Let me tell you the whole story: After six weeks I found myself sitting outside Linden Police station, room A05,
with my license card in my hand slowly
checking every detail before I could crack
a smile and breathe a sigh of relief. I had
just received my license for Musgrave
375 H&H Deluxe - 22 inch barrel, deluxe
stock, Winchester style safety topped
with a Zeiss Duralyt telescopic sight. As
with these journeys the acquisition of the
rifle is just the first step in the process
and I was now looking for a rifle sling
that would do justice to the rifle and
compliment the craftsmanship that is
synonymous with Musgrave Rifles.
It was purely by chance that I stumbled across the Facebook page of NAVA LEATHER and the uniqueness and craftsmanship of their rifle slings appealed to me. NAVA LEATHER is owned by Didi Otto and is based in Standerton.
Didi’s creativity comes from her parents. Art, leather work and woodwork has always been a part of her life and her mother Sonja van Dyk is an accomplished artist painting with oils on canvas. Didi’s entry into the Leather industry did not come from the unique rifle slings that she produces but in the form of dog collars. She got her first Whippet (a medium sight hound) four years ago and heard about these beautiful leather collars that you could get for them. Her Whippet won a photographic competition and the prize was a handcrafted leather collar from Spain and since then Didi has not looked back she now exports these collars overseas. Nava is Hebrew for Beautiful or pleasant and these words aptly describe the product she produces.
Rifle sling manufacturing came about when Didi’s husband inherited a Lyttelton Musgrave .308 Winchester and he needed a new sling. She tackled the task with the same level of creativity and her “never compromise on quality” attitude has led to her rifle slings becoming an extension of her product offering. Didi sources the finest first grade leather from Oasis Tannery and apart from the laser engraved logo’s the entire sling is handmade. From cutting the veg leather and the treatment thereof with special oils as Didi puts it “you have to remember you are working with skin and you have to treat it as such”, stamping, tooling, staining and using the traditional hand saddle stitching method with two needles to assemble the sling, puts the production time per sling at 5 to 10 days.
The braiding is Cobra style and is unique to NAVA rifles slings and is seen as their signature item. The manufacturing process is very interesting:
In (fig1) you see the template that will be emailed to you where you can layout your sling. For my purpose I left the creative side up to Didi and on a blank she sets up the type for the stamping and that allows her to work out the measurements before cutting starts.
In (fig2) the sling is cut out of the veg leather.
In (fig3 and Fig 4) the edging is completed and the stitching holes are prepared.
In (fig 6 and fig 7) the stamping is done and the riempies are cut.
In (fig.8 and 9) the riempies are stained and the logo is mapped for laser engraving.
In (fig.10) the staining is done it is important here that you send her a picture of your rifle stock this allows her to match the colour of the sling to the colour of your stock.
In (fig. 11) the Cobra braid is completed.
In (fig.12) the laser engraved logo is saddle stitched to the sling and the saddle stitching process is depicted in (fig.13) in (fig .14) you get the full effect of the braiding.
As mentioned earlier the process takes 5 to 10 days depending on what your requirements are and this allows Didi the time
to ensure that you are shipped a top quality affordable unique creation. Didi Otto can be contacted on email: email@example.com or through her Facebook page: www.facebook.com/NAVAleather.com.
Greetings to all GearTester friends in Germany! All the best from South Africa, Andrew!