leatherwork

How to Make a Leather Apple Watch Band

In this Project video, I show you how to make a Leather Apple Watch Band.  I finally took some time to sit down and design three different styles based audience request.  The Apple Watch is extremely popular and having a custom leather watch band made for them is a common request.

Our goal with this video is to show my process for making the three different styles and to hopefully help anyone try their hand at making these.  If you are looking for that perfect Christmas item to offer to your customers as gift ideas, then this is a great one.

As with all of our Project Videos, we have created a Companion Pattern Pack.  In this pack, you will find all the cut patterns for all three styles as well as 6 different tooling patterns for each style.  If you would like to purchase the Companion Pack for this Project Video, then Click Here and grab that.

The buckles that I used for these bands are made by Rockin Out Silver.  These buckles are affordable and look great!

Here are some useful links of friends of ours and of videos I have done you might find helpful:

Here is an affiliate amazon link for the Apple Watch Adapters that I bought off Amazon.  (I get a couple pennies if you purchase using this affiliate link)

Dyeing background on leather and antiquing:  https://youtu.be/xmMSJIlHm18

How I slick my leather edges:  https://youtu.be/95rsf0kKTCw

As well as a blog post we wrote on slicking edges.

Leather and Supplies:  https://makersleathersupply.com

Sewing Machines:  https://leathermachineco.com

 

 

 

Figure Carving a Horse Head into Leather Video 3

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.

Here is a link to Jim Linnell’s website

You can find Peter Main on facebook

If you would like to tool along with us in this tooling series, here is a link to a FREE copy of this pattern Click Here.

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.

This is video #3 in this series.

Tools used in this video:

-Modeling tool – Peter Main

-Modeling tools

-Craftool Thumbprint

Here is the photo of the horse in the pattern for you to use as reference.

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.

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

Figure Carving a Horse Head into Leather Video #2

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

One Piece Saddle Swell Cover

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.

Tooling a Saddle Cantle Back in Hyper Speed

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.

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.

Be Sure to Pay Yourself First!

“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!

The Best Way to Cut Lace Leather from Scrap Latigo

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.