Rolleiflex Strap v2.0

A couple of posts ago (here) I showed you how I made a replica of the original Rolleiflex strap. Altough it is nice and sturdy, it is a bit on the thin side. Sure, the old originals sometimes came supplied with a strap pad to widen the load bearing area, but for me such a pad always slides around and never seems to be in the right position when most needed. I also happen to have an issue with slipped discs in the neck, so the use of a thin strap is a bit more painful than for most people. The solution to the above problems would be to make a wider strap.

During the recent year the Rolleiflex has been my main camera. I have been shooting street photography and I have taken it to travels in the tropics. I have during this time settled on a strap length that works for my type of shooting, and also feels comfortable when moving around. The new strap would not only be wider, it would also be of a fix length. I scored some original Rolleiflex strap connectors, and then ordered a precut leather strip, with a really nice 3D texture to it, from UK ebay seller leatherworld, and proceeded with the craft.

First I needed a template to get the taper symmetrical and the same on both ends.rolleiflex-strap-custom-1

Transferring and cutting the shape.rolleiflex-strap-custom-2rolleiflex-strap-custom-3

Beveling the edges.rolleiflex-strap-custom-5rolleiflex-strap-custom-4

The next step is what most people have no idea is happening in the craft of leather, edge slicking. Making the edge smooth not only makes it feel nice, it also prevents the edge from fraying that eventually will propagate into a crack. Next time when checking out leather craft look at the edges. It is often a tell tale sign in the over all quality of a product.

There are many different ways to do the edge. I use bees wax, water and a hard wood buffing wheel.rolleiflex-strap-custom-6rolleiflex-strap-custom-7

Difference between slicked and unslicked edge.rolleiflex-strap-custom-8

Next step is marking the leather and punching the holes for the rivets.rolleiflex-strap-custom-9rolleiflex-strap-custom-10

Time to rivet some original Rolleiflex strap connectors to the new strap. You have to be steady on the hand and steer the tool, tap many times and with little force, or you will end up with a rivet that goes crooked. I usually make a circular motion with the tool when tapping.rolleiflex-strap-custom-11rolleiflex-strap-custom-12rolleiflex-strap-custom-13rolleiflex-strap-custom-14

The final step is to dress it with some neatsfoot oil, to make it soft and nice.rolleiflex-strap-custom-15

And here is the final product, attached to my trusty Rolleiflex 3.5F.rolleiflex-strap-custom-16rolleiflex-strap-custom-17rolleiflex-strap-custom-18

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