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About charley

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  1. I'm finally breaking down to set up a benchtop buffer, motorized with a buffer on each side. QUESTION: Do I get a 6" benchtop buffer, or 8"? (By default, the 6" is cheaper, and it seems both 6" and 8" pads are fairly common, but perhaps the 8" is slightly more common -- there's a nice spiral sewn (thick) 8" on Amazon, but they don't have a similar one for 6", but I can find other hard 1" thick 6" buffer wheels ...) Thoughts? QUESTION: What two buffing compounds? (I'm currently thinking about Zam on one side and Yellowstone on the other.) (I'd like "softer" compounds, but figure the Yellowstone won't stain leather as much as will the red rouge (which was the thought if I didn't go with Yellowstone; Note that there is a pretty good discussion on compounds at: <> Thoughts? Finally, there's no shame in buying cheap Harbor Freight, right? (They have both 6" and 8" benchtop buffers, the 6" was recently on sale and a bit cheaper.)
  2. Another year wiser! Man, is he wise! ;-)) Happy Birthday, Bruce! --charley
  3. I *really* like that case! There's really a *lot* there, but you have to look to see it. Really nice. I know people don't like covering their great work with black, and use black to hide mistakes (I do too), but I think it's great to combine really nice detailed carving (and complementary elaborate assembly parts, and reptile inlay, and studs) with a one-tone (black) to "tone it down" some. That might also solve some of the problem for "its too nice that I won't use it". (I've been told that with purses I've made -- maybe I should have made them black? ;-)) I don't make much for myself, and I'm not real flashy either, but I like really intricate tooling. Maybe I'll start some projects that are closer to this theme ... "In the house of the blacksmith, there are wooden spoons."
  4. I also wanted to see a picture of this machine, and a web search turned up the bankruptcy liquidation of A.C.Clarke tannery in Ontario, Canada -- some interesting lists of equipment (with pictures), but not of this machine. Looks like quite an operation for that tannery ... not sure I'd ever try something like that with the EPA we have these days, though ... <>
  5. I like the setup that Jim Jackson has at the King's Saddlery shop ... his tools are on the wall, and he has a 2"x4" box around them mounted on the wall, and a hinged plywood "lid" over that. When he leaves, he closes and locks the lid (with a padlock). I'm intending on building a similar thing (all my tools on the wall), but with a plexi-glass front lid (so you could see the tools when it's locked). Of course, it would help if the wall was by your work area, so you could use the tools straight from the wall. Otherwise, if you have the tools "out" in your work area, then I agree with the idea of a separate/roped-off area from the visitors (if that's possible). Since you said you didn't have the space for that ... well ... that's a problem. (Sorry.) -charley
  6. Cool! I'll contact Edd. I ran around the IFoLG site, but there's not much there. I'm really glad to hear that there might be boxes of stuff in some garage somewhere ... I bet that would be quite a history! Regarding attending EVERY show (maybe minus one) ... WOW ... I wouldn't have guessed that person existed. Somebody ought to interview and document those experiences! My daughter has gotten into the scrap-booking thing "big time", which is great for me: I just give her piles of junk, and she organizes and pretties it up. Sounds like somebody should do that with the IFoLG stuff. Thanks! --charley
  7. I'm trying to assemble a list of past IFoLG shows, including themes, host guilds, dates, and locations. Since the 2009 show (in Indianapolis) is the 43rd Annual, I'm guessing there are at least 42 other shows. Can you help me out? Leatherworkers aren't really a big group, and these shows go back long before a lot of the internet, so Google is only slightly helpful. ULTERIOR MOTIVE: I just found out my local guild (Columbine) voted to host the 2013 IFoLG show (in/around Denver, CO), and I'm trying to build a history of what's been done. Of course, all this information will be available to future host guilds (or anybody that wants it). So, I'm actually interested in ANY AND ALL information on past shows (pictures, attendance, exhibits, lists of judges, show schedules, etc.) Copies of the program guide, classes, and registration packet would be GREAT. THE CURRENT LIST: ------------------------ IFoLG SHOWS ------------------------ *- 2013 "?theme?" (47th Annual, ?dates?, ?Denver, CO?) (hosted by Columbine Leather Guild) *- 2012 (46th Annual) *- 2011 (45th Annual) *- 2010 (44th Annual) *- 2009 "Ride Your Hide to Indianapolis" (43rd Annual, Sep 23-27, Indianapolis, IN) (hosted by Central Indiana Leathercrafters Guild) *- 2008 "The Magic of Leather" (42nd Annual, Sep 26-28, Columbus, OH) (hosted by Buckeye Leathercrafters of Central Ohio) *- 2007 "Legends of Leathercraft" (41st Annual, Oct 19-21, Fort Worth, TX) (hosted by Lone Star Leather Crafters Guild) * 2006 "A Harvest of Leather" (40th Annual, Oct 13-15, Butler, PA) (hosted by IILG and Pitt Pounders Leather Guild) *- 2005 "Colorado Round Up" (39th Annual, Sep 27-29, Denver, CO) (hosted by Columbine Leather Guild) *- 2004 "Pow wow on the Prairie" (38th Annual, Oct 15-17, Topeka, KS) (hosted by Santa Fe Leather Artist Guild) *- 2003 "?theme?" (37th Annual, Oct 10-12, Macon, GA) *- ??
  8. Cool. That's quite a scale, 6-12 classrooms means 6-12 simultaneous classes. Adding the theatre, you're starting to reach the scale to host a whole show (Wickenburg, IFoLG, etc.). (Of course, you need an exhibit hall, and maybe a banquet hall -- both at the same time, and the theater would probably be just one of them ... maybe two halls? ;-). I'll see if I can track down that copy in my library when I get home tonight (not sure if I have that one). I *do* like the idea, though. I'm just afraid of the overhead, and not sure how many leatherworkers would be needed to keep that thing viable. I recall recent discussions that were concerned that there might not be enough people and vendors to even host "main" shows in both the "Eastern" and "Western" USA each year. In part, a strong museum (moo-seum ;-) component might also extend "outreach" to people that want to "see", but aren't yet convinced they want to "do" (or which are hangers-on to a friend or family member that is taking a class). Even for the class-takers, good exhibits could certainly be inspirational. (I did leatherwork for many years before really looking at great works by great artists ... WOW has my work ever improved since I started actively studying details and tricks from masters.) Sheridan *is* an artist community, but it has less than 17,000 people: <> ... Like Kathy said, though, I can see that facilities like these could readily help each other out and "share" resources with each other (loan works and exhibits to each other, advertise programs and route students to each other, etc.) Hmmm... --charley
  9. I'm going to have to "second" Badger on this one. I think Noah asked an honest question, and the thread kind of shifted into a non-constructive direction. I like stereotypical humor, irreverance, and non-PC language. However, I think we can focus on the topic itself (and less so on the person that asked an honest question). Shifting directions, I've long thought about "tooling" synthetic materials. Plastics, waxes, and other assorted polymers come to mind. (Big topic, I should probably start it on another thread.) HOWEVER, the "natural" product of leather is a fantastic material that is really hard to duplicate (multi-layered, highly differentiated cells that lattice into a fibrous network that provides great strength and resistance to wear). That's REALLY hard to duplicate in an artificial way. There is MUCH work on synthetic skin growth (for example, for commercial production and use by burn victims), where real skin is "grown" on a substrate (not even on an animal). In fact, for much of this, it starts with a "donor" sample from the individual (so you're actually growing sheets of YOU to be transplanted back onto YOU). Big topic, but in summary, probably none of these options are viable right now for consideration in leatherwork. There are large advances being made in synthetic materials by materials science (for example, driven by new fields emerging from nano-tech), but probably synthetic leather is NOT something we can expect in the next few years (probably more than a decade away). On the bright side, people ARE working on this, and as a hobbyist I'm experimenting with tooling non-leather materials. I don't have any suggestions for the short-term, though. From a practical standpoint, yes, leather is a "waste" product from the meat industry, and we all generally like to recycle or be more efficient when we can. --charley
  10. What scale was suggested? (How big a building, square feet for each of displays and classes?) (I'd like to read the editorial you mention, if you have a link or can reference a copy.) I know this idea isn't new, as I've also heard it from other people (like Rick Vine) that wanted a permanent location for year-round instruction. To host visiting artists (which I think is a great idea), the implication is that there would be regular traffic or attendance. I know we're now moving into the "logistics", which are fairly un-knowable (kind of like, "Will this restaurant make it?") -- in the end, you never know until after. I'm thinking of something like the National Carver's Museum that used to be located in Monument, Colorado. It had GREAT exhibits, but sadly, shut down due to lack of money in the 1980's. I visited before and after the shutdown, and even bought some exhibits when they liquidated in auction ... they had some absolutely fantastic carvings the likes of which I'd never seen before or since. So sad. (The 1980's were really hard on Colorado, and I think part of the problem was that it was located in the middle of nowhere, 30+ miles from a population center.) (Web search will tell you lots about it, but a nice pictorial overview that doesn't do it justice can be found at: <> I agree with UKRay that it's important to have it be run by a "professional", with good sense of curation (pieces must rotate, and it really needs to bump lower-quality pieces with a critical eye, which can sometimes be awkward). Further, I think it would generally be better that it be a "working" museum -- for example, all the sewing machines should probably be maintained in working order, and ACTUALLY USED (even if only lightly). Like UKRay mentioned, really old tools that are well maintained are sometimes still the best ones for the job (and for leatherwork, the museum should probably demonstrate that message). We all invest in our shops -- like many, I'm a "tool collector" with many hundreds (maybe thousands? hard to count). However, it's probably unrealistic to see someone's shop with "one of every sewing machine", which is something I'd REALLY like to see ... so I could do side-by-side comparisons ... In theory, a good infrastructure like this could also be the basis for reviews, as new materials, tools, products, and ideas are being proposed all the time, some better than what they did 100 years ago, some not. ;-)) Oh, well. Daydreaming. ;-))
  11. A number of years ago I overheard a conversation that essentially asserted that there weren't any "real" leather museums. Specifically, the conversation was in reference to a well-known artist that died, and the family didn't have any place to donate the works so they could be seen and enjoyed. However, it *was* mentioned that the two most likely museums were: ---------------- (1) Stohlman Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, USA: <> I've been there. WELL WORTH THE VISIT. Summary: Inside the TLF building. Really nice, some great works (Stohlman and others), including some classic styles that aren't often seen anymore (e.g., finished works and lessons on facial carving that were amazing). Could be bigger, apparently they have a number of works that aren't on display due to space limitations. (BTW, if you sign the guest book, TLF will later mail you a thank-you with a coupon for a free TLF stamp -- neat!) (2) King's Saddlery Museum, Sheridan, WY, USA. I've been there. WELL WORTH THE VISIT. Summary: Great museum, with one of (if not "the") most comprehensive saddle collections in the world. Upstairs is some great Stohlman displays, including Al & Ann's work benches and tools, and the originals for many lessons and works. Many other leatherwork items from different eras and artists. ---------------- In reference to this overheard conversation ("no leatherwork museum"), the assertions were: * - the Stohlman Museum (Ft. Worth) focuses on the Stohlmans (after all, it *does* bear their name), and focuses on their era, lessons, and TLF history. This mission is not focused on more contemporary artists, or more recent works (that's not the museum's mission). * - the King's Saddlery Museum (Sheridan, WY) is principally a saddle museum, as compared to a leather artistry museum. While it does have very impressive Stohlman exhibits (as well as works from other artists), the saddle collection dwarfs the leather artistry collection (especially in consideration of non-Stohlman, non-saddle artistry). ---------------- My goal is not to start a fight -- I very much enjoyed both museums, and heartily recommend a visit to each of them, if you get the chance. If I've missed other leather museums, please let me know (I'd like to go). (For this discussion, let's assume I'm less interested in the Adult Leather Museums. ;-)) ---------------- QUESTION From an ARTIST COMMUNITY perspective, would there be interest in a "leather artistry" museum (or gallery, or mix of both)? I understand the un-bounded business issues including location, displays, collections, rotations, overhead, etc., (those depend on lots of things). Rather, I'd like to focus on the "interest within the artist community" regarding such a thing. For the sake of discussion: - Museum - exhibits works, typically not for sale; For example, may own works, or may display works "on loan" that are owned by an individual, estate, or institution. - Gallery - exhibits works, typically for sale, or where the artist may be contacted (directly or through the gallery) for other works or custom projects that are for sale. For a museum (or gallery) to be successful, it would need to be supported by the leatherwork artist community. For example, some well-known artists already have gallery outlets for their works, and may not be interested in a gallery specific to leatherwork (if one concludes sales are more likely in a mixed-form gallery that does not specifically focused on leatherwork). Further, museums almost never make money, and will always (to some extent) be dependent on patron/donor/member largess. However, my interest in starting a museum/gallery is more pragmatic (selfish): * - IMHO, leatherwork artistry is sufficiently diverse, impressive, and historically interesting to warrant/justify its own institution/mission (most especially to include works by contemporary artists); I'd like to see such a place. * - IMHO, it serves our community if we could see and examine works from different eras and styles side-by-side. (How many times have we talked about "Porter" style different from "California" or "Northwest" or "Southwest" or "Sheridan", etc.? Wouldn't it be nice to see many of each in one place, so we could compare/contrast among them?) By way of disclosure, I may soon have access to a building that would be ideal for a museum/gallery. I'm not "pitching" for anything, but rather, am honestly interested in discussion on this topic to appraise issues and general interest within the leatherwork community. ---------------- Specifically: (1) - Do you think a leatherwork museum/gallery is a good idea? (2) - Would you support such a thing (in general or specific, such as through donations, attendance, memberships, purchases, exhibition, visit as guest artist, etc.)? Yes, of course, consistent with our sharing and helpful community, any conceptual museum/gallery would have a specific mandate to hold classes and do other "teaching outreach" regarding leatherwork. (I didn't itemize that, because I think that's mostly assumed these days among most of our industry's well-known artists and vendors.) Thoughts? --charley
  12. Can you show a close-up of the impression from that stamp? Or a higher res image for the sheath? It looks really good... --charley
  13. This is a great thread with a lot of really good information. I like to read about what works for different people. I agree that we must try things to find, "what works for us", because I wholly expect that to be different based on area water supplies, leather source, and carving habits (e.g., types of projects, how you "back" your leather for carving, whether you want to wait overnight, etc.) (Of course, some principles might be universal, but we may perceive the results differently. ;-)) For example, water quality ?might? be a big factor, so you might need to change casing solutions to cope. I'm lucky enough to be in the Colorado front range, with some of the softest water in the USA (e.g., 22 ppm Ca/Mg), but areas like Phoenix or Los Angelos tend to have very hard water (upwards of 300-400 ppm Ca/Mg). Marine and reef aquaria keepers follow chemistry like that closely, because for their chemistry, it's a huge issue. I'd assume that makes a big difference for leather tooling, but I haven't done any controlled experiments (now I'm thinking about doing those). However, I have done controlled experiments with/without Dawn dish detergent, and found that it does (for me) make swivel knife work easier, and permit a longer tooling time before drying, without any noticeable coloration change once the leather dried (I'm using clear Dawn Lemon-scented Dish Detergent). I haven't yet played with the full cocktail of make-your-own solution including Lexol (I learned about it from Bruce Johnson at the last Sheridan), but I intend to try it (I expect it to be a superior casing solution to what I've been using). Something that I've not seen mentioned: I took a class from Paul Burnett (the first Al Stohlman award winner, <>), and in his early years he was known for his belts. In a belt class with Paul Burnett, people started casing the leather before class, and he had to stop them: He said, "Belt stamping isn't like figure carving, and you don't case the same." In essence, we'd start with dry leather, and case the top (grain side) heavily. The goal was to case halfway through the leather. Because the back was still "dry", it wouldn't stretch/deform during the stamping, and we didn't need to reinforce the back during stamping. Also, the dry leather at half-way through would "stop" the stamp (because stamping too deeply on a belt would weaken the belt - Paul wanted stamping to half of leather depth at the most). I've found his lesson very useful and effective, and that's what I follow now. So, I actually (explicitly) case several different ways: - Figure carving - (or my best work), case heavily, let rest overnight (in a bag usually in the refrigerator), tool after returns to color the next day - Moulding - case with warmer water (makes it harder when dry), mould while soaked, tool when color lightens, but never re-wet - Belts - (a-la-Paul Burnett) - Quick-case the top heavily to half way through the leather, when the top returns to color, tool immediately (you don't want to keep re-wetting because you never want to wet the back half) - Quick-Case - When I want to "get to work" without waiting (e.g., to try things out, or if I don't want to wait overnight), I *always* case the back (flesh side) first and very heavily, and the front (grain) side very lightly. Then I don't have to wait long before the front is ready to tool, and the wet back gives me a longer "golden carving" period to work (because it continues to automatically case from back-to-front). (Works better on heavier leather, back/front casing doesn't matter much for 2oz leather.) Also, in general, I ascribe to the Peter Main approach that Rawhide/Marlon mentioned (e.g., never re-wet the area being carved, but frequently dampen the edges while working). It's true that there are some additional subtleties in these (e.g., what's "warmer" mean, what chemistry to use for casing), but after a while these things seem very intuitive/obvious/simple to me (although that still leaves a lot of room for experimentation, and I'm still changing what I do). --charley
  14. That is really cool! Don't show it to my wife. I've been whining at her that I need more space, and you're proving I could do more with less. I'm really impressed with how you used your space. I'm glad you're doing your solvents work elsewhere ... You'd need to put in fans or something if you were tempted to Barge yourself in there. I *love* the idea that you have dedicated space. (Using the kitchen table for leatherwork is such a pain come dinner time. ;-)) --charley
  15. Just to be clear, I'm not advocating pointless criticism. I'm advocating directed feedback. The "You suck" idea is a bit over-simplified, and not an accurate characterization of the topic, IMHO. However, since several people chimed in with that thought, I wanted to address it directly. In general, when the reviewer speaks, it should be to achieve a specific outcome (draw to the forefront a positive or negative, problem-solve an approach, provide guidance on alternatives, etc.) Nobody is talking about "You suck" as a valid message. You open a book, and the author speaks to you. That's not true for another author and another book. People are different, and we respond to different input (i.e., we disagree on favorite authors). Some people burst into tears at a feigned compliment, and some people need a two-by-four broken over their head to look up from their work or modify their behavior. Providing critique is a skill. Its method of application varies depending on forum, expectations, and target audience. We will always have qualified masters who may not be good reviewers (or not good reviewers for a given student). Further, we will always have reviewers that are wrong, are jerks, don't know what they are talking about, or are otherwise not perceived as helpful. That's another good reason to critique in public -- so we can all learn how to do it better. I'm not talking about harsh criticism for newbies or children. I'm talking about adult feedback to adults aspiring to be masters. Yes, I'm asserting more of this is needed in our community. I agree with Bruce and Clay that it's a good idea to list three things you like and three things to consider improving. I also acknowledge that forums can establish their own arbitrary rules, or convention, or culture, for what makes an acceptable review or an acceptable public comment. While any of us can have opinions for what makes a good review, I don't think there is any real "one-size-fits-all". Thus, I similarly think it's unrealistic to make absolute statements like "never say it sucks". In a one-on-one between master and student, I think it's absolutely fine if the master is exceedingly demanding. That's what I'd want. I think that model is actually far improved for fifty-to-one when there are fifty masters commenting on the student's work: Fifty sets of eyes are better than one set, and the student can accept or reject based on the commentaries that make sense or are most helpful. In the "olden days", the apprentice was at the mercy of one master, without recourse. We're not there anymore. In this case, the public forum can actually *defend* the student from ill-advised or inappropriate comments from one reviewer. No, that may not be for everyone. But that's what *I* prefer. Summary: I'm not proposing a forum for public disemboweling. However, we should recognize and agree that our opinions of what constitutes "harsh" differ, and I *am* proposing a room where the temperature rises a few (dozen) degrees Celcius. ... I'll back off now because it's not my intent to dominate the conversation. ;-)) --charley