Leather handles on a toolbox

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Forum topic by Bigb1006 posted 11-06-2017 02:21 PM 908 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5 posts in 736 days

11-06-2017 02:21 PM

Hi I’m designing a toolbox and I want it to have leather handles. I was planning on attaching them using upholstery tacks. After thinking about it I’m not sure if they will be able to hold the weight. I was wondering if anyone had suggestions on how to attach leather handles so they would be able to support the weight.

12 replies so far

View mpounders's profile


938 posts in 3430 days

#1 posted 11-06-2017 02:42 PM

I used to refinish a lot of antique trunks and the handles were attached used nails that were “clinched” over on the inside. The nails were flat cut nails and i would try to select ones that were long enough to penetrate the leather and the wood with may be a 1/4 inch to spare on the inside. I would hold a small iron against the inside and attempt to bend the nail back as I hammered from the outside. Sometimes it was necessary to start the inside bend with pliers. I used three nails on each side of the handle. The leather will rot before the nails pull loose!

-- Mike P., Arkansas,

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4182 days

#2 posted 11-06-2017 05:15 PM

Glue holds leather pretty well. Combined with
tacks it may hold adequately. Clinching is not
a bad idea. Screws with washers may not
be pretty but the washer will be big enough
to prevent the screw head tearing through the

View pintodeluxe's profile


5996 posts in 3348 days

#3 posted 11-06-2017 05:30 PM

I would do one of two things… make a wooden handle and wrap it with leather, or use metal grommets to secure the leather strap. Then use a fastener that allows the grommet to swivel a little.

Running a couple rows of topstitching makes a great looking strap handle. You can use contact cement on leather, and fold it in half lengthwise to make a sturdy strap.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View CharlesNeil's profile


2499 posts in 4405 days

#4 posted 11-06-2017 05:46 PM

Horton Brasses has leather handles and attachment hardware.. pretty nice IMO

View Bigb1006's profile


5 posts in 736 days

#5 posted 11-06-2017 10:23 PM

Thanks for all the suggestions, I was thinking about using glue and the tacks but I figured I would ask.

View Lazyman's profile


4080 posts in 1922 days

#6 posted 11-07-2017 03:58 AM

How heavy do you expect it to be? If it’s very heavy, I would think the glue would eventually fail.
I think you need to buy or make something along these lines.:,41427,41377&ap=1

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Woodknack's profile


12924 posts in 2914 days

#7 posted 11-07-2017 04:08 AM

View Bigb1006's profile


5 posts in 736 days

#8 posted 11-07-2017 04:11 AM

Are there decorative rivets that could go through about an inch of material.

View MikeB_UK's profile


151 posts in 1569 days

#9 posted 11-07-2017 09:21 AM

Are there decorative rivets that could go through about an inch of material.

- Bigb1006

Saw bolts would work if you can’t find big enough rivets.

-- If I say I'll fix something around the house I will, there is no use nagging about it every 6 months.

View Bill Berklich's profile

Bill Berklich

933 posts in 923 days

#10 posted 11-07-2017 12:57 PM

Check out Jimmy DiResta’s Oak & Leather Toolbox.

-- Bill - Rochester MI

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16234 posts in 3153 days

#11 posted 11-07-2017 01:29 PM

I’d suggest a Google image search for “steamer trunk handles” as a source for suitable approaches. Glue and tacks IMO ain’t gonna do it for you.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2753 posts in 3456 days

#12 posted 11-07-2017 01:50 PM

Mabe “Chicago screws” or bolts would work for this.

-- No PHD just a DD214

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