I have been wanting a desk pad for a while but the retail cost, available sizes, and quality levels have been holding me back. Saddleback Leather wants a hefty $213 for their admittedly nicely finished desk pad. That’s too rich for my taste considering all I want is a hefty piece of leather. Amazon’s offerings are chinsy and still expensive for what they are. So fine! I’ll make my own.
A trip to the Tandy Leather Store over in Spokane netted me a large side of ridiculously thick 13-14oz cowhide on sale for $100. It was easily large enough to cover the entire desk. You can make one also, and very easily.
You will need
- large hunk of leather
- straight edge
- measuring tape
- rotary cutter or exacto knife (Olfa Cutter worked well for me)
- Tandy Leather Edge Beveler
- Tandy Leather Burnisher
- Fiebings Neatsfoot Oil (or some other conditioner)
- Measure your desk and mark the dimensions on your suitably sized side of leather. I made my pad a couple inches large in each direction to let the edge of the leather sag over the edge of the desk.
- Use the straight edge and your cutter to slice out the pad. Go slow and press down hard so that you do not have to make a second pass.
- Run the edge beveler over the edges to take the sharp edge off. Continue at your discretion depending on how rounded you want the edges.
- Get the edges wet that you wish to burnish and run the Tandy Leather burnisher back and forth quickly to sear the edge with friction. Alternatively you can implement a dremel like below which would be much faster.
- Put heavy items where the leather stubbornly lifts up until it submits to your will.
- Slather your conditioner of choice on with a piece of sheeps wool. A large pad will consume quite a bit of conditioner.
Unless you buy a really nice piece of leather like A grade Herman Oak or Wicket & Craig you will likely have scars and various imperfections in the leather. I chose to accept this since I plan to treat this pad roughly and I didn’t want to pay the hefty prices for A grade sides. Now I have an impressive piece of leather covering my desk, the cherry wood is protected, the pad will last forever (practically), and it only cost me $150 or so.