Monday, December 6, 2010

Mike's Wallet: Part Two

This is 24 hours later, the leather is dry.
First use a channel gouge tool to cut channels in the leather where stitches will go.I then wet the leather around the channels and use a marking wheel to mark where I will stitch.
A small piece of chrome tan leather is cut for the back to make the ID sleeve and a edging tool bevels the edges.
I glue the chrome tan leather to the veg tan back and spread contact cement to the front and backs on the perimeter. The two pieces are pressed together and I start hand stitching. I use a traditional saddle stitch method of sewing for strength. It requires you to stab a hole with a hand awl and use two needles to sew heavy waxed thread though the holes.
All stitched up.
I used black dye to paint in the logo.
I then beveled the edges and rubbed them with a edge tool.And coco color stain to pigment the leather.
After a quick wipe with a damp cloth the leather takes a beautiful new tone.
After using edge dye, some softening oil, wax and adding the fastener its all done!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A New Roadie Wallet: Part One

A little while back, I (Shane) was making cycling "wallets" that fit into your jersey pocket. They are big enough for your basic road training kit: 700x 23c tube, tire lever, CO2, multi-tool, patch kit, ID, and some cash. I was mostly making them for myself and close friends, but they are now available for sale upon request...

I'm making two of them in a new style. One is for my teammate Mike and one is a X-mas present.
The older style was made out of chrome-tan leather, but I'm now making these out of vegetable-tanned leather (treated with only vegetable tannins) which is stiffer and holds it shape very well. Most of the leather we use on our bags is "veg-tan". Hopefully the following will give you a little insight into the process we go though with all of our leather.

This particular wallet is being made for a friend, so I am embossing his team logo into it.

Firstly, the leather is cut from the hide and soaked in water to make it pliable and elastic. When it is wet it can also be marked with pressure. The leather is then tacked over a wooden form.
The ends are then trimmed flush .
So now the basic shape is there, the opposite end is open. Now while the leather is still wet I can trace the design onto the leather.
After the design has been traced, a light impression is left on the leather and I can then use my swivel knife to do the outline.
After the swivel knife, I use a edging tool, pare tool and a wooden mallet to stamp down the areas inside the lines and give it texture.
The piece of leather now needs to dry before I can trim the edges and start sewing.

Next I want to start work on the back and lid which will be made from another piece of leather. I use a long piece that has been soaked in water. Two lines are scored into the back of the leather so the top folds neatly. Next, I stamp Mike's initials into the top.
This too needs to dry overnight before it can be trimmed and sewn.
More fun tomorrow.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

How Our Hooks Are Made

The hooks we use to secure our panniers to your rack may be a small component, but a lot of attention has gone into this simple piece of bent wire.

Our hooks all started life as spokes in bicycle wheels. When a rim is bent beyond repair the hub is cut out of the wheel to be rebuilt as a new wheel. The old stainless steel spokes are saved from a land fill and we bend them into hooks using this custom tool created for us by artist, black smith and avid cyclist, Warren Holzman.
Some of the spokes we use are anodized black while others are untreated stainless steel.
After the hooks are bent into shape and the ends are trimmed, we rubberize the hook to keep it from scratching your bike or rack.
These hooks combined with our simple yet extremely effective cable system keep our panniers on your bike on the roughest roads. Our cable system is stable and light weight when compared to bungee cords and heavy bulky plastic clip hardware.

Monday, August 16, 2010

New rack attachment system!

We recently partially re-designed the way our City Panniers attach to your rack. We still are going to use the rubberized hook and cinch-down, parachute cord system to hook the bags onto the bottom of a rack. But we wanted to improve on the velcro straps that secure the bags to the top of the rack.

After some thought and input from our super-amazing customers*, we landed on a webbing/quick-release buckle system that is top mounted on the bags, rather than bottom mounted. This allows for easier on/off when the bags are full. You no longer have to reach under the rack to attach them.

To mount the bags, simply find the correct adjustment for you rack, then snap the quick release buckles shut. We find that this system also holds the bags on the rack more securely. There is also a lot of room to play around and find the perfect strap placement, depending on the type of rack you have.

back of rack

front of rack
side release buckles

* We want to extend the opportunity to existing Laplander customers to have their bags upgraded to this system if they choose. We are working out the details of how we can do this and will be contacting our customers by email. Thanks to everyone for all your support and love!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Caring for your Laplander bag

Here is the letter we send out to customers who purchase our waxed canvas and leather panniers:

Caring for your Laplander bag

Waxed Canvas bags:

The waxed canvas fabric we use is of the highest quality and comes from a family run company established in 1838. Their products still are made in America by the same family. And since 1950, they have eliminated all hazardous solvents from their application process resulting in a non-toxic, odorless product. To keep your waxed canvas bag in tip top shape, we recommend the following:

1. Brush off dirt with a dry cloth or brush.

2. Do not machine launder bags. Do not use detergent on fabric.

3. To remove a stain, try plain water and a brush. If necessarily, use a small amount of mild soap or saddle soap.

4. Use hair dryer lightly on fabric to renew the wax finish and revive water repellency (not for too long or too hot!) You can order a wax refinishing ointment from us if you feel like your bag needs major renewing.

*Although we haven't personally ever had a problem with this, if you live in a very hot climate, or leave the bags in the sun for a very long time, the oils in the bag may heat up. If you are carrying your finest silk garments to work in the bag on a 100 degree day, think about putting them in a plastic bag for safety.


The veg-tanned leather we use on our bags has been hand cut and treated for water resistance by us. Treat your leather with a mink oil or leather salve once a year, or as needed, to keep it water resistant and supple.

Thank you for your time and attention.


Laplander bags

Sunday, April 25, 2010

How our City Panniers attach to your rack

The way our panniers attach to a rear rack is very simple, but effective. We designed these panniers for commuting and shopping in mind. So we wanted them to be very quick and simple to take on and off, without sacrificing stability on the rack.

On the underside of the center panel of the bags are two velcro straps that hook underneath the top plate of the rack:
Here they are attached to my awesome Jandd rack
The purpose of the velcro is mostly for the bags to stay in place when rolled up. The real stability on the rack comes from our hook and cord system.

For this system, we use a rubberized hook that latches to the bottom stay of a standard rack made to hold panniers (some racks are not made for this, and don't have a horizontal stay or curve at the bottom.)There is a webbing guidance system on the backs of the bags to help keep the hook and cord in position.

On the top center panel of the bags is the adjustment point for the cord. It runs up through metal eyelets and cinches down at the top:

Vegan panniers top-view
We use parachute cord, not elastic cording, making the bags very stable and secure on the rack since there is very little give after adjustment.