Author Archives: don Gonzales

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/

How to Basket Stamp a Leather Belt Quickly

We posted a video to our YouTube Channel on “How to Basket Stamp a Leather Belt Quickly.”  If you are new to leatherwork then you most likely have already given one of these a go.

When most of us start out in leathercraft, we quickly come up with the notion that we want to make a belt.  Belts are one of those items that everyone uses.  And, for the most part, the majority of these items are still made from leather.  No matter if you are a businessman, a waitress, a lawyer, or a burly Harley riding biker… we all need something to repel the effects of gravity on our pants. Continue reading

Your Dollars Should Work to Strengthen Your Business

For the majority of us in Leathercraft, we absolutely love what we do.  But, if you are like me, you probably don’t love working on the financial side of your business.  If you want to strengthen your business, then the financial aspect of the business has to be discussed.

Tell me if this sounds familiar to you in your life or your business:

You have been working hard on a big project and you are wrapping it up.  Oh boy, now time to have it picked up and get that big check and feel the relief of cash flow coming into your business.  Time to pay yourself and payoff those material bills that you have been piling up over the course of this project. Happy Days!

After the customer leaves with his beautiful project in his hands and his check in your hands, you feel a sense of accomplishment. You know that you have lived to fight another day and your shop thanks you.

After the deposit is made into your bank account and all the checks to your suppliers are written and mailed out, you now look to see what great amount you will be “taking home” to enjoy.  

Suddenly you realize looking at your account and books that you have very little, or none, left for yourself.  WHAT?  How can that be?  

“I bid the job correctly… I think.”

“I didn’t buy more material than I needed for this job… did I?”

“I should have more money than this, what happened?” Continue reading

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.

Continue reading