leather tooling

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!

How to Figure Carving a Horse Head into Leather

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.

How to Tool a Cluster Flower Pattern – Video 2

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

-Craftool Wiggler

-Seed Burst

-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:

https://dgsaddlery.com/how-to-tool-floral-leather-tooling-patterns/

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:

https://dgsaddlery.com/my-leather-floral-carving-tool-roll/

Links for tools and supplies:

https://makersleathersupply.com

https://www.barrykingtools.com

The sewing machine that I use is the cobra class 4 from https://www.leathermachineco.com

Learn How to Tool Floral Leather Tooling Patterns

You bought a mess of leather stamping tools for tooling leather tooling patterns.

What do all these tools for stamping leather do and where to use them?

This is a common challenge for us when we start tooling leather.  We gather all the tools, a good mallet and some floral tooling patterns.  Yet we are unclear of what some of tools are for or how to use them.

Other areas that I struggled with early on was the proper order to use the tools in.  I found myself rambling through the patterns in a completely random fashion.  This led to long tooling sessions that left me feeling a bit lost and confused.

If you are new to tooling leather tooling patterns, then you are going to find great value in this!  Here you will find a 4 part video series that we created for our YouTube Channel.  The series is called “How to Tool Floral Leather Tooling Patterns.”

Each video covers a certain number of stamping tools in the order that I use them in my work everyday.  You will see how I use each tool for this particular tooling pattern.  The use of many of these tools takes practice and sometimes requires a little trick to use and we go through this in the videos.

So let’s just jump right in and get started! Continue reading

Tooling a Leather Wallet

For many of us that start in leather work, we start by making small leathergoods such as wallets, belts, and knife sheaths.  In this video I show you my process of tooling a leather wallet.  Everyone has a different approach to tooling floral design so keep in mind there are other ways of doing this. Continue reading

How to Draw a Leather Wallet

Learning how to draw on leather can really help to speed up your work and help you to not waste time drawing something and then having to transfer it later.  This is article will show you how to draw right on your projects and feel confident in your drawing skills.

How to Draw On Leather

how to draw

The first thing I do is find my center of the wallet where it will fold.  To allow room for the fold I make a mark 1/2″ on each side of center.  I do that on each edge of the wallet, so you should have four marks.

how to draw
Now I draw a line connecting the marks to define the fold area… I don’t usually tool the fold on my wallets.  Next I set calipers to the width that I want my border and scribe my border lines.  You should end up with two tooling windows ready for design.

how to draw If I’m  putting initials on the wallet I draw these in first.

how to draw
Here I have placed a flower next to the initials which will seperate the initials from the floral nicely.  Next I draw in some scroll guidelines roughly to determine the flow I want within the pattern.

how to draw
Now I begin to define my scrolls and vine work using my previous lines as a guide for flow.

how to draw
I didn’t like how the flow was layed in at first so I just simply erase the two lines I don’t like.  Using the 8B pencil allows me to erase and leaves no impression of the lines behind.

how to draw

I decided to fill some space with a leaf. When you add leaves and flowers into the pattern, keep the flow in mind so that it bends and shapes accordingly.

how to draw
As you can see the leaf took a lot of the open space and the gaps can easily be filled now with scroll and vine work.  For the most part, the original flow I sketched in is maintained.  The only thing I really changed was using the leaf to balance the pattern a little.

Let us know what you think about this or any other post on our site by following us on facebook, Instagram or twitter.  Thanks and keep drawing!

My Leather Floral Tooling Process

When it comes to actually stamping out the floral design, every leather tooler is different in their approach.  To me, the main thing that sets a productive tooler apart from the competition is all in their process.  As with any goal or project, the main thing to focus on is devising a plan and executing the plan with great focus and uninturupted deligence.  This is almost impossible if you are taking time to decide which tool to use next, or worse yet trying to find the tool you need next.  I am a firm believer that any task or project involves a certain set of rules and a certain workflow that, once decided upon and followed, lead to high productivity and a cleaner product when completed.  Each and every product has a certain workflow that works best for the environment and the craftsman making the product.  The following is the workflow that I use when tooling the majority of my patterns.

When I begin any floral tooling job, and once my artwork is designed and carved in, I begin with under cutting all small curves within the pattern.  I make it a point, anytime I pick up a tool, to go through the entire pattern performing that tool’s task anywhere I can before putting it down and grabbing another tool. This rule holds true no matter the size of the tooling pattern.  If you will get into this habit then your overall tooling time will decrease greatly.  A lot of time is wasted switching tools or like i said before… searching for the tool you need.  If you have it in your hand, do all you can with it before moving to the next one.  Tooling is about focus, and staying focused on the tasks lead to a completed piece of art.

With under cutting, I recommend having a small, medium and large in order to be able to take care of virtually any size tight curve.  Undercuts are great and keep you from trying to fit a square beveler into a curved line.  I work my way up from small to large when it comes to tool order when undercutting.

After all the undercutting is completed, I move to my crowners.  This is not a tool that is mandatory, but I find them to be a great time saver and they keep my scalloped rounded and clean.  These work much better than beveling around them with a tiny beveler.  These are a one tap tool for the most part and I keep a small and large, these two sizes will handle most any scallop that I need.  I will also use the large one on the tips of any vinework that has its tips exposed and not under a border or other vine.

When all this is complete, I now move on to my beveling.  I use a small, medium and large checkered beveler and I run them from large to small.  I first bevel all the long lines with my largest beveler going through the pattern to bevel as much as I can with this tool.  Don’t force this tool into spots!  If the tool is too big for the line you are trying to bevel then skip it… We will have a chance to bevel that after we are done with all the long lines.  This will be the longest spot in the tooling process depending on the pattern.  This is where time is made because you have one tool to focus on and your running through line by line without regard for what you can’t bevel with this tool… just stay focused and bevel long lines.

Now all the long lines are beveled and you are ready to grab the medium beveler and proceed to working on any lines that were too small for the large beveler.  Same rule applies here, if it won’t fit skip it and wait till you have the small beveler in your hand.  This step goes much faster as you have already beveled the majority of the lines in the last step.  After completing this, I take my small beveler and clean up any small spots I couldn’t get before with the other two bevelers.

The next tool you will use is your bargrounders or whatever background tool you choose to use.  At this point all the lines should be beveled, making the background easy to determine.

When all the backgrounding is completed, now I use my thumbprint on all my flowers, leaves, and vinework.  This is where the detail work begins within the pattern.  The tools you use here is completely up to you.  The point is that now is where your pattern will start to take shape.  I also use my leaf liner where needed at this point.

After thumbprinting, or pear shading, you are ready for any fine detail stamping.  This step depends a lot on the style of the pattern that you are tooling.  Below is an example of the accent tools I selected for this pattern but you can incorporate any tools you like for this phase.  Take your time here and have fun… this is the decorative stage.

When you are satisfied with your stamping work within the pattern, now is the time to embelish with the final decorative cuts using your swivel knife.  Again, this is decorative so have fun and use this oppurtunity to work on your swivel knife mechanics.  Decorative knife cuts are the best training for overall proficiency in using the swivel knife.

Once the decorative cuts are completed the pattern is complete.  At this point, I will sometimes go back and undercut the pattern again just to relift the petals of leaves and flowers.  This step is optional and completely up to you and the final pattern.  If it looks good, leave it.

As I mentioned before, this is my process for tooling and yours may be different.  The main point to focus on is that in order to become more efficient in your stamping while maintaining quality you must have a system that you can work from no matter the pattern.  Tooling is like a dance and as long as you can go from one tool to the next smoothly, you will become faster and faster per piece.