Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Blog Changes for 2017

After much thought and review, I have decided to move away from my blog for a bit. Life is changing and work is chugging along, but trying to keep on top of all social media platforms has been a daunting task. The other end of the spectrum has been the fact that I do not sell a single product. I have maintained all along that my whole purpose of this site and all other sites I monitor was to share tips, tricks and work with others who did not have the fortune of mentors nearby.



I have taken a lot of time reaching this decision and included discussions with many close to me. I have put a lot of consideration into completely shutting down this site completely and removing what I could. The reason I say 'a lot' of consideration is that I still wanted to keep and maintain the informational presence for any new or learning leatherworker who happen to pass by the site.

So for now, I will keep the information available. In time, maybe I will come by and post a tip or trick. If you are still interested in my work, I am currently keeping my Facebook or Instagram pages available for information and postings related to leather work.

I thank you for your time, patience and interest in leathercraft!

Happy New Year!






















Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Friday, November 11, 2016

Happy Veteran's Day



I had written this up just after midnight, but my mobile went down and my computer spend all day running an update. Wishing all those who served this great country to preserved our liberties. Happy Veteran's Day!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Dragon Embossed Notebook


Hello all, I hope you all had a great summer. Now, that we have retreated away from the Sun down here in Texas, I can get to some other 'have to do's' that come with moving homes. On the teaching side, the months have been busy and I am seeing more people getting involved or re-involved with leather craft.

For this blog spot, I have decided to share with your a special project that I completed some time back as a gift to my youngest as she approached her senior year in high school. As you can see in the picture above, it appears a bit complicated, but really if you understand how leather works and the basics of embossing leather you can achieve a similar project.


As you can see, I was hindered at the drawing stage, which is where I contemplate my projects a great deal. I actually drew up three different images, but decided on the second one pictured here.


Since these projects require a large amount of leather, I decided to make this binder out of three pieces of leather, which would be easier to work with and could be pieced together. After making sure my leather was properly moisten, I transferred my pattern onto the front piece of leather and proceeded to carve it using my swivel knife.


I then re-wet the center portion of this design surrounding the circle and dragon to prepare it for the first stage of embossing it from the back side. While the surrounding area of the pictorial drawing was still backed with tape to make sure it would not stretch, I decided to bevel the lettering inverted.


You can see the nice lift that I was able to get during a couple of rounds of pushing from the backside using my modeling spoon. I then decided to bevel all of the lines around the circle. In between the beveling, I would occasionally emboss the dragon and moon to make sure it kept its shape.


Once I achieved my results of embossing and beveling, I used an A104 & A105 matting tool to drop down the background areas around the Dragon and Moon. By doing this step, it allowed some relief to make sure that the focal points (Dragon & Moon) stood out from the center design. For the extra steps within the circle lines, I took a basket weave tool and at an angle I laid out this design. Not to intricate, but I thought it was a nice tooling add for this project.


For the spine, I wanted to give it one focal point in the design, so I chose to go with the name of the school mascot......Dragons!


Finally, for the back panel, I decided to take a cue from a recent article in the Leather Crafters & Saddlers Journal from Chan Geer to use my Clay Miller 'Box' tool. I also decided to center my marker's mark with a bit of decoration around it.


Now, I had to decided on the colors to use for this design. One absolute color had to be mahogany, which happens to be the main school color. I took a break to decide on the painting stages.


I used Mahogany for the background color around the word 'Dragons.' I then used a bit of red hue mixtures to color the interior of the leathers and finally accented the word Dragons with a bit of white.


The back panel just received a coat of finish and was put aside. The front panel was another story. I started with the red hue mixture for the inverted lettering......as most of us can pick out errors in our project.....I list mine here publicly! I decided to go with a light black color for the background knowing that it would fade over time. Somehow my mixture came out darker than expected, but.....well....it was already painted on.


As you can see I added a few more colors with the exception of the gills, which I left as natural leather for contrast. The body of the dragon was painted using the same red hue mixture. The Dragon's tongue was painted with a red color and teeth with the same white used on the number '2016.' I then took a mixture of light gray to paint the moon above the dragon. Finally, I took a dry brush technique using black and brush in between the scales and other creases around the design. I also used the same technique to give the moon some movement within the gray color.


Here is an added tip for this blog post. Since I knew that this project will be pounced on, I wanted to make sure that the gills stayed up as much as possible. So I took some cotton off a Q-tip and stuff the lifted areas using my awl. The other good thing about this product was that I was able to dye underneath the lift part to give it some shadowing effect.


Once the final finish was added to the front panel, I hand sewed the three pieces together and installed the liner and three ring binder. This project was completed and put to use.

As always, I appreciate the follows and your continual support! Blog on.....





Sunday, September 11, 2016

September 11th - Never Forget (343)


May all of my followers be blessed with a safe and peaceful day! Never forget those lost on 09/11/2001

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Simple Picture Frame Mat

Hello all.....sorry for the short delay in the blog postings, but life got into the way of my craft for a short bit. In today's blog posting, I will be discussing a simple picture mat made out of thin leather. I actually have a few of these at the ready because they make great gifts plus they are fun! Your design can be as simple as leather and lettering or detailed. It all depends on what look you are trying to achieve.



The design for this mat, I surfed the internet and found this pattern being offered on a specific site. I chose a piece of veg tanned leather weighing in at about 3 ounces.



After transferring the print out onto tracing paper, I took the pattern and transferred it to a moist piece of leather. Due to the weight, I applied some packaging tape to the flesh side to make sure I reduced any stretching during the tooling.



After completing the tooling and basket stamping, I finalized all of the finish cuts to the leather before proceeding.



Once all of the steps have been completed, I cut out the center where the photograph can be centered. For the finished, I applied a light coat of oil. The patina that will come to this piece of leather will look awesome.

Note: I didn't cover the tooling steps because they have been repeated over many blog posts. Like I mentioned earlier in this post, the design for these simple picture mats can be anything you like. Use these smaller projects to help you become more proficient with your tools and tooling skills.

Until next time, check out more daily shots of projects on Instagram and Facebook. Thanks for being a dedicated follower of my blog!


#TheGrainSideUp
King's X Custom Leather

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Making a Custom Boot Jack



I am always on the lookout for project ideas that involve leather and wood. In this blog post, this project was one that made as gifts for several friends some years back. I actually had the ability to make the bootjacks and tool the leather.



I started with red oak planks for the boot jacks. It took awhile to figure out the exact rise I wanted in the jack. Once I figured that number out, it was down hill from there....no pun intended. I cut all of my pieces out and prepared them for staining.



I picked several colors of stains for this project. Each boot jack was sanded and edges taken down before applying the stain. After the jacks dried, I took some Carnuba wax and #0000 steel wool to each jack to smooth out the finish. This was all part of the plan to help avoid the new owners from getting splinters.



I decided to add a special touch to my jacks. I cut a rabbit to the lower edge of the jack. This was put in place to avoid any damage to the boot since the heal is usually offset. This will allow the heal to be used to remove the boot with ease. I wanted to take it a bit further. I wanted to make sure to protect the users boot, so I decided to attach a protector.



I took a piece of 3-4 ounce veg tanned leather. I applied contact cement to the piece of leather and then applied water to the strip. I also roughed up the wooden area and applied a coat of contact cement. As soon as the water settled into the leather strip, I applied two additional coats of contact cement allowing each coat to dry. I ended up applying another coat to the wooden jack piece.



I have dealt with forming leather in past projects, but I wasn't sure how this was going to work in such a tight spot. Luckily, for me I allowed the leather and water to case very well before I started to manipulate it. This was key. Applying the strip of leather to the jack wasn't as hard as I had made it in my mind. After using my finger to smooth the few wrinkles, I then took my bone folder and continued to smooth out the leather piece until I was satisfied with the results. The hard part of this project was done. It was put aside so it could dry.



The leather piece was made custom to each receivers personality. The one showed above was a simple floral tooling with no initials. The leather was tooled, finished and completed. Two coats of contact cement was applied to the leather before applying. The boot jack area was roughed up before contact cement was applied.



As with most of my projects, I like to add my maker's mark but as usual to keep it hidden. On the underside, I used a fostner drill bit to make a shallow hole for a round maker's mark tab.

Another great project written in the books. I appreciate each and everyone of my followers. Stay safe, stay well.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Ladies Contour Floral Belt



I built this belt for an awesome young lady who happened to be a beautiful rodeo queen in the State of Florida. I saw an old craftaid that had a project for a contour belt with a rose motif. The motif wasn't up my alley, but I knew a nice updated floral pattern would make this belt stand out. In addition, if the wearer ever forgot her name, I tooled it on the back of the belt centered to be easily found.

This project will not be lengthy and I apologize early on. I lost some of the pictures when I changed storage services.



The Craftaid provided some instructions to determine the length needed for this project. I created a paper pattern to make sure I knew the length and borders. This was a first for me.



Using my paper pattern, I used my needle point stylus to draw our the pattern onto a piece of 6/7 ounce vegetable tanned leather. With my head knife, I carefully cut the marked outline for this belt.



I drew my border outline and transferred the floral pattern after wetting the leather. I took my swivel knife and cut the pattern into the leather. I tooled the entire belt using my stamping tools.



For the name sake on the outside of the belt, I decided to tool the name "Devon" inverted. I felt it would look better this way. I completed the tooling and cuts.



I went all out and decided to decorate the interior of the belt. I located the center of the belt and decided to try a monogram style lettering. Using this point, I decided to start another round of swivel knife cuts using the flow of the circle surrounding the monogram. No tooling just cuts.



Ready for some color.



I dyed the exterior making sure to go around the tool parts using some Fiebing's Oil dye. I decided on a contrast color for the letters spelling "Devon." For the interior, I just dyed the border with the main dye color.



After adding some oil and a resist, I applied a comparable Fiebing's Antique paste before wiping off the excess with some Fiebing's Tan Kote. Here is a shot of the exterior.



Here is a shot of the interior after dyed and sewn.

Thanks again for following my blog. Stay tuned for the next project.