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Mad Strappier
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Discussion Starter #221 (Edited)
Today I am working with something new and pretty danged cool. If I had to tell you the tale on how I got at a little bit of this material you'd never believe me. How for months I tried to convince and cajole a shoe manufacturer to reveal the source of the weave (who totally clammed up, on me and refused to tell), but after weeks of searching in deep in the internets of commercial supply, I finally found it my ownself. Then, to convince the manufacturer to export an order small enough that I didn't have to sell my house for. You see, they only wanted to sell me $5,000 worth as a minimum order. Nope!

I always really liked the woven leather aesthetic when it comes to straps. It's so earthy, with a hippie sort of edge to it, but can also be fully Led Zep if you get my drift. it's got interest, texture, looks killer and remains fully flexible, yet remains super strong. For years I've been trying to come up with a Well-Hung all black strap I wouldn't be totally bored to have on my workbench... so, I figure this is going to be it. The Well-Hung black leather guitar strap. I managed to source a limited supply of finely woven black 100% leather, (honestly, have no idea how they manage to do it, it's rather incredible), and these are the first two pieces.

Just look at this stuff! OMG it's so beautifully badass!



It's really not the easiest stuff to work with, cut it wrong and in unravels like crazy, so a fella has to be super careful. Once it's rolled over an
all sewn together it'll be tough as nails I figure, it's the loose edges that fray I need to worry about. Not sure exactly how many I can make, but at least eight maybe ten or so with what I got? Definitely going to keep one of them back for myself. These Basket Case straps will be 3" wide, padded, with heavy leather ends. And black, baby, BLACK! The Coolest Black Guitar Strap on the Planet™, (IMO)

Shhhhhhh...... Listen... can you hear that? The sustain. You can go and 'ave a bite, it'll still be ringin'.



Sorry, but I am so jacked... LOL!! Man, this material is totally sick, like the kids say. Hope anyone interested can get one of these. PM me if you wish to reserve. Or, watch for them coming out in the next five days or so.
 
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Mad Strappier
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Discussion Starter #222
Finished the first two prototypes. Learned some stuff in the making.

My instincts were right.... this fine black leather weave is really something else in so many very good ways. Flexible, strong, great texture, macho, yet lightweight, drapes nice, and just really picks up on light & shadow. Will look quite fetching on so many guitars. Hard to settle on one guitar for this pic. I'll snap it with more. Just the first one I grabbed here, sittin' in the shop.



"Basket Case" coming soon to the Well-Hung Reverb guitar strap supermart probably tonight. Can't actually wait for customer reactions on this once they get 'em.
 

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Finished the first two prototypes. Learned some stuff in the making.

My instincts were right.... this fine black leather weave is really something else in so many very good ways. Flexible, strong, great texture, macho, yet lightweight, drapes nice, and just really picks up on light & shadow. Will look quite fetching on so many guitars. Hard to settle on one guitar for this pic. I'll snap it with more. Just the first one I grabbed here, sittin' in the shop.



"Basket Case" coming soon to the Well-Hung Reverb guitar strap supermart probably tonight. Can't actually wait for customer reactions on this once they get 'em.
PM if not pre sold lol. Will buy.
 

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Mad Strappier
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Discussion Starter #225
Great way to start the day, create a couple of super-padded and long crowd-killahs!
Couple of beastly yet-to-be-named floating pad straps, in dirty honey python. Stole that Dirty Honey bit LOL!
go as long as 60", actually cowhide.

Great strap for a goldtop, blonde tele, vintage white guitar, black beauty, black guitars, heck, a great colour combo.
Plus one common complaint is the shoulder pad slips around, up and down Not on the Well-Hung version, Nuh-uh!



Since this style straps can be made with cutoffs and scraps mostly, I had some, and figured since I made my first one earlier this week, why not???
A good strap for the "strapertoire" if you'll allow. Plus, once a fella learns to do something, I figure it's a good idea to pound away at the new skill a couple tims to lock it in for future use. I keep a "recipe" book of straps so will need to take measurements etc, so it's easier come next time to repeat this feat.

See how they go in the store, maybe I'll make more. Puttin' them up tonight or tomorrow. Now on to the honey do list.

Have a great saturday CGF
 
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Mad Strappier
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Discussion Starter #226
On the bench earlier today... a set of three viciously beautiful Dirty Honey python printed cowhides



Finished those three up this afternoon, as well as heat pressed about a dozen and a half How's it Hangin'? T-Shirts - my first merch offering, now up on Reverb tonight.
Still will offer these as FREE merch, to those who pay full retail above a certain price point, or purchase multiple straps.

The Dirty Honey Pythons go up in the store tomorrrow, testing them tonight with some Montrose flavoured tracks



 

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Mad Strappier
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Discussion Starter #227


Shock & Awe #60 will be for a fellow from MLP who wants me to help lock in his military career history on a guitar strap. Guy sent me about four or five too many! Being a fighter pilot, (guessing), he's ot a really large fella, so I don't have quite enough strap to work with to put them all on. I love these, some of these patches are so badass. He's now picking leather colour.

Always a fun project.
 

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Mad Strappier
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Discussion Starter #228
New off the Straplab bench today very similar to one I made before and showed earlier in this thread and firmly in my 1969 series. Keeping with the convention of naming each strap after one of my fave songs released in that year... I think I could love her: Crystal Blue Persuasion



And at the same time, not really in the 1969 family, not really a No Prisoners type... Just a simple strap anomaly calling it Dark Argyle



Both nicely padded, on beautifully comfortable 3" wide black leather base.
Fantastic pair of guitar straps... see them soon in the Reverb boutique

over the weekend I finished a far-out trippy one called "Orange Sunshine" - heavy maroon leather, vintage paisley print fabric.
Drop that on your Cherry Sunburst and blow some minds.

 

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Nice ones! That blue looks familiar.

In fact, I'm looking at it right now hanging on the wall above my desk. :D
 

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Mad Strappier
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Discussion Starter #230
Dang, you know I had some real stuff planned for today, but ended peeing away a lot of it on another guitar forum. One of my musical, I wouldn't say "hero" but certainly a Canadian musician of significant cred whom I fully respect and admire, joined up and well, we got to talking. Shared some lengthy PMs with him - so trying to be chill, and not 100% star struck, probably failing so badly LOL!

Anyway, this new brother managed find my Reverb boutique on his own, even publicly shouted out my shop as well, which completely made my day. Nice to think about maybes, maybe someday I'll get a strap on his shoulder, that would make me proud. He mentioned he liked my strap buttons too, so that was pretty darn cool. He's comes in like a bro, not a rock star. Hope he don't get driven away but something dumb, like me PMing him every damn day trying to sell him a strap! Secret sale! Buy One, Get Two FREE, The Colour You've Always Wanted! GIVE ME YOUR DAMN E-MAIL OR ELSE!!!!!!!

So, there went my day LOL - Hmmmmm what do I have to show all y'alls? Oh... here's something, just came in late last week...



Some new Well-Hung picks! Medium heavy, just like my tonez. Redesigned them so I could make my grommet pick invention for your keychains as another swag giveaway without having to put a hole through the lady's poor little awestruck head. Off the keychain, they feel real interesting to use as well, you might really like it. The new glow in the dark ones light up with much more bigly, glow power than the last bunch I had, and even those were pretty good. But, probably cause cancer or something else real bad, like temporary brain... uh, whatchamacallit? Definitely use at your own something/something
 

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Mad Strappier
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Discussion Starter #231


Today an experiment with some interesting fabric I picked up months ago on a whim. Finally got tired of moving it back and forth, storing it here, storing it there. I figured maybe it was trying to tell me something. It's a bit of a glittery fabric, with black roses and vines and what could be construed as bats flying around? Or maybe that's just some leaves. I don't know - anyhoo, when I saw it I figured it might be cool to try a Gothic/Glam kind of thing. See how they go in the store - built to my typical padded 3" wide standard. Looks rather cool on the shoulder, in a darkly sinister way. One side shows one way, the other side of the fabric shows the reverse pattern, with the roses in silver on a dark background,

Here's the first set of 'Til Death Do Us Part, one is a reverse image of the other. Metallic grey and silver. Has just a little bit of glitter to it that only shows up inside three or four feet. Haven't seen a strap anything like this before. A little bit showy, maybe in a Munsters on Broadway sort of way. Padded. 45-57" or so. Nice and long and comfy.
 

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Mad Strappier
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Discussion Starter #232
Bangin' away at a couple new Shaky straps this weekend...
I've made several variations of the Shaky peace/dove strap - My black leather & faded blue denim combo is aways from the "traditional" black on black, but it's way more interesting and certainly much more comfortable when constructed in the Well-Hung way. The faded denim on black leather just has a real cool far-out casualness about it. Not just silkscreened symbols, these are beautifully embroidered patches I had specially made for these straps for this project. On the faded denim then married to black leather it all adds up to major groovy hippy cred.
Plus on my version you won't have a bunch of upside down icons going up one side because I reverse them near the top of the shoulder.



Some recent Reverb Feedbacks, from the Honkin' my own Horn dept.


"...Speaking of pleasure, this strap provides a playing experience like no other. With the "velvety velourish" lining on the backside and just enough padding to provide adequate (yet non-bulky) support, this strap will assuredly enable hours and hours of hard pumping musical ecstasy!" ~Big Scott

"A rock star for the rock stars." ~Vernon

"Incredible strap! So comfortable to wear, it makes my Jazz Bass feel light as a feather. The build quality is spot-on." ~Jon

"...Just beautiful workmanship once again. Unmatched quality, in my opinion. By the way, nice pins. I will be ordering more of those!!!" ~Chet (and he did)

"I've now got 3 Well-Hung straps. They are all well-constructed, very comfortable and look great. I've had a couple of different styles of other nice leather straps over the years. The Well-Hung straps are the finest straps I've owned and Brad is a pretty hilarious character. Not a single person at Levy straps has ever typed me a letter, nor packed my items with Cheezies... bastards." ~Jake

"This was one of the best experiences I've ever had with an online seller on Reverb, or anywhere else for that matter. A genuinely nice and enthusiastic person, fast shipping (during a pandemic no less), and an awesome quality guitar strap. I immediately saw when I received the strap these are made with love, unlike a sterile machine made sling that can be bought from pretty much any other manufacturer. If you are thinking about buying one of these Well-Hung straps, DO IT NOW!" ~Hector


I am not a factory, all handmade with love by me for my guitarin' brothers and sisters.
 

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Mad Strappier
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Discussion Starter #233 (Edited)
For USA Memorial Day, we are adding in a slightly doctored composite image I put together for Kyle Stevens out in LA, who just sent me a few pics via Reverb. He recently picked up one of my all-black "Sellout" straps, and chose to wear it for a bit of a special occasion. You may remember Kyle as the guitarist for an outfit called "Bang Tango" who have recently reformed and were planning to tour before all this stuff came down.

Couple of years ago my wife and I had a Vegas holiday weekend and didn't have a clue it was a long weekend down there until we actually arrived.It was BUSY!



He was recently asked to wail out "The Star Spangled Banner" high up on the rooftop of a joint called "Jones Hollywood." I'm pretty sure that he cranked it pretty good, not sure if he fully jimi-ed it up with the dive bombs and such, hope so. Anyway, he says this was to honour First Responders during the ongoing virus situation. "Great strap!" he says, "Crazy comfortable!"

You're welcome Kyle, you keep doing what you're doing man. Cool vibes.
Have a memorable "working" Memorial Day my CGF brothers, sisters and those in-between LOL!
 

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Mad Strappier
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Discussion Starter #234 (Edited)
Post here is not too exciting, unfortunately, but something to show anyway, never showed this before. Kind of a maintenance day in the straplab. Over a number of years of doing this, I have developed a few of my own strap styles which utilize the same basic black leather tail strap. This, because one of the most tedious parts of strapmaking (to me) is making those stupid tail straps. We need them, but they just aren't fun! And, they really slow down creative momentum. Having a bunch pre-made and 80% ready, keeps my little shop moving so I can stay in the zone. Plus when you use leather dye, you want it to sit for a good while, so that dye can settle in real good, before sending the strap away.

So, every once in awhile I need to replenish my tail stock - I normally make a dozen or so at a time, and when I do it this way there is no sacrifice in quality. Today was that day.

You know, we as guitar players hardly think about the tail strap. Most of our focus ends up on the nose, or front of the strap for some reason. To me as a strap fella, this makes tail straps even more important they are made as fail-safe and futz-free as possible. I don't want you to have to think about it much either :)

I'm mostly using vegetable-tanned saddle skirting cowhide specifically for these and dye it black, 'cause it's the most economical way to do it. A few hundred bucks for a hide, I can normally get four, maybe five dozen tail straps, out of it, and can use some scrap bits for nosepieces often too. This skirting is real good and very strong, heavy-duty leather. First before cutting my tails out, I dye it black twice on the skin side with Fiebings Pro, alcohol based dye, a brew I get by the liter - use a lot of it, and it can get messy. One time I even spilled about a quarter of a bottle on my work table. ugh!



Anyway, 12/13 oz. weight leather on the top above, is about 5mm thick, closing in on a 1/4". That's too thick for easily going on a normal strap button, so once I have my tails cut out, I gotta to do some "skivving". This is the function of thinning it down so it's more useable. There are power skivving tools (never tried), and dedicated hand tools also, which I've tried but the few I have purchased kind of suck.



Being a make-do kind of fella, I have developed a decent workaround using a carpenters hand plane. Clamp one end to the table, and have at the last few inches of the strap to bring it down. It's manual work, and needs a little muscle. But about ten or twelve good strokes gets 'er done. I only do this with the last few inches of the strap.




It's not really an exact science, but I have a feel for when it's right. In this case I'm trying to take about a third off, resulting in a leather end a bit thicker than you many of you are are used to for nose and tail bits. It's a bit stiff too, though it softens up a bit with some use. Most find they don't need beer gaskets with these. They are not going to pop off the pin when you bend over to tweak a pedal. I do pre-work them in before sending so they go on a strap button (have a few screwed right into the edge of my bench) without you sweating and straining your delicate little fingers too much. But remember this: the easier a strap goes on, the easier it can fall off!

After I get them shaved down, I dye the sides and the back. Gotta get rid of that pinky skin colour. It's a bit creepy to me.



I don't put a whole lot of dye on the inside of the tail straps. Just enough to turn it black, and over the course of a week it will fade to dark grey.
I use a sheepskin pad, it's just the best stuff for working with dye. I keep one dedicated for black. At this time i also go over the front/skin part of
these a third time to make sure they are none more black.



To finish these, once the dye sets in for a few days I will run over them with some neatsfoot oil, and let that get in the cells good, then finish with a mink oil boot conditioner to lock everything down. When I add these to a finished strap I will also burnish the sides to seal all the natural oils in, and give them a nice finished feel. I'm not the best at burnishing, that is almost a whole art in itself, but I am getting better at it. It's a lot of hand-rubbing. Gives a guy stamina LOL!

These tail straps are stiff, but they do soften pretty nicely with time. No worries about strength. I would hang off a cliff on any of them and I weigh about 195. This is probably even good enough for your average Norlin era LP custom! :ROFLMAO:

Last thing I do is punch the loop slot, which is 1-1/4 wide, and handles the just slightly less wide strap nicely. My oblong punch gets lot of use. Had to have it welded together twice. I sharpen it maybe four times a year, and it's not that easy to sharpen! With slots in these tails, I can hang them up to dry, and they are off my bench (which as you can see already has too much stuff on it).



OK with these tails straps done, I can move on to other things. Now on the bench sits a concept "Xonoth", the next Well-hung "No Prisoners" series strap.

Hope you enjoyed this.... more to come...
 

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Thanks for the 'tail strap tech 101' class -- never thought much about what goes into strap manufacture until now.
A W-H strap is on my gear bucket list, assuming I ever get back to gigging again (which is when I'll need it!)
 

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Mad Strappier
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Discussion Starter #236
Ok... continuing on! Sorry for the delay, had to make a quick COVID-19 safety video for someone, ( I dabble in that still because, video production background). Don't think it'll win me any Emmys, but it gets the point across. Which reminds me, if anyone reading here now has like ambient "bed" style music on file that you might like to offer up royalty free, just so a fella like me can "borrow" it I'd appreciate that. Maybe we could work a deal out on something-something, y'know, y'know. I make a little of that bed stuff myself but in this case I just didn't have the time and didn't want to re-use something I already made/used before, keep it fresh. I like downtempo stuff with basic chords, drones, simple repetitive melody... maybe a little moderny trip-hop beat. Kind of there, but not there if you catch my drift. Synth, piano.. or guitar. Reverby.... Real dimple stuff not too busy. NOT Brad Gillis ESPN sports highlight shredding LOL! Well, maybe sometimes. anyway if you have stuff sitting there in your soundcloud doing nothing and not getting any listens, let's talk.

Back to Xonoth, Third Orc General during the Time of the Poisoned Kings, taker of No Prisoners!



Here we are nailing 'er all together with T99 upholstery thread. Good strong stuff. You might be able to break a strand with your bare hands. Maybe two if you're a beast. But when it's stitched, it's secure. I've taken apart straps by big names to repair 'em, and too often I find most makers can use real cheap thread, sometimes they double-stitch to compensate, sometimes not.

Here you can see I use black thread on top, the bobbin underneath is loaded with golden brown, that'll be the stitch that shows underneath on the matching brown lining. Rolled leather edges, padding inside, makes a nice comfort difference as well. Have a look at the straps in your collection. You may have some with rolled edges. Many of you will find some with just raw cut off edges, which might bite into your neck a bit. You may not even feel the difference, until you know it's there.



So, once I get the edges sewn to the lining, back to the bench to shape the nose. I probably should make a template, but right now I am doing most by eye, because it's way more crafty - Hey look! My fret leveling ruler also functions as straight edge! You can see a bit of raw leather on the edges here, we'll fix that up later.

Back to the Consew....



Here I am driving through some good depth of leather, lining and strap to marry it all together. I typically do a double seam on top and on the ladder end as well. They are also glued with barge cement... Strap ends are stable.

Bring it back to the workbench to dye the raw edges on the nose here. Then, I use my cotton webbing covered burnishing stick. Basically you wet it down, let it sit for about fifteen minutes then you rub that leather like crazy, getting some real heat going. Helps to add a little bit of gum tragicanth too, gets you a pretty nice smooth and shiny edge.



Looks great, feels "finished." Not all nose leathers can be finished this way, but this is one. I'm getting better at burnishing slowly, but like I said before it's kind of an art in itself. One day an electric motor burnisher polisher might be in order. It's kind of a lot of work but makes a nice difference in the end product.



Now I pop some holes in for the tail strap ladder. I don't have a template, just eyeball it... slots about an inch or so apart.
Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! repeat about ten times.
 

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Mad Strappier
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Discussion Starter #237
Continued to beat the five pic hobble



More banging still.... keyhole slots with the button holes. Even though this leather is in extremely low danger of "ripping" like other straps, I put the small punch holes at the end of the slot there because it looks right, and gives the leather a bit more flexibility to go over the button. One on the end, and another in case the one on the end ever wears out, you can just cut it off. Or you can use to upper one if the base strap is too long, this gives you three inches in reduced length, or more length depending on how you look at it.

Burnish the strap end, like the nose end, and... Ta-dahhhhhh!



Xonoth... a 3" wide padded black and brown leather strap with aged bling. Goes about 46 to 57" - That's about five inches LONGER than many factory straps. OMG that bugged me for so many years. Buy an $80 strap and it's three inches too short, even on the last loop. I have a solution for that too.

Another handcrafted monster creatived in the Well-Hung (not a factory) Straplab. Xonoth soon to be up for public consumption. After I complete these, I'll take a bunch of photos in my little "studio" on "Felix," my paisley-shirted dummy, before putting it forward. Sometimes I'll take a few with a guitar, so I can stick a pic up on Reddit or wherever.

I like the results of No Prisoners because they're all unique, and I believe that's a key selling point... every guitarist should strive to have a signature type strap in the collection, something hundreds of others can't just grab off the rack. Something fellas at the blooz jam will be inspired to ask "Where did you get that?" And, you can say *wherever*. Great conversation piece. Plus, if you are really kind, might even let them try it just to watch the look on their face when they suddenly realize how comfortable a strap can be, like they can't believe they suffered bad straps almost their whole playing life.

Then you have to try and get it back!

Oh hey, here's something... look what a cultmember sent over today:





Not the guitar, unfortunately. Just the pics. THAT's what I'm talking about.
 

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Mad Strappier
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Discussion Starter #239
Today in the shop we have been working on a small replenishment of a Wild Thing Series item... I am suddenly now calling these "Tiger King" for obvious reasons.



These are made of the very hides of the beasts that biatch in Florida Carol Baskins wanted to get her crooked husband-murdering hands on. But, that would not stand for Joe Exotic. To save those beautiful animals from such a terrible fate, he instead sent the pelts over to me. Got some straps that are kind of popular, and if there's demand, I'll keep making them until the material runs out. Last of the last bunch was eaten up a few weeks ago so, time to train up a few more. Won't finish them today, probably tomorrow or the next day - 3" wide, padded, with good black leather. iT's the perfect "Hey! Notice me! I'm a Wildman!" sort of strap.
 

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Mad Strappier
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Discussion Starter #240
This morning I am finishing up on a couple of the graphite python floatin' pad straps. Just starting making these maybe 2 months ago, but they seem to sell pretty good, and it's a great way to use up scrap cuttings - so, here's a couple more on the bench mostly done. These are my fourth and fifth.


Hefted my pair of buckets 'o buckles up on the bench to sift through my hardware collection for this set, at first I was thinking gunmetal or black...
Job one was find some likely candidates with the right bar width for belt securement and pass-thru, this skinny strap is about 1-1/4 inch



These four made the short list... A couple of things I like about used buckles in that they already have a little mojo, and they sure don't seem to make them like they used to. A lot of newer buckles I find, the tooth is really thin and flimsy... so you go to change it out and can't bend the metal... it just busts off... made of some pot metal or somesuch. The two buckles on the left made the final cut, the one on top is gunmetal in colour, the one below just kind of struck me as interesting, though it had a bit of a weird tooth or prong shape in a slot rather than a hole. Easy to deal with. I do like how it has center pin, gives the frame a built in-keeper to push the pass-thru down. The gunmetal roller will need a keeper loop, so we can hold any extra belt close to the tail strap, keep it from flapping all around.



Securement to the lower tail strap via a couple of Chicago screws... redundancy is a good policy here. And... attached, prong slots punched.



Don't really know if this is the standard way others do it, but my instinct says put the buckle on the tail strap so the pass through falls down via good 'ol gravity. If you put the buckle on the main strap, then you got a chunk of tail flapping around up high and to me that's no good. So, probably another half hour to get the other buckle on, make a matching keeper loop for it and rivet it in place... punch some strap button holes for both, then she's photo time.
 
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