As if the evenings weren’t busy enough.  I had the urge to create something large from leather.  This is probably my biggest project of this type to date.  It’s a bit heavy compared to lightweight nylon of modern packs but it will probably outlive me.

It took the better part of an oak tanned cow side and some harness leather for the straps.  It was a load of work for somebody as lazy as I am but an interesting puzzle to design and put together.

It can hold a long weekend’s worth of goodies or a laptop, small SLR camera bag, and field gear.

It will darken and become much softer with some neatsfoot oil.

Oiled and ready to use.

20 thoughts on “Backpack

    1. All by hand. I wish I had a machine for this sort of work. My hands and forearms are shot for a while. It was a fun an somewhat pointless diversion. Just a hair-brained idea that came around the holidays.

      1. Our brain and its endless motor control circuits needs these pointless diversion. Besides you now have a nice leather bag. Well done.
        I just realized that I have not had a pointless diversion in some time and I need one.

  1. this is REALLY cool!can’t wait to see it at WC next month, and get some pointers from you in leather work. What’s your recommendation for a good stitching tool and thread?


    1. Thanks. It will be out on the blanket for purchase even (if I can bear to part with it). I have recently switched from the old awl and two needle method to a stitching awl like this. Still using a glover’s needle sometimes. For this project I used heavy-duty saddle-maker type thread. Its virtually unbreakable and is really great to work with. I use shoemaker’s linen thread on the small bags usually but I am becoming a convert to the man-made cord.

    1. I don’t think it’s worth the bother. I sew all by hand, just like the saddlers and bootmakers around here do. In some places on the pack, there’s three layers of 8-9 oz. oak tanned. A machine would be no help there anyway.

      1. Any chance you could either photo the tool you use or where you got it from? Im giving some thought of building a leather bag or backpack for my new laptop cause its big lol 17″ screen.

      2. Here’s what I use most of the time:
        The top is the new punch 5/32″ spacing. It’s a CraftTool from Tandy. The cheaper one is very cheap and doesn’t look like it would last long. The Stitch marker wheel has three different spaced wheels and that is great for curves as well. I ran a line across the leather so you can see it. The lower left awl is my main sewing awl from England and the far right is a shoemaker’s awl from C.S. Osbourne (the Cadillac of leather tools). The big one I mostly use for stretching holes for rivets and snaps. Hope this helps!

      3. Thanks! I was looking at tandy’s site and saw the chisel’s…Its nice to be able to hammer out a few holes at the same time and keep the spacing even. Hmmm I might start looking for a hide after the holidays. I’ve done some simple bags in the past in lighter weight leather hand stitched with an awl. Any Advice for 8oz?

      4. Not really. As a builder, you’ll be fine. I really like the veg tanned leathers and don’t use much else these days. A good, sharp awl and learning to double needle stitch will open up a world of possibilities.

  2. Love your leather projects. You mention in the Haversack the idea of buying leather when the price is down. Is there a seasonality to leather prices? I’ve done a few sheaths for ax’s and hatchets. working on my first bush craft knife sheath. I’ve been catching the veg tan bellies on sale at Tandy here and there. It’s been suitable for me to work with so far.

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