Tips and Advice

Showing category "News" (Show all posts)

Corvid-19 disruption

Posted by Simon Harrison on Friday, March 27, 2020, In : News 
I hope that this post finds you and your family well.

At the moment I am still able to complete and process orders. My buckle and leather supplier is still operating a limited service and should still be able to deliver everything that I need. And the Post Office is still carrying out deliveries. And as I work alone I can still continue to work. As my workshop is in one of my fields I am keeping my social distancing at around 200m!
Anyway. On a better note! As a big thankyou to our NHS and hard...
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Hand Stitching

Posted by Simon Harrison on Sunday, November 24, 2019, In : News
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So just what is Handmade?

Posted by Simon Harrison on Saturday, November 9, 2019, In : News 

A quick search of the internet will throw up hundreds, if not thousands of handmade items. But what actually constitutes a handmade item?

The Cambridge Dictionary has its meaning as

“Made by someone using their hands rather than a machine”

With that in mind lets have a look at what companies and businesses class as handmade. Obviously, I am going to base this on leather goods as that is my craft. I will go through the basic process of crafting a leather belt and compare the differenc...

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White Stitching?

Posted by Simon Harrison on Wednesday, September 4, 2019, In : News 
Just a few notes on white stitching on my handmade leather goods.
Firstly, white stitching does look nice on many of the leather colours that I use. That being said - it doesn't stay white for long!
White thread is actually described as whitey/brown thread. See even the manufacture can't keep it white for long!
By the time that I have waxed it - I keep a different piece of wax especially for white thread - it starts to take on a slightly yellowy/brown hint. Not much, but I can see it when it is ...
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Leather Colours

Posted by Simon Harrison on Saturday, July 27, 2019, In : News 
I only use English Bridle Leather from J E Sedgwick. These come in 14 beautiful colours;
  • Australian Nut
  • Black
  • Burgandy
  • Chocolate
  • Conker
  • Dark Green
  • Dark Havana
  • Hazel
  • Light Havana
  • London Tan
  • Navy Blue
  • Oak Brown
  • Old Oak
  • and Red

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Forces and Bluelight discount

Posted by Simon Harrison on Sunday, May 19, 2019, In : News 
In celebration of our hard-working Armed Forces and bluelight personnel I have set up a 10% discount especially for you. Check out your relevant discount service to access the codes.

For Armed forces visit and for the Emergency services check out

If you are not already a member of either of these services I would suggest that you join immediately (assuming you can - fortunately I can!). They offer discounts on many high ...
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So just how much weight can one of my handmade leather camera straps carry?

Posted by Simon Harrison on Wednesday, April 24, 2019, In : News 
"Can your camera straps support the weight of my *insert camera model*? It weighs *insert weight*?" Is a very common question I am asked. And the answer is invariable. Yes! Yes it can!
Now as a picture is worth a thousand words I thought that I should test one.

So this is my Globetrotter camera sling supporting a 25lt water container. And yes it is full! so that is around 25kg supported quite happily.

This then made me think. What else could I hang from that strap. Hhmm! What's that in the backg...
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New Websites

Posted by Simon Harrison on Wednesday, April 17, 2019, In : News 
I have been tinkering with some new websites recently. I decided now was a good time to have some web specific names and to split some of my store items. I also needed to buy up some domain names like using the recently introduced .uk web address. It was also a chance to play with some settings and see what I could come up with.

Having my store with Ecwid makes it easy as I only have to add the store to each website - and viola! there it is.

The majority of my websites ar...
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What does Brexit mean to me?

Posted by Simon Harrison on Saturday, March 16, 2019, In : News 
To be honest I haven't got a clue. I don't think anyone else has either really!
My suppliers are UK based so in theory this shouldn't be an issue.
Shipping to Europe will probably change as you can guarantee that your government will want to charge an import tax on your goods!
I will also expect postage costs to Europe to increase. Not because it will be more expensive to ship there, but because they can!
Anyway, once those in charge finally get their act together, and work for the country, inste...
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My First Video Thank You

Posted by Simon Harrison on Sunday, June 17, 2018, In : News

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New Shipping

Posted by Simon Harrison on Wednesday, July 19, 2017, In : News 

I have had a change around with my shipping. I now have 2 options for UK shipping;

Free Delivery with standard crafting time of up to 8 weeks,
Rush Delivery with up to 4 weeks shipping time. I will bump this order up my to-do list and try and make your order quicker.

Obviously this will only work if most people choose the free delivery option. Too many rush orders and I won't be able to keep up! Makes it a bit pointless then and I will have to have a re-think.

Anyway. I will see how it goes.Si

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Posted by Simon Harrison on Thursday, February 16, 2017, In : News 
Recently I have been inundated with spam through my contacts forms. I really can't understand what they hope to achieve! Most of it is in a foreign language, some doesn't have links. What exactly do they hope to achieve!
It is bad enough getting junk emails but at least I can filter that. But my own contact forms all come from a source that I need to be able to see.
Even with a capture running the spammers must be using 'human farms' to paste crap to the form, enter the capture and send the for...
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New Year, New Look, New Leather

Posted by Simon Harrison on Monday, January 2, 2017, In : News 

Happy New Year!

To bring in the New Year I have revamped my website. I have lost a few pages, added some more and had a general cleanup. I have changed the style to a more modern look that is responsive to the viewing device. A must I think now days as over 80% of my traffic is from mobile devices. Hopefully this will make it easier for you to find what you are looking for.

A common question I receive is “What colour leather is that?” So I have now moved my leather colours to the side of my...

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Posted by Simon Harrison on Wednesday, December 21, 2016, In : News 

Midwinter is finally upon us!

Use the voucher code XMAS2016 for a discount from

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Fancy a Christmas bargain?

Posted by Simon Harrison on Sunday, December 11, 2016, In : News 
Why not type in the code XMAS2016 at the checkout and you will receive a little Christmas present from me!

Happy Christmas everyone
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It's Christmas! (Well nearly!)

Posted by Simon Harrison on Saturday, November 12, 2016, In : News 
With Christmas fast approaching and that frantic search for the perfect present! I know a beautifully Handmade Leather Belt, or the perfect handmade leather dog collar and lead for your best friend? What about a lovely leather camera strap for the photographer? A a plaited leather sling for the field sports fanatic's rifle?

Unfortunately you are too late to order from me now. Awwwww!

But all is not lost. You can pretend that you was always going to treat them to the perfect Christmas gift from ...
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Hand Stitching

Posted by Simon Harrison on Wednesday, October 26, 2016, In : News 

Everything that I make is stitched by hand. That's right, I stitch through the average 7mm of leather using traditional, time-honoured skills of the saddler.
I use 4 cord linen thread which I wax before stitching. 4 cord/18 linen thread is a bit thicker than the norm but makes for a stronger stitch.
I stitch using a double-hand technique. This has one piece of thread with a needle on each end. Each needle is passed through the same hole from opposite sides, crossing in the middle, before movin...
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Additional Loop

Posted by Simon Harrison on Sunday, October 16, 2016, In : News 

Fed up with a long, flappy, end on your lovely handmade leather dog collar?
Then simply opt for the additional loop option and I will hand stitch an extra leather loop after the dee ring. This loop keeps the point tightly against the collar and prevents it from spoiling your pets perfect pose for that excellent photograph.
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Posted by Simon Harrison on Monday, July 25, 2016, In : News 
The weather has finally warmed up. And the British - being British are already complaining that it is too hot. Only last week we was complaining that it was too cold, and when are we going to actually get some summer weather!

So to celebrate this fact use the voucher code "SUMMERTIME" at the checkout and receive a 10% discount

Don't forget that shipping is free to the UK

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Some Traditional Saddlery Rules

Posted by Simon Harrison on Sunday, March 6, 2016, In : News 
I make my leather goods using traditional saddlery methods. These methods have been perfected over hundreds of years. As the art has developed saddlers adopted a set of rules to work to for a uniformity to their products.
I use some of these rules but certainly not all of them
  • Never edge the outside edge of a loop.
  • Adjustment holes are spaced the width of the strap apart (A one inch wide leather belt will have holes spaced at one inch intervals).
  • Always have an odd number of holes in a strap (Thi...

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Christmas Discount

Posted by Simon Harrison on Sunday, December 20, 2015, In : News 
Wishing all of my visitors a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Enter the discount code XMAS2015 for a 10% discount at the checkout.
This offer is only valid between Christmas Eve and New Years Day.
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Christmas Discount Voucher

Posted by Simon Harrison on Wednesday, December 9, 2015, In : News 
Being as it is the time of good will use the code XMAS2015 to receive a 10% discount on your order.
valid between Christmas Eve and New Years Day only

Happy Christmas
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Discount Codes

Posted by Simon Harrison on Tuesday, August 18, 2015, In : News 
This is a special post for those that read everything on my website - thank you!

Enter the code
For a discount at the checkout.


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Measuring your Dog's Collar

Posted by Simon Harrison on Saturday, August 15, 2015, In : News 

How do you measure your Dog’s existing collar to get the right sized Handmade Collar from Oakside Saddlery?

First take your a look at your current collar on your dog. Does it fit OK? If not now is the time to make so changes. Make a note of which hole the collar is buckled to and then remove the collar from the dog.

Lay the collar out flat and measure from the inside edge of the buckle to the hole that it was buckled to.

You can see the mark on the collar where it was buckled to on this pictur...

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Posted by Simon Harrison on Saturday, June 27, 2015, In : News 
I have changed the way that I post your orders to you.
I now use myHermes for all deliveries including UK, Europe, and I|international.
Why have I changed?
Well obviously cost is an issue! Which means that I can still offer free UK shipping. But also Hermes is a tracked service, which enables you to find out where your order is and when you should expect it. This is also tracked for overseas deliveries as well.
For my benefit Hermes will collect my shipments from my workshop, or I can just drop t...
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Advantages of Handmade

Posted by Simon Harrison on Saturday, June 13, 2015, In : News 
So you have problems when you buy a belt! It is either too long and has a huge long bit hanging round your waist, or it buckles on the last hole and sticks out! Neither of which improve on your style.
So to get around this why not order handmade? And to be honest it probably wont cost you any more than a fancy shop brought one.

So what do you get when buying from me?

A Bespoke service
Every item that I make is made to order. That's right I don't stock any 'standard' sizes.

Made to Measure
As I only...
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Dog Collars and Leads Store Now Open

Posted by Simon Harrison on Saturday, March 28, 2015, In : News 
It didn't take as long as I thought to put all of my leather dog collars and leads into the new store. I'm really quite impressed with Yola on that one.
So go and visit
The original pages are still there while I decide what to do with them. Will it affect my SEO if I delete pages? Or will it affect it more if they are dead pages with no links?

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Invoice Problems!

Posted by Simon Harrison on Tuesday, March 24, 2015, In : News 
I am gaining a large pile of stuff that I have made recently that has just not been paid for (which is annoying)! I'm hoping that when my new store is properly up and running it will stop all of that.
I'm not sure what the cause of the problem is. I know that some customers just don't receive my PayPal invoices as their email client has decided that the email is spam. This is bad for me as;
  1. I don't get paid for my work. A loss that I can't write off against my tax return.
  2. The customer just think...

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Store Opening Soon!

Posted by Simon Harrison on Thursday, March 19, 2015, In : News 
So I have decided to 'bite the bullet' and open a store. It's not something that I really wanted to do as I don't want to look just like any other shop!
Anyway, I decided to go for Yola's online store. Why?
The price was good for a start! But also after watching Yola's youtube video it had everything I seemed to need. The problem I have had with most other means of selling my products was a lack of options. When ordering a collar for instance. It is not just the style of collar, but what colour...
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The way that you pay is changing

Posted by Simon Harrison on Tuesday, March 3, 2015, In : News 
Don't panic!
I have had a few orders that after I have made their order have then just not paid.....Bugger!
Great I still have an item, but as this was made to a very specific style it is difficult for me to resell.
I will soon change the time that I will invoice my customers. Presently I invoice once I have completed. What I will be doing is invoicing when I receive your order. This will mean that I get your money earlier (excellent for me!) But unfortunately you have to part with your hard ...
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Leather Colours

Posted by Simon Harrison on Saturday, February 28, 2015, In : News 
My standard colours of Bridle Butt Leather
Tan (Foreground)
Dark Havana (Brown)
Australian Nut
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Ordering Problems

Posted by Simon Harrison on Sunday, December 28, 2014, In : News 
When you place an order with me I will reply (normally within 48 hours) with a confirmation of your order. If you do not get this email it probably means that I have either not received your order, or, that your email details have not come through properly.
So if you have not heard from me after a couple of days please contact me.

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Price increases for January2015

Posted by Simon Harrison on Monday, December 15, 2014, In : News 
I'm sorry to say that I have got to increase my prices!
This is due in part to increases in prices from my suppliers.

But remember when comparing my prices with other handmade suppliers CHECK THE POSTAGE charges. More often than not you will have to add another £5 to your order for delivery!

Order from Oakside Saddlery and the price you see is the price you pay.
It's Free delivery on all of my handmade items
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What's The Point?

Posted by Simon Harrison on Saturday, July 12, 2014, In : News 

The point when making leather is the part of a belt or strap that passes through the buckle. There are a variety of designs and styles that a Cordwainer can use, and sometimes traditional methods dictate what style of point a strap should have. Nowadays, on leather belts and the like, this is just a case of personal preference.

There are two styles of point that I use and both are traditional designs.

Cathedral Point

The cathedral point, or harness point, is probably the most common point end in...

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Have you ever wondered why my belts are named after UK towns?

Posted by Simon Harrison on Thursday, July 3, 2014, In : News 

The usual reason is that many belt buckles are named after towns. This is more than likely that that style of buckle originated in that town.

If a buckle is not named then my naming convention goes to the town from where my first order for that belt originated.

Simple really!

So if you want to be the first with a belt named after your town, pop over to Oakside’s Custom Belts and design your one=of-a-kind masterpiece!


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Measuring your Dog for a Handmade Leather Slip Collar

Posted by Simon Harrison on Wednesday, June 25, 2014, In : News 

Measuring your dog for a slip collar

The measurement that I require to make your leather handmade slip collar is not the same as a traditional collar. This is due to the way that a leather slip collar fits on your dog. As a slip collar does not open it needs to be able to pass completely over your dog's head without pinching or rubbing.

To measure you will need;

  • A fabric tape measure,

  • and your dog of course!

Simply take your tape and measure around the largest part of your dog's head....

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Measuring for the Perfect Fit!

Posted by Simon Harrison on Friday, June 20, 2014, In : News 

Measuring your dog for a Handmade Leather Dog Collar from Oakside Saddlery couldn't be easier!

Method 2

Using your dogs existing collar to measure for your new handmade Leather Dog Collar. You will need the following items;

  • Your dog's collar.

  • A fabric tape measure or other ruler.

How To

Before removing your dog's collar check the fit and note which hole that the collar is buckled to.

  • Remove the collar and lay it flat.

  • Lay your measure alongside the collar.

  • Take the measurement from the inside of the o...

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Measuring For The Perfect Fit

Posted by Simon Harrison on Tuesday, June 17, 2014, In : News 

To measure your dog for your new Handmade Leather Dog Collar from Oakside is quite simple really.

Method 1

You will need the following items;

  • A fabric tape measure (this can be in inches or centimetres)

  • Two fingers

  • And your dog

Hopefully you have all three of these otherwise you may have to improvise!

Place the fabric tape around your dogs neck where the collar will go. The tape needs to have enough slack to easily slide two fingers underneath it. This is the size of the collar that you should order...

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Introduction from Simon

Posted by Simon Harrison on Saturday, May 24, 2014, In : News 
Hi all,

My name is Simon, I am the Cordwainer at Oakside. My two websites are and I specialise in hand stitching heavy English Bridle leather and making bespoke leather dog collars and leads, horse bridles and hand made leather Belts.

I hope to be able to use this blog to inform you about some of the products that I make, give you an insight into leather and the skills that I use, and to also provide some advice to help you make an informed deci...
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Simon Harrison Cordwainer at Oakside Saddlery Handmade, bespoke leather Made in England. Leather Collars and Leads for your Dog, Handmade, made to Measure Leather Belts, Leather camera straps, Leather briefcases and messenger bags, watch straps, And Leather rifle slings for Field Sports. All made in the Traditional Hand-stitched way


Simon Harrison

Oakside Saddlery

67 Windmill Rise



ME12 3QA

United Kingdom


Contact Me