Thursday, March 29, 2012

Making the Handle

I had to make a handle for this bag. I referred to the Al Stohlman's 'Bag' volumes for some help. I found this handle pattern to be quite simple to make. The pattern called for skiving down certain parts of the leather so it will fold a lot easier during the final construction.
After the skiving, I dyed the leather piece using the same color for the main project. Once the dye was dry, I used some RTC Sheridan Finish and sealed it. I applied some moisture to the interior of the leather handle and used my fingers to mold it to its shape. After molding the handle piece, I realized that I forgot to dye the interior of the leather so the natural color did not show through once the handle was glued together. So, I took some dye and applied it to the interior of the handle.
Here are some other angles of the molded handle.
I applied glue to the interior and wings that will hold the 'D' rings. Once the glue became tacky, I put the 'D' rings in place and folded the wings towards the inside. I then folded one side of the handle inside and then the opposite piece that I skived earlier to complete the handle. I then laid one strip of sewing right down the middle to prevent it from coming apart over time and use.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Time for Color.....

The reason that I wanted the application of dye as a separate post was because I learned a few things with this color. The things that occurred in this project did not occur with the black. So here we go!
I took a piece of wool and applied a liberal amount of dye to the project. At first, it appeared like I totally ruined it. It came out really dark and splotchy. As I received encouragement from several other crafters with experience using this product. I continued to rub, rub and rub the dye into the leather. One of the things that I learned was that rubbing is key to this product. As you can see in the photograph above that the center was lightening up as I rubbed on the outer part of the main project. Over a short amount of time, the project will start to become lighter and tone out to almost a dull color.
Another thing that I wanted to point out with this product is that it is very sensitive. In the photograph above, you will see two obvious marks. By mistake, the top of the main body was touched with a couple of finger tips. I guess the project appeared dry to the eye. It turns out that the oils in the fingertips counteracted with the waxes and oils in the Professional Water Stain dye product. These marks were permanent.
In the photograph above, you will see the final color with a couple coats of Bees Natural RTC Sheridan Finish. I was very happy with the final color product.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Mock Up Time!

Well, the stamping has been completed. I allowed the main body piece to dry overnight. Since I was going to be using a new dye product for me, I did not oil the project. I played with the leather a bit after it sat overnight and it appear pretty supple with no dry out spots.
As some of you have heard, the Tandy Leather Factory recently announced the sale of a new dye called "Professional Water Stains." I was lucky enough to see a demonstration of the product and actually had an opportunity to play with these dyes. For those of you who follow my blog may recall a baseball cap bill that I tooled and dyed black (Archived Post). The dye that was used was the Professional Water Stain in black. For this project, I decided to choose a color that would really make this project stand out and look classy. I decided on the color Bordeaux for this project. The coloring of this project will be in separate posts because I want to point out some interesting things during the dyeing process.
So, stay tune for the magic to begin~!

Friday, March 16, 2012

It's Border Work Time!

I decided that I was going to try a double beaded border for this project, so I took the glass off the leather and allowed it to return to its natural color. I decided to stamp this project using a weave pattern using my Gomph-Hackbarth "Carlos" stamping tool. This tool resembles an hour glass shape. After laying out my lines, I used my Barry King beader blade to cut the lines. I did cheat and use a ruler for the straight lines. I stopped short of the corners and cut them free hand them after cutting the straight lines. I then beveled the lines being careful not to crush the beader that I created. After I beveled the lines and corners, I took my modeling spoon and ran it over the beader part to give it a roundness effect as its final shape.
I carefully laid out the appropriate spacing for this particular size tool and began stamping the area. A pair of wing dividers were mighty helpful during the spacing process. A slight mark gives me a reference mark where I need to place my tool as I stamp it.
If you are interested in learning how to stamp the 'Carlos' border, check out Wayne's tutorial at After completing the weaving pattern with the 'Carlos' tool, I stamped the exterior ring using a medium border tool by Hide Crafter's. On the inside border, I used my Barry King 'Seashell' tool to create the "V" shape border. I then used my 'Seashell Filler' tool to create the fill in work.
Now, onto the dyeing process. What color? What product?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

More on Cap Ends and Casing the Body

So, after forming the end caps and allowing them to dry overnight. I saw something a leather book recently that I thought I would try in this project. I took some strips of thin 4oz leather and cut them to about 3/4" wide. I took these strips and glued one side to the end cap. Repeat for the second cap. You will see that I didn't glue it entirely around the cap. I actually cut approximately a third of the roundness off each end cap. This will allow you to insert and remove the wine bottle during use. I hope this becomes self explanatory in later threads/photos.
Once the glue becomes tacky, I join the strips with the end cap making sure that a good joint was made. I then took some 5 cord white (lightly waxed) thread and sewed the glued joints. Once the sewing was done, I used a box cutter and equally trimmed the end cap joints. After trimming the edge, I burnished and sealed the edges with 'Quik Slik' edge dressing. The main reason for using this recently introduced product is because Vandy Douglas at Sheridan Outfitters told me that you can dye over this product. Yahoo!
Now to prepare the main leather piece. If you look all over the internet, you will find different explanations for "casing" or wetting the leather for carving or stamping. I was taught using the Al Stohlman method as described in the Leather Working Manual. Now, I have learned some tweaks to my method from many others and it works for me. Onward! I take my leather and place a backing to prevent it from stretching, which is very important for thinner leathers. Now, I am known for busting out clear packaging tape most of the time, but on larger projects I tend to use sticky shelf paper. Once I fix the paper to the back (flesh) side of the leather. I use my burnishing glass or wood block to make sure that good contact is made between the leather and paper. I then take my premix solution of pro-carve & tap water and apply it to the leather in stages. I continue to apply the water until the leather will no longer accept it. I take a plate of glass and place it on top of the leather to sit overnight. When I am ready, I will pull the glass and allow the leather to return to a natural color while maintaining it cool to the touch.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Preparing Cap Ends

In this posting, I have taken my cut circles and will mold them using a vegetable can. To prevent any metal transfer or discoloration, i have sprayed the can ends with lacquer. I took my leather circles and submerged them into warm water and left them there until the bubbles stopped coming from the leather.
I took the wet leather and centered them on the can top. I then started to fold the leather down around the can making sure there are no wrinkles in the leather. I carefully worked the leather around the can and allowed it to dry a bit before I wrapped width rubber bands to keep it in place. These cap ends were allowed to dry for few hours before the rubber bands were removed so they were not marked in any way. The cap ends were allowed to dry overnight before I proceeded to the next step.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Final Wine Bottle Carrier ~ Luxury Style!

As most of my followers are aware, I have been on a wine bottle carrier project binge. This project will complete that this ride. In this project, I wanted to make a real stylish and beautiful carrier while keeping the design lines clean so I decided to go the geometric way. I promised to show some step by steps for this project for a couple of guild members who decided to try and make one themselves. So here we go.....

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Doin' It Up a Bit More!

I know that this post was supposed to be only about practicing with your swivel knife, but I just had to take it a step further. I normally do this on all of my project anyways. When I should stop, I take it up a notch or two depending how I feel at the time. So here is my notch or two.......
Stay tune for a new post on the last of the wine bottle carriers....It sure came out purdy!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Filling in the Spaces

As you practice your swivel knife cuts in this tutorial, remember to start your cuts heavy and fade it out at the end to a light cut. I get asked quite a bit how deep should someone cut. I can tell you how I was taught to use my swivel knife. When I first started in leather craft, I did the typical "rookie" errors. One of them was not cutting deep enough into the leather. I later learned that you should cut at least half way through the leather of the project you are working on. This will give you better depth later on when you tooled the project. The reason for feathering your cuts is to help with definition and transition of each object in your design. All I have to say is just try something different than what you are used to doing or what you are currently doing.
What you see in the pictures above are just filler cuts to make up space between each object. Again, start deep and feather out your cuts. In the last picture, you can see that I hit a stump with how finish the end. I just did what I thought was best to complete the end.