Leather-Bound Case

(For sale for $200)

Hello again. You probably thought my blog had died for a second time. It hasn’t, I’ve just been busy making things. Last night I finished (well, almost finished) my second blog-worthy project. Here’s how.

I needed a new way to transport and easily set up my guitar effects pedals. I had been using this guy…

…which to the untrained eye is less than ideal, but to the trained eye is also less than ideal. Much less.

I decided to build a wooden suitcase-style case to replace the garbage I had been using, but I didn’t have any money to go buy new wood. Thanks to my mom, however, who recently brought over a baby changing table that she found on a curb somewhere, that Elise and I did not need, I DID have some scrap wood.

I hacked into the changing table and ended up with a few useful boards.

I used a piece of plywood that my dad gave me when my family recently moved to a smaller home. My garage absorbed a lot of what had been in their garage.

I wasn’t worried about the fact that the wood I was using was pretty ugly and mismatched and kind of dirty. None of it was going to be showing on the finished product. It just needed to be structurally sound, which this scrap was. Is.

The next step was to build two identical half-boxes. I was going for a vintage suitcase design, so I looked up vintage suitcases online and finally found a really weird tutorial on how to turn an old wooden suitcase into a bright yellow suitcase (who would want to do that? I don’t know. Not me.), but despite the odd premise of the tutorial, it did have some very useful pictures of a disassembled suitcase. I used those to guide my work. I also realized that making a case like this is one of the most simple woodworking tasks ever, and I was over-thinking it and completely missing the obvious…ugh, I just have to see things to be able to visualize how to put them together sometimes. Most times.

Anyhow, I just nailed the thing together. I pre-drilled pilot holes for the nails so that I would not split the wood, and I used a ton of nails, but it was a pretty easy construction.

After I nailed the plywood faces in their places (that rhymes, on purpose), I fastened the edges in their…I can’t think of a rhyme for edges that isn’t complete nonsense.

Then I put my pedals in place to see how it would look, and to see if they would fit.

Ok, so this is the part of the show in which I grossly neglected my photographic duties, and so there is a large gap in the visual documentation of the process. Sorry.

Having built the wooden frames, I proceeded to line the inside with a luscious red plaid flannel that Elise bought for me on Black Friday at Joann’s. I am the only man I know who bought fabric on Black Friday, and that’s all. But at $1.50/yd or something like that, it was to good of a deal to pass up!

I then covered the outside with a heavy canvas that Elise had lying around. I may or may not have killed a whole bunch of my brain cells with spray adhesive fumes, but it was all worth it. Look at this beauty!

The next step in my plan was to trim the edges with leather. Elise and I went to the local Tandy Leather Co. and decided that leather-working is super cool and that we needed to learn how to do it. What better way that just dive right in, right?

I spent about 4 hours or so at Tandy, talking to Amber, one of the extremely helpful employees there, about how the best way to trim my case would be. I ended up picking out a nice, sort of dirty-black, oil-tanned cowhide. I bought some upholstery nails and other hardware (hinges, corners, draws) and tried to absorb as much information as I could from Amber. Then I went home and started cutting, which was a little unnerving because that hide was expensive! But I didn’t make any mistakes and didn’t waste any leather, so all is well.

(This is another one of those times that I did a really bad job of photo-documenting my work. Sorry.)

I ended up leaving the sides canvas covered, and binding the edges in leather. I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. I used contact cement, upholstery nails, and little staples that look like stitches to hold the leather in place.

My pedals are very happy in their new home.

If you would like one of these custom made for you, let me know. I can adapt the design to accommodate musical instruments, or you can just have use it as a suitcase.

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4 comments

  1. I’d just like to clarify that although you paid for that flannel, I was the one who waited for over 2 hours in the store to have it cut so I could bring it home for you. Just sayin’.

  2. Chris

    THat looks totally awesome. Nice job. I’m sure any guitar accessory would be very comfortable riding in that.

  3. I love this. I’d like to order one please!

    Remind me to talk to you about it next time I see you.

    • Sounds good. I have ideas for how to make it lighter (mine is pretty heavy!), and of course, I can customize the size and materials to fit your pedals and budget.

      And to everyone else, thanks for the compliments!

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