The “Lost Trade” Podcast is Live

We have spent the last 2 years researching, debating, and researching some more.  We finally made a decision and today we officially launched our newest addition to the content services that we offer to the western gear making community.

The “Lost Trade” Podcast is now available on Apple podcast as well as Spotify!

This is an interview style show where we will visit with craftsmen from all different areas of the western lifestyle industry.  Our main focus will be those men and women that work daily to hone their skills for the purpose of creating gear and accessories for cowboys and cowgirls.  We will also mix it up with artists, suppliers and business leaders that help to supply the industry and keep it flourishing.

We settled on the name “Lost Trade” as a hat tip of sorts to the all too common statement made to all of us as craftsmen when someone finds out what we do for a living.  How can something be “lost” if we are doing it everyday to provide for ourselves and our families?

Our hopes with this podcast is that it will do its part to shed light on western lifestyle industries that are thriving and very much in demand… far from being “lost.”  Along with that, it will introduce and promote the men and women who have spent years working to improve their particular skill set and have made a space for themselves to be successful in a niche that is known only to those cowboys and cowgirls who need them.

You can listen now to “Lost Trade” on your phone or using the players below.  We have two episodes up as of now and more episodes with amazing craftsmen coming soon.  Thank you to everyone who supported this decision and lets see where this goes from here.

How to Make Leather Knife Sheaths

This project video is one that I should have made a long time ago.  One of the best selling items we have ever made in the saddle shop has been our fold over knife sheaths.  In this video, I show you how to make these from start to finish.

If you are looking for a project that doesn’t use a lot of leather and goes together quickly then this is it.  This is also a great way to use up the scrap leather that may be accumulating in the corners of your workshop.  Floral tooled, geometric tooled, dyed, painted and even plain leather, these items will become one of your most popular selling items.

I have developed a set of patterns to use when making these that will cut out all the fitting issues for most knives.  My pattern uses the tooling window to size the finished sheath to fit a particular knife.  If you would like to purchase the digital companion pattern pack for this video, then CLICK HERE and you can purchase that from us.  This is a digital PDF file that you will download and print the patterns out on your own printer.  Along with the cut pattern for the shealth and the three different size tooling windows that I use in my shop, you will also get 6 different floral tooling patterns for each of the three different windows.  That is 18 different patterns to choose from.

Looking for a good source for Herman Oak leather?  Visit our friends at Maker’s Leather Supply as they are a Herman Oak dealer and can help you get the leather and any other supplies that you may need.

How to Make a Leather Money Clip Wallet

This Project video shows you how to make a leather money clip wallet.  These have always been one of our most popular items to make and sell in our store.  Everyone loves a cool leather wallet.  

This particular style is compact and designed to be carried in the front pocket.  It features a single pocket on each side inside the wallet for a few cards as well as a wire money clip for cash.  I mention in the video that I prefer to use a spring style money clip that is a little more professional looking.  

Here is the link to the clip that I get from Springfield Leather in Missouri CLICK HERE.

If you are looking for a great use of scrap leather as well as an item that you can make really quickly, then this is it.  I would recommend making these by the 1/2 to full dozen.  They are great sellers! 

I have a Companion Pattern Pack available if you would like to purchase that.  THE PATTERN PACK IS A PDF FILE THAT YOU DOWNLOAD AND PRINT OUT ON YOU OWN PRINTER.  That means that you will have instant access and can get to making some of these right away!  The pattern includes the cut patterns for the liner, body and pocket as well as an optional pocket if you would rather have the cards come out of the center of the wallet.  There are also 12 different tooling patterns included in the pack as well.  This will give you endless options for any customer wanting one of these from you.    

If you would like to purchase the pattern pack CLICK HERE. 

If you are looking for a knowledgeable group of folks to get Herman Oak Leather from for this project, check out our friends over at Maker’s Leather Supply:   

For all your sewing machine needs and the place where I will be getting my next machine to replace the old Singer Machine in this video,  visit our friends at Leather Machine Co.   


 

The Best Xacto Knife and a New Awesome Purse Zipper

Are you looking for the best Xacto Knife to use on your leather craft projects?  I have used a large barreled Xacto knife handle for years.  I get a ton of questions and emails about where I get them and what blades I use in them.  I found a new place to get them and while I was there, I also found some really great purse zippers to use in our shop.  These zippers are really classy looking and in my opinion they look much better than just the normal YKK zippers that we all use.

Why do you need an Xacto Knife

I have been a full time saddle maker and LeatherSlinger for over 15 years.  During that time I have purchased and modified many types of leather craft knives.  All of which served a particular purpose and usually worked well.  But when it comes to what knives I carry in my work belt for everyday use, the Xacto knife is one of the knives I can not function without.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This particular knife handle features a large barrel diameter allowing you to use the injector blades that you use in your safety skiver.  This cuts down on the different razor blades you have to purchase.  The knife handle comes with a sharp point Xacto blade if you prefer to use that (they sell other style blades as well), but I don’t like those blades personally.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every professional craftsman has his/her favorite blade to wield in their shops.  Some might look down upon my little “Crafting” blade, but for me this the best Xacto knife and I use it everyday proudly.

There are many leather projects that require a super sharp and flexible knife to allow you to make those compound curve cuts with ease.  And let’s be honest, unless you are an expert at sharpening knives, using a traditional Round Knife for these cuts can be frustrating… and dangerous at times.  This type of knife is also a fantastic knife for trimming off that excess liner on belts, bags as well as cutting the slot for zippers like we did in our Wristlet Purse Project.

Where to get one

Now that you know my reasons for using this knife so much, where can you get one?

For years, I have purchased these knife handles at Hobby Lobby.  They are not that easy to find, but our Hobby Lobby store usually had them.  I sent many LeatherHeads to Hobby Lobby to get them and many times their store didn’t have them in stock.  I don’t know if this is a special item that they only get occasionally or if maybe only some stores carry them.

Whatever the reason, I needed to find a reliable resource to refer customers to so that they can pick one of these up.  Of course Amazon won this race again.  Here is my affiliate link (I get a few pennies if you buy using this link) to the exact Xacto knife that I use in my shop:  https://amzn.to/2QMJ0ya

Disclaimer:  This particular knife has not been in many of my past videos.  I go through one of these knives about ever other year… the end wears out and gets to where it will not tighten on the blade real well over time so I have to throw them and get another one.  The last time mine wore out, I could only find the off brand one I have been using in most of the recent videos… I didn’t like it as much as the Xacto brand that I am referring you to here.  The Xacto brand knife is better in my opinion.  I threw my old knife away when these new ones came in and so now I’m back with the one I like!

Amazon is a great resource for easily finding tools and supplies that may be hard to find depending on where you live.  Plus you don’t have to wear a mask and social distance when shopping on Amazon so I prefer that route anytime that I can.  But if you have a Hobby Lobby or craft store in your area, check there first.  Just make sure you find the large barrel Xacto (or any other brand) knife handle so that the injector blades will fit in there.

No matter where you decide to get one of these knife handles, you will find this to be one of your most used knives in your workshop.

Be careful cutting compound curves or real tight curves with an injector blade in this handle.  These blades will curve and bend beautifully as you make curved cuts, but they will break if you bend them too tightly.  This can cause the broken piece of the blade to fly out and it could hit you in the face or eye.  Use caution in tight areas and just be mindful… the blades don’t care if they cut leather or your skin, it’s a knife. 

My New Favorite Purse Zipper

While I was rambling around in my Amazon app, hunting these knife handles, I ran across maybe the coolest zippers for purse projects.  If you have made our Round Crossbody Purse or the Wristlet purse mentioned above, then you know that we use a 9″ zipper for the closure.  I wanted to find a style of zipper that had a little more pizazz than the normal bright brass zipper.

Let me introduce you to my new favorite zipper for purses…

I really like the antiqued brass finish because it isn’t so bright and shiny and it seems to look a lot better on a tooled leather purse.

Here is my amazon affiliate link for this zipper if you want to purchase them and give them a shot:  https://amzn.to/2EMfBlr

 

 

 

 

 

I also love the ring style zipper pull.  This allows for much easier access when opening the purse as well as a great place to make a leather pull.  I think these two features make this zipper perfect for any purse project.  The only trick is finding antique brass hardware to match the zipper.  I recommend Ohio Travel Bag company since they have tons of hardware available in this finish.

 

Conclusion

I hope that you can find a use for these two items in your shop.  The main purpose of this blog post was to pass along the info on the best Xacto knife for leather craft since we get many questions about how to get one.  It really is a very useful tool and I believe it should be a part of any LeatherSmith’s arsenal.  The zippers were just a bonus!

If you are looking for a good supplier of injector blades for your safety skiver and your new Xacto knife, visit Maker’s Leather Supply or give them a call.  While you are there, spend some time checking out all the other supplies, tools, and leather that they keep in stock.  These guys are a great resource for craftsmen of any skill level.

How to Make a Saddle Bag Crossbody Purse

  This video shows how to make a new crossbody purse that I just came up with.  The design is based on a real saddle bag design altered to work as a crossbody purse.  I think the design of this purse is really nice and would be popular with many.   This would be a great project to offer to your customers for gift ideas.  You also may want to make one of these for that special lady in your life.  

This crossbody purse goes together very well and has a lot of room to do floral tooling and personalization.   

If you would like to purchase the pattern pack for this project, then Click Here to get that.   The pattern pack is a DIGITAL DOWNLOAD in a PDF format that you print out on your own printer.  The pack includes all the cut patterns as well as 6 different floral patterns.   

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