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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.

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.   

Online Leather Classes with DG LeatherCraft Academy

The biggest request we get is “Do we offer any Leather Classes?”

I’m going to cut right to the chase… we have a Big Announcement to make this month.  After a year or better of researching, planning, cussing, discussing and finally building… we are finally ready to reveal the biggest digital project we have ever created.

Based on the inquiry for leather classes and feedback that we have gotten over the years from amazing fellow LeatherHeads like you, we felt there was a real need in our industry for this type of product.  It took us some time to choose the right platform as well as build out all the components that go into creating something like this so that it offers the most value with the least amount of hassle on your end.

We think that we have done just that!

I would like to introduce our newest addition to DG LeatherCraft,

DG LeatherCraft Academy

 

DG LeatherCraft Academy is our new platform where we can create Online Courses that go in depth on different topics and areas of leather craft and design work.  Much further than we can on our YouTube channel or on our blog.  The Academy will be home to all of our future Premium Courses for those who want complete leather classes on particular topics and certain areas of the craft.

These courses will be completely online so that you can go through any of our leather classes at your pace on any device.  No set dates, times or having to travel out of state.  Once enrolled in a particular course, you can go through the curriculum all in one sitting in order… or you can do a lecture a day in any order you want.  And when you complete the course, you can go back through it again anytime as many times as you want.

Worksheets for these leather classes can be downloaded and printed so that you can work along with us throughout the course.  Then after completion you will have these sheets to reference if you need to. Continue reading

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

“Daily Rituals” by Mason Currey Book Review

I have another book review this week and if you are interested in Daily Rituals then this book is for you.  Have you ever wondered how artists work?  What routines and disciplines do successful artists put into place to insure that they are as productive as they can be each and every day?

Daily Rituals by Mason CurreyIn “Daily Rituals” by Mason Currey (amazon affilitate link), he catalogs the daily routines and rituals of many successful artists from past and present.  We get a glimpse into their lives and how they maintained a consistent and productive work schedule despite the pressures of normal daily life.

I have to be honest, I have listened to this book probably six times on Audible while working in my shop.  I tend to listen to a lot of books during the workday.  I get bored easily just listening to music, so Audible is a very important part of my sanity throughout the hours and hours of working alone in the shop tapping away on leather.

Oh sure, Freddy is there with me the majority of the time but he listens to his music in his headphones and doesn’t waste time chattering away the day with me… although I enjoy being able to focus on my chores, I do miss conversation at times. Continue reading

A Review of the book “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield

resistanceThis is a review of the book “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield.  Pressfield has written many books in both the fiction and nonfiction space with one of his most successful being “The Legend of Bagger Vance.”

I am an avid reader of nonfiction books specifically directed at business and development.  I came across “The War of Art” last year and consumed it first in audio form while working in my shop.  After listening to the book multiple times and gaining great insight every time, I have added this book to my list of “Must Reads” for anyone wanting to succeed in their business and personal life.

If you are a creative in any field, this book will bring to the surface those things we all do that sabotage our focus and productivity.  Whether your gifts and talents are put to use as a hobby or they are the sole form of revenue for your household, using these talents in a way that the universe calls for you to do is not something you can ignore.  What Pressfield calls “Resistance” sets up shop in our lives with a sole purpose to keep you from that which your guts tell you has to be done to be complete and happy.

Continue reading

Do You have Projects You Procrastinate On?

img_1011Have you ever found yourself working happily on the project that you are most excited about only to have a voice in your head reminding you of that one job you put off for way too long?  Those projects you procrastinate on consistently? That one job that you set on the bench in the corner of your shop and feel it staring at you throughout the day?  In your mind you know that you need to just put down what you are doing and get it done so you can get back to what you love.  But as the days, weeks, or maybe even months continue to cycle by, you make an honest attempt to convince yourself that you will do it “tomorrow.”

 This is procrastination, resistance, or simply lying to yourself.  We all do this from time to time, but for some of us this can become a chronic disease among the best of craftsman.  We work so hard to improve our skills and talents, that we tend to put off the types of work that don’t add value to our skill set.  In an attempt to be good stewards in our business and remain financially responsible, we take these jobs because of our lack of confidence in our true passion.  We tend to look at these jobs as a necessary evil because it must be a sin to turn down work.  So we end up taking the project on, knowing in our minds that we don’t want to do them and in turn putting them off to the point that the customer is upset.  And we ourselves are upset for having to do them.

Continue reading

Measuring for a Custom Belt

Measuring for a custom belt can be a little confusing but getting a good measurement is crucial to insure a proper fit. We also require a good measurement so that any lettering, brands or figures within the artwork are balanced when the belt is being worn.

In this short video I show exactly how to get a true belt size for you using a belt that you currently wear with the type of buckle you plan to use.

Please be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more helpful videos and tutorials. Thanks so much!