How to make a pilot logbook cover

Sparrowhawk's wrap closure leather pilot logbook covers are exclusive, heirloom pieces. Hand made by Fiona, there are 19 steps from cutting the rawhide leather to the final polish. Each logbook cover is unique. The dye and stitching colours are specified by the pilot ordering, and their intials are hand embossed, and the characteristics of the hide and hand dyeing process determines the eventual finish Fiona achieves. Here are some photos of how Fiona made a logbook cover to the specifications of a New Zealand pilot, in Navy and British Tan with Butterscotch stitching, a NZ pilot licence pocket and a pen holder.

Cutting the logbook cover

 Scoring the folds on the cover The liecence pocked cut, bevelled and edge grooved

First the cover is hand cut from the hide, then the fold lines are grooved, the edges on all pieces are bevelled, stitching channels grooved and decorative lines grooved on the inside keepers.

Hand carving wings on leather 1 Hand carved wings with embossed stars Embossing the pilots intials

Then Fiona hand carves the wings and embosses the centre with stars, she also embosses the pilot initials on the front cover, and the Sparrowhawk makers stamp on the licence pocket (not pictured).

Leather Pilot logbook cover prior to hand dyeing Dyeing the wings Leather logbook cover hand dyeing the cover

First checking the cover for fit, Fiona hand dyes the wings and the cover, later applying an antique finish to the wings, and applying a colour sealer before waxing and polishing. 

Pilot leather logbook cover positioning the inside keepers Pilot logbook cover positioning the inside cover Pilot logbook cover ready to hand stitch

From here, Fiona checks the left and right keepers for fit (the penholder was also inserted and stitched in). Next she hand punches all the stitching holes, burnishes and touches up thedye on the edges of the wings and keepers, hand sttiches the wings to the front cover. Then she handstitches the entire perimeter of the logbook cover attaching the keepers and doing a final trim.

Finally Fiona fits the snap closure, touches up all remaining edges with dye and burnishes them, and applies a finishing waxed polish.

Click to see the final 2 colour wrap closure pilot logbook cover. Fiona also makes a wrap closure pilot logbook cover with a contrast spine and a 2 colour wrap closure logbook cover with embossed initials only.