Sunday, 5 March 2017

Farcry-inspired Leather Notebook

This year I resolved to pick up a new skill.

A key game mechanic in Farcry 4 is the survival and "living-off-the-land" aspect of the fictional island of Kyrat. Part of this aspect is hunting, and using the pelts to craft useful items, such as backpacks, holsters etc.


That, coupled with seeing some leatherwork done by Jimmy DiResta in his videos, inspired me to have a go and teach myself some leathercraft.

For a first project, I decided to make a leather notebook, based of this faux-leather journal that came with the collectors edition of Farcry 4 (left).

I'm the kind of person whose idea of a notebook is usually a sheet of printer paper folded into four. I usually start using a notebook, only to find various flaws that stop it fitting into my workflow - like being too large to fit in a pocket, getting left behind, nowhere to add additional sheets, etc. So this seems like a good chance to make something exactly how I want it.





Spec

Essential:
  • Refillable using cheap paper (ie, printer paper folded into four)
  • Fit in the back pocket of a pair of jeans.
Other nice-to-haves:
  • Mix of paper - it'd be handy to have lined, plain, squared/graph paper in one notebook.
  • Space for printouts/other paper - some kind of pocket.
  • Pen loop
Process
The size was based around a sheet of A4 paper folded into quarters, with approximately 1 inch added for the spine.


Another layer of leather was added in the spine to strengthen it, and fixed with contact cement.
Four loops of thread, stretching from top to bottom of the spine were added, approx a quarter inch apart. This will be where the paper is mounted - either I can use it for four different types of paper, or treat it as four sections for different projects.


A second outer layer of leather was added to the back, the same height as the main section, but wider (total width approx 300mm. This excess piece would create the wrap-around cover for the book.)



I misjudged the behaviour of the main front and back cover - I thought that the double layer of leather would behave as though they were a single, thicker layer. However, I found when folding them, the inner layer would bulge out slightly, so I was concerned about using contact cement to join them.

Although this did create an opportunity - stitching each side and the base of each cover meant that I could leave the tops open and create pockets for printouts and other papers.



This finished off the main structure of the notebook, with the next steps being to refine it and add finishing details (and of course, paper), which I will cover in a later post (Update - Part 2 is here)




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