Bowling Green resident builds set of armor

Bryce Booher takes pride in his leather working business and uses his skills for freelance opportunities. “I started when I was 13 year’s old at a Boy Scouts summer camp. Last year I started to take it further by taking classes and acquiring my own set of tools; since then leather working has become a fulfilling hobby where I can apply my skills to create whatever my imagination can conceive,” Booher said.

Laurel Deppen

Bryce Booher, a student at Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College, has a passion for working with leather.

Booher connected his interest in leatherworking to his great uncle who currently has a private shop where he builds supplies for horses such as saddles and harnesses. Booher said he learned a lot of his skills from his great uncle.

Booher described his craft as making useful stuff. He said he enjoys leatherworking so much because he is able to make functional and useful items. He made his first piece, a belt, at a scouting camp when he was 13. He has made several other types of items including key fobs, bookmarks, cellphone cases and wallets. Booher’s largest work is a full set of armor.

During a trip to Utah, Booher said he stopped by a leather store where he met a man who owned a business that sold armor. He said that after talking with the owner, he took leather armor crafting lessons with him.

Making armor wasn’t a new concept for Booher. He said he’d made a metal set of armor in the past.

Booher’s leather armor set includes about 10 parts, including a helmet, which he said he was the proudest of. He called the helmet an afterthought, but he said the piece felt “weird” or incomplete without it.

“That was the thing that I thought turned out to be the coolest of everything,” Booher said. “It’s the one that I enjoy looking at most.”

Booher said the armor was not made to represent a style from any particular time in history, but it was based off of pieces of fantasy fiction including “Lord of the Rings,” a series Booher said he was a fan of.

Booher said the piece took about 70 hours to make, not including the time it took him to make the patterns for the leather.

Booher is a member of the South Central Leathercrafters Guild. According to its website, the organization’s goal is to promote leathercraft while promoting its members and encouraging people to try it.

Booher said he found a sense of comradery with people who work with leather. He said he’s able to identify people who share his dedication to the craft.

“It’s specialized enough that you’re not going to find it walking down the street so much,” he said. “But the amount of people who have had an amount of experience in it makes it feel general in a way that you’re not alone.”

Ben Williamson said he has been friends with Booher for about two years. Though he doesn’t practice leatherworking, Williamson and Booher have a common interest in armor, as Williamson works with metal.

Williamson was a member of a group that Booher said helped him get started practicing his craft.

“It was a little group for guys who had trouble getting up and doing things that they’ve always wanted to do, but they always sit on the couch instead,” Booher said.

Williamson said he offered Booher encouragement to pursue what he wanted. Williamson described him as motivated but he just needed that “little push” to get it done.

Booher has plans of making a second set of armor that he intends to sell if it’s successful.

“[Leatherworking is] one of the few areas of my life where I can take something that I imagine up and bring it into existence,” he said. “With leather, that’s where I found my greatest capacity to take what I design and think up and create it. That’s one of the draws for me and why I continue to keep up with it and learn more. It’s one of the things that brings me satisfaction whenever I look at what I’ve made or can make and have it be useful.”

Features reporter Laurel Deppen can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected]