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  1. I have deleted all of my blog entries as of now. I no longer wish to contribute my experiance and knowledge to this blog/site. I will post on another blog as soon as I find time to do it. My thanks to those of you who I have enjoyed good relationships with.

    Have a good day.

  2. Now that we've had the Leatherworker.net business directory up and running more than a month, and a few of you have set up your listings, we're already starting to see some trends developing in what listings seem to be drawing the most traffic, and what you can do to improve the performance of your directory listing.

    Just to give you an idea of what we're seeing so far, as of March 6, with just the few listings we have so far, our listings have received almost 7,000 hits, and almost 3,500 of those resulted in web site click-outs. A hit is when someone clicks the title of a listing to view the description and contact information. A click-out is when someone viewing a listing clicks on the link to visit the lister's web site.

    We also keep track of what is called a click-through rate, which is the percentage of listing hits that get click-outs. It helps us determine how effective the ad is, or how likely the ad is going to produce a sale. So far, the overall click-through rate for text listings in the directory is running around 51%, which is a staggering rate, compared to traditional pay-per-click advertising (such as we offer on the forum).

    But even without the stats, we see the inquiries coming in, some involving volume work, and people are already telling us they've gotten orders from people who found them in the directory. Considering we're just getting started, that's a very good sign!

    That sounds great, but why isn't my listing getting that kind of traffic?

    One thing a lot of people need to realize is that a banner ad or directory listing is not a magic bullet. Just having one there is not going to guarantee you're going to get more sales. What you put - or don't put - in that listing does affect how many shoppers will click that site link, send that email, or pick up the phone. All listings are not equal. There are some listings that are attracting a lot more traffic (and business) than others. The good news is, you have a lot of control over what to put in that listing to improve its performance.

    Here are some tips to keep in mind when setting up or modifying your directory listings:

    Use the logo box.

    Use the "logo" box in your listing to upload an image of your work, which will appear in the listing. This will make your listing more attractive, and serve as an enticement to click your web site link to see more of your work.

    Include a description.

    My first tip for a good listing description is: include one. This seems pretty obvious to me, but I'm amazed how many listings have nothing written in the description box to tell shoppers about what you're offering for sale. Not surprisingly, these are the listings that get the least number of click-outs. Most don't get any. Don't expect the listing title to do it all. Use all the words you have available to you to promote your work.

    Include a call to action.

    Write a description that urges people to visit your web site, send you an email, or pick up the phone and call. I know most of you will think this wouldn't make any difference at all. I know I didn't at first. In marketing, this is a "call to action", and I found out after years of working with pay-per-click advertising, that it does encourage people to take that next step. Sometimes all it takes is a simple suggestion.

    Toot your horn!

    Write a description that "toots your horn". Sometimes it amazes me what a humble bunch of people we have here at Leatherworker.net - never quite happy with their own work, despite how others admire it, which is a sign of a true artist and is the reason your work possesses the quality it does. But when you're trying to sell your work, that's a BAD thing! When you're selling your work, you need to focus - just long enough to write your listing description - on what you (secretly) LOVE about your work, and what you know others love about it.

    Use enough keywords.

    Here's a really sad reality: About 95% of all the searches done in the directory for specific items are coming back empty. And a lot of them are searching for things that are offered by makers or businesses in the directory, or searching for specific makers or businesses that we know are members of Leatherworker.net. It's a sad reality because this represents a lot of missed opportunities to get found by your customer. It means a lot of you are being searched for, but not being found.

    Adding keywords to the keyword box in your listing will help directory shoppers find you via the search function. What keywords should you enter? It's pretty simple: choose words that people shopping for what you offer would search for. Do you specialize in holsters? Then at least one of your keywords should be "holsters". If you make lots of different items, try to include any other terms that are inclusive of the range of what you are offering, such as "equine", or "outdoor sporting".

    A Basic Listing can have up to 10 individual keywords. You can also use phrases that are more than one word, but each word will count towards the 10 word limit. Each search word or phrase should be entered with a comma to separate each one.

    What's the difference between keywords and meta-keywords? The search terms entered in the keyword box will help people who are searching in the directory to find you. The search terms entered in the meta-keyword box will (eventually) help people who are searching from places like Google and Bing to find your listing on our site.

    What do you mean "eventually"? It sometimes takes awhile before the search engines can pick up that information and get it indexed so it begins to appear in their search results. We are working on ways to get more traffic from the search engines sooner.

    Get your site in shape.

    If your site is getting traffic from the directory, but not much of it is converting to sales, take a good critical look at what people see when they visit your site. Is the layout clean and attractive? Is the photography the absolute best you can make it? Is it filled out, or does it look like there are pieces missing? Are shoppers finding what they thought they would find when they clicked on the link? Is the ordering process free of any obstacles?

    If you don't have a site, consider creating a gallery photo album to display images of your work.

    Having a web site makes selling on the internet a lot easier, but it is possible to sell your work on the internet without a site of your own. I can almost guarantee you won't sell a thing on the internet without at least displaying some images of your work that shoppers can see before taking that critical step closer to an order.

    One way to do this is to create a photo album in the gallery and upload your photos there. Then you can make your "web site" link go to that album.

    Consider upgrading your listing.

    You knew I would bring this up eventually, didn't you? Sorray - just had to put in a plug for the paid listings!

    You can do any or all of the previous tips without spending a single dime. And you probably should, whether you are considering upgrading to a Feature Listing or a Banner Listing, or not. But one reason to consider an upgrade is that the Feature and Banner listings really are getting a lot more traffic. It's still a little too early to come up with more accurate averages, since there are only a few so far. But we can safely say they're getting more than 3 times as many hits as the Basic listings.

    Regardless...

    We want to help you get the most out of your listing, whichever one you use, because the more successful you are at selling your work, the more we all benefit. So if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask!

  3. Carved and dyed wolf I did last night.

    Source: Robert E Lee Wip

    It's been a while since I've posted anything, so this might not get shown where I want it to. For someone who has only been working leather for only a few months, you are really good. Some people are not this good even at ten or more years. You have a talent for this work and all I can say is ....... don't stop now.

  4. It has been one week since the surgery on my rotator cuff. It has been a hard week. shoulder feels like I was kicked by a mule literly.I was sick for a week and still feel nauesa at times. the anesthesia was the culpurit. It will make you feel sick for a couple weeks as it matabolizes out of your body. I hope I can get back to leather work soon and i think i will be able to to it. I have people that have put in orders so I do need to get it back asap. Thanks for all the support I have gotten from everyone and hope to be back on game soon. Gary

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    I have for many years argued that the general public has been taken for a ride.

    I argue that the quality of goods in the USA and world is lacking any and all quality, or effort to make it last and stand the test of time.

    Yes, I think that we are be coming a disposable world. You go to( Wal Mart) and buy a phone case it is pretty looking, you spend $20 bucks and it gives at best a few months of service. Then you go again and buy another. Bang another $20 bucks and in the course of 5 years you will spend upwards of $300. And if you were to buy even the most expensive case you could find it would last a good 5 years. Mine are rated for a life time. You see, your sticking it to the man, You. And the cycle goes on and on. Buildings are not built any more to last. The average school is built to last 10 to 15 years and then bang knock it down, throw it away. So you see the demand for Quality is not there.

    I am trying to get this point across to my fellow leather workers so we may in turn educate are customers. Its better for all of us it bring's the money back to the people and out of the greedy Big money grabbers hands of the world. I know there is a need for the likes of Wal mart but when it comes to shoes hats and leather goods there not helping, there soaking.

    think about it!

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    blog-0977295001359672506.jpgGreetings to everybody!

    Here i want to show some little expirience about creating boots.

    This is my first shoes i ever made.

    I very much like older version of Merrell shoes like chameleon series, which in production no more and i thought

    why not to make them by myself. It was interesting job that i done. Everybody are welcome to watch result

    on youtube.

    If you have some questions, i will answer with pleasure.

    to be continuum......

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    I have to say I am really happy and impressed right now. I was not sure where to give a shout out to these guys but I found leatherworker and thought it would be a good place. I ordered a Corriente Saddle form http://thesalebarn.com and I cannot be happier. I have ridden it about 10 times since out of the box. It even has tooling on the roughout! SO excited and happy to get riding it and roping agian. If you are looking for a good quality saddle please visit these guys. Thank you.

  5. blog-0009752001397458801.jpgpackers and movers in jamnagar

    Moving is among the the majority of frustrating jobs for many. Providing merchandise, seeking an appropriate transporter, launching along with unloading and also delivery these people are classified as the nearly all painful concerns inside shifting type anyone to a different area. Besides this stuff, the greatest major problem connected with new house purchase will be the misplacing as well as harmful regarding things within vehicles that is certainly common with moving by simply personal.

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    Articles provided by:-

    packers and movers in gandhidham

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    Freeman15
    Latest Entry

    I have basic skills in sewing but would like to purchase a quality walking foot sewing machine to do leather, neoprene, auto, boat, furniture upholstery for home use. Price would be least than $1000 I hope. What recommendations do you have?

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    terrahyd
    Latest Entry

    WONDER HOW MANY OF US CAN REMMBER WHEN ALL THOSE NEWBE QUESTIONS WERE OUR QUESTIONS??????Doc....

  6. We figured a way for you leatherworkers to get your site rankings up and draw in extra business. Glance up at your toolbar- see that button that says "Directory"? LW is proud to use its power to help our members get found by customers and make sales. This is going to a huge deal in the future, so get in there and create an account. You want business? We have a way for all the shoppers who come here to browse your sites and pick the right leatherworker for their job. Any registered member of LW can have a plain free ad, but if you want more of a stand-out presence, we can do that, too. And here is the best part- not only will your ad be seen by more people than any other place in print or online that you can advertise, it's CHEAP. We're talking waaaay less than it would cost to take out a classified ad in a newspaper or the yellow pages. The point is to have a comprehensive leatherworker directory that keeps you guys and gals busy at the bench and not thinking about day jobs. (yuck!) We hope you use this service and make some money off it- if you are a custom leatherworker or saddlemaker with a website, you want to be in the Directory. If you are a supplier or business that caters to leatherworkers- we are offering a regular text ad for the entire month of February for FREE, just so you can see how much your ad can impact your business. When you see the extra hits your site gets, and the phone starts ringing, we are confident you will want to stay with us and choose a plan that's right for you. You won't faint when you see the prices, either. With the high traffic and the low prices, you have to agree this is the best advertising deal to a TARGET market ever. We are more affordable than magazine ads, yellow page ads, radio advertising, newspaper advertising, PLUS our Directory will be seen by more leather folk than all that other advertising combined. The math speaks for itself.The top of this page has the links to compare different advertising campaigns and to sign up. It's easy and fast, and we want you to benefit from the Directory feature. Please ask Kate or me if you have questions or need assistance. We are happy to help you.

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  7. What a marvelous weekend this past weekend was and not just because the time I got to spend with my wonderful friend. No, this weekend was a learning weekend. Sunday was a specially arranged class with Rocky Minster and Monday was a class with Tony Laier. Truly a couple of great days to sit with some knowledgeable people and see how they do what they do and pick their brains.

    I didn't have the $$ for Rocky's class but I did stop and join in on the breakfast and meet Rocky. What a great guy and he has such an amazing accumulation of patterns and pictures of his career. Really inspiring to see and ask questions about.

    On Monday Tony and Kay Laier were at the Tempe Tandy with Tony teaching and giving tips on laying out and tooling the new holster kits. He also gave a great EcoFlo demonstration that was very informative and dispelled a lot of distrust I have with the product. Tony's skill and and teaching style makes everyone feel at ease and he didn't leave any of the newer toolers (me) in the dust or bore the ol' hands. He truly is a national treasure and so is his wonderful wife Kay. I had a lot of fun in the class and asked as many questions as I could think of. Poor Tony! I also begged him to bring back the rams head edge tool. I hope that he bends the ear of the right guy and this tool is back on the shelf. This was a all day class and even with the lunch break it just went too fast. I can't remember when I had a more pleasant Valentine's day and President's day and I even had a old crown pop off my back molar at lunch Monday! It was a wonderful time spent with some really wonderful people.

    I am so truly grateful for the friends I have made in this hobby. Without something to keep my mind and hands busy this difficult spell in my personal life would have affected me very differently. I can't say that simply tooling some leather has made it easy to watch a twenty year partnership go down the drain. But the close personal friendships that have resulted from this "hobby" has lifted me up out of a very big hole in my heart. Probably beating the snot out of something stamping has helped a little bit too. The thing is that for me leatherworking is a part of a meditation in my day. Just shutting off the rest of that noise in my life and sitting down and stitching a project, stamping a pattern, lacing an edge lets me rest and rejuvenate my mind. Thanks friends, you know who you are and a big thanks to one in particular that made sure I was suiting up and showing up, you're the best.

  8. Cow Camp Saddlery has the chap patterns ready for sale. They are Shot Gun chaps and Chinks. avalible at www.cowcampsaddlery.webs.com

    blogentry-9505-126522218588_thumb.jpg Chinks

    blogentry-9505-12652222213_thumb.jpg Shot Guns

    Mark

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    Isn't this nice, personal Blogs on LW! Got to love LW. Johanna, and Kate rock, even if getting out of bed is a little slower nowadays...lol.

    It's lonely out here in the backroads of NC, but I'm managing to keep busy in the shop, everyday. Songbird is playing some blues on the linux box. The dogs are in and out, as usual. The back bench has some molded cases and sheaths drying. The to-do bench has some chap repairs, zippo cases to finish, a couple of belts, and some of toolbags to start making up.The rest of the shop really really really needs a clean up. Oh, that reminds me. I have to mix up a new batch of vinegaroon.

    It's starting to warm up from two weeks of cold. Today might be in the 50s, tomorrow might make 60. Looks like I'm riding the Sportster tomorrow.

    I have to go to Raleigh and collect on the sale of a solo bag through a local indy. He reported the customer was thrilled. That's the only bad part of not making the actual sale...you don't get to talk to the customer.

    The plan for the next few months is inventory! I'm hoping to do some bigger shows this year (hopefully, the "SmokeOut" in Rockinham, in June, for sure), and had better get off my arse, and start beating on the bench. The custom stuff keeps getting in the way, but it's all good. Still ain't making a paycheck, but I am getting established locally. By the way, you can name your company (Rocky River Leather Co.) anything you want, but if the locals want to call you "Dave, the Leather Guy", you can't do a damn thing about it.

    I guess that's enough for a first entry. Hope this catches on with a bunch of members.

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  9. PRELUDE

    Most members of this forum know me as a frequent poster on the Leather Sewing Machines Forum on Leatherworker.net. Some may assume that I know more about specific machines than I actually do. However, in many cases, I have had or currently have plenty of hands on experience with a particular machine, or type of machine. As a result of my own experiences with various types of sewing machines I am often able to give advice or provide assistance to other members who ask for help with this or that machine, or want to know about its capabilities or limitations.

    I have owned or worked on industrial sewing machines ever since 1985. But, my hands on experience goes much further back than that. It all began when as a boy I hung out at my Father's tailor shop. I watched him sew clothes both by hand and with his Singer sewing machine. While I don't know for sure, I believe that he used either a Singer 31-15 or a Singer 96k40. I only remember that it had a clutch motor and looked much like the Singer 31-15 that is sitting in my leather shop.

    I never touched that machine until I was in my early teens. One day my Dad sat me down in front of the machine and explained what the floor pedal and knee lever did, as well as how to feather the clutch, control the material, hold back the starting threads and wind a bobbin. He also taught me how to not sew my fingers or thumbs! This was in the early 1960s and it was my first experience with any sewing machine. Of course, I had other plans and wanted no part of that occupation. I never sewed on that machine after about 1964.

    Fast forward 20 years to 1984 when I got into leathercrafting as a hobby. Like most newbies to the craft, I began by lacing and hand sewing my projects. It didn't take too long before that got old. The final straw was when I decided to construct a leather vest from a pattern pack I bought from a Tandy Leather store. I knew from the first attempt at penetrating the chrome tanned leather than I was going to need to do this on a machine. This was the moment when I began my unexpected adventure that became a quest, not for a mystical Ring, but for a sewing machine capable of sewing real leather.

    THE JOURNEY BEGINS

    I still remember asking the manager of the local Tandy Leather store for his recommendation for a sewing machine that could sew the vest I was making from Tandy's pattern pack and leather. His first thought was to try out a machine that another customer was willing to sell and would bring to the store. That machine was there the next day. It was a Singer 503A Slant O Matic Rocketeer which had a slant needle system. I brought in a small piece of the leather I bought for the vest and placed two edges together under the presser foot, lowered the foot, held back the threads and pushed slowly on the controller pedal. The needle came down at its designated forward slant angle, met the top grain of the leather and broke into zillions of pieces that Rocketeered into the store. I passed on that machine.

    YOU REALLY NEED AN INDUSTRIAL SEWING MACHINE

    Those were the Tandy manager's exact words after the disaster with the Rocketeer. I asked if he knew where I could find those. He had no idea, so I let my fingers do the walking in the phone book. Sure enough, there were industrial sewing machine dealers all over the place within my city limits. I picked the closest dealer and called them, asking if they had a machine that could sew leather vests. The owner assured me that he had exactly the machine I needed. I headed there as soon as I hung up the phone, bringing a wad of cash with me. And what did I find waiting for me when I got there? A Singer 96k40, mounted on a 20" x 48" wooded top, steel legged table, with a big clutch motor underneath. It looked like the sewing machine my Dad used in his tailor shop for many decades. I bought it for $300 cash, which included a few packs of #16 and #18 needles, spare bobbins, a couple cones of heavy cotton or polyester thread (button weight) and a small bottle of sewing machine oil.

    NOT EVERY INDUSTRIAL SEWING MACHINE IS A LEATHER SEWING MACHINE

    It didn't take very long for me to discover that as impressive as that old Singer black body machine was, it was not a leather sewing machine! It did okay when sewing two flat seams, but skipped stitches and broke needles when I tried to sew hand cut fringe onto the back, or pockets onto the front sides. The third layer was too much for the straight stitch, bottom feed machine, especially when it encountered a new layer on top. It tended to just come to a halt and sew into the same hole until I remembered to use the knee lever to raise the foot to get on top of the new layer. This was really just a tailoring machine.

    Disappointed, I called the dealer I bought the machine from and explained the problems I was having with the machine. He said: "then you need a walking foot machine." He told me to keep 96k40 and the table and for another $250, sold me what he called a walking foot machine head. It was a Singer 31k47 and it dropped right into the same cutout in the table. The motor needed to be readjusted to compensate for the higher balance wheel/pulley and the knee lever had to be moved to hit the lift rod on the bottom of the machine. This machine was not a walking foot foot in the true sense. It had a spring loaded follow foot that moved back with the top layer, which was transported by the bottom feed dogs, then lifted and sprang forward for the next stitch. It had an alternating inside foot, which, like the needle, remained in a static position and just moved up and down. It did however manage to climb over new layers and sew my leather vest!

    After finishing my leather vest I began experimenting with sewing belts and straps. I found that the spring loaded presser foot on the 31k47 tended to slip on the top of my carved and hand polished belts. The hard veg-tan leather didn't feed well on that machine and it didn't like any thread larger than about #69, although I did coax it into sewing with #138 thread. So, I made some inquiries at other industrial sewing machine dealerships and finally found one that clued me into the fact that what I needed was a triple feed walking foot machine. They had them and wanted anywhere from $1500 to $2500, depending on the age and brand. This was a problem for me at that time because I couldn't come up with that much money in one shot.

    Just when I thought I had reached a major roadblock, a friend told me about a friend of his who wanted to sell all his leather craft stuff, including a sewing machine. After meeting with that guy, I handed him $1000 in cash and went home with a ton of hardware, leather, patterns, kits and ... a Singer 111w155 triple (compound) feed walking foot machine! That machine paid for itself and all the hardware in two months.

    WHAT KIND OF SEWING MACHINE DO I NEED TO SEW HANDGUN HOLSTERS AND KNIFE SHEATHES?

    I think a lot of leathercrafters reach a point of development when they want to make holster and knife sheathes and need a sewing machine that is truly up to the task. I reached that point in 1988. I had tried to sew pancake holsters and three layer sheathes on my Singer 111w155 and found that it struggled to penetrate the hard leather. Further, it could not handle any thread thicker than #138 bonded nylon. I tried using a #25 needle and #347 thread and all it did was skip stitches, break thread and filigree the leather. And, it was all I could do to start it sewing at all into that hardened leather. So, back to the industrial sewing machine dealer!

    I HAVE JUST THE MACHINE FOR YOU TO SEW VERY HEAVY LEATHER...

    That's what he told me on the phone, sometime around 1887. When I arrived at the store I was taken to a back room and shown a monster machine made by Singer; a model 132k6. I was told this machine will sew anything you can fit under the foot with up to #346 thread. That foot, which lifted to 1/2 inch, was a spring loaded foot, just like my 31k47, with an alternating up/down inside foot and static position needle. I had my doubts, but parted with $1300, plus tax, and took the machine home in my 1976 Ford Country Squire station wagon.

    I didn't beat around the bush with the 132k6. I loaded the top and huge bobbin with #346 thread, verified that it had a #25 leather point needle installed, cranked down the foot pressure, tightened the top tension and began sewing into a mock-up holster with an 8 ounce side filler. The leather lifted with every other stitch until I cranked the pressure spring all the way down. I did get it to sew up to about 3/8 inch of veg-tan holsters and knife sheathes, but had to almost sew one stitch at a time with the handwheel. Like the smaller 31k47, the presser foot tended to slip on top and this resulted in varying stitch lengths. This was not what I had in mind for a real leather sewing machine. When I complained to the dealer he shrugged and said it was the strongest machine he had or knew about. He would not buy it back ;-(

    I limited my few holsters and sheathes to two layers and sewed them on the 132k6, biding my time. I did fine into a little over 1/4 inch of veg-tan with #346 thread.

    During that time frame I began buying old Singer sewing machines from that dealer and from individuals. I had post bed machines, long arm and very short arm cylinder arm walking foot machines, a 45k25, a pull down lever sole stitcher, a blind stitcher and a small table top serger (I did some garment work to make money). I acquired two skivers: a Fortuna for light leathers and a United Shoe Machinery Puma for veg-tan and shoe soles.

    AT LAST, A REAL HOLSTER SEWING MACHINE!

    It was 1988 when I finally found a sewing machine that could actually do serious sewing into thick stack of leather, with heavy thread, producing stitches that didn't vary every few inches. I stumbled upon it at a Tandy Leather distribution warehouse, which was behind a retail shop. After rounding up some hand tools and other supplies, I asked if I could see the warehouse. The manager and I were the only people there and he said "okay." He switched on the lights and let me into the warehouse. As I looked around in amazement at all the products and kits stacked everywhere, something very large and black caught my eye. Right in the middle of the huge warehouse was the biggest sewing machine I had ever seen, much less imagined. It stood almost as tall as my head! It was a Union Lockstitch Machine, made by Randall, in NY, NY. I jokingly asked what they used it for and he told me that they had a man who used to sew bags, horse tack and large kit parts on it, but he had retired. The machine hadn't been turned on in at least 5 years. Best of all, they planned to put an ad in all the newspapers in the area to try to sell it! So, we haggled...

    An hour later I had left a $100 deposit on the machine. The next day, after going to the bank, I went back, 60 miles away from home, and bought that Union Lockstitch for a total of $1500. The manager and one employee helped remove the head from the table and loaded the beast into the back of the Country Squire wagon (it had a 400 c.i. motor). All it came with, besides the head, motor and table, was the needle and awl that were installed, one bobbin that was in the shuttle, and one spool of white #346 bonded nylon thread.

    I spent another $2000 over the next year buying needles, awls, bobbins, accessory feet, throat plates, edge guides and replacement parts. Most importantly, I bought two threading rods. The owner of a harness shop was nice enough to run a copy of his own manual for his Union Lockstitch.

    Having that machine was like having the Stargate to me. It sewed holsters and sheathes up to 3/4 inch thick and above. I figured out how to trick the foot to lift higher and used it to sew a holsters up to 7/8 of an inch! This was around 1989 and was very unheard of at that time. I got some of the heaviest thread made and by changing to the largest needle and awl was able to sew holsters with #554 thread, or 6 and 7 cord Barbour's Irish linen thread, run through Sellari's liquid wax in the huge waxpot.

    AN END COMES

    Leather work was a good business for me until 1996. By that time things were changing. The house I had been renting, where I had about 13 industrial sewing machines setup in the basement, was sold to a new owner, who asked me to leave. Despite searching for a half year, I couldn't find any house that was comparable at anywhere near the price I had been paying. In all the years I was renting the house for tiny increases ever few years, rents had gone up in that city to almost triple what I was paying and could afford. I contacted a good friend in another city, 250 miles away and he found a house in his city for half what I had been paying. But it was a much smaller house and the basement tended to leak when it rained heavily. So, I sold all but two sewing machines. I only kept my Union Lockstitch and the first machine I bought, the Singer 96k40 (which now had dozens of feet, folders and accessories, including a roller foot conversion). I did keep all of my thread, hardware, tools, books, patterns, dyes, arbor press and cutting dies.

    When I made that big move I tried doing leather work in the new location, but didn't have much success. I had been developing skills using, building and troubleshooting computers and came to a decision to switch careers. By 1998 I was a computer troubleshooter and no longer did any leather work. In the year 2001, I sold my Union Lockstitch machine and all of the parts and cartons of thread that went with it (thousands of dollars value), for $5,000. A few years later I sold almost all of my leathercraft tools, patterns, dyes, cutting dies, hardware, books, the 96k40, press and anything else I had pertaining to that trade and life. I did keep a small set of special stamping tools, some setting tools, a few alphabets and a head knife. All these tools were inside a Graflex press camera carrying case.

    IMG_0002.JPG
    This Union Lockstitch is a REAL leather sewing machine!

    NEW BEGINNINGS (next entry to come soon)

    After doing computer work for a dozen years, in 2010 I came to the conclusion that my heyday as a computer builder and troubleshooter had reached a natural conclusion. It wasn't exactly an overnight event, but rather a slow decline in business. The final straw was when I was called into a computer store, with whom I had previously left my resume, for an interview for a computer technician. The owner took one look at my 62 year old face, looked down at his hands, then asked questions like: "How well do you get along with younger workers?" "Do you have any medical issues that would interfere with doing your job?" "Do you have to go to a clinic or hospital for regular treatments?" Not once did he ask about my abilities as a computer builder, troubleshooter, or network tech!

    Luckily for me I had a very good long time friend who owned a leather work store. I asked him if he could use me a day or two a week to help in the shop. He tossed me a few days here and there and eventually took me on as his right hand man. I did most of the sewing and repaired leather jackets, sewed patches onto vests, repaired purses, built holsters and replaced zippers. When I first went to work for him in 2010, he only had an Adler 30-70 motorized long arm, high lift patcher. But, he later acquired a Cobra Class 4. I was a natural on both machines.

    In 2009 I wanted to do some leather projects on my own, so I hunted on Craigslist and found a really nice Singer 29k172, long arm, big bobbin patcher, complete with a matching cast iron treadle base. I began taking in some repairs and custom builds at home, which paid for the machine in a few months.

    In the middle of 2010 I bought a used National 300N walking foot machine from an upholstery shop. Then I began taking rifle slings and guitar straps home from my friend's leather shop to sew on a piece meal basis. I sewed so many slings and straps that it paid for my National sewing machine in one month!

    One year later, in 2011, I traded a recently acquired (Craigslist again) Adler 204-374 flat bed machine for an old, barebones Union Lockstitch machine. It was on again!

    Stay tuned folks! There's more to come.

     


    More photos of sewing machines I have had or still own.

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    R&W Custom Leatherworks shop 121.JPG

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    R&W Custom Leatherworks shop 125.JPG

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    Adler_204-374_1.jpg

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    stelmackr
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    Just a quick note to let you know that PSLAC (Puget Sound Leather Artisans Co-op) and the DLG (Desert Leathercrafters Group) information can be found at: http://pslac.org

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  10. One of my students went to a leather shop one day. He talked to the old guy and the old guy showed him a clever way of beveling lace with tools that most of you probably already have in your shops. Here's the youtube video that is provided by my student.

    http://youtu.be/G_70INLsFGA

    Brian...

    Source: Beveling Lace.