Making a wood and leather bag

A wood and leather bag, that has been floating around in my brain for far to long, has finally materialised .

Consisting of a American Walnut, dovetailed frame , with lots of holes (162 to be exact) . Leather sides/ lid, and string to stich the whole thing together.

The build itself wasn't hard but , it was fiddly and time consuming. The basic frame come together quickly with the dovetail construction. 

The 162 holes however did not, they were drilled (10mm apart) and countersunk  by hand, inside and outside, to stop any fraying while stiching the bag together. These had to be spot on , as the stitching is a design feature and in plain sight. I glued the dovetails and used some 90° blocks, to help keep things square. 

 I added glue blocks to the inside corners to strengthen the joint, which I also beveled .
Once the frame was dried I placed the leather on a flat surface, and Drew around the frame , inside and outside with a pencil, I also marked out for the holes at this point. With the back piece , which also consists of the front envolope like flap, I messed around with the angles for the flap, until I was happy, I rounded the corners then cut all the leather to shape with sharp scissors .

I gave the frame a sanding and finished the outside with wax, before I stitched the leather on. This wasn't my best idea, as the wax has gone dull quickly. A hard varnish or some osmo oil, would have been better but, I was to egar to finish the bag (lesson learned).
I used a inexpensive leather punch which I purchased the same time as the scissors. I punched each hole flush with the inside line on the leather. This allowed for the thickness of the frame when stitching.
I used regular craft string for the stitching (which is surprisingly strong). I threaded a needle with the string and began stitching. This seemed to take ages , was fiddly and a bit stressful if I'm honest. I then added the strap in the same manner.

For the fastening mechanism, I went for a primative locking system. Where a loop of leather goes over a button, and the loop tail is pulled tight.
I cut out a circle (a button of sorts) with a coping saw , and finished it with files and sand paper. Two holes where drilled and the button was stitched on.

 The thin loop of leather I cut with a knife and ruler. At this point I realised I had jumped the gun again. I should've punched two holes for the leather loop, before I stitched the bag together. I ended up using chisels to make the holes, which wasn't to bad if I'm honest. I threaded the leather loop and tied a knot in the end.
I gave the bag to my girlfriend, which she is using daily, and is very happy with it. The bag seems to be holding up very well and could be a good present for someone.
The size of the bag was just eye balled, and turned out to be a good size. For anyone interested in the sizes of the bag I made, the sizes are as follows.

Below is a rough and ready , high speed video showing how I made the bag.


  1. It was absolutely amazing to watch you work on prepping the wood! You have a good handle on the saw and a ton of patience! How many days did it take you to make? That is a lovely piece of 'Art' that is functional! Thank you for taking the time to record and take on such project! It will make someone very proud to own! WOW, it is a beauty! Suzanne

    1. Thank you Suzanne. I made the bag over 3 days (I think) with a few hours here and there, as I recorded and figured out the design. The bags been in use for a month and is holding up well, with every day use. Thanks for taking the time to read the article Suzanne .

    2. Hi David!
      You efforts on both the art work and publishing was very much worth the time to experience. I appreciate all that you put into it as I know how much work goes into a project. You did a fabulous job! Cheers! Suzanne

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