Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas to all Readers


Finishing this Project with Some Extra Features

Okay. Here we go.....With this post, we will be finishing this project. Once you have embossed your fish, take your favorite cutting instrument. For the following features, I used my favorite scalpel.
As you can see, we will be making some cuts to add some dimension. With my scalpel, I made some careful cuts to the gills. I stopped at the bottom of the "V" where the gills continue in the opposite direction. DO NOT CUT THIS HINGE POINT.
I cut the lower gill in the opposite direction. Again, make sure not to cut through the "V" (hinge point). Repeat the same for the other gill. Now, if you lightly wet the gills, you can insert your medium/large modeling spoon and CAREFULLY lift on the gill to mimic the expansion during breathing. Work it carefully and slowly until you get your desired lift.
Now, insert the scalpel in the mouth area and cut from the top to the bottom of the mouth only to the point where you did backgrounding with the A104 tool. Do not cut all of the way down. Wet the upper lip area above your cut area and with a modeling spoon (upside down) and CAREFULLY lift the mouth up. Work slowly and carefully. I have added a few more photos below to show you the lifted area for reference.
One of the things that I did was glue in a piece of cardboard to the back. After attaching both glue pieces together, I lightly used my beveling tool to go around the fish. This will lock in your embossing and give you a final look.
If you are good at dyeing; you can take this project to another level. If you are like me, I just dress this project with some Neatfoot Oil and Bag Kote. I hope you enjoyed this project. Let me know through your comments if you have any issues or other comments.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Let the Embossing Start~

Turn your project over to the flesh side and re-wet the fish area. Look for the beveling ring around the fish. With your other hand, in a 'cupping' fashion, place it over the fish and protect the rest of the leather from stretching too much. With a round ball modeling tool (flesh side) start pushing up making sure to stay within the perimeter of the fish outline. Apply more force in the center of the fish then around the perimeter to avoid stretching other areas. Once you have created a 'dish' effect on the fish area. Turn it over and lightly re-bevel around the outline of the fish. It will seem a little awkward at first, but with beveling you are only trying to settle the leather flat around the fish.
Tip: With the modeling spoon, you will pushing up and also rubbing the ball spoon back and forth. Also, be careful not to rub out your tool impressions. We will be completing this project in the next posting.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Adding Foliage

With a Craftool A104 or similar tool, background the inside of the mouth down to the lower lip that extends beyond the front of the fish. Make sure that the borders of your back grounding impressions are crisp and depressed. With a Craftool F916, create the grass branches on the three cut lines in front of the fish. Please practice on a piece of scrap leather to understand how this tool will make the impressions. Imprint one tool stamp on the top of the each branch.
Here are a couple of tricks. Tilt the tool forward with the F916 tool when creating the impressions. You will avoid cutting off the impressions with the base of the tool. Also, place a couple of impressions around the bottom of the water around the rocks. For a 3D look, create some faint impressions for distance plants and keep impressions for up close plant life.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Adding the Scales

With a small Mules foot ("V" or "U") create the scales on the fish starting behind the front gills towards the tail. Make sure to overlap the scales and fade them out as you near the center line of the fish (at the top). With a large seeder tool, you can create the eye.
Make sure your impressions are even and deep. Embossing will be coming up and some impressions will be stretched and will loose a bit of definition.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Beveling the Fish & Adding Accents

Take your beveler and carefully bevel around the fish as outlined in red in the instructional picture shown here.
j Remember to be careful in small and tight areas around the fish. If you are nervous or do not feel confident with your beveler. There are two options available to you. One you can practice with your beveler of choice until you become more proficient OR you can take the easy way out and deploy your modeling spoon. Just remember to take your time.
With your modeling, create some sidelines on your rocks to give it a roundness effect. Also, use the modeling spoon to complete the extensions of your cut lines. These are identified as dotted lines in your pattern as originally marked on your leather piece.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

And the Beveling Begins

With a medium size beveler and bevel around the rocks as shown in the directional picture. When you are done take a large figure beveler and bevel from the your previous line away from the rocks. This type of beveling will provide you a 3D effect. Note: If you choose a checkered beveler initially.......make sure to deploy the same type with your figure beveler.
As an added effect, you can take an embossing tool and raise the rocks upward from the back. Make sure to 're-wet the rock areas and allow it to penetrate the leather fibers before attempting any embossing.
Do the same beveling to the water stocks shown in the pictorial picture here. Also, cut the 3 lines to the right of the fish that will become a plant later. Don't worry!
You can also emboss the stocks with some care. If you feel a bit nervous.....do as I do.......Just Do !

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Start Your Swivel Knives......

By now most of you have seen an animated picture that mirrors the real leather sample. I decided to post the animated picture to help my readers understand the objective of the posted step. Thanks for the feedback already received on this project. I cannot start the step with mentioned something that George Hurst taught me a long time ago. Before you deploy your swivel knife please run it (correctly) on your strop to remove any residue off the tip. If not, just imagine getting smacked by George if he catches you neglecting your knife.
Take your swivel knife and cut all of the lines you see in the pictures. DO NOT CUT THE SWIRLS OF THE WATER. Make sure not to cut intersecting lines or cut up to where two lines will meet. Once you are done, take your hair blade OR swivel knife and cut the gill stems as depicted in the examples. Make sure to keep the lines cut in accordance with the curve of the gills.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Happy Veteran's Day!

Thanks to my Facebook friend Anne Newkold for doing such a great job on this leather project. You can see that she put all of her heart and skills into such a fine piece of work! Check out more of her work at Newkold's Leather Emporium Thanks Anne! Your friend and vet; 24th Infantry Division, '86-'94

Friday, November 9, 2012

Transfer the Pattern

You will need your favorite stylus or pencil to transfer the pattern below. If you have any trouble or issues, please let me know. Before beginning with this step, take a good look at the color (shade) of the leather you are using. This will be important in a few minutes. Okay, let’s start by applying water or your desired casing solution. I use tap water mixed with a few drops of dish washing liquid in a spray bottle. Make sure to apply the water evenly to the entire piece of leather. At this point, you only need to apply the water to the working surface (grain side). Set the piece of leather aside and allow it to return back to its natural color (the color or shade previously observed). To make sure that the leather is well prepared for cutting, place it against your cheek to feel if the leather is cool. If so, you are ready to begin. If not, apply a bit more moisture to the grain side. Special Note: Disregard any tool marks or other impressions found in the top right hand corner that you may see in the numbered photos.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Fish Tale......

I am going to do something a bit different with the following posting. A step by step project for any of my readers that would like to attempt it. I first did this project with Master Leather Artist George Hurst of Fort Worth Texas.
If you would like to make this project continue reading and take a look at the pattern attached below.
You will need the following tools to begin the project. 4/5 or 5/6 oz leather (5.5" high x 7.5" wide) * Stylus * Swivel Knife * Hair Blade.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Assembling the New Clicker

I started by attaching the cross support legs to the posts. I propped the legs up against the wall since this was a one man operation.
I then assembled the lower end plate and bar. It is adjustable so it can be moved as I need it. This will hold the posts up so I could complete the rest of the assembly. It also helped that I put it where it will be stationed for use.
I added the heavy top bar and springs to the unit.
Finally, I attached the upper bar and support to complete the assembly of this project. Oh wait, I screwed something up! By now, you will see that I installed the lower support feet incorrectly. I removed them and installed them as instructed and showed in the first picture at the start of this project. To prepare this beast for production, I purchased a professional cutting board from Tandy Leather Factory so it will protect my cutting dies during use. On to the next project.........

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Let the Welding Begin

I took one of the plates that I prepared at the beginning of this blog post. I took the cross bar with the eye bolts and placed it on one of the plates. I carefully centered the plate and measuring it twice, I marked it with some chalk. Side Note: You will need to take a grinder to the underside of the cross bar with the eye bolts down to the metal. I also grounded a line where the chalk line were placed. This will help you as you start to weld the metal together.
Here is the Rookie move. I tried my best to weld a straight line. It didn't work, but I did my best. I made sure that the piece was weld solid no matter how ugly it looks. I guess at this point, I will keep my day job!
I ditched the weight plates showed in the photo. I prepared the cross bars by grinding them. I centered and marked the lower plate with chalk and grinded along the chalk line. Again, made every attempt to weld a straight line. I did better than the upper plate. Now, to the final assembly.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Modification #3

Now, to reduce the height of this clicker for my shop. The standard height for the seal press was just over 5 feet.
I removed my posts and placed them on the table to be measured and marked. After taking some measurements of the spot where it will be housed. I had decided that my height would be 47" exactly. I measured from the bottom towards the top and made my mark. I took a metal chop saw and made sure I was on the mark before I decided to cut the post. I repeated the same for the second post. Please make sure that both posts are matched in the final cutting height.
Since I removed the upper part of the post with two equal holes for the upper brace (To be installed later). I had to replicate those four holes (two posts) after careful measurements were taken. I marked the holes with a Sharpie marker as shown above.
Using my drill, I drilled the holes and kept the drill bit leveled to follow up with the second hole beneath it.
After drilling the holes, I took a round file and smoothed out the holes to remove any burrs and shavings that would not interfere with the incoming bolt during installations.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Clicker Modifications 1 & 2

For the first modification, we will be removing the downward pole shown in the picture above. Now, I have noticed that some clicker mods that I have seen; this pole was left in place for a removable top steel plate. I just felt that I could achieve more square per inch pressure by modifying it flat.
I took a Sharpie black pen and marked the post where when cut it would be flat with the rails all around. I then took my 1 1/8" stroke Sawzall and cut the post off. I also used some oil to ease the cutting process. Now, there is a smaller Sawzall with a 3/4" stroke that should work, but know that it make take a bit longer to cut the post. This piece will not be needed for this project.
At this point, I would suggest that you install the two eye bolts onto the lower hanger as shown in this photograph. Once the upper plate is welded on there will be no room to attach them. To make sure that they do not come off, I would use some form of thread lock, adhesive or a simple couple of taps to the end of the threads. This piece can be placed aside until the final assembly.

Monday, October 22, 2012

New 12-ton Manual Clicker

This week's project is my new modified 12 ton clicker press purchased from Harbor Freight. Follow the posting to see how it turns out.
I went to my local Metal 4 U shop located in North Austin after I failed to find any scrap pieces that nobody wanted to give up even for a fee. I do believe I found my new hangout. The customer service was exceptional and the prices were pretty good. The dimension of these plates is 3/8" thick x 12" deep x 15" wide. I didn't expect these plates to be as heavy as they were until I had to carry them. So, I took a grinder to the edges to smooth them out, but the original cuts were not too bad. Once the plates were smooth and ready to rock, I purchased some flat black paint and sprayed the tops of the plate and edges. I also unpacked the 3 boxes that the hydralic seal press parts were delivered. At this point, I warn any potential makers to read the instructions on how this press is assembled. Most of the build will follow the instructions with a few deviations, so take your time.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Dressing the Interior & Completing the Project!

As with most of my projects, I like going the extra mile to make each one of them special. This project was no different. I decided after seeing some interior work of Mr. Bob Park from Arizona that I wanted to give it a try with this interior. (Thanks to our family at Leather Wranglers for the bio information.) I started out by dressing the corners with a simple flower center. I then started by drawing out some semi-scrolls trying to keep them evenly spaced. Nothing too over bearing, but just a touch of class!
Once I achieved a equally space design, it was all about filling in the rest of the lines or 'stickers.' After completing one side of the interior, I decided to take a break and marvel at the work that I had just completed (first time for me, mind you).
After I enjoyed my cold & fresh beverage (it was on sale), I decided to step it up a notch. Sorry, the catch phrase is registered, but you know who I am talking about. So, I decided to do some scroll work in the 'spine' area while the back cover was moisten and allowed to recover.
Here is the completed project after all of the interior was carved. Keep in mind that this liner is at 2 oz, so keeping the cutting pressure consistent and not too deep was key. Overall, I was very happy with this decision to dress the interior.
Kyle & Phylicia.....It was a pleasure making this album for you both. I hope you enjoy it, and share your special day memories. If every time you look it, it brings you a smile then I did my job right!