With our recurring reviews on watch straps it was great to see local Dutch watch strap maker Olaf Lugten from Dstrap, announce the worlds first ‘strap maker workshop’. After getting in touch we were one of the lucky few to join Olaf for this master class (as we like to call it) that took takes place in his workshop in Alkmaar.
After being welcomed we all did a quick introduction about ourselves, followed by Olaf kicking off his master class, doing so by explaining why he started making his own straps and what motivates him to do it the way he does. In short it was the lack of quality that he was expecting and the missing buyer experience when buying after market watch straps in general. And at some point he started working on his own, all hand made straps and several years later his company DStrap was a fact. While showing some of his straps he points out some easy to recognise and typical DStrap traits are incorporated into his straps thus leaving his signature on each and every one.
Olaf continues with explaining the use for the provided tools, what they do and how they are used on the leather. Meanwhile showing various sorts of leather and different kind of treatment on them. Slowly we’re getting to the part where we all waited for, making our own watch strap. After getting used to working on a leather test strap, we get to choose the material for the one that we are going to create during this master class. Choosing the right leather is already an interesting moment as here are just so many options and different motivations.
The two pieces of freshly cut-out leather in front of us are folded and glued, the short one (that holds the buckle) has to be in the right length straight away. Cutting the ends at an angle is quite challenging. The longer one can be cut to the right length and shape later. Toothpicks are used to keep the holes for the pushpins open.
When the glue has dried we use a leather chisel to make the holes for the stitching. This is somewhat tricky as the holes need to be at the same distance all the way around the strap for the best look. Getting the stitching in took up the most time of all steps. Seeing the final result was a cool moment, especially as I made only one hole in my strap for the perfect fit.
Really enjoyed this first master class by Olaf Lugten and I went home with some ideas for straps to make in the near future. Of course there are a lot more steps, tricks and hints needed in the process of strap making, but we didn’t want to write an A to Z tutorial. For those interested in creating their own straps there is a lot of detailed info to be found out there, or you could join Olaf during one of his workshops.
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