A Simple Method for Making a Leather Cylinder

Copyright 2009 by James P. Riser

I have been asked by a number of magicians for a simple method for making a leather cylinder for the Cylinder and Coins effect. The method described here is not the best way to make a leather cylinder but the cylinder can be made without requiring a patcher sewing machine and several different thicknesses of leather. This method should be doable for the magician who would like to try out the effect to see if it might fit into the performer's style without spending a lot on a well made cylinder. This cylinder will last a long time.


The equipment used to make the leather cylinder or tube is

shown here. A self-sealing cutting board and its cutter, a metal straight

edge, a scrap piece of leather, and a mandrel are enough to do the task

at hand. I used a 3" length of delrin rod for my mandrel but the

correct size of old pill bottle will work fine.

This cylinder is for half dollars so the mandrel is 1 1/4" in diameter.


The first step is to get a good straight edge on the leather.


This piece is next squared off and then cut into a 2 1/2" wide strip.


This leather strip is cut to length so that it just wraps around the mandrel. It is held in place with tape.


Next the leather was wrapped with #69 nylon thread to squeeze the leather joint together.


A drop of super glue was applied to secure the joints.

Please notice that I wanted a cylinder with the smooth leather side on both the inside and outside of the cylionder. I wrapped the leather with the smooth side against the mandrel. An advantage of using delrin for the mandrel is that the super glue will not sitck to it.

The tape was removed, super glue applied to the areas that were under the tape, and all was wrapped again.


Another strip of leather was cut 2 1/2" wide. This strip was cut to length to wrap around the inner layer of leather.

Note: The two seams in the leather layers are opposite each other.


The leather was glued on to the first layer (rough side to rough side) then wrapped with thread.


Here is the cylinder (before oiling) next to its mandrel and coin stack.


This shows the smooth inside seam and how well the coins fit.


The leather cylinder was given a coating of oil both inside and outside.

The cylinder is to be stored and transported with its delrin mandrel inside to prevent

getting smashed.

The glue will dry a little darker than shown here or can be colored with

a permanent marker to match the rest of the leather.

The seam may be left as is or may be hand stitched with a baseball stitch if desired.




If you want to have some fun with the cylinder, it could be decorated to appear to be a neckerchief slide made by a niece at camp. If this is done and the performer looks at the tube while asking the spectators "Would you wear this?", all will momentarily look at the tube (hint, hint).

Here is another quick and easy cylinder that I first made way back in the mid 1960's while in college and cash challenged. It is a double reverse spiral tube.

I always called it "The Radiator Hose".

Half inch wide leather strap is wrapped around the mandrel and glued at the seams.



Next a second strap is wound and fully glued down to the first layer of strapping.

This second strap is wound the reverse direction of the first strap for strength.



When the ends are trimmed up, it resembles a radiator hose but works just fine with the coin stack.

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