ConradPark

Members
  • Content count

    193
  • Joined

  • Last visited

2 Followers

About ConradPark

  • Rank
    Member

Contact Methods

  • ICQ
    0

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    London, UK
  • Interests
    Leather work, Pinstriping, Airbrushing, Illustration and Painting, Tattooing, Crafts in general & most creative outlets including Fine Wine and Women in that order...I also believe in good health, to take care of yourself as much as of others and to have a positive outlook on and at things.

LW Info

  • Leatherwork Specialty
    Small leather goods
  • Interested in learning about
    As much as possible
  1. Shame that they shamelessly steal other peoples work. On Etsy they are repeatedly called out for stealing patterns and photos. Wouldn't personally support such people.
  2. Thankfully there are a plenty of companies and also a new wave of small businesses, that even though the rules of trade and profit still apply for us as well, the main goal is actually not 'as much profit in any way' but rather quality, craftsmanship, preservation of traditional skills and as good goods as possible as well as making enough profit to keep going, but never to compromise. Most of us might not make as much as if we choose the mass producing or outsourcing model that most businesses choose to do, but we are proud of what we are achieving and we know that we would never want to do anything else. And we don't need to make excuses to why we are in this business. It's just about the love of making the best leather goods produce as possible.
  3. Supplier for Solid Brass Hardware

    While Buckleguy do have both good sortiment and a wide range of hardware to a fantastic price, I'm not too sure they are manufacturing their hardware themself. The hardware are identical to other suppliers from Taiwan and China and I have written and asked them several times where there hardware is made (as I want to be able to tell my customers) but without any answer. I emailed them, asked them on social media, called but got disconnected! Twice!. A bit suspicious. Don't get me wrong, I actually don't mind stuff from Asia. Good quality is good quality. It is just that so many seem to assume that Buckleguy is 'made in the USA', but when asked for it they remain silent. Not very transparent. At least Hardware Elf tells you where they source their hardware from, and several of their stock is identical to Buckleguys...
  4. This is not an reply to anyone in particular, even if it might bring up things that have been mentioned above. Just an (several years later) add on to my earlier post. Business is business, and with that I mean that it's a skill and learning experience that sometimes takes years - regardless if you have an education or not - to succeed with. But running a company, even if you're just self employed, is such a far step from having a secure day job and then just meddling with something as a hobby. Just in the part of East London where I have my work studio (there are around a dozen professional leather workers that all have their own companies, either self employed, or with one or to employees, that I share work space with) there are at least a few hundred businesses that revolves completely around leather, everything from suppliers of material, to bag and accessories manufacturing, to design studios and craft studios, like the one I'm in, to clobbers, bespoke shoe makers, saddlers, upholstery shops, and the list goes on and on. And I'm talking about the local neighborhood now. So here must be a few thousand people that make a living of working with leather in one way or another. I have had my business since 2013 as a full time occupation, but of course it took many years before that to be able to completely support myself. Hard work and finding a niche that you love and learning about business, basic accounting, marketing etc. especially the boring stuff, because they are often the most important. One thing is for sure, and this is about anything in life - if one think something is NOT going to work out, you're probably correct. It is only if you really want something, that there is a chance for it to happen. And most likely you will fail and have to try again, and adjust and try again several times to succeed. Sounds like it is nothing you want to do? Well, then just enjoy doing it as an hobby! Simple.
  5. Tired of soft edge bevelers. Edge holding brand?

    While I have used different brands for different leathers and skins, over the years, I always fall back on two brands, Tandy's basic (or Ivan's - used to be the same, but that might have changed - look the same, though - however Ivans are cheaper these days and regardless of what people are saying, I always found them and Craftool to be a workhorse that only needs stropping between longer runs) for any leather thicker than 4-5oz, and CS Osborne's for the rest. I probably use these two brands on 90% and I work professionally with leather goods manufacturing. I do not really like Tandy's stuff in general but some basic tools they have is alright for basic and cruder work. Just my opinion and +25 years experience.
  6. My first Kickstarter Launched!!!

    From a business perspective you're doing everything more than less right, but what strikes me a bit strange reading your posts over the last few months, is that you're clearly a mass producing manufacturer that uses machines to do things quick and to low cost. Very little craft skill is involved and you sell your products to a low and in my opinion fair price for what you're offering. But it seems like you want to label your company more like a small business that involves skilled artisans, and are crafting goods that are more than they actually are. Thus you have an Etsy store, and selling your products there to low price, in the same fashion that so many Asian mass producing sellers get shit for doing. Again, from a business point, nothing wrong, but why can't you just openly claim what your business is - an low cost manufacturer of simple goods, suitable for wholesale , markets etc. There are so many skilled craftsmen and women that are trying to make ends meet without having to compete with manufacturers that undercuts prices. Yes EVERYTHING is handmade if we want to be silly about it, but EVERYONE also knows that it is not why the term is used. When people are willing to pay more for someone that have stitched a wallet by hand, it actually feels like false advertising when someone says handmade or handsewn and then it's made with a sewing machine! There are plenty of niches for a business like yours to venture into, without having to muster into a market that is clearly not meant for a business like yours. Yes, this post is a bit criticizing but I think there is an argument for what I've said, also - I make no personal insult, and I hope that even though there is no reason for you to care about my opinion, can take the critic for what it is. Regards,
  7. YER web site 'n'' stuff

    The best thing about this forum is all the contributing members that spend every day commenting in the forums in a positive and encouraging way. Especially those that keep saying the same mantras over and over again. It spreads a warm feeling of a positive attitude that I'm sure will continue to affect people in all kind of good ways. This is how communities are build and fellowship created. Helping each other and be happy for each others effort in a common interest. Thank you all for being such a good role models and great personalities. (the emoji I wanted to insert wasn't available. Probably for the best, as I'm sure someone would feel offended - oh, someone already is?! Doesn't matter, then!).
  8. Well, that's why some aim to sell less for more. Quality n stuff. Rather one for 1000, then I wouldn't mind doing that every day for 1000 days...
  9. YER web site 'n'' stuff

    I think a big issue, is the worry about copycats. It doesn't matter if others think it's not valid for a small time amateur to worry about this, but it's natural for people to be protective of their own work that they poured countless hours into. That it in most cases holds no commercial value for anyone else, is besides the point. And professionals are in most cases worried about copycats because there are actually reasons for it. That people that actually DO share sometimes get less than grand response and sometimes even mocked for their effort - especially if it happens to be videos - hardly help. A bit more support and friendly encouragement would certainly help people to display their work more frequently.
  10. Burnishing / Slicker Machine

    I mostly do smaller projects like wallets and handbags and use several Dremels with various wooden slicker heads. I have done this for the last five or six years now, on a daily basis, and never had any issues or problems. The reason why I use more than one Dremel is to let them cool and not to have to spend time changing between different sized slicker heads. Thus, I never had to exchange any either.
  11. Swingarm bag.

    Dude, you put in some serious hours into your work! Like the quick release solution, think it would look even better with metal ones instead of the black plastic, though.
  12. Quality tool just for you.

    Doesn't this belong to the market place, services offered and items for sale? I think this is the wrong thread.
  13. Ferg, thanks - always appreciated with a compliment from a long standing member. Venator, I burnish them with a wooden slicker, made from cocobolo with wax. Now, for a long time I had difficulties to achieve good edges and always thought it was something missing, but like saddle stitching, it's only down to experience and practice. I always do any excessive sandpapering first, with a 360-400 grit paper. Then I color the edges - I use flat top permanent markers, cheap and no mess! Then I use saddle soap or glycerin bar to 'wax' the edges (no water) and burnish them. In my experience it's best to burnish 'lightly' the first time, otherwise there is a risk to compress the leather too much out of shape as the edges will be soft and sometimes 'mushy' depending on what leather I use. Then I wipe of excess wax with a lint free cloth and let the whole thing dry until the next day. And this is the most important step! The day after, the edges will be much firmer and I can now use a 600 grit sandpaper to smooth out those smallest bumps. Then usually another covering with the marker pen. Then I use some kind of harder wax, either the kind of wax bars to repair wooden tabletops from scratch marks, or I use a home made 50/50 mix of bees wax and paraffin. I burnish some more and a bit more vigorously than earlier. Speed is more important than pressure. Sometimes it fuzzes up, then it is just to wax that part, burnish gently, sandpaper, wax, and burnish again. Finally I go over everything with a 1000 grit sandpaper, wax everything lightly once more and polish it with a cloth to a shine. Sometimes, but rarely - I put a couple of layers of acrylic resolene after I have sandpapered it the first time but before I apply the final wax layer. If doing this, you need to let it dry properly between the layers and don't burnish after you sandpapered as the resolene won't have any grip then. After properly drying over the night, you can wax and sandpaper with a 1000 grit paper as before. That's it. No quick or magical way, I'm afraid. Some leathers are obviously easier. Natural veg tan and bridle leather is a child's play, while any drum dyed, oiled or tumbled leather can be a challenge. Same with CXL. Full chrome leathers needs another approach - edge painting or turned edging.
  14. While a 'European' style pricking iron is fine, there is no denying that it does take considerable practice and time to get consistent good looking stitching with that. There is no shame in using so called Japanese pricking irons, that cuts the holes like an awl. They don't cost much and speeds up your work considerable if you're new to the game. Another technique is to hold your awl in a 'stabbing' position and 'stab' all your stitch marks beforehand. The repeated motion and the fact that your eye to hand/awl to leather vision is in one straight line helps a lot, to make a consistent hole making (while this is only one part, it seems to be the part that most often fxxxs up). Now, the purists always tell you that you shouldn't make holes beforehand, but the truth is, that unless you stitch heavy leather like on saddles and soles on shoes, you, nor anyone else will see or encounter any issues or notice the difference. Another tip is ti 'flatten' your stitching when you're finished, bu tapping over your stitching with a shoe hammer or a rubber mallet. Makes a difference. However, in the end it's mostly down to practice, and practice. Good luck and remember to have fun!
  15. A custom wallet I made a while ago. The requirement has been to adapt one of my existing designs to just about fitting Dollar notes unfolded. The wallet is 17cm (6.7") long. For the interested, I've used an aniline colored, Italian, full grain, vegetable tanned, shoulder leather that have been drum dyed. Weight is 4.5-5 ounce (1.8-2mm) all the way through, all hardware is nickel plated brass, including the YKK zipper. The thread is artificial Sinew, everything is saddle stitched by hand. I've used a small Vergez Blanchard awl and a fork as stitch marker (not kidding). roughly 5mm stitching or 5.08 spi. Edges are dyed with a permanent marker pen, and burnished with saddle soap and polished with some wax. The only treatment of the leather have been some final wiping with some Carnauba cream. Although not visible in the pictures, there is a third 'hidden' card pocket in between the main body and the zippered coin department. Hopefully the pictures will inspire someone, but don't copy - don't be lazy and a tool. Instead, try to always do things your own way - that is part of the fun! Cheers.