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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......

  5. 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.

  6. 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....

  7. 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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  8. 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.

  9. 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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  10. Most people who buy the large harness stitchers, known as 441 clones, use them to sew holsters, knife sheathes, saddles, harnesses and saddle bags. They normally come preloaded with #277 bonded nylon thread, on top and in the bobbin and are adjusted and sewn off with this thread (at least they are by our member-dealers), with the test piece under the feet. The most common brands and models discussed on Leatherworker.net include the Cowboy CB4500, the Cobra Class 4, and the Techsew 5100 (they and all other advertisers are supporting us and the server expenses with their paid ad banners).

    Nowadays, it seems that every leathercrafter who has worn out their hands with hand sewing their goods wants to buy that one sewing machine that does it all. They want it to sew wallet interiors, chaps, knife sheathes, tow straps, harnesses and extra thick gun holsters. I see them posting questions about which machine should I buy (to do all this), or similar wording. Respondents usually point out the fact that the typical upholstery grade walking foot sewing machines cannot sew thick holsters or use heavier thread than medium weight #138. The buyer will have to look at a more substantial machine, like a Cowboy, Cobra or Techsew, etc.

    Most advice given is to buy more machine than you think you will need. So, the newbie to machine sewing shells out between $2000 to $3000 for a 441 clone (or $6000 for an actual Juki 441) expecting it to sew everything from wallet interiors to hand gun holsters. It sews the holsters just fine, but not the wallets or other thin projects. The knots are too big to hide between the thin leather layers. Pretty soon, they begin posting requests for help getting their (insert brand name and model) 441 super heavy duty stitcher to sew thin stuff. That's when they are told that they need to buy a lesser machine for thin work. Say what? I thought y'all said to buy more machine than I needed!

    Some folks can and some can't afford to buy a second industrial sewing machine and table for thin work. Their other half (or they themselves) may own a domestic sewing machine, but they found it horrible at feeding and sewing leather, even wallets. They can't justify spending another thousand dollars for a lesser walking foot machine right now. What can they do if all they own is a 441 type machine? In these cases it is possible to "dumb down your machine" to get it to sew thin leather with thinner thread than it was built for. Here's how.

    I'll use my Cowboy CB4500 as the reference, since that's what I currently own. Let's see how to dumb it down to sew thin stuff with thin thread.

    First,  buy some #19 (or even #20) needles in System 7x3. These are not leather point but are a good fit with #92 thread. There aren't usually any leather points available in System 794 under size 23/160. This is both a matter of economics and the tendency of these extra long needles to bend too easily below size 23/160.

    Also buy #92 bonded nylon thread in the colors you intend to use (two spools of each color - one for the bobbin and one for the top thread). I usually get bobbins, oil, needles and thread from the dealer who sold me my machine. Order some extra bobbins if all of yours are already loaded with thick thread.

    1. Install a #19 or 20 needle (with the scarf facing to the right). Any other size will be either too tight or too loose for this thread.
    2. Thread the top with #92 bonded thread, but don't loop it around the top post. Feed it through just one hole. The extra tension from wrapping the thread around two holes in the top post could make it impossible to sink the knots effectively!
    3. Wind an empty bobbin with the color of #92 thread to be used on the bottom of the wallets or interiors, or chaps, etc.
    4. The bobbin spring will be way too loose if the last bobbin had #207 or larger thread in it. so, tighten it down to get a decent amount of tension of the bobbin thread, but not so much that the thin leather puckers on the bottom.
    5. Note: you may have to first loosen the long bobbin tension locking screw before the tensioning screw can be turned.
    6. Set the stitch length to about 6 or 7 stitches per inch.
    7. Run a test stitch line on a stack of the same thickness of leather/material as the interior, or whatever you are going to sew.
    8. Back off the top tension adjuster until the knots move down. You may also have to back off the bottom tension thumb nut so the bottom roller turns with the thread wrapped around it.
    9. If the knots still won't drop between the layers, you'll need to loosen the tension on the check spring. This spring is normally set to high tension action to work with the much heavier #277 or #346 thread that the machine was built to handle.
    10. Loosening the check spring action requires one of the open ended metric wrenches (11 or 12 mm?) that came with your CB4500 to loosen the nut on the back of the left end of the head, where the check spring shaft is fastened. This is a tricky tight fit and may require dinking with the position of the wrench to loosen that nut.
    11. With the locking nut backed off a thread or two, use a screwdriver blade on the front side to turn the bottom roller/check spring shaft counterclockwise until the spring loses some of its tension. Find a position where the spring travels all the way up and just makes it all the way down to the bottom travel stopper, then tighten down the locking nut. The check spring should have enough range of motion to hold the top thread taut until the needle has fully penetrated the leather.
    12. Sew some test stitches again. If the knots are still too close to the top surface, either back off the top tensioner all the way, or tighten the bobbin spring a little more, until they are submerged between the layers. Make sure that your top thread is feeding freely to the top tension disks!

    These are the basic steps needed to dumb down a big Cowboy, Cobra, Techsew, Juki 441, or any other brand name 441 clone.

    It is possible, even after you do all these steps, that the huge needle hole in the feed dog and oversize rectangular slot in the standard throat plate may let the thin or soft leather get pushed down inside the plate, or the feed dog itself. This might ruin your work, or cause gathering and tiny stitches. There is a solution though. If your machine came with an accessory flat throat plate with a narrow slot, you can remove the standard plate and feed dog and instead, use just the slotted plate. It is much less likely to allow the leather to be pushed into it. However, since you are taking the bottom feed dog out of the equation, your stitch length will change and reverse stitches may not hit the same holes unless you play with the stitch length lever as you sew backwards. If you didn't get this plate with the machine, you can order one from the dealer who sells that brand and model (to avoid possibly mismatched mounting holes).

    I have done this temporary conversion many times, and it is always a PITA. Whenever possible, I use a different machine that is already setup with #69 or #92 thread and has shorter needles that don't deflect as easily.

    Dumbing down your 441 machine to sew thin projects may earn you enough money to buy a proper upholstery grade walking foot sewing machine (the type that maxes out at 3/8" and #138 thread). Having more than one machine will greatly expand your sewing possibilities.

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    stelmackr
    Latest Entry

    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

    Bob Stelmack

    Editor, RawHide Gazette

    www.pslac.org

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    jbird
    Latest Entry

    Howdy all,

    Well, I am in my new space still trying to set up. I have orders pilling up and still so much to do.

    I will post pictures when its in working order and get back to work. the year is moving fast and that scares me a little, got to slow the mad hatter down some LOL.

    This is my first entry of many take care and be happy.

    Josh AKA jbird

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  11. 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.