Monday, January 30, 2012

Quick Project ~ Mouse Pad

So, I started a quick project....a mouse pad. I wanted to keep it simple but elegant looking. I knew that I had to be careful with the type of design I used especially with optical technology. I found an old article by Mr. Paul Burnett on 'Ornamental Stamping' in the Leather Crafters & Saddlers Journal Magazine.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Finished Stitch Line

Here is a picture of the finished hand stitched line. At the end, I will usually find the intended stitch line and come by one or two stitches. It just depends on the project. As with all of my tutorials, I hope this helps you become more comfortable with hand stitching.

Basic Hand Stitching Tutorial

I am working on a larger project and decided to post a short tutorial on how I hand stitch my projects. Now, here is my disclaimer. The following photographs depict how I hand stitch. You may find out that my techniques may be in violation of published techniques, standards or other discussed instructions. I take this from that and put together what works best for me. I usually start my projects with pre-cut holes using my stitching chisels (as seen above). In case you are wondering, these are end caps for a prototype bag that I am working on. If you follow my blog, you will see it later on. Picture #1 I usually stitch away from my body for several reasons, but I have stitched toward me as well. It just depends what is comfortable for me at the time. A project this size, I normally do not deploy my stitching horse or pony. I find it comfortable to hold it in my hand. I start from the right side because......well.....because I am right handed, but like anything else I do, I have started from the left side before. You will notice that I make sure that my incoming needle stays underneath the pending needle/thread. Picture #2 Here is a another angle showing that the needle comes in under the waiting needle/thread. Picture #3 When I completely pull the incoming needle/thread, I pull it semi tight towards my body. Repeating this set will help keep the stitching nice and uniform (take a look down the stitch line to see what I mean). This will also clear some space inside the hole for the incoming (left side) needle/thread. If you do not do this, you could end up with several problems. Example: cut thread, go through the middle of the thread already in the hole or creating knots. You will notice that my right side thread is still below the left side needle/thread. Insert the left side needle/thread making sure that the thread stays on top of the opposite side recently pulled through. Picture #4 & #5 Here is another angle as you pull through the thread from the left side. I pull the thread semi tight and towards my chest

Friday, January 20, 2012

Coming Soon: Knife Sheath

Here is a teaser for my loyal followers. No, it is not anything X-rated! I have this new knife coming in and it needs a new sheath, so...........I know this guy who likes working with leather.......ME! I don't want to leave this knife naked, so I will be making a horizontal belt sheath. I know that I will be tooling it because well, I like tooling, but I am considering making a second one with an inlay using some snake skin that was given to me by a good friend at DFC Studios. Stay tune!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Inlay Project is Complete!

After making sure that the glued areas made good contact, I took my trimming knife and squared up the project into one piece. There really wasn't any special reason to do this since it is just a practice piece, but this is just what I do. After trimming my leather, I took my chisel and created the holes for my stitching.
I then took some cotton wax thread and stitched the perimeter of the ribbon logo. I am really not too happy with my stitching holes, but I keep telling myself this is just a project. The stitching was just for giggles. So here you I made an inlay logo. I hope this was helpful to any of you that want to tackle an inlay project in the future.
Stay tune for another great project!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Gluing the Top Layer

Here is where the inlay comes to life. I applied a couple of coats of cement to the chrome tan piece and the top piece of leather. I took extra steps to stay clear of the ribbon shape. If cement made it onto the ribbon shape, it will show in the final embossed area.
You can see how the project will take shape and how much the embossing will show through in the final piece.
Once the glue became tacky, I carefully joined the pieces together being careful to avoid the ribbon shape. After I joined the pieces together the way I wanted them to sit. I took my fingers and carefully went around the perimeter of the shape to make sure the pieces made good contact.
Now all I have left is to prepare the project for stitching and trimming.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Creating the Inlay Object

I applied contact cement on the base leather piece. I also did the same to the bottom of the chrome tan. I allowed the cement to become tacky or when most of the shine had dulled. I carefully took the chrome tan and laid it on top of the ribbon outline. CAUTION: Be careful to control what areas come into contact with each other as they will stick and removal may cause some unnecessary results. You can use wax paper to protect your pieces from making contact while you work. I used an old Tandy plastic rubbing stick to rub across the top of the chrome tan to make sure that contact is made. I then followed the chrome tan down the ribbon and onto the leather backing (base). Make sure to follow the contour of all the ridges, valleys and flat areas. Be careful to smooth out any leather that bunches up or creates creases. The chrome tan will stretch a bit, so don't worry about tucking it with your rubbing stick or modeling spoon. You can also use your fingers at the beginning to initiate the preliminary contact. Once you smooth out all of leather and good contact has been made, you can see the finished look for your logo (see pictures). Another word of caution: please make sure that your tools are ready to be used and are free of defects. The plastic rubbing stick that I used was borrowed at the time of this project. Unknown to me (really my fault because I didn't take the time to inspect the tool) the points of the stick has hard ridges or defects probably from being improperly stored or dropped. This cause the tool to actually wear on the leather and started to remove the dye. This can be seen at the bottom of the ridges of the ribbon outline. So be aware of my mistakes.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Making the Base for the Inlay

Once the cement became tacky, I started to put back the cut out pieces like a puzzle. I tried to stay within the lines when the pieces went back together to re-create the ribbon. I used a burnishing tool to press the pieces down to make sure that they joined with the backing. I would also like to take this moment to thank one of my followers for correcting me. You see I learn something new everyday and I am always open to correction. Apparently, I called this technique "applique" and I was incorrect. This technique is apparently called "inlay" just in case you are all wondering why the names changed in my postings for this project. Thanks again!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Build up for Inlay

After cutting the ribbon out, I took another scrap piece as my backing. I scribe the ribbon outline design on to the backing piece in ink. I will use this as my reference for the build up pieces. I then applied a nice coat of contact cement to the backing piece. I took the pieces that I cut out in the previous posting and applied a coat of contact cement to the under side.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Practicing Inlay Work

I committed my work for an upcoming Susan G. Komen Benefit auction to help raise money for one of my Facebook friends. She is planning on attending a foundation event in Boston, Mass later this year. In order to help her defray the costs, she is collecting items for an auction. She and I spoke about the event and discussed how personal this issue was to her as a survivor. I gave her some homework and told her to think about what she wanted me to make for her. I wanted her to have as much input into this project as I did because it was so personal for her. She came back and told me that she wanted a 'belt bag' for a woman that is specific to motorcycle riders. So, now I had the project idea. I did some research and selected the perfect ribbon style for this project. I really found this style to be the right size and have the right flow. Now, I do have experience with inlay work and I made a belt bag with inlay work that I posted here. The problem was that this logo had intersecting lines. Since I did not have experience with inlay work and intersecting lines, I decided to experiment. I took the ribbon style that I selected and transferred it to tracing paper. I cased my scrap piece and transferred the logo onto the leather. I then cut-out the ribbon shape(see second picture). Onto the next step.....

Monday, January 9, 2012

Project Intermission: Revisiting an Old Project

As I transition from the last project to a new one, I find myself having to revisit another project previously discussed here. I created this multi purpose tool for myself and had so much interest that I created a few for sale. As with anything I do, I requested feedback and some of the new owners responded. So here is a simple response/project to help those that have asked. This is a simple holster that could be made that would serve a dual purpose. Storage and protection. I took some 5-6oz Veg-Tan leather to make this project. I used a 3/4" round end strap punch to make the 'U' shape at the point and used the side lines to create the lines towards the top. I cemented both piece with contact cement and allowed it to become tacky before I joined them together. I then took the flat burnishing end of this tool and ran it over the glued seams (both sides) to make sure it made good contact. I then wet the project in the sink under a small stream of water until the outside and inside were wet. I set it aside and allowed the moisture to set in throughout the leather. When it returned to its natural color, I inserted the tool (carefully). Once I found it seated well, I took my fingers and gently formed the leather around the tool. I removed the tool and gently pushed down the area where the embossing starts for the tool. This will ensure that the tool will sit tightly once dried. I allowed the tool sheath to dry overnight before proceeding. The next day, I stitched it, cut the edges evenly and burnished them completing this project

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Badge Holder is Done!

I stitched the perimeter of the project using cotton 4 cord waxed thread. I lightly cased the folding point and placed some of my leather weights on it overnight. Interesting, I actually complete these projects ahead of the their debut on my blog to keep the site renewed with new projects and information. Thus said, in my message to the new owner wishing them a Happy New Year, I included a picture of the project. He was really excited and I thought his response was pretty cool. On to the next project, but first some experimenting since I am taking on another 'applique' project for an upcoming foundation benefit auction. Stay tune!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Preparing for Stitching

After the liner was attached, I turned the project upside and used a small camouflage tool to decorate around the middle opening and the radius of the badge area. I then cut the slits for the stitching marks. These slits were cut at 5 stitches per inch.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Interior and Pocket

I have taken a piece of 1.5 ounce veg-tan for the lining and glued it after applying two coats of Master Clear Cement. I also took a scarp piece of 3-4 ounce leather and cut it to fit as an interior business card holder. I used a small strap end cutter to create the 'u' cut. I also burnished the top of the pocket flap prior to gluing it onto the project. I also punched the whole for the badge post.