How It's Made - Briefcases

Briefcases come in many styles today. The classic type is a rigid rectangular box Made up of two hinged sections that close together. It's often referred to as an attaché case Because it was traditionally the type of briefcase Used in diplomatic circles by cultural or military attachés. These luxury attachés are entirely handcrafted, Made from English bridal leather, A fine leather traditionally used for horse saddles. The cutter lays out patterns
for the various parts, Then trims around them. Leather, being an animal hide, Naturally has scars and blemishes here and there, So he's careful to select blemish-free areas For use as the main surfaces.

Next he uses a punch press To cut out what are called foundation boards, Which will reinforce the leather. At this point, an expert leather craftsman takes over. He positions each foundation board on the leather. Using a tool called a bone folder, He marks where the leather will fold over each board. Then he coats the boards with leather-bonding glue... ...And positions them along the fold lines he marked. With a tool called a sleeker, He pushes out air pockets and excess glue. This ensures a thorough, wrinkle-free bond. Next, with a tool called a stitch marker, He perforates the edges of the leather.

This ensures the stitching will be straight and evenly spaced. It also sets the angle of the stitches, Essential for both aesthetics and durability. Now he bevels the leather. This leaves what's known as a raw edge, Which he then colors and seals with a reddish stain That highlights the tan-colored leather. The attaché case frame is made of steel. The craftsman uses contact adhesive To mate the frame to the foundation board and leather. Now he can sew the leather. He inserts an awl in each stitch hole To clear a path through the leather and boards. Then he passes two strong saddle-stitching needles In opposite directions, Pulling the pure-linen threads waxed with tallow.

Next he rivets in place two traditional-style locks Made of hand-polished brass. Then he constructs the handle by sewing several layers of leather Around a piece of steel. The handle has a raised rib on the top and bottom. These risers, as they're called, Make the handle comfortable to hold. He uses the bone folder to fit a piece of finishing leather Snugly against the risers. He glues finishing leather around the handle ends... ...Feeds each end through a brass ring... ...Then folds over the ends to lock in the rings. Then he wraps the rest of the leather under And hand-stitches all around. The rings attach to brass handle plates, Which he secures from the inside with washers and bolts.

Next he glues in the lid-pocket assembly... ...An all-leather organizer that contains pen loops And pockets for files and business cards. Finally, he lines the bottom section with sheepskin leather That's been coated with a semigloss glaze So it can be wiped clean with a damp cloth. The outer leather is strong and weather-resistant Because it's been tanned with natural plant and tree extracts, Then conditioned by hand with fish oils and lanolin,
Centuries-old techniques they still use To make luxury leather goods today.

No comments:

Post a Comment