leatherwork

How to Tool Leather Tooling Patterns – Video #1

In this video series, we will show you the complete tooling of floral leather tooling patterns.  The goal of these videos is to show you my complete tooling process when stamping leather tooling patterns.

This video covers the following tools and the order that I use them in:

-push beveler

-flower centers

-flower center liner

-undercuts (4 different tool sizes- small to large)

-crowners (2 different tool sizes)

There is a FREE PDF for this pattern that you are welcome to download using this link, just enter your email address to confirm access to download a copy to use so that you can follow along with us!

Drawing Vinework in Leather Tooling Patterns

Introduction into February Tooling Floral Theme

For the entire month of February, I want to focus on floral design and tooling.  Everything from drawing leather tooling patterns, carving them, and tooling them.  I want to spend the time using our different platforms to help you improve your tooling and design.

So whether you are a seasoned leatherhead or a rookie, be ready to follow us into this deep subject.  We will not have enough time in one month to cover it all.  We won’t even have enough time to cover a quarter of the subject.  But I hope to shed a little light on the subject and hope that you will find value in it.

Tooling isn’t something that you can just read one book about, watch one youtube video, or spend one weekend in a workshop and become a master at.  Learning to draw leather tooling patterns and to tool them, takes practice and commitment to the idea that you will become a true life long student of the subject.

You have to be okay with the fact that you will never be a finished tooler that requires no more training or growth.  Leather tooling patterns change over time and styles are always on the move.  The tooling designs that you come up with today, will be different than the patterns you design 10 or 20 years from now… even if only slightly.

Designing Vinework in Leather Tooling Patterns

*This is an excerpt from our eBook “Introduction to Leather Floral Design” 

The bulk of leather tooling patterns is the “fill” or vine work that surrounds the flowers and other elements within the pattern. As we talked about in a previous section, this fill determines the direction and flow of all the elements. This is the part of the pattern that is the reason for different elements being where they are in the pattern.

Designing the fill is where the majority of the creativity is shown in your designs. You have the opportunity to be as creative as you would like to be with this area of your patterns. You are free to design the fill in any way that you find fits with your style but you are bound by the rules of direction and flow. This means that as you begin to construct the fill of your pattern, you must be aware of the direction and flow that you decided upon when laying out the framework of your design.

Before we begin trying to construct the fill of any of our leather tooling patterns, we must first understand the different aspects of the vine work that make up the fill. Much like flowers, leaves, and other elements that you will draw, the vine work has certain aspects in their design that need to be understood to design them well for tooling into leather.

Vine Structure

The simple vine structure that is most common is shown in this drawing. As you can see this structure is usually used in conjunction with many of the same in order to create a group of vines moving along a circle or flow line to create the fill.

When we dissect one section of the vine work, we can see that each one of the vine segments is simply a LONG LINE and a SHORT LINE.

The Long Line is the bottom side of the vine and is the part of the vine that gives it its length and its motion.

The Short Line is the top of the vine and the portion of the vine that finishes off the vine. This short line normally intersects the long line of the next vine up the line.

 

 

In this drawing I have drawn the Long Lines in pink and Short Lines in green.

You can see here how the long lines are setting motion from the flower at their tips and curving back towards the layout circle as they get longer.

Each long line is spaced apart taking into consideration the space needed for the short line while considering the size of the background piece that will be left.

If you want more background or less, then you would space the long lines accordingly. If they are closer together, you will have less background. If they are farther apart you will have more background.

After the long lines are in place, the short lines are added in which closes off the vine and separates it from what is to become background.

The long lines are set in place using the layout circle as a guide for their motion. The long lines are not touching the circle as they end. This is to leave space for the next long line to come in. This same concept is used on flow lines as well as we will see next.

This same architecture works on flow lines as well to carry the desired motion of the vine work on a given path.

No matter what side of the flow line the long lines are on, they still work back towards the flow line much the same way they do in a layout circle and do not touch it.

This simple idea of the framework should help you to see the way the majority of vine work is created and why.

Virtually every piece of vine work can be broken down into the two individual pieces that are used to create it… the long line and the short line.

Take a pattern that you have drawn before reading this book and use two different highlighters to highlight the long lines and short lines in your pattern to see what areas of your design you need to work on.

 

 

 

 

Many times there are places in a pattern where there is not quite enough space for two separate vines, yet too much space for only one vine to be there.

This is when two leg and three leg vines come in really handy. These are constructed in much the same way as any other vine.

The three leg vine, as drawn here, has three long lines and three short lines.

This allows you to add a small amount of motion in a tight area as well as gain a glimpse of direction change within the pattern.

A two leg vine would be the same as the three-leg only without the center long and short line in it.

 

 

 

Although Scrolls are technically a part of vine work, I do not consider them a part of the Fill.

These are more of an element in the pattern and we use them as focal points to enhance the balance and motion of the design.

For this reason I do not use the terms Long Line and Short Line when referring to their construction. They would be drawn into the pattern much the same way as a flower or leaf.

I usually decide on their placement in the pattern during the framework or initial lay out of the design. This is to ensure that I have them balanced the way that I want them and in place before I begin adding in my fill.

Once the Scroll is drawn, you can build upon it with your vine work as we have discussed using the scroll as your flow line or guide for flow.

 

Conclusion

The vinework of any floral pattern is, for me, the funnest part of the pattern.  This is where you can let your mind go a little and be as creative as you want.  Outside of the handful of fundamental rules, there are no limits to what you can create within this aspect of the tooling.

If you are just getting started in drawing your own leather tooling patterns, then I would strongly suggest focusing on the vinework in your practice sessions.  Drawing vinework is very often the most challenging part when folks are learning to draw.  Take the time to practice everyday until drawing vinework becomes second nature.  Then you can turn your attention to Drawing Flowers and Leaves.

Did you find this article helpful?  If you would like to go deeper into this subject of drawing your own leather tooling patterns, then get a full copy of our eBook “Introduction to Leather Floral Design.”  Receive a free 5 Day Mini Email Course with your purchase of this digital book. Each day for 5 days, you will receive an email with an exercise that will help you to dive a little deeper into the topics discussed in the book.

How to make a Leather Moleskin Journal Cover

In this video, I show you how to make a leather Moleskin Journal Cover.  I am a HUGE fan of journals and notebooks… to the point that I probably have way too many in the shop.  I have to write everything down or I won’t remember it.

My favorite journals are made by Moleskin.  These journals come in many different sizes as well as types of paper.  This project video shows you how to make a leather cover for my favorite Moleskin notebook.  The exact name the one from Moleskin that I use is “Moleskine Classic Soft Cover Notebook” and the size is 5″ x 8.25″.

These notebook covers are a lot of fun to make and don’t take as much time as other projects.  They also make great gift ideas or products to offer to your customers.

In the video I mentioned our video on slicking edges on leather.  If you missed that video, be sure and check out our video on Slicking Edges.

The patterns for this project are available in a full Companion Pattern Pack that you can DOWNLOAD and print out on your printer.  The pattern pack includes all the cut patterns and lineup marks to help you quickly get into making one of these journal covers.  The pattern pack also includes 6 different floral tooling patterns to help you get started.  Here is the link to the pattern pack if you would like to purchase these:

Moleskin Notebook Companion Pack

*REMEMBER THAT ALL OF OUR PATTERN PACKS ARE INSTANT DOWNLOADS.  We do not mail these out to you, instead you will get an email with links to download and print them out immediately after purchasing.  No waiting on the Post Office!

I hope you enjoyed this video and be sure to check out our other videos.  We have many other project videos, tutorials and quick tips on our channel!  Be sure to Subscribe while your there too!

Sanding Tools for the Leather Shop

When it comes to getting the best possible edges in your work, sanding tools are one of the most important areas to focus on.  Without a well sanded edge on your leather project, you won’t be able to get the smooth finish you are looking for.  Even the best possible cut piece of leather still needs sanding on the edge to prepare the leather to be burnished.

There are many different ways to accomplish the same thing in leather work.  Sanding is no different.  There are antique line finishers, who’s sole purpose is to sand and burnish any leather edge to a high gloss finish… particularly on shoes and boots.  But these machines are heavy and take up a lot of room in a workshop.  There are cabinet finishers that take up much less room and do just as good of a job.  But finding one of these on the used market can be difficult… most folks won’t part with them.  There are even other “powered” machines used in other industries that can accomplish your sanding needs. Continue reading

How to Make a New Style Shave Kit

Last year around this time we created a project video for a shave kit.  That video was for what I call a “bear trap” style shave kit.  In this video I show how to make a new style shave kit.  I wanted a shave kit that wasn’t so big and bulky.  I also wanted one that could hang and this is what I came up with.

I don’t have a good name for this shave kit at this time.  I have just been calling it my “New Style.”  If you watch the video and have any suggestions on a cool name for it, let me know.

Did you try your hand at making the bear trap shave kit?  If you did and you enjoyed it, then this would be a great step up project.  This pattern isn’t extremely complicated, but it does have a few more challenging techniques in it. Continue reading

What Leatherwork Tools do I Keep in my Tool Belt?

Everyone has their own way of organizing their leatherwork tools in their shops. In my shop, I have always worn a tool belt. My tool belt is where I keep my most used tools so that they are always close at hand.

When I am working on a saddle or helping Freddy with a repair job at his bench, I don’t want to have to hunt for my tape measure or knife if I need it. The tool belt allows me to always be prepared and helps me to be more efficient during the day.

Some of the tools in my tool belt are included in a blog article that we wrote called “Top 5 Essential Tools for the beginner Craftsman”

In this video, I show you all the tools that I keep in my tool belt.  These are the tools that I need daily to do my job as efficiently as possible.  Keeping them in a tool belt that I wear in the shop keeps them close at hand.  Check out this video and let me know if you wear a tool belt currently in your shop or if you prefer to keep them on your workbench.

Quick Tip: How to Easily Dye Edges of a Leather Belt

Quick Tip:  How to Easily Dye Edges of a Leather Belt

If you want the complete finished and professional look, then I would recommend that you dye the edges of the leather belt you are working on.  I spent years dyeing the edges of my belts, then didn’t dye them for a few years, and now I am back to dyeing them.  To dye or not to dye is a personal preference.

In this video I show you the easiest way to get the edges of a leather belt dyed.  Without getting it all over your hands and in places you don’t want it on the belt.  Belts can be difficult to dye simply because of their length and that there is less space to hold width wise.

Continue reading

Top 5 Essential Tools for the Beginner in Leathercraft

Leathercraft can be intimidating to the uninitiated.  The tools for the beginner can be hard to decide upon and even more difficult to find.  Since leatherwork is not a common trade skill, many of these tools can not be purchased from local hardware stores.

In this article I hope to give you some assistance in this area.  If you are new to leathercraft and are searching for the most essential tools to add to your workbench, then my hopes are that this blog post is for you.

Here are the Top 5 tools that, I believe, are essential for anyone beginning their leathercraft journey.  No, these are not the tools you will need to accomplish all aspects of leatherwork.  The size and scope of tools for different areas of the craft are vast and almost never ending.  The majority of tools used in leatherwork are subject greatly to personal choice and preferences.  Instead, this is a list of 5 tools that I think are foundational in every aspect of your work.

These tools are simply the tools that a craftsman, at any level, will need on a daily basis to work in this medium.  Some of these tools will seem arbitrary and may already be in your collection.  But this does not lessen their importance.  If you have never worked with leather, then you may not be aware of the attributes of the material, and you will find that these will be the tools most helpful in all of your projects.  Or in the very least, the most used tools on your bench. Continue reading

Quick Tip on Leather Hole Punches

Leather hole punches are an absolute necessity in any leathercraft shop.  No matter the size of your hobby or business, hole punches are a must have. In this video, I give you my recommendations on style of hole punches that I like as well as sizes.  You don’t need to go out and invest a huge amount of money buying all the available sizes of hole punches.  I recommend, and use daily, three sizes and I will show you what those are and why.

The brand of tools in this video, both squeeze punches and drive punches, are all C.S. Osborne tools.

https://www.csosborneleathertools.com/

Our website

https://dgsaddlery.com/