Monday, December 24, 2012

Finishing this Project with Some Extra Features

Okay. Here we go.....With this post, we will be finishing this project. Once you have embossed your fish, take your favorite cutting instrument. For the following features, I used my favorite scalpel.
As you can see, we will be making some cuts to add some dimension. With my scalpel, I made some careful cuts to the gills. I stopped at the bottom of the "V" where the gills continue in the opposite direction. DO NOT CUT THIS HINGE POINT.
I cut the lower gill in the opposite direction. Again, make sure not to cut through the "V" (hinge point). Repeat the same for the other gill. Now, if you lightly wet the gills, you can insert your medium/large modeling spoon and CAREFULLY lift on the gill to mimic the expansion during breathing. Work it carefully and slowly until you get your desired lift.
Now, insert the scalpel in the mouth area and cut from the top to the bottom of the mouth only to the point where you did backgrounding with the A104 tool. Do not cut all of the way down. Wet the upper lip area above your cut area and with a modeling spoon (upside down) and CAREFULLY lift the mouth up. Work slowly and carefully. I have added a few more photos below to show you the lifted area for reference.
One of the things that I did was glue in a piece of cardboard to the back. After attaching both glue pieces together, I lightly used my beveling tool to go around the fish. This will lock in your embossing and give you a final look.
If you are good at dyeing; you can take this project to another level. If you are like me, I just dress this project with some Neatfoot Oil and Bag Kote. I hope you enjoyed this project. Let me know through your comments if you have any issues or other comments.


  1. King X
    Nice finishing post and pics!
    I am currently still at the embossing step (delayed by Christmas projects)and trying to get as much depth/height as possible.
    1.When you cut the gills,fins,and mouth...are you splitting and lifting the grain from the flesh sides of the leather with the scalpel or cutting all the way through to the inside?
    2.Is the embossed areas filled with any type of filling or putty before slicing and lifting? or possibly afterwards?

  2. Glad you like it. Here is some tips that you requested. (1) The gills and mouth are cut through. The fins were extra that I didn't post, but they are sliced as you stated. (2) You can fill it with 'leather dust' if you have any on hand. You can also use shredded paper like F.O. Baird did OR you can leave it empty like I did it for this project. The problem with filling the void is that it is recommended that it allow to dry overnight before continuing your tooling. I did not have that much time when I taught this class at Tandy Leather Factory and our Leather Guild meetings.

    1. Thank you Sir...your reply is exactly what I was wanting to know before I proceed. I have really been looking forward to learning the necessary technique(s) to complete this part of the project.
      Plus I've got a couple new undercut beveler's I'm looking to try out, and I think the fins might just be the first victim.
      At the risk of being redundant, your tutorial is well structured and understandable. Your love for this craft is obvious and your desire to share what you have learned with others, combined with your teaching skills is a credit to both you and those you have learned from in the past.
      Best wishes to you and your loved ones for an enjoyable New Year celebration. And may we all experience a rewarding and fulfilling 2013.

    2. Just remember, my techniques are not the only way to do these things. They just work for me and come from many, many sources in the world of leather. As I do and always suggest, experiment and learn!

      Happy New Years greetings from Central Texas, USA!