Wednesday, February 5, 2014


I just made a handful of large rough totes for my underhouse excavation project. These will be used for haulin' crawlspace dirt.

They're made outta 22oz vinyl-coated polyester. A lot of bagmakers use this as their liner material, but I much prefer acrylic-coated polyester, as it doesn't stink as much and is easier to work with (isn't as sticky). But VCP fit the bill for this project, given its stiffness, toughness and relative cheapness. The grey handles are folded seat belt webbing. Bottom dump handles are regular ol' one-inch nylon webbing.

Good times.

Leif Labs abroad

My friend was in Costa Rica recently, looking at soy beans. He snapped this photo of his waxed bag.
Thanks, Dennis!

Thursday, January 9, 2014


My first project of 2014: a bed for my friend Gus. 40x24x8.5". 1680d ballistic nylon.

The bed is made of one piece of fabric (about two yards). There's a seam underneath with a Velcro opening, two side seams, and the corner seams. Real easy to make.
It's filled with an old memory foam mattress top folded to size. I've heard that old clothes make a good dog-bed filler, too.
The bed is fairly airtight so adding some grommets might be in the future. Apparently it's pretty loud when he jumps on it.
Thanks, Ben, for the great photo.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Fidlock buckles

I just received a sample pack of super-cool magnetic buckles from Fidlock in Hannover, Germany. Stay tuned for an overview of what I received. Looking forward to testing these out.

Servo motor

I buy things on eBay every once in a while, and for the most part everything is just as it's describe. Though, sometimes items are a bit disappointing — like receiving a "new" DVD that's been re-wrapped or a softcover book that had been described as hardcover. But then there are times when the purchase has exceeded all expectations, like with this motor I (finally) bought for my Consew 104.
I thought I was ordering a plain-ass white servo motor with a 70mm pulley from Nick-O Sewing's eBay store. Now, I have like five white servo motors already (boring), and a 70mm pulley is bigger than I generally like, but this motor was so inexpensive it'd still be a helluva deal to buy it and a $10 2" pulley, so imagine my happy surprise when I opened the box to find a Darth Vader-black motor with a 55mm pulley. Thanks, Nick-O!

I like how the on/off switch is separate from the motor and can now be put at the edge of the table. Why the hell didn't they start doing that from the beginning!
Now to build that sewing machine table...

Monday, October 14, 2013

GT Cobra buckles

I just got some of the new GT Cobra buckles from ITW Nexus in the mail — exciting times! These are plastic versions of AustiAlpin's Cobra buckle, which you're seeing more 'n' more in the bagmaking world.
If you're looking for a heavy-duty, smash-proof buckle, here ya go.

Spring-loaded sliding bar to keep slippery webbing in place.
Available in 1.5", 1.75" & 2" (shown), male parts will mate with all sizes of female buckles, so you could have a 2" strap reduce to a 1.5" one. Pretty cool.
Super-smooth action...with no chance of getting pinched...for those who worry about such a thing.
I believe the original Cobras are primarily used as harness buckles (though, like I said, you see them a lot on gun belts and expensive bags these days) and they're great for this because they won't open under load. If you intend to use them as the shoulder strap buckle on a messenger bag these may or may not be what you're looking for. If you have a loaded pack you might have to use two hands to release it. Not a big deal, but something to think about.

As of this posting, these aren't available yet for small-quantities buying, but I imagine they will be real soon. Keep checking Mil-Spec Monkey.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Buckle samples

I just got some new buckles from ITW Nexus. These are from their GT series and feature a spring-loaded adjustment bar to keep the webbing where you want it. They should work great with seatbelt webbing. Looking forward to testing these out. Thanks, ITW!