Leather Handrails


Finnish designers Alvar Aalto and Juhani Pallasmaa believed that; ‘The door handle is the handshake of the building’, and frequently used leather-wrapped handles to create a warm welcome for visitors. We believe that the same principle applies to handrails where leather can bring warmth, interest and texture to the hardworking heart of a building.

 The crafting of leather handrails is a speciality that we pride ourselves in – providing that all-important finishing touch for the senses – and a final piece of handcrafted detail that elevates a design and only gets better with age.

 Three of the most popular styles of handrail that our clients request are; hand box stitched, hand cross stitched and tennis wrapped. Each style requires a different leatherwork technique, borrowed from bookbinding, car trimming and saddlery.

Hand box stitch


A hand box stitch technique is commonly used in bespoke saddle making. This technique takes years of training for a skilled craftsman to perfect as it entails the delft handing of two needles with waxed, braided threads being utilised at the same time. The threads tie the leather together by drawing in the two edges, using the same principle as lacing. This creates a flat but welted effect also found in fine shoe craft, and is a technique that cannot be replicated by machines. Hand stitching is an incredibly strong method of fixing leather to a handrail as the thread is embedded within the leather and reduces the potential for wear.

Hand cross stitch


Hand cross stitching offers a highly decorative stitch effect as the stitch length, pattern and thread can be tailored to suit each individual project. This technique brings a hand-crafted element to an interior project, adding tactility, character and detail to a surface that is often hard and cold. Our clients often prefer to use a contrasting thread to highlight the fact that the handrail has been hand-crafted by skilled craftsmen. This stitch technique is slightly faster than hand box, or pinch, stitching, and therefore more economical. Here, a contrasting thread colour has been used to accentuate the handcrafted technique further. 

Tennis wrap


Borrowed from the minimalist interior architecture of Scandinavia, the tennis wrap handrail is a beautifully material efficient so it’s an economical way of adding the tactile quality of leather to an interior project. This handrail technique takes its name from the style of wrapping tennis rackets, hockey sticks and cricket bats. One edge of the strap is skived down to almost nothing, so that its edge is feathered off, while the other side is either turned or polished, depending on the leather used. This is then wrapped around the rail as you go, giving the illusion of one continuous unbroken strap of leather, which is invisibly joined every few metres on the handrail’s underside. This technique is very efficient since it reduces wastage and provides a natural grip for the user to hold onto.