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!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Dyeing the Cover

I really like the Fiebing's Mahogany dye so I used it on this project. I did want a two-tone contrast though. I decided to dye the open space with the Mahogany dye and leave the carved and embossed areas un-dyed. If it sounds familiar it should because it is also known as the Sheridan Finish or process.
I then applied a a decent coat of a leather lacquer finish like 'Neat-Lac', 'Wyo-Sheen', or 'Clear-Lac.' to seal the dye and semi protect the carved areas. I allowed the finish to dry overnight before I proceeded. After allowing the finish to dry, I took some Fiebings Antique Paste and applied a liberal coat over the carved areas. I then took the excess paste off the project by wiping it with a couple of paper towels. What this does is allow some of the paste to be captured in the deep cuts and stamping areas. A light buffing with a cotton towel will deliver a beautiful polished look.
I the prepared the liner by cutting a 1-2oz piece of veg-tan. I applied contact cement over the area and placed it aside while I did the same to the inside of the project binder. When the pieces became tacky, I carefully attached both of the pieces together and used a burnisher to ensure good solid contact to include in the fold areas.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Tooling the Back Cover

I moved on to the back cover and initiated the tooling process after completing my swivel knife cuts. I decided to go out of my comfort zone and pick some out of the normal flower centers. It is a Barry King Spinner. So basically, I went all "G" with it. The rest of the stamping process was completed in normal fashion.
Once all of the tooling & embossing was completed, I allowed the moisture to evaporate from the leather. I then applied a thin coat of EVOO to the entire project. I used EVOO versus Neatsfoot Oil because in my opinion, the EVOO will usually not darken the leather at all. I allowed the project to sit overnight before I proceeded with the next stage..........dyeing!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Forming the Rings

When the leather dust settled in and hardened overnight, I applied glue to the three designated areas where I will be gluing in a hard backing for support. In this case, I used mat board type of stiffener for these areas. This support will also be used to help shape the embossed rings......see below.
After applying the stiffeners, I turned the project right size up and began by carefully beveling around the exterior of the rings. When I was done, I continued by beveling inside the rings. I beveled until I made sure that the rings were shaped correctly and adhered to the stiffener. I also tooled the lettering and date on the front cover.
Prior to moving on, I took my wet sponge and lightly dampened the rings. After allowing the water to set in for a few minutes, I took my widest modeling spoon and carefully rounded the edges of the rings to give them a more natural look. I then moved on to the lettering on the spine and completed that tooling before I started on the back cover.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Embossing the Rings

I wrapped the back portion of the photo album to keep the moisture content even while allowing the front of the album open. I applied a bit more water around the ring area (front & back) to start the embossing process.
I started the embossing using a semi pointed tip metal ball attached to an awl handle that I custom made. Once I was able to get a good outline of the rings. I used a trick that I learned from one of Robb Barr's videos. I used a small & medium marble to continue the embossing of the rings. When I had sufficient height, I finished the embossing with a small round modeling tool.
I allowed the leather to rest a bit. While doing so, I prepared some leather mud by using 'leather dust' and rubber cement. I mixed it until it was consistent to oatmeal.
I applied the leather mud to the back of the embossed rings making sure to keep it short of the outlining ring line. Using the plastic spoon, I made sure to compact it to reduce any air pockets within the mud.