Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

I would like to wish all of my readers and followers a Merry Christmas and a good night.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Customized Maul Rack

As most of us have at one time, our mauls are just kept on the bench near our tools usually lined up from lightest to heaviest. After my last move, I spent a lot of time designing my new area. My goal was to keep as many tools off of my bench to create more work space. The idea for this project came after visiting Sears and seeing the screwdriver rack accessory they sold in the store. I thought why I could not create such an accessory for my mauls.

This project was intended to be mounted on the wall in my area, but it can easily and effectively mounted on the side of your tooling bench or desk.

To determine the width and length for this rack, I lined up my mauls and took some measurements. I added about 3/4" around each maul for proper space and grabbing ease. I used regular 3/4" stock that can be purchased at any home improvement store. With project and most of my other projects, I usually use whatever leftover wood I have from other projects, which is why I used 3/4". I am sure that 5/8" should be just find and hold up.

You will need two important measurements from your maul collection. You will need the outer most measurement of each maul, as well as, the inner measurement near the handle's edge. The first measurement is actually how your mauls will sit on your rack. The second measurement is what will allow the maul to access it's own space on the rack.

Because of my old age, I used a compass to mark the lines on my piece of wood plus I do not normally have time to work on my projects consecutively at a time so I need reminders.

With a ruler, draw straight lines parallel showing the entrance and exit path for each maul. I took it a step further and decided to rounded off the edges using washer that fit the right size.

Using my jig saw, I cut the parallel lines for each maul. Unless you have a large enough drill bit or forstner bit, you can use the jig saw to cut the smaller hole. Remember, always test ride using your maul after each step to make sure that all is okay. After all of your paths have been cut, you can cut the round offs. Your top piece and most difficult part of this project has been completed.

Here is my test step.

Now, you will add a 2" hanger piece for the back. This will offer the right angle support for this project and will be used for screwing it to the area where you will mount it. I also added three triangle pieces for addition support especially from my 3 lb maul. I pre-drilled all of my holes and countersunk them.

Additional step:

I added this step because I believe in going above and beyond to avoid any possibilities of breaking apart. Prior to screwing the project together, I applied glue and clamped it up. It was allowed to sit overnight before mounting.

Once the project has been completed, I mounted the rack onto my tool wall and stored all of my mauls on it.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Another Front Pocket Wallet

I have been making front pocket or weekend wallets for quite some time now. I am always looking for that 'miracle' pattern that will turn that light bulb on. I have yet to get to that point to date. In an attempt of never giving up, here is another pattern I threw together one weekend.

The outside piece is a pretty simple rectangular shape. I took some left over Chocolate Wickett & Craig leather for the exterior. I took a simple 1" half round punch and made my cutouts. You will notice that they are on opposite ends of the leather piece. This cutout will be used to retrieve your items such as credit cards, money or other items. Now, if you have worked with leather for a while you have noticed that these punches like to make the cutouts at an angle due to the edge. When using the punch, make the cutouts with the grain side up. This will ensure that the clean side will be exposed to the user. Note: If you are unsure always test out your punches on scrap leather.

On this pattern, I decided to put a center piece to separate the compartments. I decided on a scrap piece of 2-3 oz vegetable tanned leather. I applied some moisture to the piece and folded it in half and used my bone folder to form the crease. I then applied a thin layer of contact cement to the flesh side of the vegetable tanned leather piece. Once the glue was ready, I folded the leather piece making sure to keep all edges even. I set this piece aside to dry before I begin to assemble the wallet.

I then apply some water to the exterior Chocolate piece at what will be the 'fold' area and allowed it to settle into the leather. When it was ready, I folded the exterior piece and used the bone folder to create the crease. I also decided to make this wallet clean, so I just applied my maker's mark centered and fully dressed.

As with most of my projects, I deployed my stitching groover and make grooves on both sides of the wallet 3/16" in from the edge. This groove will help guide my stitching chisel when I make my marks for hand stitching.

I took my stitching chisel and made my hole marks on both sides. I was careful to make sure that I was even with the groove underneath on the opposite side of the wallet. After the marks were made, I stitched the wallet up using 4 cord wax thread and sealed the project.

This wallet was given to a friend for daily use. I hope it held up, but I haven't received any complaints.

Thanks again for following this blog. Stay tuned for another great project coming soon.

Happy Thanksgiving to all readers and followers!!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Simple Tool Roll with No Stitching!

I've seen quite a few leather workers asking about making a tool roll. In the last issue, there was a great tool roll article, but it required sewing. What if you could make one without any sewing? Well, hang this post, I will show you how I made one.

Sorry about the quality of the picture. Here are the dimensions for this project. The length is 17 1/2" from left to right with the exception of the closure tab. On the left bottom the measurement is 7 1/2" up to the top of the tab line. The measurement from the last one is 5 1/4" up, which will be for the fold. I always plan on paper and then poster board before I go to leather.

In the first photo is the securing tab which measures at 1 5/8" x 4". There are some cut corners which signify where the placement of the velcro piece will be placed on the interior. The second photograph show the velcro placement on the exterior of your tool roll where the tab will secure it when rolled up.

You will notice some vertical lines on my pattern. Those lines were used for tool spacing and guidelines later. The spacing can totally be up to you depending on what kind of tools you will be storing. You will also need to decide whether you want to round your corners or keep them square at this point. Once you have reached this point, you are ready to move to leather. Note: The corners cut outs on the tab for velcro will depend on the width size you end up getting at your local store.

I ended up using a piece of split suede leather for this project. In fact, I believe it is the best type of leather and cheap for tool rolls. They are a bit stiff and can provide good protection for your precious tools.

Use your new pattern and draw out your outline and other reference markers. We are almost done......Hang in there!

In these photographs, I made some reference marks on each side of the leather. Don't worry, these will be covered in the following steps. This reference marks will be used for placement of the glue.

You will have to turn your leather over to the exterior and mark out your velcro area. Select your velcro size and make sure to decide where your loop and hook will be placed. Now, for the fun part.

I used Eco-Flo white glue for this project. I apply a liberal amount of glue within my markers. I then carefully lay down the intended pre cut velcro strips on top of the glue area. I then used a leather weight and placed it on top to apply pressure while the glue cured. Let's move on.

Use the reference space marks, I apply white glue to the top portion of the lines. Try to keep the glue lines thin and consistent from start to finish. Take the bottom of the leather and fold it up. Make sure to keep the left side, middle and right side even as possible. You will need something to apply pressure while the glue cures. In my case, I used some heavy books, a tip I learned from George Hurst to apply pressure on the fold.

After the bottom fold cures, turn your project over to the exterior where you marked your larger velcro area. Apply glue like you did for the interior tab and place your opposite pieces of velcro. Don't forget the weight to apply pressure while the glue cures. If you find out that you applied too much glue, don't fret place a piece of wax paper between your project and weight. This will prevent your weight from coming into contact with your leather weight.

Your new tool roll is completed.

If you want to personalize your tool is an extra step you can take. With a piece of leather that is measured and cut to the tab area can be personalized with initials, maker's mark, etc can affixed to the leather. Apply some glue to the flesh side of the leather piece and affix it to the exterior side of the tab. Don't forget to apply a weight for pressure.

Enjoy your new tool roll! See you next time.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Something a Bit Different ~ Silhouettes

For those of you who have been following me on Facebook by now know that get on leather kicks. Lately, it has been silhouette patterns. These are usually opposite of regular tooling patterns. They can be a simple pattern or very intricate in natural depending on your subject. Backgrounding these type of patterns will kill the shoulders and arms if you are not used to it.....but it can be great for releasing some stress as well.

Take a look at this pattern.

The abstract eagle head, I thought was pretty cool to tool and received great reviews. I started with this pattern as a warm up to what would come down the road. With this pattern, I used a bargrounder for the relief work. It was the first time using this tool. I will stick with my trusty A104 Craftool. I used a Fiebing's Chocolate dye for the background. I used the Tan color for the top coat color.

As we start to complicate the process, take a look at my next selection of pattern.

I decided to expand my horizons and try something new. I used my Hidecrafters Pebble tools for the background work. I then took some acrylic paint and mixed a batch to resemble old rock and painted the background of this Mayan god symbol. I didn't stop there, I used Fiebing's black oil dye for the top coat. I then used some black antique to cover the entire pattern after applying my resist. I was hoping to age the project. I was surprised with the outcome.

Next, I found this pattern while searching Google images. I thought wow from the time I found it that I had to give it a try.

This one by far received the most comments and pattern requests. I kept it simple with a clear finish and some back ground dye in Fiebing's light brown dye.

We move forward with a bit more difficulty. I do not really consider this project a silhouette, but more of an inverted project. I started thinking of backgrounding this project, but after beveling I decided to leave it alone. Check it out!

I decided to keep it simple and dye my beveling a red color. It was finished with a resists and no antiquing.

This next project was a bit more trying. By looking it you can tell that you had to take your time because the overall look depended on it. I dyed the background with Fiebing's black dye. I decided to try something unique. I cut a groove around the perimeter and moisten the area. I then took my Tandy overstitch wheel and rolled it around the perimeter. I actually make 3 trips around the perimeter; each time applying more pressure. I wanted to give it the look of being stitch without using any thread. I think I achieved it. What do you think?

This next project, I actually printed out at the beginning of this endeavor. I absolutely enjoy anything John Wayne. When I found this one, I wanted to give it try, but down the road.As with all of my projects, I wanted to make it unique, so I decided to cut out the actual signature with my swivel knife. I knew when I antiqued this project later, the signature will stand out. I used black dye for the background, resist and antique for this project. What do you all think?

Finally, for my last project.....I noticed a Facebook friend recently changed his profile picture to a facial silhouette. I felt that I had some tooling under my belt to give it a try. At the end, my friend enjoyed the outcome. It was simple, black dye for the background after using my A104 Craftool. This one is on its way to the new owner in Singapore.

My point with this thread is to encourage all of my followers to expand their horizons and try something different. Good luck and thanks for reading this blog.