The dead shoe: New Balance 990v4

Made in what?

Just prior to writing this blog post, I realized that New Balance released a new version of their “dad shoe”, the New Balance 990. The latest is version 5, but mine are v4 and cost around 180 EUR when I bought them three years ago. Little did I know that these would be the WORST pair of shoes I have ever bought. Continue reading “The dead shoe: New Balance 990v4”

Lamy aion

Ein Gutschein für einen Kauf bei Amazon bewog mich dieser Tage zum Kauf eines neuen Füllers. Damit fängt es eigentlich schon an, weil man Füller eigentlich nicht im Versandhandel kauft. Heutzutage schreibe ich immer weniger mit der Hand – die normale Kommunikation erfolgt überwiegend digital – da macht es Sinn, die wenigen Dinge mit Tinte aufzuschreiben. Mit Kugelschreibern schreibe ich nicht so gerne, und viele modernen Tintenroller kratzen mir auch zu sehr (bis auf diese empfehlenswerte Ausnahme). Bei den Kugelschreibern hatte ich als Kind schon immer Geräte von Lamy (mit M16-Mine) und sogar einen Fisher SpacePen, weil mein Vater einen Tick hatte und sich regelmäßig in einem Schreibwarengeschäft irgendwelche Stifte kaufen musste. Nachdem hier die Mitbewohnerin mit ihrem Handlettering angefangen hat und ich diese Brush Pens von Tombow kennengelernt habe, kann ich das alles auch besser verstehen. Vor allem aber seitdem ich aus dem Nachlass meines Vaters zwei alte Lamy-Füller (Lamy 2000 und Lamy Profil) mitgenommen und wieder instandgesetzt habe, kann ich diese ganze Faszination rund ums Füllerthema online sowie offline einigermaßen nachvollziehen.

Die tägliche Füllerauswahl

Continue reading “Lamy aion”

The Leatherman sheath mod, part 2

I didn’t know if I should blog the following – because stuff like this is usually shared on internet forums, but since I’d been writing about this before – and not only once – I thought about sharing it with you on my blog. Besides, I don’t do forums for various reasons.

the stupid Leatherman sheath

Some month ago, I bought a Leatherman Charge TTi multitool which came with a very bad leather sheath. The famous inventor of multitools once produced very fine leather sheaths, like the beautiful brown one that came with my first Leatherman Wave in 2003. But for some stupid and unknown (marketing?) reasons, their current sheaths (since 2004, actually) are either bulky, ugly or too stiff – and also do not really offer the space required for a Leatherman Charge TTi (or Wave 2004) and its bitholder. Everything fits inside but it takes a lot of force to pull the bitholder out. There’s a hole at the bottom of the sheath which is supposed to be good + so that you can rest the opened tool inside the sheath. I’ve never used this though, and also don’t like it that much.

SCHRADE TOOL, nylon alternative sheath (good, used this all the time)

Leatherman Charge TTI within the Leatherman Wave (I) sheath from 2003.
Tool fits, but + bitholder doesn’t :-(

I may not be the only one with this problem, and have in the past used a variety of other sheaths to tackle this problem (tool & bitholder in one place, see SCHRADE TOOL nylon sheath pictured above). There seems to be a market for customized solutions, and while I am sure I could easily get a modified sheath in the US or even Kenya, I just couldn’t find a good sheath in Germany (locally or imported), so I had to make my own. This time I wanted to make a sheath out of leather.

Bought this one (Victorinox L sheath) from eBay which unfortunately is too short.

Now, I don’t know much about leather and do not even own many leather products. Shoes, belts and a pouch/sheath (made from artificial leather) that came shipped with my phone. But still, there’s some sort of magic to this material that will make you want to create something out of it. I was told that my great great great grandparents once owned a tannery, so maybe it’s somewhere in the genes. Sijui.

First step was to surf around and check various online resources for inspirations. I actually already knew what I wanted to build – my first Leatherman Wave sheath from 2003 had set the standard for me. I wanted something like this…. but only bigger.

Next step: leather. Found a very nice & cheap offer for leather stripes (2-3 mm thickness) on eBay, which was exactly what I was looking for.


Ok, now how do I get this material into shape? Does it really require to be formed into shape? And when does this need to be done? Prior to or after sewing the parts together?

Sometimes you just have to do things your way. If it feels right, do it. So i dampened the leather, sealed the knife and bitholer in a plastic bag and placed it inside the leather which I then pressed into shape. Placed all of it on the heating in the bathroom and waited for it to dry up. Oh, and I used a stapler to hold it all together.

IMG 0249

Next morning: leather is dried up and in shape. Great!


Next step: holes. Lots of them. I think there’s a wheel to mark the correct pitch between the holes, but since I do not own such an advanced tool, I just marked everything by rule of thumb and punched holes with an awl.



After the first stitches with special leather yarn, I realized that the one I used is too thin (2x, left), so I went for the only thicker one I had (3x, right).


I may not be a professional and my seams may show that I am a bloody beginner, but at least I am using two needles.

stitching on the left: too thin

both sides

next up: the main seam

big & small, wondering about the design

slowly getting there

Almost done. The white package contains the Leatherman Charge TTi + the bitholder.


I then dampened the leather again and used the wodden knob to flatten the edges of the leather. Again, I am no expert and maybe there’s a proper way for doing this, but I just looked at the old sheath and realized it had to work out somehow. Well, it did. Edges are smoothened now and quite shiny. Nice!

new sheath

new and old sheath

The complete collection: opened and closed.


You may note the nylon sheaths. These are also fine but (except for the SCHRADE TOOL sheath) only accommodate the tool itself, not the bitholder. Again, I don’t know why Leatherman does not produce proper sheaths. Something like the dark brown sheath (which imo is the best) from 2003, but bigger. You will also notice my beginner’s style and how dumb my own sheaths (noticed the blue one? :-) actually look when compared to the professional solutions.

One possible solution would probably have been to further apply some wax on the new sheath and darken it. Well, I polished it with some special leather wax, but also applied this dark brown (imo a bit too dark, damn..) leather colour onto it. Looks ok, but I also know what to improve on next time. Ah well… as long as it works it is ok. I really wish someone would seriously teach me a few tricks though, like how to get straight seams. For this, however, I would probably also require a table for my tools and a bench vice.



Working with leather is a fascinating experience!

(Wenn ich nochmal 20 wäre, würde ich mich nach einer Lehre als Sattler/Feintäschner/etc. umschauen. Bin ich aber nicht mehr und habe auch schon eine Lehre hinter mir, das reicht. Als Abendkurs in der VHS wäre eine Fortbildung in Lederarbeiten aber sehr interessant – auch wenn ich im Moment keinen weiteren Einsatzzweck für Lederprodukte habe. Nach dieser Arbeit kann ich aber sehr gut verstehen, wieso es anscheinend ziemlich viele Leute da draußen gibt, die in ihrer Freizeit Leder punzieren (= mitm Hammer Muster ins Leder treiben) und/oder ihren Indianer/Rocker/SM/whatever-Trieb damit ausleben. Is aber alles nich so mein Ding, will ja nur ein passendes Lederetui für meinen Leatherman haben. Ich vermute übrigens, dass man durch versenkte Nähte (Rille ins Leder treiben) und den Einsatz von Stecheisen schon geradere Nähte hinbekommen würde, aber das hebe ich mir fürs nächste Mal auf. Das nächste Produkt aus den verbliebenen Lederresten werde ich aber nicht mehr anmalen, oder zumindest nicht mit so einer dunklen Farbe, auch wenn das jetzt nur auf den Bildern im Blitzlicht so schlimm ausschaut..).


“…the sudare is the thing handed down from their ancestor.” (src)


Found this nice quote on a website run by an artisan who crafts and repairs Sudare – Japanese screens. The same artist goes on explaining that:

“…the sudare is basically made from bamboo, but it can also be made from 3 to 4 other types of materials. The word “sudare” is characterized in Kanji by the combination of 2 kanjis: one meaning bamboo and the other meaning “in row.” So “sudare” means “lined-up bamboo.” Well actually, if we break the word “sudare” down, “su” stands for “lined-up bamboo,” and “dare” means “hanging down” because you hang sudare down from the ceiling when you use them. “

And that’s exactly what I am going to do with these screens: hang them up in our living room (in front of the window).


The interesting story and my reason for sharing this is that my parents found them on top of a rubbish container near our house in Tokyo some…30? years ago. An older house in the neighbourhood had been demolished and careless workers threw them away, so the Sudare(s) were free to be picked up.

There’s something about modern Japanese culture and how it conflicts with old traditions that would certainly make up for a lot of interesting blog posts. Fortunately, there are a lot of Japan-related blogs out there that cover exactly this transition between the old and the new worlds.


These sudare may look a bit worn out now, also because they were kept in a very moisture basement over the last 5 years, but the bamboo material is still in great shape and 100% ok. The build quality of these Japanese sudare is just amazing – even though they may be about 80+ yrs old!

I will buy some golden tape to repair the seam at the sides.