See the excellent custom work by artist James Acord:
Transferring my drawing to a tracing film, so I can then apply my image to my leather, using a stylus. I use vegetable tanned leather in a 6-7 oz weight for the outside panels and a 2-3 oz weight calf for the lining. On the leather, I’ll cut and carve all the images by hand, using small dental and leather tools. I don’t use stamps for any of my images.
Here’s a finished carving I’ve done on cased (wet) leather. This will become one of the end panels of the case. When dry, it’s ready for airbrushing the leather background with aniline dyes and hand painting the image with acrylics.
Pocket flaps showing both the natural insects and the flies that imitate them. These are carved and ready to finish.
Here are some of the parts of the case, pinned to the wall, after I’ve airbrushed the leather. I usually work with five or six different shades of leather dyes, to achieve the effects I want.
Here you see the photo I worked from, to get the likeness of my customer, as well as my drawing and the tracing I’m applying to the leather.
Starting to tool and carve my design. This will be the main flap for the case.
Here’s the image fully carved on the leather, before I paint it.
Here’s my interpretation of the photo, after tooling and carving and hand painting my image.
This is the same flap, after airbrushing on the leather dyes, and hand rubbing in antiquing and waxing the panel
Here’s the finished case. It’s 12.5″h x 12″d x 20″w. It’s all hand made from my own patterns, which I modify for each custom order. The hardware is all solid brass. I create my handles and straps from scratch and do all the sewing by hand with linen threads that I hand wax.
Here’s a lift-out tray I made for reels and miscellaneous equipment.
I use natural shearling to line the compartments.
I sign, number, and date each piece’s label.
Under the lift-out tray is another storage section for fly boxes, etc.
In the side panel images, I included fly rods which were made by this customer, paying special attention to every detail.