Montrose Leather Works Small Leather Key Chain Process

I’ve thought about this for some time and I think I’m finally ready to give this out… My process in creating The Montrose Leather Works Small Leather Key Chain.


I’ve seen this replicated in the past. And it was shocking to me at first. Then I realized “Duh, it’s so easy to build”… although I did do some researching on how long and short to make it and where to get some really great hardware. So, if you haven’t already HERE IT IS.

First, you’ll need a few things:

Ruler (preferrably metal)
Hand Punch
Knife or blade

You’ll need at least one or the other of either the Awl or the Hand Punch. Sorry, kids. There’s just no other way… well, there probably is. But, having one or the other of these tools will make it easier. Using the Hand Punch will give you a little bit of a cleaner hole.


Split RIng (1 inch)
5/8″ Square Trigger Snap

I purchased both of the hardware at a leather supply shop. I like using the 1″ Split Rings but you can substitute for whatever size you like (but probably nothing smaller than 1″). I usually have these in production all of the time so I purchase them in bulk.
I like the Square 5/8″ Trigger Snap. You may substitute for the rounded corners. But, I just prefer this look. IMPORTANT: If you go with a different size Trigger Snap, you will have to cut your leather at a different width.
I typically use this dark brown leather. But, you can substitute for any other leather you like (or any other material for that matter). But, I would stress that you use a weight at about no more than 5oz leather.
TAKE NOTE: I’ve indicated where holes should be punch with RED CIRCLES.


Let’s get started…
Get your leather material, whatever it may be, and cut a 6″ long strip that is JUST A HAIR under 5/8″ wide. Once you’ve got that, create two marks for holes at 1/4 of an inch from one end. Now, make two more marks for holes 1/5 inch FROM THE TWO PREVIOUS MARKS. Try to get these holes somewhere near centered on the leather. It should look something like the following image.


Now that you’ve gotten one end done, do exactly the same on the other end. Once you’re done with that end you should have a total of 8 holes (4 on each end). These will be your stitching holes.
At this point you’ll want to get your hardware. Slip your piece of leather through both the Split Ring and the Trigger Snap. IMPORTANT: Make certain that the Trigger Snap is set on the SMOOTH side of the leather. Otherwise, once you start to stitch, your Trigger Snap will be laying on the inside of the keychain. And, that’s not where you want it.


Now you’ll want each of the end of your leather to meet. If you measured propperly, your stitching holes should line up perfectly as well. If you have a small clip handy, I would suggest using that to hold the ends in place. I makes stitching much easier.


With everything lined up, bring the hardware DOWN so that they aren’t in your way when you start stitching. You’ll want to start with the holes CLOSEST TO THE EDGE of the leather first.


Now, bring UP the Trigger Snap as far as possible. It should be close to the stitched threads but past the next set of stitching holes. And, leave the Split Ring down on the other end.


Finally, stitch through the last set of stitching holes.

And, there you have it. You’ve just completed your own Montrse Leather Works Small Key Chain!


Other things you can do:
You could use rivets instead of stitching this piece together. However, I would suggest against this. It might not seem like it, but stitching is much stronger and will last longer than the rivets will hold this piece together. If used frequently, there will be a lot of stress and wear. And, rivets will just not stand up as well as good stitching work.
If you decide to go with veg tan leather, you can decorate it with some tooling. This may give it a little bit more of a decorative feel. Or maybe, if you can find small enough letter, monogram it with initials.
You can go with whatever color thread you want. I would, however, recommend something that’s very heavy duty. You don’t want to really go with anything light weight. If used frequently, the thread may wear or break quite easily.
It’s also possible to use other hardware. Brass is readily available. However, brass Split Rings are a little bit more difficult to come by and may be a little bit more expensive. You wouldn’t really want to mix-n-match brass with nickle.
There are probably a ton of other things that you can do. But, these are just a few suggestions. Go ahead and go nuts if you want.

Now, if for some reason you can’t get a hold of any of the tools or materials email us and we’ll see if we can put a kit together for you with hardware and pre-punched and pre-cut material for a small fee. All you’d need to do is stitch it up with a needle and thread yourself.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me. I hope this was helpful and an enjoyable read on the process. Please leave a comment and share this post. Thanks and good luck!


On the GO!

It’s been a while since our last post. Sorry about that. We’re gonna keep it short and just give you a quick update on what we’ve been up to…

Since last I posted we went on a quick vacation to Sequoia National Park. We spent a few days in the great outdoors among some of the biggest trees. We took a stab at metallurgy (we could not melt this nickel):


And, on our last day leaving we spotted this dude:


So, since then we’ve pretty much been BUSY BUSY BUSY! We’ve gotten together with RaisCase and worked on straps for her new Fanny Packs – the Vida!


They’re made with Pendleton patterns, solid brass hardware, and black leather straps.

We’re also in the works to get some plant container hanger straps done for
Concrete Geometric:


Check them out!

Basic Leather Working Tools (Part 2)


Hey there! Thanks for dropping by again. If this is your first time around, check out our previous post for Part 1. OK, let’s get at it!…

These are some of the basic tools that I use to create holes in leather.
Starting from left to right:

1. Awl – This is a double flat edge awl. I’ve used this for leather thicknesses varying anywhere from garment/upholstery leather to very heavy 8oz. tooling cowhide. Now, if you notice this one is a double flat edge. By this I mean that the handle is flat on 2 sides. This feature is great if you are frequently picking up and laying down this tool (which is what I do) and prevents it from rolling off of your work area. But, if you choose you don’t have to go with this one. Other awls will pretty much do the same trick.

2. Hand sewing punch – When I’ve got several holes marked and ready I pull out this tool. It’s got a rotating disc with a few different hole sizes you can choose from. I normally only use one size. I’ve indicated the size I use with a blue circle. Now, this tool does have a defect. After several uses the spring will eventually break. You can see this in the picture where I’ve indicated with a red circle.
Unfortunately, I have not yet found a replacement part for this. I am currently in search of another alternative. I’ll keep you posted when/if I do. One other thing to note about this tool is that it’s reach from the edge of your leather will be limited. So, if you’re trying to make a hole that’s 3″ from the edge you might have to reach for your awl.

3. Rotary punch – This tool is extremely handy if you’re working with hardware such as snaps. It’s also got a few different sizes you can choose from. I work with small rivets and snaps and have a couple sizes that are exclusively used. I’ve been able to get this through something as thick as 8oz tooling cowhide. Notice also that the reach of this is limited. If you’re going for a hole that’s too far for the reach you’ll have to get a hole punch with the specific size that you need (I’ll get into this at a later post).

Well, that’s it for now. Thanks again for stopping by and checking us out. If you’d like, please leave a comment or some suggestions.

You can also find us here:

Basic Leather Working Tools (Part 1)

ImageHey there! First off, Thanks for stopping by to check out our blog!
Now, let’s get to it!… In the photo you’ll see my very basic must have essential tools. Nothing fancy about this whatsoever.

1. Straight edge metal ruler. Right now I’m using a 12″. But, once in a while I need to get to something a little bit longer. I have a 24″ T-square ruler I also have handy. I use them for making straight lines and measuring out where my stitching holes are going to be made.

2. Box cutter. I use this tool for just about all my cuts on the heavier leather. Like the veg tanned and chrome tanned cowhides (I’ll go over the difference of these two in a later post). I’ve used this since I’ve started out. It’s done me a lot of good. And, until I feel the need to change or upgrade she’ll be with me for awhile. You can get one of these at a hardware store. The yellow package on the far right are extra blades. I’ve already gone through quite a few. The blades get dull after about a couple days worth of work depending on how much work you’re doing. It’s a fairly inexpensive tool to have.

3. Pencil. This is actually the second pencil I’ve gone through. It’s great for making light marks on leather. Mostly marking where my stitching holes are going to be and where I’m going to be making my cut marks and lines.

4. OH YEAH! Cutting mat. That big green thing that all the other tools are laid on top of is ESSENTIAL for doing just about all of my work. It’s great for doing cuts. Get one with the
1″ square measuring marks. That really comes in handy. I also sometimes write notes on it with my pencil when I don’t feel like looking for paper. It’s also great to have if you’re doing stains or dyes so that you don’t get it on the table (which I’ve done both to when I first started out and didn’t use one of these. shhhhh… don’t tell anyone).

Well, that’s it for now. Thanks again for stopping by and checking us out. If you’d like, please leave a comment or some suggestions.

You can also find us here: