Here is a much requested video from your suggestions both here and on our facebook page! For the July Leather Tooling Series we are showing how to figure carve a horse’s head into leather. I am not the greatest figure carver out there and I still have a lot to learn on the subject, but I will attempt to show you what I do know. After that, you can seek out guidance from some of the greats out there… and there are many amazing figure carvers that you can learn from. Jim Linnell and Peter Main would be the two that I would highly recommend checking out if you haven’t already. Continue reading
I have had a ton of requests to do a video on how I put on a one piece saddle swell cover. This video is a quick rundown on how I put mine on. I am working on another video that will show the amount of prep work that goes into getting one of these put on successfully. I wanted to break it into two separate videos and this one is just putting it on and hopefully it will help to show how these are put on.
The swell I am covering in the video is an Olin Young with leg cuts at a 12.5″ width and a 7.25″ gullet height. Sometimes these go on easily and sometimes they don’t… this was a time that it went pretty easy.
For more articles and videos from DG LeatherCraft, be sure to subscribe to this channel as well as dig through the archives of our blog here. Don’t forget to sign up for the LeatherCraft Newsletter. We are also on facebook and instagram.
This is a Hyper Speed video of me tooling a saddle cantle back for a saddle I am making. This is the entire tooling process from start to finish at 500%… minus carving it in. The last one we did like this was the tooling of a belt and you guys seemed to like it so I thought I would show y’all this one. If you want to learn how to tool floral patterns into leather, then be sure to check out one of our tooling series playlists here on our channel. In this series, we explain in depth the tooling process and different tools used. Click Here to see our latest Tooling Series Project and get your free pattern to tool along with us.
Here is a much requested video from your suggestions both here and on our facebook page! For the July Leather Tooling Series we are showing how to figure carve a horse’s head into leather. I am not the greatest figure carver out there and I still have a lot to learn on the subject, but I will attempt to show you what I do know. After that, you can seek out guidance from some of the greats out there… and there are many amazing figure carvers that you can learn from. Jim Linnell would be one that I would highly recommend checking out if you haven’t already.
If you would like to tool along with us in this tooling series, Click Here to get a FREE copy of this pattern.
Just enter your email address and we will shoot that out to you. It is a PDF file that you can download and print on your own printer.
Tools used in this video:
-CS Osbourne push beveler
-Barry King Lifters (or undercuts)
-Barry King Crowners (checkered)
-Bevelers (BK and craft tool)
If you haven’t, I would suggest going through our First Tooling Series where we explain in a little more depth the different tools used in these series videos.
Here is a full run down on my Stamp Tool Roll.
The model for this project is an unknown Bay Gelding that resided on a place that borders us. I just liked the way the horse looked and took many photos of him for artwork reference. Not sure what happened to him, but we haven’t seen him in a long time… I like to think that he is somewhere on the rodeo trail or maybe just retired and moved to Florida.
“Don’t save what is left after spending; spend what is left after saving.” -Warren Buffett
In 2004, I began my business with such excitement and enthusiasm that each and every morning I could not wait to get to the shop and get to working in and on my business. In the evenings I found it hard to calm my mind down enough to go to sleep. I was like a kid trying to go to sleep Christmas Eve!
As the months turned into years, this excitement was still there but something had crept into my life that was beginning to drain some of the enthusiasm and passion. It wasn’t the work, customers, or the employees… It was the stress coming from financial strain. This strain was not only in my business, all business feels some of that; this was coming from my personal financial strain.
I was always able to move things around and make things happen no matter the cash flow. It wasn’t always easy, but it always worked out. But at home was a different story. As I was trying to figure out the problem, I became aware that I was neglecting the most important employee the business had… Me.
I was not treating myself as a real member of the team. When things were tight at the shop I would wait to write my check until things were a little better in the business checking account. The funny thing was that when the checking account would get a little better, this sense of security kept me from pulling money out of the business and I still wouldn’t write myself a check.
This went on for quite some time and I always figured I would catch myself back up when the business was doing even better. This is a very dangerous way to operate any business. The business was already 6 years old. How long was I planning on doing this?
Priority #1: Pay Yourself First
The biggest take away here is that if you own a small business and are just getting started, that you make it a priority to “Pay yourself first!” Not doing so is a common mistake I see made among new entrepreneurs and it isn’t a move that will lead to success. Instead this will eventually lead to not only personal financial hardship, but also allow fatigue, disappointment and resentment to creep into your passion.
The best I can figure is that as the owners of small businesses we treat them as though they were our children, our babies. The business is completely dependent on us to make decisions for it so that it can thrive and succeed. As a parent now, I am confident that if there wasn’t enough food for dinner I would go without so that my children could go to sleep with full stomachs. This works for the short term, but compounded over time, my children would be worse off from the loss of their father from starvation.
It’s easy to look at your business and make the sacrificing decision to forego your own income to insure that there is enough money for the business to operate on. And there are times where we have to make those choices and sacrifices to achieve our goals within our business. But what we have to do is create a system and a plan so that these situations do not become a perpetual issue that keeps our personal lives from being financially stable as well.
As entrepreneurs, we get into business for many different reasons. But the main reason is to make money and provide for our families doing something we love and have total control over. We have to keep this in mind and understand that at the end of the day, if we are not bringing home an income we are not running a business. Instead we are spending time working on our hobby. This will not sustain us long term financially if that is our goal.
For a business to truly succeed it has to know what players exist and operate accordingly. If you don’t deliberately charge the business for your work then the business has a false sense of success.
What if You Tried to Sell Your Business?
Think of your business as if you were going to sell it. Many of us would never think of selling our most prized possession, but just humor me for a moment. If you were a buyer looking at the books of a business like yours and it showed a profit of $100,000 per year consistently, you would be pretty interested right? What if you discovered that the owner didn’t have a salary at all taken out of the business in those books, and the owner provided 75% of the labor that was associated with delivering the goods of that business to market to generate that $100,000? What this means to you as the buyer is that if you bought the business and the owner was gone then you would have to hire a person to do that job to ensure that the profit stayed the same for your investment.
If a person to do that job cost $50,000 a year then your profit would be $50,000 a year on your investment not $100,000. What if that skilled person cost you $75,000 per year? The deal doesn’t look so appealing now does it?
In order for you to truly know how your business is doing financially, all labor expenses must be accounted for and no one works for free… not even you!
A Portion of Every Dollar Should Go Home
When you are getting started in your business, set it up so that the business is paying you something out of every dollar that comes in. (Here is an article that shows how I do this in my accounting, Strengthen Your Business)
This is not a bad thing for your business. Your business will always generate the money it needs to survive… as long as it knows that it needs to generate that amount. Have you ever had that month where you had no idea how the money was going to come in to cover everything? But at the end of the month you look back and see that you had just enough come in and made it work. That’s because the business knew what it had to do and decisions were made, jobs were completed, and calls were made to make sure that happened. Make sure that the business knows all the numbers it needs to hit in order to achieve its goal… including your income no matter how small it is.
Pay yourself first… no matter how small it may have to be! Pay yourself first!
Using up all that scrap latigo leather isn’t the easiest thing to do. I usually find that I have a lot of this left over the course of a 6 month period or so. So in order to stay ahead of my scrap piles of latigo leather, I try to cut up some lace occasionally. This works to consume some of the scrap leather as well as saving me time when I do need lace leather for a project.
You can use the same process for chap leather and other softer type of leathers that might make good lace leather in your shop.
Finding the best Leathercraft work surface is a quest that I find myself still on today. I began my leather work career cutting leather out on my bed in my apartment and doing all my work on a 2×4 bench that I made to fit by my desk. My roommate wasn’t particularly excited about my late night basket stamping sessions. Fast forward to today, and some of my benches are much more nuanced when it comes to the Leathercraft work surface that I work on. Some of them are still hodge-podge assortments of materials that simply work… nothing more.
You can get lost in trying to find the absolute best material to work on. Different leather craft techniques and processes requiring different types of material to work on. The important thing here is to find something that works for you and go with it. When you are a famous leather craftsman someday you can worry about how pretty your work tables and benches are. For now, the only thing that matters is you being able to accomplish your work effectively.
In this video, I go through all of the different Leathercraft work surfaces that I use in my shop. Why I use them and for what purposes. These are the best materials that I have found for completing the different tasks in my work.
I did some research to find the company in San Antonio that made the plastic cutting board material on my cut bench. I did find a company, but since I have never done business with them I didn’t feel comfortable recommending them here. I will continue to research a good source for this material and when I find a reliable source I will update this video. I do suggest doing a google search in your area and I bet you can find someone near you that has this material in any size you may need.
For more videos and blog post about the wild world of LeatherCraft, visit our website: https://dgsaddlery.com
All the paints on my paint table are from Angelus Paint and here is their website: https://angelusdirect.com
You can also find these paints and anything else you need for your Leathercraft projects at Maker’s Leather Supply: https://makersleathersupply.com
In this video, I show you some tricks I have learned to easily edge leather straps and strips. Strips of leather that are wider don’t seem to be as challenging, but those that are narrow can be a problem. Sometimes even dangerous.
Having a sharp edger is the first step in getting the quality edges that you want to see in your work. But there are some things that you can do to make your job a lot easier.
The edger that I am using in this video is the #3 Ron’s Edger. I upgraded my old set of Osbourne edgers (which I used for many years) last year and I love them. If you are interested in trying some, give Aaron at Maker’s Leather Supply a call.
In this video series, I show you the complete tooling of a cluster flower pattern. 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:
-Barry King small thumbprint – horizontal lined
-Old Pear Shader (prob an old McMillan)
-Craftool long and thin smooth pear shader
-Barry King small mules foot
-All Undercuts (Lifters) again to re-lift
Here is the first video, How to Tool a Cluster Flower Pattern – Video 1, so that you can follow along with both of these to tool this pattern.
There is a FREE PDF for this pattern that you are welcome to download by Clicking Here, just enter your email address to confirm access to download a copy to use so that you can follow along with us!
Here is a link to the first video series we did. Watch this series for more information on some of the tools and uses:
Here is a link to a video that we did where I go through my tool roll. I explain the stamps that I use and what type they are:
Links for tools and supplies:
The sewing machine that I use is the cobra class 4 from https://www.leathermachineco.com