The Woodworking Life

The Woodworking Life

Make Your Own Leather Chisel Roll

comments (28) March 22nd, 2011 in blogs

jtetreault John Tetreault, Associate Art Director
thumbs up 47 users recommend

Learn how Fine Woodworking associate art director John Tetreault transformed some cast-off cowhide pants into an elegant leather chisel roll.
Learn how Fine Woodworking associate art director John Tetreault transformed some cast-off cowhide pants into an elegant leather chisel roll. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

Learn how Fine Woodworking associate art director John Tetreault transformed some cast-off cowhide pants into an elegant leather chisel roll.


Years ago my brother-in-law handed down a pair of rather fancy pants - (Ralph Lauren) suede leather. I think I would have actually worn them but the hem landed about halfway up my shins, so there in my closet they sat.

Last week I was browsing the web for a new chisel roll and thought about those lonely old pants-time to recycle. I took a few quick photos of the process if you'd like to make your own.

With the chisel roll done, I still have a bunch of leather left over. Maybe a hand saw case is next? 

Make Your Own Leather Chisel Roll
Step-by-step instructions

 

Leather Chisel Roll
Click to enlarge

1) Retire the leather pants-please
If you have an old pair of leather pants (doesn't everyone) you're ready to "roll". 

Denim would be a good choice for material also.

Leather Chisel Roll
Click to enlarge
2) Cut out the parts
Cut the parts you need according to the drawing specs or cut your own custom size.

Leather Chisel Roll
Click to enlarge

3) The Vintage Speedy Stitcher
A friend of mine offered up a new old stock "Speedy Stitcher" that he hadn't had the chance to try yet (thanks Marv). It did take a little time, but worked great. Here's a photo of the pocket dividers sewn and a border folded over and sewn on the flap. 
Leather Chisel Roll
Click to enlarge
4) All sewn up
Here's the roll completed. The sewing definitely isn't perfect, but I like the hand sewn look.
Leather Chisel Roll
Click to enlarge
5) Simple straps keep it closed
Here you can see where he straps are sewn to the cover.
Leather Chisel Roll
Click to enlarge
6) Custom dividers
I chose to graduate the size of the dividers going up in size a bit from left to right.

 



posted in: blogs, how to, chisels, leather, chisel roll, sewing leather


Comments (28)

pkwooster2 pkwooster2 writes: If you are looking for one of those "speedy stitchers" in Canada, Lee Valley carries them. The code is 97K10.50 and it's listed under "sewing awl".

Posted: 8:17 pm on April 6th

pdxwoodsman pdxwoodsman writes: Ya, the 80's called and wants their pants back.... So this is the perfect return, as well as freeing up that space for something... current...

Posted: 8:10 pm on March 28th

Boatlover Boatlover writes: For an alternative to the Speedy Stitcher have a look at http://www.stitchitawl.com.
These are made here in Oz and are stainless steel, come with all instructions, are easy to use and a terrific bit of kit to have in the shed or on the boat. Cheers.
Posted: 7:56 pm on March 27th

macropod macropod writes: Looks like there was enough material to cut the legs shorter for a pair of shorts and a tool roll.
Posted: 2:43 pm on March 27th

dlrooky dlrooky writes: I had a problem with the chisels chewing up the bottom of the pockets. This happened to five or six of the rolls I was using. What I wound up doing was trimming the damaged parts and sewing them together into a new set of pants. :)
Posted: 8:05 pm on March 26th

tbear tbear writes: Nice job. I usually look for acid free leather so it does not attack the metal. Tandy is a good source for leather and it can be purchased online. Some canvas has the same problem with the chemicals it has in it, so if your going to use canvas make sure it is chemical free. One other problem I see is that if your chisels are really sharp they could catch and cut up the inside, the stitching etc. There are plastic covers that you can purchased to fit over the chisel tip to protect the tip and save the bag. You just have to adjust the pockets to fit them. You can cut small strips of wood that mimic the chisel while you are sewing the pockets up.
One thing not to do is take your wife's leather pants because you think she doesn't fit into them anymore, you and your chisels will be sleeping in a tent in the back yard. :):):)
Posted: 6:13 pm on March 26th

Cedarslayer Cedarslayer writes: I taste leather before I use it to put tools in. If it is salty, I don't use it. For protecting steel and leather, I treat the leather with ballistol. This does a great job of preventing rust.

Posted: 4:25 pm on March 26th

Cedarslayer Cedarslayer writes: I taste leather before I use it to put tools in. If it is salty, I don't use it.
For protecting steel and leather, I treat the leather with ballistol. This does a great job of preventing rust.

Posted: 4:25 pm on March 26th

Cedarslayer Cedarslayer writes: This is probably not the wisest thing to do, but I taste leather before I use it to put tools in. If it is salty, I don't use it.

For protecting steel and leather, I treat the leather with ballistol. This does a great job of preventing rust.

Posted: 4:24 pm on March 26th

skiranged skiranged writes: The leather chisel roll is really nice. I made something similar out of denim for my end wrench sets 15+ years ago. Now I'm inspired to make one for my chisels. Thanks for sharing!
Posted: 4:18 pm on March 26th

RonVan RonVan writes: Anohter source for leather if know someone who is or was a horse rider they may have an old set of chaps that they no longer use/need/want.
Posted: 2:31 pm on March 26th

etools etools writes: Great plan. Not all of us have access to old leather pants or other leather. Our solution was to simply recycle heavy denim and line it with some heavy flannel. I've used these rolls for carving tools, bench chisels, rifler files and anything else I wanted to protect. A light spray of a high quality, non-silicone oil helps retard rust also.

I say we, because my wife did the sewing. It was only fair because she is the better carver.
Posted: 10:26 am on March 26th

jkd jkd writes: If you buy new material look at the outdoor fabric at your fabric store. I bought a yard or two of heavy nylon fabric some years ago for not much and have made several tool rolls from it as well as an axe sheath. It works and wears well and can be easily sewn on a sewing machine. Yes, my wife does let me use her machine.
Posted: 10:14 am on March 26th

songbirdfeeder songbirdfeeder writes: What a great idea! And not just for chisels. I'm making one for each type of screwdriver and the wrenches. Off to the scrap jean pile! Thanks!
Posted: 9:01 am on March 26th

countrychairman countrychairman writes: if u have another pair i could use them to make a cover for myself or maybe just the other leg
Posted: 8:04 am on March 26th

firewoodworker firewoodworker writes: This won't please our OCD members, but rather than arrange the pockets from big to small, I have found it better to alternate the sizes, big/small/big/small... The bundle will roll up much better. The beauty of John's idea is you can determine your own spacing.
The design should definitely put sharp edges against folded leather, not stiches.
Bob Guthrie

Posted: 1:47 am on March 26th

Hattrick101 Hattrick101 writes: nice work, but the hours spent on the cool roll-up (alot of ours) could have been better spent cleaning up the shop.
Posted: 9:02 pm on March 24th

hardheaded3 hardheaded3 writes: Good idea… Another inexpensive source for leather is your second hand store in the ladies handbag department. A design suggestion… add a strip of full grain leather along the stitching line at the bottom of the roll and double or triple stitch with short, tigth stitches,if you intend to put the chisels in as pictured i.e. with their business ends down. If you keep your chisels sharp they'll make short work of the single bottom stitch. Alternatively, put the chisels in handle first. With the flap, the edges should be safe enough from each other when all rolled up. FIY, Lee Valley has a brief discussion about cowhide in its various forms in their information about their leather tool belts.
Just as hardheaded as ever
Posted: 12:02 pm on March 24th

MrFalcon MrFalcon writes: Hey Mr. Fancy Pants, nice work! We love your creativity:)
Posted: 10:39 am on March 24th

Muskyhunter Muskyhunter writes: Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. This will work perfectly for the wrench roll up I can't find any where!
Posted: 7:15 pm on March 23rd

Flatiron Flatiron writes: Although I bought my Speedy Stitcher over 30 years ago, Tandy leather shops still sell them as I saw them still for sale. You can also find them on-line (who knew?) at www.speedystitcher.com which includes plenty of other information on this product
Posted: 2:07 pm on March 23rd

Mailman14 Mailman14 writes: Funny, but I've just inherited a LOT of leather, and was thinking of replacing my spanner holder (flimsy / brittle plastic) with a leather holder - now I know the process! Thanks, now I just have to find a "speedy stitcher", as above, I've never heard of, or seen, one.
Posted: 1:35 pm on March 23rd

byhammerandhand byhammerandhand writes: My wife made several sets of these (in cotton duck) for my sets of wrenches. Makes a nice, handy bundle and they're kept in size order. We used velcro for the closure. All from scrap material.

I do have a Speedy Stitcher for more than 30 years. I've used it to make leather tip protectors for chisels in addition to other repair jobs.
Posted: 10:58 am on March 23rd

rmantell rmantell writes: Great way to repurpose the leather. If I wanted to make one with purchased leather ( from Tandy) does anyone have a suggestion as to what type of leather to use? Suede seems a little flimsy...on the other hand, I'm not making a saddle. I think a Speedy Stitcher is often used to repair sails
Posted: 10:24 am on March 23rd

308defense 308defense writes: Nice job, and it got one more pair of leather pants of the street. Ha Ha It is also a lot cheaper. I also made my chisel holder, but had to buy the suede leather. I used two belts with buckles to hold the roll closed, and put rivets at the top & bottom of the pockets. I wish you had videoed the sewing. How does the Speedy Stitcher work? I have never used or scene one.
Posted: 9:07 am on March 23rd

foolishcop foolishcop writes: Is that a chisel in your pants or are you just happy to see me? ;>

Rich
Posted: 7:52 am on March 23rd

CybergranTopern CybergranTopern writes: Just the thing for my new 'stealth' (carbon fiber) sock knitting needles.
Posted: 7:48 am on March 23rd

Ed_Pirnik Ed_Pirnik writes: Superb work, as always, John! And please, don't come to work in leather pants - it's a wee bit odd in my humble opinion. LOL
Posted: 2:53 pm on March 22nd

You must be logged in to post comments. Log in.

Advertise here for as little as $50. Learn how

Save up to 51% on Fine Woodworking

 

Become a Better Woodworker

ABOUT THE WOODWORKING LIFE

Get to know the woodworkers who make Fine Woodworking's online community the liveliest woodworking forum on the Web.

Each week, The Woodworking Life will feature the best projects, topical discussions, and how-to tips direct from the community.

WE WANT YOU! Find out how you can become a contributor to The Woodworking Life.

Looking for our archive?