Making Leather Lens caps
I know I’m not alone in having numerous old lenses whose caps are lost, which should be nice leather items not moulded plastic. So how to use up oddments of material to make some?
This method depends on the fact that thin soft leather, when wet, becomes very elastic and can be stretched over a hard surface where it will dry in its new shape. So it won’t work with any of the leather alternatives – leathercloth, Rexine and so on.
Apart from normal household items like scissors and brushes, the only more specialist thing you need is a good heavy-duty compass cutter. It needs to be able to cut the greyboard without flinching. Mine is the NT Cutter at https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B004INPJPQ/ref=pe_3187911_185740111_TE_item?pldnSite=1
An Olfa rotary cutter and cutting mat aren’t essential but do make life easier.
Although the above method is my preferred one, I have found another which requires neither the very thinnest leather nor building up a paper armature. The appearance is good, though some small marks are likely on the rim.
The idea is to wet-form vegetable tanned leather as before, but to use cow leather around 1-1.5mm thick, which is much easier to find than the very thin material used for the first method. The forming is done with a hose clip (Jubilee Clip or equivalent) and an inner mould. If you have a lathe (wood or metal) this method is particularly viable, as you can easily turn a piece of scrap material to the required size.
A pipe band clip of suitable size. The depth should match the depth of the rim of the cap, 12mm is a standard size and normally suitable. The maximum diameter should be several millimetres (10mm or so is ideal) more than the final diameter of the cap. It can either be a fixed size, or a kit consisting of band that is cut to size, and buckles to fit.
A strip of thin hard shim – I use 0.2mm thick stainless steel. Cut a strip of this the same width as the pipe clip, long enough to go round the circumference of the cap plus an overlap of a few centimetres. Smooth the long edges, and feather both ends with a grinding wheel.
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