leather

What is the Best Leathercraft Work Surface?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

How to Get Paid in the Leathercraft Business

When I started my leathercraft business, I really didn’t have a “Store Policy” on custom orders.  At that time we were dealing with mostly local folks and I was pretty trusting of them.

Customers came into the store and wanted to get a belt made.  I spent 30 minutes or so with them designing their belt.  The question that followed was usually, “Do I pay now or when I pick it up?”

At the time, I was hungry for work and wanted to make a good impression on our new customer.  I would reply with, “You can pay for it when you pick it up.”

This worked out well for the most part… For a while.

Eventually the items waiting for “pick up” began to grow and money tied up in finished products began increase.  I soon realized that I had built many items using shop money that might not ever get picked up and paid for.

We then started taking a deposit of 50% of the job.  This worked well to ensure that the customer would be back in the store to pick up their items.  As well as to pay us the rest of the balance.

But this became somewhat difficult to handle from an accounting standpoint.

Over the years I have developed our store policy on custom orders into what works best for us.  We take all the money up front on all custom orders. Continue reading

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

Drawing Vinework in Leather Tooling Patterns

Introduction into February Tooling Floral Theme

For the entire month of February, I want to focus on floral design and tooling.  Everything from drawing leather tooling patterns, carving them, and tooling them.  I want to spend the time using our different platforms to help you improve your tooling and design.

So whether you are a seasoned leatherhead or a rookie, be ready to follow us into this deep subject.  We will not have enough time in one month to cover it all.  We won’t even have enough time to cover a quarter of the subject.  But I hope to shed a little light on the subject and hope that you will find value in it.

Tooling isn’t something that you can just read one book about, watch one youtube video, or spend one weekend in a workshop and become a master at.  Learning to draw leather tooling patterns and to tool them, takes practice and commitment to the idea that you will become a true life long student of the subject. Continue reading

How to Cut Parts from a Leather Hide

In this video, I show you how to cut parts from a leather hide for many types of different projects.

Choosing the right leather and the right spot to cut the parts on the hide, is crucial to creating the most functional and beautiful piece that you can.

If you are new to leatherwork, then cutting into a brand new full side of leather can be daunting.  But in this video I help to clarify some of the mystery and hopefully help you to feel confident that you are utilizing the resource to the best of your ability. Continue reading

Quick Tip on Leather Hole Punches

Leather hole punches are an absolute necessity in any leathercraft shop.  No matter the size of your hobby or business, hole punches are a must have. In this video, I give you my recommendations on style of hole punches that I like as well as sizes.  You don’t need to go out and invest a huge amount of money buying all the available sizes of hole punches.  I recommend, and use daily, three sizes and I will show you what those are and why.

The brand of tools in this video, both squeeze punches and drive punches, are all C.S. Osborne tools.

https://www.csosborneleathertools.com/

Our website

https://dgsaddlery.com/

Leather Sewing Machine Best Practices

Sewing leather is by far the most common task that we have in our leather shops.  Whether you are hand sewing everything, or using a leather sewing machine, you will have to sew leather on just about every project.  In this post, I share the first of a three part video series on leather sewing machine best practices with the hopes of helping you become more efficient and safe while using an electric sewing machine.

When I started doing leather work, I didn’t have a leather sewing machine and spent many hours hand sewing my projects.  Though this is not the most efficient way to complete projects, I do believe that it is very important to become proficient at this skill.  So if you are still in the hand stitching stage of your leatherworking journey, don’t fret!  You are at a very important stage and learning this skill will serve you well for the rest of your leather career.  But when the time comes when you can upgrade to an electric sewing machine, I would highly recommend adding this piece of equipment to your shop. Continue reading

How To Make a Wristlet Purse

Our newest video on our YouTube channel shows you How To Make a Wristlet Purse.  I have had many questions about some good projects for using up the piles of scrap leather that we all generate in our shops.  Whether you are a hobbyist or a professional saddle maker, you probably have leather pieces in a box under a workbench that you saved for that special project.

Well, here is that special project!  I am the farthest thing from a professional bag/purse maker, but in this video I show you a simple wristlet purse that I designed that I believe is fairly simple to assemble and has a lot of potential.  I have found that when it comes to making purses, options and coordinating different colors, leathers, exotics, fringe, conchos, etc is key for them to sell well. Continue reading