Making the Best Leather Hand Grips for Pull Ups and CrossFit

In this video I am going to make leather pull up grips to be used for another more active hobby of mine: CrossFit. The hand grips protect your hands while doing pull ups or holding a barbell. If there is not enough callus built up on your hands, then these leather pull up grips are a good leatherworking project for you too. They are not difficult to make but the result is stunning. With these awesome looking hand grips you will rock your CrossFit box every time when you are doing pull ups, also to be used in a regular gym 😉 They are unique and very comfortable, made from black nubuck for the grip and brow dyed vegetable tanned leather for the strap.

Video transcript:

Hello ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Tony Needs Hobbies. My name is Tony and in this video I’m going to show you how to make leather pull up grips like these. Have fun watching.

For this project I prepared a template for an average sized male hand. This can be downloaded for free from my website, First thing that I will do is cutting out the template. On the template there also is a strap width indicator for cutting the strap. I’m not going to use that because I built a leather strap cutter a while ago and I will use that tool to cut the two straps needed for this project. When the template is cut out it will be transferred to cardboard. This gives a more rigid cutting template that I can use multiple times, if needed. The center of the location for the finger holes is marked with an awl and then this cardboard template will be cut. Last step for the template is marking the location of the holes, so they can be easily copied to the flexible leather.

For this project I am going to use two tools that I have made in other videos, one of those being the stitching pony and the other one the leather strap cutter, but I am also going to need to make another tool two punch these 22mm holes. I am going to use a trick that I learned from a Tyler Bell video in which you will need to use a piece of pipe the same diameter of the hole that you want to cut. With a grinder you will make this part really sharp and then you can use it to punch holes.

The diameter of the pipe should ideally match the diameter of your fingers. That’s why I’m going for 22mm outer diameter. This pipe is made out of simple construction steel. It has a low carbon content so unfortunately it cannot be hardened. That has consequences for the punch that I’m making from it. I can put a nice sharp angle on it, but the smaller the angle, the easier it will be blunt after using. For that reason I’m going for a 45 degree angle with the belt sander. Not that sharp, but it will stay sharp enough to cut the six holes. By the way, you can see that the steel has a low carbon content by the lack of sparks during the grinding process.

Here is the result: not very high tech, but definitely sharp enough.

Alright, let’s transfer the pattern to the leather. This is a 2mm thick or 5 ounce piece of black nubuck. With a ballpoint I will transfer the cardboard template twice, once for each hand. The design is symmetrical so you don’t need to flip it.

With a rotary knife I make the first straight part of the cuts and then the slightly curved cuts. I make the round cuts using my freshly sharpened Swiss army knife since it gives me a little bit more precision. I also use this tool to round off the sharp edges and to give it all a more natural look.

Before cutting the holes with the punch that was just made, I put the template back on the grips and use an awl to mark the positions where the holes should be punched. Then I can finally test if the punch creates nice holes. Well, although I’m really pleased with the results, it should have been a little bit sharper as not all the circles came out right away, so I needed to cut them loose. But they are nice and round and I’m happy.

Now let’s move on to the next step for which I will use the strap cutter that I made a while ago. You should definitely check out that video by clicking the link in the top right corner. I adjust the strap cutter to 25mm or 1 inch and cut two straps out of 2mm thick brown dyed veg tan leather. My wrists are 20cm to which I add 7.5cm to come to a final length of 27.5cm. These straps will overlap by roughly 5cm so that they can be secured with snap buttons. The corners are then cut off and as a finishing touch I add my makers mark by clamping 3D printed stamp together with the leather in my bench vise. Doesn’t that look good?

Both parts, that is the grip itself and the strap, are finished so I will glue them together using contact cement and then stitch them using my stitching pony. Be careful because this leather, which is black nubuck by the way, has two sides: the nubuck side and the suede side. The nubuck side is a little softer and the suede side has more grip because of its texture. I prefer that side to be on the inside so when you are doing pull ups you have a little bit more grip.

Probably gluing is the easiest part of this whole process. With some masking tapes I mask the parts of the strap and grip where I don’t want the glue to go. Then I apply contact cement on both parts and let it sit until it looks dry. This takes around five minutes. Then put the two parts together correctly right away and press it together firmly. I repeat this for the other grip and then continue with hand stitching.

I start by making a stitching groove so all the holes will nicely line up. These holes are then punched as straight as possible using this hole punch. The punch is waxed with beeswax to be able to more easily take it out of the leather again. When all the holes are punched, I can start stitching. With the help of my homemade stitching pony this isn’t too difficult. If you want to see other videos of me making a variety of tools for my projects then subscribe to my channel… Let’s continue stitching. It takes a while but I am definitely getting faster and the stitching lines are looking more regular every project. This is my best looking stitching work yet! Finish it off by melting the nylon thread and rubbing it flat with the back of the lighter.

Finally, the last step, which is installing the snap buttons. With an awl I mark the locations where they will go and with hole pliers I cut the holes for them to go into. Be sure that the distance between the holes is equal so that the holes overlap. With a few blows of the mallet, these beautiful pull up grips are finished.

These grips feel fantastic and look just awesome and they will definitely protect my hands while doing pull ups in the gym. I hope you have enjoyed watching this video and if you did then definitely let me know by hitting that like button. And please also consider subscribing to this channel for more videos like this in the future. That’s it for now. I would like to thank you for watching.

Bye, bye!

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.