bruce johnson

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About bruce johnson

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    Saddlery & Tack Moderator
  • Birthday 06/15/1960

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    Oakdale, CA

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  1. Here's my take - both shows are pretty similar. Prescott is maybe in it's 5th year and Sheridan is coming up something like 26th. The same major vendors at both but a few more vendors at Sheridan. Pretty similar core of classes at both shows. Many of the instructors do classes at both shows, and some are the same classes at both shows. Prescott attendance is a bit smaller than Sheridan but still a good one and growing. It has been the most successful venue other than Sheridan that the journal has sponsored shows at. The Prescott venue is tighter - most of the classes are right there and there are areas to sit and socialize outside of the lounge or restaurant. Sheridan is bigger and classes are more spread out - some are at the college and not really a gathering spot at the hotel other than the lounge or restaurant. At Sheridan KIng's sponsor a party the Thursday before and it is a good time. Prescott is smaller and the journal sponsors a reception Thursday night as well. If you haven't been to any shows before, either one would be a good pick.
  2. Good Rosette Stamps that won't break the bank?

    It is going to be hard to find a decent handled rosette punch under $60. once in a while a clicker concho punch shows up for under $60.
  3. splitter blade sharpening

    I have had people send pictures of blades or blades themselves done by professional shops with deep wavey edges and divots. some have severe grit marks - they never got past about 80 grit. some are longer front to back one end vs the other by a large amount. A few of these don't have enough material left to salvage the blade. The best options for a local service would be one who is proficient with doing wood plane blades. Things to check on an as-found blade are fairly straight edge and minimal chips at the cutting edge area (chips at the very tips don't concern me as much)
  4. splitter blade sharpening

    If you REALLY trust your local general sharpening service, or even the local knife sharpening service try them. Also have a back up blade just in case. I have seen some real basket case pictures from shops that don't understand these. There are a few of us that do them. Art Van Hecke does blades. Right now I am getting ready for the Prescott show and wont't have a slot open until I am back after March 8th. Once I am back, I ask people to contact me first but I can usually do them on an overnight turnaround. Unless a blade is really bad - I am at $15-20 average plus $8 return shipping by small flat rate box priority mail.
  5. Blanchard vs Osborne 155

    Only when it comes time to replace a tube or anvil. There are a bunch of CS Osborne distributor sources. Maybe what, two VB in the US and ordering the odd needed bit might not be a stock item with either.
  6. American St Louis crank splitter

    First off, in the current market that is a good buy. Crank splitter prices have been crazy high with broken parts or not. That adjust handle broken off is the weak link on the American splitters. They always break if not removed for shipping or even in the shop if something hits them at just the wrong angle. No replacement parts available, they have to be made. As far as paint schemes - there are no rules. Mostly green but I've painted them green, brown, gray, burgundy, and have a solid black coming up in a week or so. Parts and diagrams - have not seen them for the American or Champions. It is a bit of an undertaking to take on totally down and refurbish but not like taking a watch apart and expecting it to run afterwards. There are a few tricks and "so that's how it goes together" things along thew way. I tell people it is a twenty chapter book or a 15 minute phone call to talk somebody through it. Be glad to help if you decide to go that way.
  7. Skiving stretchy leather

    One of the best guys I have seen skive used a home made blade on a turned over glass bowl. You know those honking big colored glass bowls that Grandma put potato salad in for the family reunion? His was the green color with white insides. He had cut the blade out an old saw. He was skiving boot top inlays at a cowboy trade show and fascinating to watch him work. A guy needed a mulehide horn wrap skived the length of the edges. This guy just held his blade flat so the bowl curve made the gap, stuck out two fingers out as a guide and as fast as he could pull it through, he was skiving the edges. I mean he was ripping it through there like it was on fire with an even skive just peeling off. It wasn't his first rodeo so to speak. I didn't ask if he would sell the bowl but I did ask him about a blade. Took $20 and a while later I got it in the mail. He put a handle on mine - duct tape.
  8. It always conflicts but if we weren't setting up on Thursday I'd be in Paul Zalesak's class on sharpening. A basic skill universal to all leatherworking.
  9. tools

    Midas version of the old Craftool Pro that usually has a black barrel. nice knives and that's a fair enough price
  10. Stamp Standing or Sitting and work surface hight

    I built my bench for both. The height was built for standing and I got an adjustable height stool then to make it right for sitting. I measured the height where my forearm was level with a maul resting on the end of a stamp. That is the height I made the bench. The stool was a an adjustable height draftsman type stool from the used office furniture outlet.
  11. Question about Striking / Tooling Sticks

    Yes, they were. The first striking stick given to me was a section of ax handle that had been drilled out and leaded, then rawhide wrapped. I used that one until I got the two fancier ones out of Art Vancore's shop i pictured earlier. I've had lighter ones that weren't leaded. Tandy sold one that had a hard plastic on the ends, that had a similar oval cross section. I have seen them made from balusters for handrails too.
  12. Question about Striking / Tooling Sticks

    This is how I hold a maul or striking stick. I still hold a hammer or mallet like a hammer but didn't use them much for stamping after I got serious. I had to hold my elbow too high to be comfortable. The only exception is when I was striking a big face stamp like a maker stamp. Then I would stand up and swing from the elbow like hammer. If I was using a big basket or geometric stamp I might add a little pepper on the stroke and use some forearm to add some force to the hit. I found that I could do so many hits and then set the elbow down for a 5 second rest, then go again on those bigger face stamps. I could keep that rhythm for a few hours easy enough. FWIW, Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water" was just right - 13 hits. That's how I counted. I switched to a maul pretty early on when I got serious and went through the MaulMaster and MaulMaster2 before I got my first Barry King maul. I moved up from there to different weights for different stamps and a heavier one for punches. I tried a few makers to find the ones that I liked best. Each maker has merits but straight vs tapered and then balance points, head material, and handle shape are different and all play a factor in the choice of which is better for a particular person. Sometimes you can pick one up at a show and tell if it will fit your style or not. Sometimes it takes a month or two at home.
  13. Question about Striking / Tooling Sticks

    JD62, Thank you for the nudge. I knew I had seen it somewhere and was looking through my old stuff and wasn't finding it in the Shelton or Stohlman things yet. Yes sir! Right there at the beginning of the Ken Griffin book.
  14. Question about Striking / Tooling Sticks

    Bikermutt pretty well described the motion I use and was taught by a couple guys who made a living stamping. They were elbow resting, wrist rocking fools. Basically the stamp driving tool of choice was a teeter totter and all you did was keep it rocking. The weight and fall of the driver did the rest. I never got as good as they did at keeping my elbow down, but i could go pretty long time spans. A few years ago some shoulder stuff was catching up with me and some of the tooling got to be a chore after a full day of work. The leatherwork side of my business was expanding but the tool side of things was growing faster. I had to make the decision and now mostly deal in tools based on my experience of using a lot of them. Just to show where I'm coming from I am attaching a picture of the stamping tool driving tools I have on hand and have used. Some I've used a lot more than others. Most of these are on my bench or recent acquisitions. I've got some in other sizes, some out on "try it first" deals and a couple "compare and send me back the one you don't want" trials. These are what I have right now handy. Some were early tools or ones like i used starting out 30 years ago as a hobby and doing my own repairs. Some were heavily used in my busiest times. One is as recent as probably made last month. back row Left to right - Striking stick -BTW, that is rawhide on both ends - 8 faces to wear before it needs to be recovered. If I was doing a lot of work, it would be right there handy/Rawhide maul/Unmarked maul and that's all I can say - nice poly type head head material/Don King maul/rawhide mallet/Bob Beard maul/Barry King tapered maul/CS Osborne split head hammer with rawhide inserts/three Wayne Jueschke tapered mauls and one laying in front. The two on the left have MILES on them. That's one reason I have them but there are others. The sticker price of $100 plus on each doesn't make them everyone's choice Foreground left - Clay Miller I just got a week ago/Harbor Freight hammer with fiberglass and rubber faces/Bear Man maul with the burl handle. There's probably a few I haven't tried but these represent most of the major players.
  15. Question about Striking / Tooling Sticks

    I have attached pictures of two of my favorites. The longer length is good for counterbalanced action. These came from a fairly historic local saddlemaker and one is seeing daily use in a friend's shop now. Until you have tried one, I'd say you've maybe missed out. These were very commonly used in the old "stamp all day" shops. By resting your elbow and holding it in the middle, the counterbalance effect requires very little effort. Just rock it back and forth and let the action and weight make it do the work. For small face stamps like bar grounders, small arc of rock. larger faces like wide bevelers - larger arc. Not more uumph behind it to swat it, just more range of motion. Once you get your muscle memory down for the effect of the stamp, you can literally fly with these.