After completing the tooling of the mouse pad. I wanted to keep the project as firm as possible that I did not apply oil. Plus, I really did not tool enough that I felt that I needed to. I did select and proceed with the application of a Neat-Lac alternative called 'Clear-Lac.' Some folks have written and asked where this item can be purchased. I know of three locations to get 'Clear-Lac', Panhandle Leather, Wild Mare Leather and from Springfield Leather Company. My quart was purchased from the latter. I know that Sheridan Outfitter's in Wyoming sells an equivalent called 'Wyo-Sheen."
A question that I often get asked has to do with my hand stitching. I decided to post pictures of how I initiate the layout for my hand stitching. For me, I find that cutting a stitching groove provides a straight line for my stitches. My projects vary in thickness depending on what I am working on, so the distance of my stitching groove will depend on the project. I was taught to use my stitching groove tool to determine the appropriate distance. I start by releasing the set screw that secures the groove blade and adjust to the thickness of the leather with the blade and guide stem as shown in the second picture. Once I have determined the distance, I secure the groove blade with my screwdriver and now I am ready to create my desired groove.
Another question I get is when do I cut my groove. When my leather is dry or wet? For me, it really doesn't matter when I cut my groove. What I have found out is if you adequately sharpen and strop your groove blade, this shouldn't even be a concern. I took it a step further and polished my groove tool guide stem, so that it will glide easier as you start cutting the groove. If you take on these recommendations, try not to grind or change the profile of the groove blade or you run the chance of ruining it. For shapes like this, I go to my local auto parts store and buy a value pack of wet & dry sandpaper. Make sure that your pack contains at least 1200 grit. As with any cutting instrument you use, always strop it!