Taking all of these steps will ensure that your bag will stand the test of time. It will be preserved, and it will be beautiful. And if someone asks you where you got it and you say "I made it!"- if they ask you to make one for them- run away! hahaha!

Thanks for reading! Detailed posts of each step will be coming soon!


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  1. I hope that you proceed with the step by step instructions since I am stuck at step 13 in their pattern instructions. They are very unclear at that point.

    1. I will work on those for you! I remember that step being difficult as well.

    2. If I could just see one side pic of the completed briefcase I would know how to assembly it. But I can't find one side pic if I goodle it and the pics on the Tandy site don't show the side clear enough. There are two ways that it could possibly be sown. When sewing it one way if I would look from the top with the flap open the side would look like an upside down W where the gussets and the front and back are attached. Otherwise there wouldn't be any indentations. If you know what I mean. If you can't post a pic maybe you have a link. This is a lot of trouble for a pattern that should be easy to follow.

    3. I hope the post with pictures helps you out. Ill be posting a sewing one and a burnishing one soon.


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