Repair a Leather Luggage Handle
Introduction: Repair a Leather Luggage HandleDon’t you hate it when this happens? You reach down to lift your favorite vintage suitcase, amplifier, musical instrument case, or (as in this particular example) portable Victrola case, and suddenly, half your leather handle rips apart.
Which this happens, you generally have limited choices for repair: (1) you can try to find a modern leather reproduction (and pay very high prices!),
or (2) try to fit a modern plastic handle on the case (which never quite looks right, or fits the existing holes), or (3) you don’t replace the handle and from this point on carry your case much like you would carry a sack of cement (with two hands). I’ve arranged the handle parts in the order that they are inside of the handle covering. Three thick pieces of leather comprise the padding in this particular handle, with the load bearing strap (with the torn end) sandwiched between the leather padding. I slit the belt to get the same width as the original strap from the old handle, and removed an outer lamination from the belt. This outer lamination was some sort of padding to give cushion to the belt and was not needed. I simply peeled it off. What was left was made of heavy leather with a reinforcing fabric laminated to it. I used compression rivets, but split rivets will do just as well.
Next I glued the new strap to the other internal handle parts and clamped them until the glue dried. Pretty much any glue that will stick to leather will work for this, the glue is just used to hold the parts together for re covering. I used a silicone based glue, but only because a tube of it was close at hand. I had some really thin leather (vegetable tanned deerskin) from a previous project that worked out fine. I coated the glued up handle with carpenter’s white glue and tightly formed the thin leather around the handle,
trimming it along the same edge the original covering had been trimmed.
The materials required for this project were as follows:
a small section of an old belt
a small piece of leather scrap
a small amount of leather dye
Very nicely done. Back in the late 1960s and very early 1970s I was going to school in St. Louis. One of my favorite hangouts was any of the several Central Hardware stores. They had everything “from scoop to nuts.” One thing they had was these handles as replacements. I think the prices were quite reasonable then.