Author Archives: don Gonzales

How to Make an Easy Leather Cast Iron Pot Handle Cover

I cook with a lot of cast iron in my kitchen.  The handles on these old pots and pans get pretty hot, so I came up with a leather cast iron pot handle cover.  These are really easy to make and of course I couldn’t just make them plain… I added a little tooling to them. 

In this video I show you how simple these are to make.  We go through the entire process of making these and what materials I use.    

There is a companion pack available for this project and this one is FREE!  If you would like to make some of these, click the link below and put your email address in the form to get access to this FREE companion pack!  

Click here to get FREE Pattern Pack:  https://dgsaddlery.com/pothandlepattern/  

The companion pack has the simple cut patterns for this project, as well as 8 different floral patterns that you can use to customize your own set of pot handle covers.  These would also make great gifts.  

Here are some helpful links you may also find useful for this project:  

Slicking edges:  https://dgsaddlery.com/how-to-slick-edges-on-leather/ 

Oiling and Antiquing Leather:  https://dgsaddlery.com/how-to-oil-and-antique-tooled-leather-projects/  

Here is a great source for materials and supplies:  https://makersleathersupply.com  

If you are in the market for a Cobra sewing machine then check out either Maker’s Leather Supply or get in contact with Leather Machine Co directly:  https://leathermachineco.com

Four Popular Leather Types and Best Uses in LeatherCraft

There are four main types of leather that we use in leathercraft and saddle shops.  These are Veg Tanned Leather, Chap Leather, Harness Leather, and Latigo Leather.  

In this video, I give a quick run down of each as well as the products and applications I use them for in my shop.  There are many more types of leathers on the market and many more uses for them.  This is just a summary of the main four types that I keep in my shop.    

Leather is the most versatile material on the planet.  There are great variances in tannages as well as applications, so experiment with as many as you can and see what types of leather work best for what you are doing.  

If you are looking for a good source for leather here are some links to some of my favorite suppliers: 

 https://makersleathersupply.com 

https://lewisleathersales.com 

https://panhandleleather.com 

http://www.hermannoakleather.com

 

DG Saddlery is Moving to Moulton, TX

In January of 2004, I took ownership of a small saddle shop off Hwy 21 in Bryan, TX.  I had spent the previous two years working and apprenticing in that shop under the guidance of Jim Plantt.  Jim and I became very good friends and he helped me to begin my saddle making career.  When the opportunity presented itself for the 24 year old me to purchase the business, I thought “Why Not?”

Over the next 16 years, I worked hard to grow the business, build relationships, and above all else, create a quality product and service.  We had our ups and downs as all businesses experience.  I spent 10 years in that location before selling the property in order to downsize a little and focus on my custom work and less on managing a store.

For the past five years or so, I have focused on my saddle list, custom work, and expanding the LeatherCraft Education side of our business.  The latter has become a passion for me that allows me to continue my call of making quality gear as well as passing on the knowledge I have of the craft.  We have been operating all of this from a private studio setting which cut down on the “store management” side of the business.  This gave me more time to focus on my family and my skills.

Much has changed in my life and business over this time.  The greatest change was having my children.  This time has been amazing and I have learned a ton about working to balance all aspects of my life so that I am present as I can be.  It is amazing how a man’s goals change after he becomes a father.

With all that being said, we are relocating our family and Don Gonzales Saddlery to a city that we feel is the best choice for our family and business.  Many of you may already know that I am originally from South Texas.  Although I am from the Corpus Christi area, we are not moving that far south.  We are moving to Moulton, TX which is just about as far south as I want to go.  My mom and dad found this little town while out scouting around for property one weekend.  Dad was planning on retirement from his career and wanted to get off the coast and settle in an area where he could relax and raise a few cows.  They purchased a house there and after retirement they moved in and he set to looking for land.  Unfortunately he wasn’t able to see that through.  We lost dad in 2013.  My mom stayed and we have spent many weekends and holidays there becoming very familiar with the area. Continue reading

Complete DG LeatherCraft March Tooling Series

Our “Tooling Series” videos are back in March!  In this tooling series video, i go through my entire tooling process.  In each video we will work through a certain number of stamping tools to complete the pattern shown in the video.  In March, we are tooling a much requested skull… with a twist… this one is wear an indian headdress.

This series will show techniques for not only floral tooling, but also detail work of tooling a skull as well as getting realistic feathers.  When this pattern is completed, we will do a video showing the paint and dye work on a piece like this.

Take a moment and click the link below to grab your FREE copy of this pattern in a PDF format.  Just enter your email address and you can download and print your copy of this pattern and then tool along with us through this series.  Here is that link to grab the digital pattern for FREE:   https://dgsaddlery.com/marchtoolingseries/ Continue reading

How to Make a Simple Bible Cover

A Leather Bible Cover is probably one of the most popular items that leather craftsmen create for their customers.  They are also one of the most popular projects for a new LeatherHead to test his/her skills when it comes to making a book cover.  Bible covers offer much more room for leather tooling artwork which in turn allows for a lot more customization.

In this video, I show you how I make a simple leather bible cover.  This bible cover has no type of closure nor the use of zippers.  For a very clean and professional looking book cover, you can’t beat this style.

I used an NIV Personal Size Bible that I purchased at Walmart for this project.  The actual size of the Bible was 5.5″ X 8.5″ and the leather front and back panels ended up being 6″ X 9 3/8″ to allow for a comfortable fit.  My spine piece was 2.5″ wide including the 3/4″ allowance on the sides to allow for the thickness of the Bible that I used.  The brand of the Bible was Zondervan.  You can certainly adjust your measurements to fit any Bible or book that you choose to use for this project.

This is probably one of the shortest project videos that we have created.  This should let you know how simple this project is to create.  If you have been searching for the perfect project to offer to your customers or just to make for family or friends, this is the project.  I make this Bible Cover in three pieces which allows for easier use of your scrap leather, but you could certainly make the outside from one solid piece if you prefer. Continue reading

How to Make a Leather Bifold Wallet

This project video is about making a Leather Bifold wallet.  I designed this wallet so that it is fairly easy to assemble with a lot of space to tool.  Leather Wallets are fantastic gifts as well as just items that you can stock up on and sell at anytime.   We sewed one of these and buckstitched one in the video to show a different option of assembly if you don’t have a sewing machine in your shop.  If you have been wanting to make yourself a new wallet for some time, give this video a look and see if this design would work for you. Continue reading

How to make a Pistol Case with Maker’s Leather Supply

pistol caseThe product line at DG Saddlery over the years has included many types of leather goods.  We have designed and created knife scabbards, pistol holsters, belts, home decor, harness, tack and of course saddles.  One type of item that we attempted many times are zippered type bags.  This item not being my area of expertise, we were able to make something that worked but wasn’t at the level that we wanted to create.  Because of this, we as a company many times would stay away from taking orders on any type of zippered bag.

I have recently decided that I would like to finally gain the skill set needed to be able to create projects with zippers incorporated.  We were in Waco, TX recently to make a video with Aaron at Maker’s Leather supply on Sewing Machine Selection.  While we were there, Aaron and I decided to do a collaboration video together building a project.  He came up with the perfect project for our visit.

This video is our collaboration on the making of a pistol case.  This particular pistol case holds two pistols and zips closed.  This was a great project that allowed me to gain more knowledge about installing zippers in bag design. Continue reading

Hand Stitching Leather with an Awl and Two Needles

hand stitchingHand stitching Leather with an awl and two needles is a “must-have” skill set for any aspiring leather craftsman.  This method allows for maximum efficiency when it comes to having to hand stitch any project.

There are many ways to accomplish the same goal, and hand stitching is not any different.  Many people prefer to use a dremel tool with a small drill bit or a set of pricking irons.  These tools work for making the holes when hand stitching, but in my opinion they do not save any time nor create as pretty of a stitch.

In this video, Hand Stitching Leather with and Awl and Two Needles, I show you what I know about hand stitching leather the traditional way.  I prefer this method not for maintaining traditional skill, but more for its efficiency and accuracy when hand stitching leather projects.  This method allows for the best possible stitch and for me I find it to be the quickest method. Continue reading

Basket Stamp Around an Object or Figure the Easy Way

basket stamp leatherLearning to Basket Stamp leather is relatively straightforward and one of the first decorative skills we learn in leatherwork.  This tool and the design that it creates has been around for well over a century and works great to cover a project quickly and easily.

One of the more challenging tasks that come up in some projects is Basket Stamping around a brand, figure or object that is in the middle of a piece.  Many times this can lead to a pattern that becomes off course and just doesn’t seem to work.  This can lead to a project, or at least a piece of it, having to be remade to correct the mistake in the pattern. Continue reading