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. I've seen these tools and these are really cool. That embossing carriage and set of wheels are about as complete as will ever be seen!
  2. I used a 20 ton shop press for several years. My dies were all smaller things - headstall pieces, bucking roll parts, latigo carriers, spur straps etc. I used a piece of cold roll steel set on the rails for the base, LDPE or clicker pad, leather, die, covered that with another piece of cold roll big enough to cover the die, and centered it under the ram. Crank it on down. After a few tries you will learn to hear and feel the die cut through the leather. back off the jack just enough to slide the top plate, die and leather out, reposition, and 3-4 cranks on mine and your were through the next piece. I got one of the Weaver bench top presses with an air over hydraulic jack. That is fat city! Press the button and it putt putt putts through and sort of stops on it's own once it goes through.
  3. Agree with Electrathon, a flat grind will be fine. I may still have one NOS Landis marked blade left and these were all flat ground. One thing to be careful of is WHO you have sharpen it. The guy who does mostly lawn mower blades may not be the best choice. The guy who does knives for the local chefs would be better. Some places start off with too heavy a grit and never get the grit marks ground out.A lighter grit is really all most blades need, follow through the finer grits and finish up with a couple compounds..Knife guys get it, Some of the sharpening shops don't. Explain to the people there what it is, what is does, and just how clean and sharp it needs to be. If you don't have a good feeling, don't leave it. There are a few guys on the forum here that professionally sharpen. I don't advertise sharpening but end up doing a bunch in spite of that. I charge $20 for a 6" splitter blade unless it is really mucked plus the return shipping in a small flat rate box for $8. If you want to send it this way I have an " end of the forecasted heat spell blade sharpening fest day" penciled in for end of next week. Supposed to get down under 100 here by then and I've got some blades of my own and few others to do.
  4. I will politely sort of agree with Mike, I have a Tandy saddle groover, versagroover with a wood handle added on, and an Osborne compass groover, They all work - but the quality control on a Douglas versagroover tip is more consistent than Tandy. Some Tandy tips come ready to use and others are not. The bottom edge of the hole has to be at the leading edge of the bottom. If they are above that, you have no edge. If the leading bevel from the bottom of the tip up to the hole is too steep then you have to hold them at a lower angle and they can "chatter" along instead of cutting a nice ribbon. Grind the bottom down some will make a big difference. These tips can be fixed with a Dremel and/or a belt grinder but that is beyond the scope of most beginning leather workers. Another guy whose skill set with tools I admire had a good comment - "It ain't all in the Stohlman book, is it?" .
  5. RhinezOr, My guess is if they are there it would be are under that cap on top but I'd wait until Monday and talk to the dealer or factory up there. My theory is that you really shouldn't be able to mess one up beyond redemption with a wrench and screwdriver but some dealers are funny that way. I mean that is how they were put together and adjusted by them and the end user having a little knowledge in that regard should be a bonus for the customer service/tech support guy. There has to be some way to adjust them. You are splitting thinner leather than their average buyer I'd bet and that probably means some adjusting. That one is a little different beast than the landis 30 or Americans. On the those the Do Not Disturb adjusting screws are right on top and available for any passing screwdriver and wrench. If yours under the top then It looks like a guy would have to remove the crank handle, then the gear cover, and finally undo the 4 hex head bolts to look under the hood. If the the top roller is fixed or not adjustable then the bottom roller would need to be brought up to close up some space between the two rollers. It also looks like the blade rest has slots the bolts go through and the blade itself can be adjusted up and down? That is a little different if so and I kind of like that idea. Although if they slip that could make a guy say bad words.
  6. But then again, once you have one set up for what you do, you won't want to be without it. I had a guy a few hours away buy one for $50 because it wasn't working. We went over that way on a little day trip later on and within 5 minutes with a crescent wrench and screwdriver it was splitting great. They will do things that you can't on a pull splitter, wide pieces will crank through. Small pieces you could never get a grip on will crank through. You can crank out cigarette paper thicknesses. Once you understand the different adjustments then it is intuitive what you need to change if anything. My above instructions were more for the one that's been tinkered with and out of adjustment or taking one down and refurbishing. The biggest questions I get are usually from somebody who got one and needs to feed thinner leather. If everything else is working good on thicker leather, then a couple turns on the top adjusting screws, eyeball that the roller is level, and they are splitting that fine. If you decide you are going to make wallet backs from skirting and want to split in one pass, then you need a bigger gap between the blade and bottom roller. For the most part once you get one dialed in for the usual jobs you do, then you don't need to change anything again until you get pretty far out from that weight and amount of split. The springs allow for a decent range of thicknesses. It is when you go from a set up for 6 oz leather and you throw some 16 oz through (or vice versa) or you want to take off 8 oz in one pass instead of 2-3 oz at a time. That's when things get dicey. Knowing what to change in adjustments and then how to bring it back afterwards is the deal there.
  7. My take for the 6" crank splitters in general, and based on my experience with Landis 30/American/Champion crank splitters and NOT necessarily this splitter although I'd wager very similar. I have sold several of these for several purposes, and find that each user needs to have some understanding of the settings and adjustments to make it work best for the job at hand. They were designed to split and/or level shoe sole material. Anything else is a secondary purpose. It can be done for sure, but the factory settings are generally for sole weight leather. Anything else and you may need to do some adjusting and probably disregard the gauge markings other than as a reference and not an actual expected thickness.. The top roller adjusts down, the bottom feed roller adjusts up. The amount of gap determines what they will feed the best. You have to have enough gap for the leather to feed but enough compression for the bottom roller to get a grip into the leather to push it through. Too much space between the rollers and they won't feed thinner leathers until you get down to thinner settings. With a narrower space the thin leather feeds but thicker leather are working against the compression springs and it cranks harder plus put a strain on the parts. The gap needs to be opened up for thicker leathers. How easy it is to adjust the rollers? The top roller is adjusted by turning the two set screws on top of the frame. (These would be the ones the usual Landis 30 instructions say NOT to adjust since they are factory set. Any common screwdriver and wrench will adjust them). These top adjustment screws also allow you to level up the top roller relative to the blade. The bottom roller is adjusted by jam nuts on a stud that goes through the frame into the bearing blocks for the bottom roller. Tighten the nuts to pull the roller down, loosen and the compression springs push the roller up. Each side is individually adjusted as well to level up the bottom roller with the blade. The next variable is related to how much you are splitting off. The blade on these is stationary and the bottom roller "floats". If you have a really small gap between the blade edge and bottom roller, The thinner splits come through easier but thicker splits are going to put excess tension on the bottom roller and be harder to crank and excess pressure on the frame. Thin leather and taking off a thin split with a large gap between the bottom roller and blade can equal wavy and uneven splits since the gap allows the piece to ride up and down. If you are taking "small bites" then a narrower gap is better. Large bites like cranking 16 oz through into 8 oz on one pass you need a bigger gap. The usual recommendation has been about the thickness of a credit card for general purposes. Another variable is the compression springs - one on each side pushing up the bottom roller. These springs allow some float in the bottom roller to provide compression as the leather feeds. It also allows some variability in leather thickness because of the flex in the springs. The spring tension is adjustable at the bottom by some turn screws. A looser tension might have more flex for variable leather thickness but not as much compression for the bottom roller to bite into denser leather. Tighter tension might not crank as easy to feed thicker leather but it will get a bite. The happy medium is attained by scrap leather, prayer or cussing, and a wrench. Then the tensions need to be pretty even side to side. Stronger compression on one side more than the other and the leather will tend to feed more to one side and not exit as straight. This gets really magnified and problematic when you crank a 5" width through a 6" hole. Again - scrap leather, prayer/cussing, and wrench. As an aside - Same feed and exit issue can happen with rollers that are not parallel to each other. Blade position is very well addressed in the online Landis 30 instructions. Push it to the stops on the bearing blocks, back off slightly on the back up screws then tighten down the blade screw and edge holders.. Top roller position, bottom roller positioning, gap between the blade and bottom roller, level side to side n everything, an even spring compression and blade position all work together to make these work smoothly. Then there is my bugaboo. On some of these you can have them set up exactly to what a person needs - feeds their expected weights, level, straight wide pieces and all is right with the world. Pack it, give to UPS or International Mail and the rollers are not level, one screw has backed off, one jam nut is half way down the stud, and it just got real. Like SolarLeatherMachines wrote - one that is right will dance around and do a great job. If you have a few common tools and understanding then they can be adjusted to dance again easy enough. There really is not a good mechanical service and adjustment manual available for them that I know of. Being as you just got it, I'd talk to the factory or dealer first. They can probably talk you through setting it up for your particular needs.
  8. Likely it was Carson Thomas. He owned the shop at one time. If you want to know maybe way more than you are asking - here is a link to the some history of that old shop - http://bobcoronato.com/about-artist/ . Some older pictures and as it is today. I am a little biased, the current owner is a heck of an artist and we have several of his etchings, including the one he did of that shop as it was. it is now a really nice museum and gallery.
  9. Elsa, Ron's Tools have new owners as of a month or so ago. I don't have any fresh contact info for them. One person that does is Aaron Heizer at Makers Leather Supply in Killeen Tx. Aaron is a dealer for their hand tools now but not sure about the stirrup buckles. If not he could refer you back to the new owners.
  10. I've got one - $250 plus shipping.
  11. I heard from a guy with quite a few old Tandy catalogs. He found it in his 1962 catalog. Also on that page was a stamping table as well.
  12. I've got one here I am sending to an old friend. His wife had bought him one as a gift and he is thinking early to mid 1960s. He lost it in a shop fire.
  13. If you shave the wool you still have to remove the leather. An old guy taught me to use either an old style loop blade compass groover or even better - an old free hand stitch groover/patent leather tool/gum tool. Run it over the top stitches to cut them off or severely weaken them. It won't work with a hole int eh bar type groover, the hole will pack up. pull on the woolskin underneath and almost all of the tags will pull through. Clean fast job with little or no individual stitch picking. Rubber cemented skirts should peel right off. If they are contact cemented, sometimes a little heat from a hair dryer or fast fanning with a low setting on a heat gun will warm and soften the bond and the woolskin will pull free.
  14. Mark, Thank you for posting this! Billy, I have seen where a guy rounded off the tip of the blade sticking up there. I do the same thing with new draw gauge blades, not many people need that tip to cut anything with, but that is what at least 80% of the accidental cuts are done on. I haven't had one of these for a while but can't remember if there is enough "meat" to drill and tap a hole or two and insert set screws to hold the blade in the slot. If so, that could make these a lot handier looks like from here.
  15. I'd contact the seller you bought it from and let them swap it out with you and they can deal with Osborne.