Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Making a Custom Boot Jack

I am always on the lookout for project ideas that involve leather and wood. In this blog post, this project was one that made as gifts for several friends some years back. I actually had the ability to make the bootjacks and tool the leather.

I started with red oak planks for the boot jacks. It took awhile to figure out the exact rise I wanted in the jack. Once I figured that number out, it was down hill from there....no pun intended. I cut all of my pieces out and prepared them for staining.

I picked several colors of stains for this project. Each boot jack was sanded and edges taken down before applying the stain. After the jacks dried, I took some Carnuba wax and #0000 steel wool to each jack to smooth out the finish. This was all part of the plan to help avoid the new owners from getting splinters.

I decided to add a special touch to my jacks. I cut a rabbit to the lower edge of the jack. This was put in place to avoid any damage to the boot since the heal is usually offset. This will allow the heal to be used to remove the boot with ease. I wanted to take it a bit further. I wanted to make sure to protect the users boot, so I decided to attach a protector.

I took a piece of 3-4 ounce veg tanned leather. I applied contact cement to the piece of leather and then applied water to the strip. I also roughed up the wooden area and applied a coat of contact cement. As soon as the water settled into the leather strip, I applied two additional coats of contact cement allowing each coat to dry. I ended up applying another coat to the wooden jack piece.

I have dealt with forming leather in past projects, but I wasn't sure how this was going to work in such a tight spot. Luckily, for me I allowed the leather and water to case very well before I started to manipulate it. This was key. Applying the strip of leather to the jack wasn't as hard as I had made it in my mind. After using my finger to smooth the few wrinkles, I then took my bone folder and continued to smooth out the leather piece until I was satisfied with the results. The hard part of this project was done. It was put aside so it could dry.

The leather piece was made custom to each receivers personality. The one showed above was a simple floral tooling with no initials. The leather was tooled, finished and completed. Two coats of contact cement was applied to the leather before applying. The boot jack area was roughed up before contact cement was applied.

As with most of my projects, I like to add my maker's mark but as usual to keep it hidden. On the underside, I used a fostner drill bit to make a shallow hole for a round maker's mark tab.

Another great project written in the books. I appreciate each and everyone of my followers. Stay safe, stay well.

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