by Tom Downey - email@example.com
We have available to us leather shift boots & brake handle boots. Some of us have leather shift knobs. What's missing?? Leather Brake handles. Does anyone sell them? Not that I can find.
I decided I wanted a leather Brake handle to go with all the rest. I made one. I bought a *Superskin* brand steering wheel cover from the local Autoparts store. I also had an extra brake handle. I didn't want to wrap it with just one seam running down the length so I laid out the cover, measured & cut 4 strips a little longer than the handle. To have the holes for sewing together I used a hand punch with a 3/32" tip. It's a hair bigger than the original holes but, it was easier to thread with the horses leg needle that comes with the leather cover.
I used a small, thin bead of craft glue to temporarily hold the strips in place until I got it all sewed together. The glue I used is called: " Aleene's Original Tacky Glue " It comes in a tube or jar. The jar is better due to the thickness of the glue. It's a white glue that dries clear. Also, this glue is water soluble in case you don't like the outcome. CAUTION: *NOT* good for outdoor use.
I gave the glue about 2 hrs to dry then threaded the needle with the thick waxy thread that comes with the cover...........& just started sewing the 4 pieces together like I would a cover on a steering wheel. At the end of each seam I laid the thread under the next strip (added a dab of glue) & continued sewing the next seam. The completed handle is one continuous thread.
Like I said, the strips were a little longer than the handle. The reason: I folded the excess over the end that the release button sticks out, over lapping each other.......glued them down. The leather is a little stiff here & didn't want to stay folded right away so I sat there holding my finger over the end for about 15 minutes (I was watching T.V. at the time). I let the glued end dry about 3 hrs then used a pointed razor blade to trim out the button hole.
The handle is sorta squarish round......the 4 seems run down each so-called corner. the stitching is at just a slight angle & looks kinda baseball-ish.
Total actual work time: 2 hours
I wrapped a towel around the factory installed handle, used a pair of channel locks to break loose the glue & removed the handle. Used a dab of engine oil from the dipstick on my finger to lube the newly wrapped handle & forced it on. Presto, leather wrapped brake handle that looks real good with the Momo leather wrapped shift knob.
BTW, There is absolutely NO difference between the '90/'97 handle & the handle on the '99. In my case, Having a spare handle, if I ever want to change the looks of the wrapping I can without removing the one there.
My next project??? I'm going to a fabric store to get some more black leather to cover the su visors with their UGLY warning label. I'm thinking of adding 2 pockets to each of the covers. I'll keep you posted about this next one.
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25 September, 1998