Dog Show Lead, Leash & Collar Material Calculations using Kangaroo lacing
Calculating the amount of leather and core needed for a show lead, leash, or collar can seem daunting, but with a little bit of math, you can figure it out in no time. Keep in mind that the following method is just one way to do it, and there may be other methods and calculations. There are minor factors that can effect how much lace is taken up but this should be a good start and you can fine tune to your own needs.
For a smooth round braid, you will need four (beveled and preferably split) laces and a core. The thickness of your core should match your lace width or be slightly smaller and have no stretch for the best results. UHMWPE Braided Cord, Dacron or trophy fishing line are good no stretch options. You can use more than 1 strand if needed to account for the thickness desired.
Your typical show lead and collar uses 3mm lacing. Wider lacing can be used for heavy pullers or giant breeds or used in obedience leads, fast cat leads and traditional walking leads/collars as well as braided horse reigns. It is still soft, supple and flexible in your hand as long as it is beveled and preferably split.
To start, figure out the finished length of your desired project. Then, add 12 inches to that length for a show lead or leash that has a handle and loop or clip end and this is how long your 'core' should be. If you are making a collar, add 8 inches to the desired length.
For example, if you want a 36-inch lead, add 12 inches to get 48 inches. If you are making a collar, add 8 inches to the desired length.
We have core for 2.5 mm & 3mm lacing on our show lead supply page. We currently do not carry core for 5 and 6mm as what we used to use was discontinued by the manufacturer and we are seeking a alternative.
Now, calculate the leather length needed for each lace. In this example, for a 36-inch show lead, you would need 72 inches of leather for each lace. It's always a good idea to add a few extra inches to be safe, as the amount of leather taken up in the braid can vary depending on the core thickness, thickness of the lacing and the braider's personal technique and tightness of the braid.
Keep in mind that these calculations may vary depending on the type of braid, core thickness, and personal technique, so it's always a good idea to double-check your measurements. You can do a 1 inch test braid with some scrap, then undo the lace and see how much was used to get a better calculation. This test method can be used to calculate buckstitching as well.
Quick Cheat Sheet
10" Collar-27" Each lace
12" Collar-30" Each lace
18" Collar-39" each lace
24" Collar-48" Each Lace
Show Lead with Handle and Loop/Clip end
24" Lead Each lace 54"
36" Lead-Each Lace 72"
48" Lead-Each Lace 90"
For more information and braiding tutorials, check out our Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/ShowLeadMaking/.