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#1 wolvenstien

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 04:59 AM

The beginning of this school year, my 7yo decided he wanted to join his local Cub Scouts pack. I have been drafted to head up the first leather class of this school year. The Pack Master had the idea to have all the boys make a neckerchief slide copying one he bought. I have been away from leather for over 2 years now. I had to make a place in my garage that is mostly used for storage and a makeshift wood shop to set up my leather shop. I believe I have found all my tools. He handed me a scrap piece of 8/9 belly and asked me if I could get 45-50 blanks out of the belly scrap. I honestly did not think I could, but I was able to get exactly 50 blanks. I do not have a clicker or anything so I had to do this all by hand.
I have never taught anything about leather to anyone. Especially kids. I believe the Scout Master wants me to do this with all the kids in the pack, from the Bobcats to the Weblos. The good thing is that it is scheduled for next Tuesday when school is out for fall break, and probably not as many kids will show up since it is not going to be an officially scheduled meeting.
I honestly have no clue what I should do and not do. I think the Scout Master just wants each kid to stamp their rank (Bobcat, Wolf, Bear or Weblos) onto the leather and put some holes into it for the neckerchief to go through. Should I pre-case the leather blanks before I take them there? Soak them, bag them, and then refrigerate them? Take them there dry? What about finishing? just oil them or what?
I have no clue what to expect and have no idea what the kids can complete in the 30-60 minutes I will have to work with them.
Any and all info help would be appreciated.

#2 DoubleC

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 07:41 AM

WOW, one of my friends on here is very involved in scouts and I'll tell her about this thread and she can probably plan it down to a gnat's heel for you. She's so very talented. Her name on here is Winterbear and I know she'll have a lot of great ideas for you. I haven't worked with a group before so I'm afraid I'm not much help. Cheryl

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#3 WinterBear

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 09:41 AM

Hiya. I can offer some advice on what has and has not worked with the younger boys in the Troop.

First big questions. How many boys? and--Will you have at least 1 helper who knows what to do? Without that help you are going to have a lot of impatient kids.

Pre-casing has met with limited success with a really limited time frame--sometimes it takes too long to dry out enough. You might be able to get away with wetting with a sponge on-site.

I'd suggest coloring using the Tandy highlighter dyes--Dye and antigue in one. Make the kids wear gloves, use sponge brushes or daubers to apply the dye (so YOU can control the amout of dye each kid has at a time, not the kid), maybe even pop a poncho or garbage bag over the kid dyeing at the moment so the uniform doesn't bite the dust, and cover the dye area with a plastic drop cloth covered with a piece of canvas or sheet to make it less slippery. Bring only a few colors of dye. The more choices, the more the kids will dither and cut into the time the other kids need. Make sure they know that they should NOT dye the back (it will increase the time needed to dry and they can put too much on the back if the back is fuzzy).

If you sponge wet the leather, stamp, very lightly oil (a bit of t-shirt with oil on it will help prevent too much--too little is better than too much), highlight dye as soon as the surface doesn't look shiny any more, and as soon as the dye dries, hit it with super sheen or satin sheen, front, sides, and back (because the kids won't be so good about keeping their leather dry when out in rainy weather). The sheen can be applied with a bit of white T-shirt and wiped on-it may help control the amount used.

Shape the leather a bit around a dowel, sew together using waxed braided cord or small plastic lace (I find that real leather lace is harder for smaller kids to handle and they have a difficult time pulling it through the holes--plastic is "slippier" as one boy put it). Best way to pull these together is with an "X" stitch as if pulls the edges so they butt together (I'll post some pictures this weekend). Cord ends can be left longish and finished with pony beads and an overhand knot.

Send the project home with them in a plastic ziploc style bag (so if it is not 100% dry it won't get stuck to the car seat), and tell them to let it dry at home overnight outside of the bag before wearing it. That way those that were over generous with any dye, oil, or sheen will be less likely to get those liquids all over their kerchief or uniform.

Edited by WinterBear, 05 October 2012 - 09:48 AM.

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#4 WinterBear

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 09:49 AM

Oooo, guess I'd better ask. It this the sort of triangle flat piece slide, or the one that rolls up into a tube?
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#5 BIGGUNDOCTOR

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 01:26 PM

Casing with a sponge will be fine, that is all we did while I taught LW merit badge classes at summer camp.

Attention spans will be real short, so keep everything simple as possible. Case, set stamp, whack! ,color with some Sharpies, wipe it with some Carnuba, done.

At that age doing anything will be more fun than listening. Make sure you have enough stamps, mallets, etc so more than one can be working at the same time. I have a suitcase with 28 mallets, boards, etc that I use for things like this.
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#6 electrathon

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 02:25 PM

Casing with a sponge will be fine, that is all we did while I taught LW merit badge classes at summer camp.

Attention spans will be real short, so keep everything simple as possible. Case, set stamp, whack! ,color with some Sharpies, wipe it with some Carnuba, done


Best advise yet. Keep it simple. REAL simple. Many of the kids will have big trouble simply wetting the leather with a sponge. I would keep dyes in another building. If you want to color them toss them in a batch of dip dye now, let them dry. When you are there have the kid whack it with a mallet and rub it with with wax, no more. If you do that you will be hard pressed to go through 50 kids in an hour. Do more and you will be there for hours, and have half the room covered with dye.

I used to also have the older kids who were responsible help. They often want to be "leaders" and it helps them stay focused.

Aaron

#7 wolvenstien

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 10:04 PM

In all honesty, I have no idea. I was asked to cut out 45-50 blanks - the triangle two hole on top one hole on bottom type. But I believe that total is for every boy in the pack, not for those expected to show up next tuesday. Tuesday is an off school day and a non official pack meeting day. So the Pack Master is guessing maybe less than half will show.
No one there that i know of that has any leather experience other than me.
I like the no dye approach.... case, whack with stamp, wax, burnish the edges and there ya go....
I have to get to work this weekend on making mallets. I have a plan to have 8-10 mallets ready for Tuesday.
But I only have one portable 12x12 piece of marble/granite.
Will be a learning experience for all of us I am sure.
I will have a few den parents who will be there to help out.
Thanks for the advice and pointers.
Serp
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#8 electrathon

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 10:27 PM

But I only have one portable 12x12 piece of marble/granite.

Have the kids sit on the floor to work.

#9 northmount

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 09:39 AM

A piece of 1/4" hardboard will work in place of your marble/granite. (Obviously not as good, but will do for most beginners until they get serious.) You can laminate it to a piece of 3/4" plywood if you want to give it a little more substance and reduce the noise level.

And I agree, get the kids to work on the floor. Fewer things to break and push around or tip over.

CTG

#10 WinterBear

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 07:41 PM

Oh good, the flat ones are easier for the kids to manage.

Flat "cookies" cut off of logs work pretty well as a stamping surface too, as long as they are level. Short ones a couple of inches thick can be placed flat on the ground or floor, and the taller logs are useful too. I usually lug a log end or two around that's about 1 1/2 to 2 feet high and about 3/4 as wide as it is tall--the kids can kneel on either side of it, and the stance puts their body directly in line with the stamp. Seems to help a bit with the ones that tend to flail around.

And you can always bring a bit of regular acrylic metallic paint to "rub" on the high points of the stamp for a bit of color. Copper and gold look nice on undyed leather and the kids like the highlighting effect.
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#11 Torquewrench

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 02:21 PM

Is there a Tandy nearby? If so contact them. I put on a workshop doing key fobs for about 90 4-H kids and my Tandy manager really pulled it all off. Brought a lot of mallets and Granite slabs. 1 hour is pushing it for time. Keep it a simple as possible. Tandy may have a BSA stamp that is not in their catalog. (they have 4-H) Good luck, Ross

#12 WinterBear

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 09:55 AM

Good luck with the kids today. Let us know how well it went.
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#13 wolvenstien

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 02:05 PM

I am sorry I didnt post back sooner. I thought I did.
All went well. I had everything prepared to do the class. But being the first time I did not know what to expect.
I got there a few minutes late and the master already had parents cutting new blanks. And had most of the new cuts immersed in water and drying out.... I stopped them from immersing any more. I broke out the new mallets I made and the blanks, and got started. Had about 10 stamps each boy could choose from and they loved it. We ended up doing two sets each... a practice and a real one. Most boys chose the same stamp. They all turned out fairly well. I didnt think to take any pix.
All the leather got sent home with the boys... and I didnt think to tell them to leave them for me to take home and I would finish them... I hope to be able to get them to bring them back next week and finish them for the boys.
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#14 WinterBear

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 10:06 PM

I'm glad it went so well. You'll have to write down what went well and what didn't, because I'm certain you'll be asked to do it again when the net batch of boys comes in.

Might be for the best that they took the blanks home though. There have been instances where it was easy for the kids to misremember which ones were theirs if they haven't seen them for a week and if the items didsn't have names marked on them, and squabbles broke out. At least this way, they will come with the right ones and leave with the right ones.
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#15 northmount

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 10:36 PM

And the kids really like to take them home to show off rather than have to wait until the next pack meeting.

As you have learned, you need to be early to get control and to be able to keep control. That's one of the most important things I learned being an instructor for 19 years. Also applies to leading meetings with adults in the work place. When you come in late, you are rushing and get flustered. Then it's nearly impossible to get control and back on track.

The next one will be more fun for you so you will enjoy it a lot more. Keep up the good work.

Tom






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