leatherwork

How to Make a Clutch Wallet

In this video I show you how to make a clutch wallet.  These wallets are a great item for rookie leather craftsmen as well as the experienced.  There are many variations that can be made from this simple design.

I walk you through my entire process of creating one of these popular wallets.

These are great gift ideas for the woman in your life or to offer to your customers who are wanting to give that special everyday carry gift.

Clutch Wallet Companion Pack Available

If you would like to make one of these yourself and would prefer to use my patterns, then you can purchase the Companion Pattern Pack that goes along with this video.

This pattern pack is an INSTANT DOWNLOAD PDF that includes all the cut patterns and 8 different tooling patterns.  The patterns have all the line up marks and hole patterns that you need to accomplish this build with ease. 

Useful Companion Links for this video

As mentioned in the video here is the link to the video that we did on Slicking Edges… so if you haven’t viewed this video and need help with slicking edges then check this video out.  There is also a blog article that I wrote on this as well and you can check that out by Clicking Here.

If you would like to make a neat gift set using this wallet, then I would suggest pairing this wallet with a Wristlet Purse which would make a really cool gift set.  You can see how I build one of these by watching our Wristlet Purse Video.

Here are some other useful links for supplies and other tools you may find interesting:

http://makersleathersupply.com/

https://www.leathermachineco.com/

http://www.barrykingtools.com/

https://www.panhandleleather.com/

Leather Sewing Machine Best Practices

Sewing leather is by far the most common task that we have in our leather shops.  Whether you are hand sewing everything, or using a leather sewing machine, you will have to sew leather on just about every project.  In this post, I share the first of a three part video series on leather sewing machine best practices with the hopes of helping you become more efficient and safe while using an electric sewing machine.

When I started doing leather work, I didn’t have a leather sewing machine and spent many hours hand sewing my projects.  Though this is not the most efficient way to complete projects, I do believe that it is very important to become proficient at this skill.  So if you are still in the hand stitching stage of your leatherworking journey, don’t fret!  You are at a very important stage and learning this skill will serve you well for the rest of your leather career.  But when the time comes when you can upgrade to an electric sewing machine, I would highly recommend adding this piece of equipment to your shop.

When it comes to investing into a leather sewing machine, or any leather machine, I recommend doing your research and taking your time to get the best machine available and that your budget will allow.  I researched for the last year or so because I was wanting to upgrade my big harness stitcher (Ferdco Pro 2000) after 15 years of service in my shop.  The machine still stitches very well, but I didn’t want to just wait until it broke before having a backup.  As for me, I am a full time craftsman and I have to be prepared and can not chance not having a machine to sew on if my machine quit on me.

leather sewing machineSo after my research and talking to many people about the machines that they recommend (since my machine is no longer available), the machine that kept coming up in conversation was the Cobra Class 4 leather sewing machine from Leather Machine Co.  I spent some time on their website as well as visiting with Aaron Heizer at Maker’s Leather Supply (he is a dealer) and found many things about the machine that I really liked.  Soon this was the machine that I decided on and the machine that I was recommending to anyone that asked.

All of my fellow craftsmen that had this machine had nothing but good things to say about the machine and I even had one good friend that told me if I bought the machine and didn’t like it, he would buy it from me at full price and then he would have two… and this friend isn’t one that “falls in love” easily!  That confirmed it for me.

In January of 2018 I received my Cobra Class 4 and after setting it up in my shop I was in very pleased.  The machine performs better than I could of imagined and so far we are getting along great!

So in this video, not only will I be showing you some basic sewing machine processes that I use on a daily basis, but I also do a full review of this machine.  I also point out some safety tips as well.  The machine is now the new work horse in my shop and I show you why.

If you aren’t already, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel so that you will be notified when the next video in this series is posted and if you like the video hit that thumbs up!

If you are looking into getting your first leather sewing machine, or are wanting to upgrade your current machine, check out Leather Machine Co. or give Aaron a call at Maker’s Leather Supply and they can answer any questions that you might have and the different machines they have to offer.

How To Make a Wristlet Purse

Our newest video on our YouTube channel shows you How To Make a Wristlet Purse.  I have had many questions about some good projects for using up the piles of scrap leather that we all generate in our shops.  Whether you are a hobbyist or a professional saddle maker, you probably have leather pieces in a box under a workbench that you saved for that special project.

Well, here is that special project!  I am the farthest thing from a professional bag/purse maker, but in this video I show you a simple wristlet purse that I designed that I believe is fairly simple to assemble and has a lot of potential.  I have found that when it comes to making purses, options and coordinating different colors, leathers, exotics, fringe, conchos, etc is key for them to sell well.

The patterns for this purse can be adjusted extremely easy to suit any taste and you can add different features to it to create a unique design for that special person or customer in your life.

There is a Companion Pack for this video that includes all the cut patterns as well as 12 different tooling patterns.  If you would like to have a copy of the patterns that I designed as well as the tooling patterns, then you can purchase those by CLICKING HERE.

I hope that you enjoy the video and if you haven’t already be sure and subscribe to the channel while you’re there… lots of great content coming this year so don’t miss out!

How to Slick Edges on Leather

I have already written an article here on how to slick edges on leather, but in this blog post I want to share a video that I did that goes a little more in depth on slicking edges on leather.

If you have done any amount of leather work at all, then you have experienced the chore of finishing your edges on your various projects.  If you find this task time consuming and boring, then you are not alone.  This is probably the one task in all my projects that I do not love (actually dislike) the most when it comes to making anything out of leather.  But, at the end of the day, if you are going to do leatherwork and want to have a professional look about your work then you must properly slick and finish your edges.

If you want to go back and read the first article that I wrote on this topic then you are welcome to do that before watching this video, as it provides you with a great list of tools and supplies that you will need for my slicking process.  You can find that article HERE.

There are certainly many ways to accomplish the professional edges that you are looking for in your work and this is certainly not the only way to do this.  This is simply the best way that I have found to finish my edges.  This process was taught to me through years of studying best practices of some of the finest craftsman that I have ever had the oppurtunity to work with and learn from.  And to them I say thank you for passing down this bit of knowledge that I am going to pass down to you here.

I hope you enjoy this video and if you find it helpful, I would love to have you become a part of our Leatherhead community by subscribing to our Youtube channel as well as signing up for our Leathercraft Newsletter that goes out once a month!  You can subscribe to the newsletter at the end of this article by simply plugging in your email address.

 

How to Make a Doctoring Saddle Bag

If you have been dabbling in leatherwork for a short period of time, or have been cutting your teeth in the leather industry for decades, then you have had someone ask you to make a doctoring saddle bag before.

These bags are fun at times and other times they can be a very challenging project to complete.  This is mainly due to the particular requests from the dayhand cowboy that is ordering it.  Every cowboy is unique and particular of how his gear is arranged in the tack room, how his horses handle, and how his doctoring bag is designed.  No two cowboys are alike and that can pose a challenge when designing one of these bags.

In this Quick Tutorial Video on our Youtube channel I show you how I approached this particular request we had this week in the shop.  This is by no means the only way to make this type of doctoring bag, but it is how I took a sketch and turned it into a useful tool for my customer.

Check out this video and see if this is something you would like to try and make.  If you like the design that I created here, then you can purchase the pattern pack that goes with this video by clicking HERE. Continue reading

Drawing Flowers and Leaves

Drawing flowers and leaves can be challenging at times.  There are so many different variations that can be adapted and designed to fit the particular look that you are looking for within a pattern.  It is very easy to get in the habit of using the same flower and leaf combination in all of your designs, especially if they work well and you can draw them quickly.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with using only a few different combinations of these elements in the majority of your designs and this usually will lead an artist to develop his particular style.  The thing that I want to challenge you to do is to work on at least stretching your skill set in designing some new ones from time to time.

In this article I will show you my process for brainstorming new designs and how I use the process within my pattern layouts.  Designing a new flower and leaf combination can lead you to discover a completely new style within your work.  This is also a great way to rediscover some of those older ideas you had and make them work a little better now.

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Leather Floral Designs and Flow

If you have been involved in leather tooling for any length of time, you hear people talk about “Flow.”  Many of us understand the premise behind the flow of leather floral designs, and many times we think we know what that means.  But for some of us, we simply do not truly understand the concept of flow.

This article is a summary of the concept of “Flow”  from our eBook “Introduction to Leather Floral Design” that I wrote in 2017.

Defining Flow

For me “Flow” has always meant simply that whatever I draw within a pattern it should have the sense of movement and seem to be going somewhere and coming from some place. 

This seems simple enough right?

When we are laying out a pattern within the boundaries of the item or the tooling window, we have to take into consideration first where we are going and second where we are coming from.  These are the first two questions that I ask myself when I begin my layout.

Once we have a piece laid out in front of us and have determined the answers to these two questions, now we can determine the steps that we have to take to maintain the flow of the pattern.  The flow of leather floral designs is not something that can be miscalculated because you chose the wrong direction.  In floral layout, left to right or right to left is independent of flow.  This means that we can have flow within the pattern no matter if one direction looks better than the other.

The flow of a pattern is set by deciding on a direction and taking the viewer on that journey without interruptions.  Once the direction is decided, then the pattern layout is now bound by those directional choices as we begin layout.  Decisions must be made according to the direction we have chosen.

I see flow as my ability, as the viewer, to hop onto any point within a pattern with my eye and follow the pattern all the way through the piece.  If I hit a spot within the pattern that dead ends and I am left with no place to go, then the flow has ended.  There are times when this is appropriate but for now let’s just agree that we would rather not see this.

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Making a Leather Portfolio

I have had a lot of request for more videos on our YouTube channel that show projects from start to finish.  This video shows the complete process of making a leather portfolio.  These leather portfolios have been great projects for me over the years and they have so much room for customization.

Even during this age of digital organizers, cell phones and apps that help business stay on track, many people continue to use a legal pad and pens to conduct and keep track of daily activities.  The other thing that keeps customers ordering these items is that they tend to catch a lot of eyes.  Walk into a board meeting, have lunch with a client or have one of these on your console when showing properties to a home buyer and you are sure to start a conversation.

My goal with this post and video is to show my process and how I approach making a legal pad portfolio.  There are many different ways to create these and many different styles and sizes, all of which accomplish the same end result.  This video is simply the process that I have found that works best for me.

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Undercuts in Floral Tooling

Leather stamping tools can be somewhat overwhelming when you look at all the different brands, styles and types that are available from all the different producers.  Then you try to figure out which tools you actually need versus the ones that are just nice to have.  There seems to be an infinite amount of choices in the “nice to have” category.  While there are many stamping tools that fall into the “nice to have” category, Undercuts are not one of these.

In my opinion, undercuts belong in the “must have” category for any tool collection.  I have seen many collections where the maker simply made his own version of undercuts but the fact is that he had a set.  Much like a beveler, the undercut is one of those tools that can make your job smooth or the lack of them can hinder your tooling progression.

In this article we will discuss the purpose of undercuts along with some of the ways to modify them to make them unique to your style of tooling.  If you have watched my video on My Tool Rollthen you have seen the types of undercuts that I use and the different sizes. Continue reading