About Michael Knapp Leather
It all began back in 1989…
As an avid outdoorsman growing up in western Michigan, I began collecting knives when I was in my early teens. Most of the knives I had received or purchased back then didn’t have sheaths, or the sheaths were unusable. Just before deer season of 1989 I decided to make a sheath for my favorite hunting knife that was given to me by my grandfather. I bought a few of the basic leather tools from a Tandy Leather Store, along with a book on making knife sheaths and a side of vegetable tanned leather. My first sheath was very basic and functional, but not too pretty. Since I had the tools and leather, I started making more sheaths for my other knives and subsequently got better and better at it.
That’s how my passion for leather crafting began, which has now turned into an obsession. Just ask my wife! She’s always complaining about the newest leather tools I buy, as well as the expense of the high-quality leathers that I strictly use.
Most everything I make is completely handmade and hand sewn, or Saddle Stitched. I have used my industrial leather sewing machine on a few of my products, such as belts, but all of my watch straps are hand Saddle Stitched. I truly view each of my finished products as works of art.
Hobby Turned Business…
What had been a passionate hobby turned into a business in 2016. I also own and operate another business, which is a hearing healthcare clinic called New Way Hearing Aids, Inc., where I’m a practicing Audioprosthologist.
Until focusing on my custom handmade bespoke leather watch straps in the Spring of 2019, and my YouTube channel ‘Strap a Watch‘ that Fall, I offered many more leather products for sale on my website, such as a variety of different styles of wallets, knife sheaths, gun holsters, bags, belts, cell phone cases, and placemats.
As a lifelong watch enthusiast, I believe it simply became inevitable for me to begin niching down to making leather watch straps, and it makes for a much better business model for me. My goal is to be one of the best custom bespoke leather watch strap makers in the world. I absolutely love making them, and making my fellow watch enthusiasts happy with my artistic creations.
My Former Specialty
Genuine full grain leather placemats are extremely hard to find and had been one of my specialties for years. They took up to two weeks for me to complete a set of six and utilized as much as 22 square feet of 8-12oz. double shoulder vegetable tanned leather. They went through a number of steps and were finished with three coats of an acrylic sealer, which made them extremely water resistant. I adhered a 1/16” neoprene sheet underneath so that they wouldn’t slip on a dining room table, and hand stitched the perimeter. Due to the amount of materials involved, and the time they took to make, they were pretty expensive. However, I guaranteed them to last generations becoming family heirlooms. Talk about classy!
Though I’m no longer making these for sale, I am proud to highlight them as some of my past work. In the spring of 2019 I decided to focus my leather business strictly to making custom bespoke leather watch straps, and have gotten away from all of the other leather goods I used to sell.