Leathercraft Tips

Making a Leather Field Notebook Cover

In this project video, I show you how to make a simple leather field notebook cover for a Field Notes notebook cover. This is a great entry level project and a great gift idea project. I make this cover out of 3/4 oz leather with minimal hand stitching. It’s also a great use of scrap leather you may have laying around your shop.

We do offer a pattern pack for making one of these notebook covers. The pattern pack includes the cut patterns as well as 6 different floral patterns. We offer this pattern in either a DIGITAL DOWNLOAD or a PRINTED version.

You can purchase your copy of this pattern by clicking on one of the following links:

PRINTED VERSION that we mail out to you.

DIGITAL DOWNLOAD that you print out on your own printer.

I got the thread, needles, and field notes notebooks from Maker’s Leather Supply so check them out.

If you want more in depth instruction on hand sewing, be sure to check out our video “Hand Stitching with an Awl and Two Needles.”

New Online Leather Floral Carving Course in the Academy!

If you follow us on social media and/or our YouTube Channel, then you have heard us talking about building a new course for the DG LeatherCraft Academy. After months of gathering information, photos, and videos we have finally completed what we think is the most comprehensive online course on Floral Carving and Tooling that is available.

I will first say, there is no in person or online course that is going to make you a Master Floral Carver over night. Becoming efficient and proficient with leather floral tooling takes practice and study over a long period of time. What I wanted to do with this new course was to consolidate all the information in one place that is easy to follow and offers the best information possible. Along with this information, we created patterns and exercises that help to develop the skills and techniques needed to begin to build a quality skill set.

Our First Floral Carving and Tooling Course is Open for Enrollment!

We have put a lot of information on the internet and our our website on the topic of tooling and floral carving. This course takes that scattered information, consolidates it into one package, and builds upon it going into further detail.

The course has over 6.5 hours of new footage covering topics like tools, work surfaces, lighting, casing, preparation, carving, sharpening, leather selection and of course the entire tooling process. There are some worksheets and lists that can be printed out for quick reference at the bench as well as all the tooling patterns for the course.

The patterns in the course are in PDF format so that you can download them and print them on your own printer and then transfer to your leather to follow along in the tooling. Your leather needs to be cut into 5.5″ x 8″ panels for this. We will be tooling 5 of these panels through the course.

The focus of this course is on the entire tooling and carving process. Tooling is the same, for the most part, no matter the size and shape of the piece you are tooling. But since belts are a popular product that we all tool, we do touch on tooling belts. Tooling a belt is only slightly different than anything else but we do talk about some of the differences. We have also included 8 new belt patterns available only within this course.

Information is valuable, it’s even more valuable with implementation and practice… it’s most valuable with feedback and guidance.

That’s why we have added the “Final Critique of all 5 Tooling Panels” session to the course after the tooling of your first pattern. This is a coaching session of sorts that is only available to students enrolled in this course. This allows you to send me a photo of each pattern after you finish tooling them for review and critique. This is done right from within the course platform. I will study your work and offer my critiques and advice on how to improve on your current skill set.

You will have 30 day access to this critique session of the course (you will have lifetime access to the course itself). I think if you are serious about improving your tooling skills, then focusing 30 days on getting all five panels tooled then receiving feedback on those pieces will be most impactful to your improvement.

*Lifetime access to all the course material in this course. 30 Day access to the Critiquing session within the course.

Whether you are a beginner tooling leather, or you have experience but want to step up your artwork, I hope that you will consider going through this online floral carving course. This class is completely online and you can go through it at your own pace in your own home or shop. You can go back through the course as many times as you like to refresh yourself.

Leather Floral Carving and Tooling: Beginner online course is open for enrollment and we hope to see you in there. Click the image below if you are ready to sign up and get started!

What is the best edger size for your leather work?

Having attractive smooth edges on your leather work projects is more than likely one of your main goals. As LeatherHeads, we all want that super clean edge.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of information out there on different edge finishing techniques. One of the things that isn’t talked about much is using the correct size edger for the material you are working with.

This video is focused on using the best edger size for your leather work projects.  Simply using the wrong size edger can be the difference between a good looking edge and an edge that just doesn’t look right.  

Hole Punches You Need for Leather Work

One of the most important tasks performed by anyone in leathercraft, or even just someone attempting to repair something made of leather, is making a hole in it.

There are a few ways to accomplish this task and a few different tools to help. If you are working in leathercraft then you will need to have a few different sizes and styles of tools to be able to punch holes in leather.

In this quick video, I go through what I use and prefer.

How to Install an Inlaid Seat in a Saddle

Most of the saddles that we build in the shop are what we call “hard seats.” This means that there is not a padded seat in a saddle where the rider sits in the saddle.

Padded seats are common in rope saddles, trail saddles, and barrel saddles. But the clients that we build for, even our ropers, prefer a Hard Seat saddle. These saddles’ main advantage is that there is no padding to break down over time changing the way the saddle sets. A hard seat saddle will ride the same for its lifetime.

With that being said, this does not mean that our clients don’t appreciate fancy additions to their saddles. One of our most popular additions that can be made to one of our custom saddles is an Inlaid Seat.

Our inlaid seats do not contain any padding so the client still gets the benefit of the hard seat while adding some chrome to their saddle. We can do padded seats with many colors of chap leather, exotic leathers, as well as tooling them for a unique personalized look.

This video shows the process we go through installing an inlaid seat on a custom saddle we are building. This particular seat will be tooled with the client’s brand and floral tooling.

Non-LeatherCraft Supplies I Have in My Shop

Every leather shop has a need for items that are not necessarily LeatherCraft specific.

In my shop this can range from two part epoxy to baby powder. There are just things that every shop needs to keep in their supply cabinet. These are not items that will be used on a daily basis, but when the need arises they are extremely valuable.

Check out this video to see what items you may be missing in your shop!

How to Make a Premium Leather Clutch Wallet

In this project video, I show you how to make a leather clutch wallet with more of a Premium set of Interiors. The interior of this wallet includes a few more slots for cash and storage as well as a zippered coin pocket. We also show you how I create and install a “T” pocket system for credit card pockets.

If you are looking for a “step-up” project, then this is a great one. The interior of this wallet is more challenging than our previous clutch wallet video that we created.

If you would like the Companion Pattern Pack that goes along with this video, then you can purchase that DIGITAL PDF file by Clicking Here.

This pattern pack includes all the cut patterns for all the pieces as well as line up marks. There is also 8 different floral tooling patterns included as well.

*Note: This is a digital pattern that you download and print out on your own printer… we do not mail this pattern to you. You have instant access to it after purchase.

For the double sided tape that I used in the video, visit https://makersleathersupply.com

For leather sewing machines and equipment, visit https://leathermachineco.com

For the best tooling leather in the industry, visit http://www.hermannoakleather.com

The DG LeatherCraft Newsletter and its Future

As we have grown over the last few years we have added the DG LeatherCraft component to the mix. This component basically creates and promotes educational resources for anyone wanting to learn more about the leathercrafting industry. We do this through our expanding brands such as DG LeatherCraft Academy, this Blog, DG LeatherCraft Facebook page, Instagram, Our YouTube Channel and most importantly our DG LeatherCraft Newsletter.

I say “most importantly” because this is our most efficient tool for communicating with you directly. 

We have been working in the first quarter of 2021 studying our available tools to better serve you and have learned that this very newsletter is by far our best tool. We also rely heavily on social media and our youtube channel to communicate with the LeatherHead community.

But as we have all seen over the last 6-12 months, we are not in control of these platforms. These platforms are operated by the companies that own them and if we choose to participate then we are to play by their rules. And understandably so. I have no problem with that, but as business owners we have to understand that we are not in control of the delivery of our message. 

As valuable as these different platforms are to us, we as a company also have to be in control of the biggest portion of our marketing foundation.

I have understood this for quite sometime and this is why everything we do works to promote dgsaddlery.com as our home base. All our marketing points back to the main property that we as a company own and operate. 

Another extremely valuable and efficient property that we own is our newsletter and email list. Although we have not used it to the best of its ability in the past. 

That is changing moving forward. 

The DG LeatherCraft Newsletter will now be our main connection to our LeatherHead Community.

We will continue to use social media and all of our platforms as usual so nothing is changing there. But if something changes in the social media world… as it surely will… DG LeatherCraft will maintain its ability to provide you with quality resources and products to serve your craftsmanship goals.

I believe that social media has helped our industry tremedously as a whole. I also believe that it… or some form of it… will be around for many years moving forward. But I want to be sure that all our eggs are not in someone else’s basket. 

What does this mean for the Newsletter?

At this point I do not have a good answer for this question. I can say, if you decide to sign up to receive it, you will see a more consistent Newsletter and more single topic emails in your inbox. 

If you prefer to catch our news and resources on social media, you will still see that as we will continue posting there as usual.

But we will also begin sharing more through the Newsletter as well. Many in our community are not on social media. Or maybe they are on one of the platforms and not the others. 

This will insure that those of you that want to see our articles, videos, tips, updates, products and resources are sure to see them. 

When someone signs up for the LeatherCraft Newsletter, they are telling us that they want to hear what we have to say and I don’t want to rely on social media to hopefully inform them. 

Thank you so much for being a part of our LeatherHead Community! We are excited about 2021 and bringing you more useful information that you can put to work in your shop. 

If you or a fellow craftsman that you know, can benefit from our content, spread the word and have them sign up for the DG LeatherCraft Newsletter through the form below. There is also a form on the homepage.

Until next time, have a great week in your shop!

Complete Saddle Cleaning and Conditioning

One of our most marketable and successful services that we have offered as a complete saddle shop, has always been saddle cleaning. We call this a Clean, Oil, and Polish… COP for short.

Most customers are very curious as to proper saddle cleaning and maintenance, but unfortunatly do little to keep their gear properly maintained. I have always tried to educate our customers to the importance of saddle cleaning and conditioning so that the repair costs in the future are lessened. Some take the advice, but many of us just simply don’t take the time to follow through.

We have always offered a COP as a service in our shop and the vast majority of our clientele would much rather pay us to do it for them rather than spend their weekend doing it themselves. I completely understand that and we are glad to help them with their gear.

But many times we would get a customer in the shop that would like to clean and condition their own saddle. This is also good and we would openly explain our entire process to them so that they could get the most benefit from their time.

I always wished that I had a video to give to them to show them my saddle cleaning process step by step. This would be very valuable for them and easier for me.

Well now we do!

Below are three videos that we created that show our entire process. From the breakdown of a saddle through reassembly, this resource will show you how we do a COP and explains the types of oil and conditioners that we use in the shop every day.

We also have a playlist on our YouTube channel with all three of these videos together so they are easy to find.

Whether you want to just clean your own saddle, or if you are a shop owner that wants to add a quality service to your customers, this set of videos is a great resource. You will feel good about how well the saddle looks and performs when you are done with it.

For more information on general leather care and maintenance be sure to check out our articles on Oiling Leather and Leather Conditioner. These are not the same thing and I explain the reasons why.

There are many other articles that we have written having to do with gear maintenance. Dive into the archives or click the “Leather Care” tab under the “Blog” tab on our homepage.