I was first introduced to leather work as a child. My family had just bought a house in Phoenix and the previous owner left a very large box of leather tools. Come to find out my mother had worked in leather when she was growing up. Taught by her mother she thought it would be something my brothers and I may be interested in. I remember making my grandfather a wallet he was very proud of. In the late eighties I did auto upholstery for a while. This knowledge along with the leather crafting hobby, and a tax return check, eventually turned into Duane Ballard Custom Leather. For years I did it along with a full time job. As the word spread it came to a point where I was working more on leather projects than my regular Job. After about two years of trying to keep up with both, my wife and I decided I should quit working for someone else and see how this leather thing panned out. Never in my wildest imagination would I of thought it could be where it is today. I’ve been lucky enough to be asked to do the leather work on bikes for the Biker Build off series, Sacred Steel Bikes, Count’s Kustoms Counting Cars, featured on American Thunder, countless magazine feature and cover bikes, and have done work for most of the top custom shops in the world. Most of all I’m proud of all the guys building their bikes at home that have asked me to be a part of their project. Most people may build one bike in their life and to be asked to be a small part of that is an honor.
Over the past few years I’ve been asked to make wallets, purses, belts, bags, gauntlets, etc. for riders. That has crossed over into making them for people that have no idea most of my work was motorcycle related. I’ve done panels for art shows and hand carved purses. I’m working on my first hand carved auto interior as this is written. I guess what it comes down to is I don’t care what I’m making as long as I get to keep doing it.
Another thing I enjoy is my fascination with bikes based on Hondas CB750 SOHC and the Kawasaki KZ1000 motor. I like all motorcycles but I’m drawn to these like nothing else. My first ground up was Funkenstein with a 72 CB750 motor. A few years later I built the Pink Taco with a 76 CB750 motor. These were both guests of Mooneyes at their 2010 show in Yokohama, Japan. It a big deal for me to be the first guest to bring Japanese based bikes to Japan and show them. My latest project is the Kosmosaki. It started life as a 1981 KZ1000 California Highway Patrol bike. I built it for myself after being asked to build a bike for Born Free V. It will also was sent to Yokohama as a guest of Mooneyes in 2014.
Take a look around and hopefully you’ll see something that gives you an idea for an item you would like made. If not drop me an email or give me a call and I’ll do everything I can to turn your ideas into reality.