bruce johnson

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About bruce johnson

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    Saddlery & Tack Moderator
  • Birthday 06/15/1960

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    http://www.brucejohnsonleather.com
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    Oakdale, CA

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  1. Randal and Osborne Splitters

    Ross, My oldest original catalog is and 1895 and the wood bottom (model #87) is in there. One of my friends told me that they seemed to have dropped out in about 1910 or so. I have several frames but mostly wore out blades. Not worth the price to get new blades made for them at present. When I do get a good one, they sell to Australia. These make a nice splitter and the Australians seem to have a penchant for them.
  2. Randal and Osborne Splitters

    Ross, I am not a metallurgist, but here it how it was explained to me. These and Chase pattern are among the oldest style splitters and according to a couple old guys that taught me, the steel was small batch hand mixed crucible steel. The carbon was not always evenly distributed and resulted in some areas that were a bit more prone to pitting. Also Rose knives can be the same way. Still the resulting steel is pretty hard good edge retention.
  3. Randal and Osborne Splitters

    Looks good. Shim between the blade and frame to raise the low side up. Sharpen with your fine abrasive of choice going through the grits to end with a clean mirror finish. Flat on the bottom, follow the bevel on top. Blades don't have to be around water to pit. Acids in leather can do it, hand carboned steel will pit some, Work it until you have a clean edge with not pitting on the edge or just behind it. Pits further up usually are worked out before they get to be an edge.
  4. Looking for anvil/steel plate

    I'm with Matt S above. First try i went in the front door of the office, talked to a manager. I just needed plates to stick over dies to use a shop press as an improvised clicker. He said he's have to run it by the engineer to see what specs I'd need. Yeah right, that'll happen. Under the guise of "just checking back" the next day, a dozen doughnuts to the receptionist got me pointed to the shop crew in the flat stock shed. Told them what i wanted. Javier figured 1" cold rolled stock would be plenty (he was not the engineer). He said he'd had some end cuts by 4:30 and to stop back. Twelve pack o' Bud Light = Javier and Armando loading the pieces cut to sizes I wanted plus a few more, sans invoice.
  5. Compounds For Stropping And Buffing

    I am currently testing a a few rust preventing products. You all have convinced me to go ahead and order a can. Around here I can only find the liquid in the bottle now, and as reported it is a diluted version of the paste. As I wrote above, I have not found the liquid to have the same rust preventative ability vs the paste. We are going into our damp season here and I might as add the paste into the test as well. Hit me up in April or May, and if things go right we can share some results.
  6. American LS440, splitting thin leather

    Then is it likely because you have the rollers as close together as they will go on this one. The teeth on the gears are long enough to allow for some expansion and still engage. Once they bottom out with each other, that is apt to be the limiting factor in your case. To clarify for for me, are you feeding 3/4 oz leather in and trying to split that further? I have not seen very many that will feed much less than maybe 6 or 7 oz leather very well. You can sure start thicker and take a lot off to shave down to almost paper thin grain splits, but can't start too thin and feed thinner leather to end up the same.
  7. Randal and Osborne Splitters

    They will go wider than your bell knife, they will both level skive/level split the ends of straps. The wood bottom can do an infinite tapered or lap skive.
  8. American LS440, splitting thin leather

    Post some pictures. The tension springs should be the same size. There are is an adjustment to close up the gap between the bottom roller and blade, and another adjustment to close up the gap between the top roller and blade. Then there is factor that the bottom bearing block is part of the gear cover so that gear cover needs to be able to float up and down. A lot of things could be at play here.
  9. Randal and Osborne Splitters

    I refurbish these quite a bit. Feel free to ask questions as you go. The wood bottom splitters are very simple and some people really like them. The Randall Chase is a great splitter, and one of my personal favorites as a user. They can be a little trickier to break down and clean, then rebuild and adjust but once you've got them figured out it is intuitive.
  10. Compounds For Stropping And Buffing

    I used to use Flitz a lot. I have used in tumbling media, on polishing wheels, and applied by cloth. My purely unscientific experience is that the new "green/eco" formula in the squeeze bottle is not as effective a rust and tarnish preventative as the old paste in a tube. Used to be 6 months easy, now it is 6 weeks at times. I am trying a few other products right now, and am a few months away from being able to say anything.
  11. Favorite Leather Edge Creaser

    As far as I know Barry King may be the only one making new ones currently. I agree with Big Sioux Saddlery on her assessment of the modern CS Osborne creasers. WTH CS Osborne? They must have lost the patterns on how they were made back when they worked??? I have seen the demand wax and wane. I can credit a few top end makers who preach creasing straps and the orders come in. It slows a bit and then somebody else brings them up and it goes again. I will politely offer a different point of view with Big Sioux on one thing. I don't think the prices are relatively low vs. other vintage tools based on demand alone. I think it the nature of the tool itself and the supply. They don't have an edge to maintain like an edge beveler or French edger. There was not the issue of poor or excessive sharpening along they way so they tend to last longer. Nearly every old estate set from someone in the trade has a complete set. They bought #1-5 edger set and then probably the larger sized range set as well. By sheer numbers there is a bunch that have survived in pretty good shape relative to other tools in the kit. For a working set of vintage creasers there isn't much tracking down or tuning up needed.
  12. Gifted a box of Leather Tools

    Chas, Sorry I missed your message earlier and I don't always read every post. As a topic moderator we we have some editing capabilities. We can move, pin to the top, feature, hide, lock, or delete posts. Unfortunately the one thing I cannot find a way to do is selectively edit the content within an individual post. I don't know if that is a permission level thing with moderators or by design to keep the control of content with the original poster. I will see what I can find for you.
  13. Dr. Jackson's Leather Conditioner

    If this is the same formulation of Dr Jacksons I used to have on hand, it was a soft paste. Problem I had was when it got too warm in the old shop (without AC) it would liquefy and separate some. It didn't take much heat to liquefy everything, stir it up good, and let it cool in the refrigerator stirring every so often until pretty solid. Good stuff.
  14. I am going to throw a few more maker names in your mix. The two unmarked and unplated stamps are in "no man's land" technically but..McMillen would sure be my guess for the darker one for sure. The other may or may not be. There is no way to tell for sure but McMillen was/sort of still is the longest running stamp maker ever and except for the early ones - rarely marked. These could have been made by one of the more minor good stamp makers but odds on just by the numbers of stamps produced - McMillen. Hackbarth stamps are sometimes questioned whether they are orginal Ray Hackbarths or later ones made by Ellis Barnes/ more recently Lonnie Height. There are some overlaps but here's where I'm at based on handling a bunch and talking to the old guys. Stamp length - 3-7/8" - Ellis Barnes for sure. 4-1/8 - Ellis made some for sure, all of the Ray Hackbarths I've had are this long or better. Can't go just by length Number on the shank - Ray Hackbarth. They tell me the early Ray Hackbarths weren't numbered but when he started mail order he numbered them. If they have a number - Ray Hackbarth. No number - could be either and look at other characteristics. Maker Marking - Elfrida, AZ - Ellis for sure . Phoenix - Ray Hackbarth was in Phoenix but Ellis marked some Phoenix too - keep looking Font - I have about 100 Ray Hackbarths right now and every one I grab has the "Stainless" in a larger font size than the R Hackbarth/Phoenix font. The representatives from Ellis - same size font all the way through. "The hyphen-dot" - Something I have recently noted. Every one of my current Ellis stamps have a small 'tick' mark before and after the line of the name font and the line of the city/state font. "Stainless" has a short hyphen or mark as well. I do not see that on any of the original Ray Hackbarths.
  15. Anyone know what this is used for?

    Yep, its a stippler