Saturday, April 28, 2012

Adding Bling!

One request from the new owner was some form of bling. I am not a fan of total bling, but I wanted to honor her wishes while still keeping it more towards the simple side. I took the back belt piece and started to make the holes to accept the bling rivets.
In the past, I would use the rivet setter tool when using these types of attachments, but over time I've learned a simple way to install these that looks better inside a belt. After the holes where made, I turn the belt upside down and installed the bling rivet from underneath. I then added the rivet cap and used my hammer to fasten the rivet caps. What ends up happening is the cap is flat after being installed. Before you hit the rivet cap, make sure to use a rubber or thick leather piece to protect the bling from getting destroyed from the pounding.
All of the bling rivets were set in place and completed. I chose the 7mm yellow crystals for this project.
Next up......attaching the belt tips!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Resist and Antique Paste...

Once I made sure that no more black dye was being removed from the buffing. I took my Wyo-Sheen, a substitute to the old Neat-Lac sold by Sheridan Outfitters in Wyoming and applied it to my 'tips' and back piece. I made sure to rub in the product in all areas especially the carving areas.
I allowed the lacquer product to settle in and dry completely. I then took my Fiebing's Medium Brown Antique Paste and applied it to the belt 'tips' using a scrap of wool. I made sure to completely cover all areas using a 'wax on, wax off' motion. I allowed the paste to dry a bit before using another clean piece of scrap wool to lightly buff the 'tips' and remove any excess paste. There was no need to apply any other product to the 'tips' since my antique paste was already mixed with Fiebing's Tan Kote.
Next.....the installation of some bling.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Applying the Final Color

With a thin brush, I took my Fiebing's Black Oil Dye and carefully applied it around the carving on the 'tips' of this belt project. After I made it around both 'tips,' I took a larger brush to cover the rest of the leather.
When the 'tips' were done. I moved on to the back section of the belt. I took a wool dauber, I applied the same dye in circular motions to make sure that it entered every area to include the stamped areas.
Finally, probably one of the most important tasks when using oil dye it to rub the dyed areas with a soft cloth to make sure that you remove all residue that did not penetrate the leather. There will be quite a bit of rub off at the beginning, but lightly buff until there is little to no residue. When this is done, you are ready for the resist process coming up next!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Geometric Piece

I laid out the two 'tips' on a flat table and used my tape measure to measure out the belt length needed. Once I had the 'tips' set up (spaced) correctly, I put some weights on them to hold them in place. I then took a measurement from where the 'tips' start to reduce into the scalloped piece on both sides. This measurement would be the length of strap that I would need for the geometric (back) piece. I laid out the stamping area minus a mimic border where the scalloped tips will be sewn on, as well as, the edge border.
Using my swivel knife, I cut the marked border free hand. Clay of Clay Miller Tools suggested an "X" pattern to be made with a basket weave for the back piece to be unique. I selected my Hidecrafter's Pro-Crafter Basket weave with a 'heart' in the center for this project. Since I knew that I would be applying crystals to the back piece, I wanted to make sure that the owner would not have a crystal dead center on the back under the pants loop. I measured the strap and located the center back and lightly marked it. This is where I started my basket weave pattern making sure that the center of 'X' would meet at this location. Using the basket weave example that Clay made for me, I laid out a few patterns to start the project off.
After the geometric pattern was completed, I took my swivel knife with a beveling knife tip and beveled the interior of the previously cut lines.
Now, onto the border. I decided to use my Barry King border tool with 'Hearts.' I tooled the border all the way around the area that I previously beveled.
The next step will be the dyeing process.....so stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Tooling & Dyeing the Background

After cutting the pattern with my swivel knife, I tooled the billet and buckle 'tips.' After the tooling was completed, I applied a light coat of oil to the pieces.
Once the oil was allowed to settle in overnight, I dyed the background of both pieces.

Monday, April 9, 2012

3-Piece Floral/Geometric Belt

Here is a special belt that I was commissioned to make for a young lady in Florida. She happens to be a great role model for our youth and holds a youth Rodeo Queen title for her area. When we started to communicate, I quickly learned how proud she was of her title and how much she loved horses. I also learned that she was supported by her mother who provided all of her equipment. As with all of my projects, I was given the freedom of design for this project. I decided on making a 3 piece belt because I haven't had a chance to make one before. I have seen several makers who have produced these belts and they looked really good, so I wanted to give it a try. I decided to make a belt that incorporated floral & geometric design concepts. For assistance, I went to see Dan & Lynn at Uptmors Saddlery just east of Waco, Tx. I was able to get quite a bit of help and ideas for this project. Dan took it a step further and clicked out a couple of sets of 'tips' for me, as well as, drew the floral part on the 'tips.'
So, here we go......

Friday, April 6, 2012

Attaching the End Caps

After the lining was completed. I cut a strip where the end caps will be glued and removed the lining leather. I roughed up the area that was just cleared. I also roughed up the area of the end cap and applied two coats of cement. Once the cement was tacky, I carefully attached the end caps. I use a steel roller to make sure the end caps made good contact. I then applied 'alligator' clips to keep the end caps in place.
As I sewed the end caps, I removed the clips until the entire cap was completed. I then started sewed the entire project. Once the sewing was completed, I prepared the edges and burnished them. I applied a finishing coat to the edges including dyeing them black. This project is done!
The next project is a 3-piece belt project.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Gluing the Liner

The main body was the only part that required a liner. I decided to use pig skin in black as a liner. I thought the black color was blended well and does not take away from the exterior color. I applied two coats of Master's cement to the interior of the main body and the liner. Of course, allowing the first coat to dry before applying the second coat. When the final coat of glue became tacky, I (carefully) folded the liner back staying away from the glued part before applying it to the main body. I carefully aligned one side of the project with the liner. I rubbed the liner onto the project with my hand to make sure that I got good contact. I tried to keep the main body in a contour (round) shape as I applied the liner. I wanted this contour shape to be the final project shape.
Once I applied the liner, I used my glass burnisher to rub it against the liner from the center out. This was just an added step to make sure that I received good contact between the two glued sides. The next and final steps are the end caps and burnished edges.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Attaching the Handle

After picking out the area for the handle tabs, I roughed them up so the glue would have something to adhere to. I applied two coats of glue and attached the lower flap pressing down the leather to make sure it made good contact.
I also place a single line of stitching on the bottom flap as added security. I then applied glue to the surrounding area and laid the top flap down. Keep in mind that the upper tab is larger in size and will cover up the bottom flap. After making sure the tab was glued down, I sewed around the top tab securing the handle to the main project.
I then attached the main securing strap using the same steps as mentioned at the beginning. Note: Remember to finish any edges before you secure them to avoid leaving them unfinished especially if you cannot get to them after stitching them. A tip I learned a while back. Use a drop of glue at the end of your stitching before you pull it tight. When the glue dries it will keep the thread from coming apart easily.
Now, we can move on to the interior liner.