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About silverwingit

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  • Birthday July 4

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Montrose, CO
  • Interests
    Boxes, Pouches, Cases, Holsters & Belts

LW Info

  • Leatherwork Specialty
    Leather accessories for musicians
  • Interested in learning about
    Extending my hand and machine stitching techniques
  • How did you find
    advice on internet
  1. Dwight, after happily consuming your nearly 3,000 some helpful posts I am privileged to have the opportunity to help you out a little. In my experience, one factor that has a big impact on how flexible the item is after finishing is how flexible it is before finishing. If I want a piece to be flexible I'll flex the heck out of it before I apply the final finish. After cutting the piece, I first apply a thin coat of neatsfoot with a piece of trimmed shearling or old t-shirt, with the oil mostly daubed out. To do that I use a more heavily soaked piece of shearling or rag to make an application to the flesh side. The flesh side can take a lot of neatsfoot and when I am done there the shearling/rag is daubed out enough to allow gradual, repeated applications to the grain side. Don't apply it in one heavy coat. Rather, use a mostly daubed-out piece of shearling or rag. After the oil has dried I apply a relatively generous coat of carnauba cream. I really like carnauba cream for the texture and flexibility it imparts to the leather. I even like the way it smells. I apply it in the same sequence, flesh side first, so that my shearling or rag isn't sopping wet by the time I turn my attention to the grain side. Once there, that mostly daubed-out applicator can be used to go over a piece multiple times until the desired amount has been applied evenly across the piece. If you go at the grain side with an applicator wet with carnauba cream, it will streak. After the applications of neatsfoot oil and carnauba cream the grain surface is made pliable so that it won't be nearly so susceptible to cracking. I am then able to safely flex the leather through a fairly sharp angle. At that point I'll take a strap, for example, and put one end against my (clean, divot-free) workbench surface grain-side down and bend it down as much as I dare without cracking its delicate surface. Then I'll "roll" that bend back and forth across the piece from one end/side of the piece to the other. Meaning I press down with an even amount of pressure and roll the piece back and forth between my hand and the bench top until the leather "gives" and then move that bend along so that the it travels all the way along the length of the strap. Then I'll do the same thing with the flesh side out. The sharpness of the bend (how much force you apply) and the number of times you roll it over a given spot as you move along/across the piece determine how flexible or even floppy the end result will be. If the piece will be destined for a certain curvature, say cuffs, you can leave that curve in and move on to your next operation. Otherwise you can roll a bend in vertical, horizontal, and any other direction to create flexibility in those directions as well. When I've achieved the desired amount of flexibility I'll do whatever other operations the piece requires and then apply a final coat of yes, Bag Kote. I've tried most all final finishes and have found no better than good old Bag Kote for protecting my work. I don't care for shiny finishes and Bag Kote leaves a very pleasing matte finish. It's also much more user-friendly than, say, Resolene, which can be finicky. You can and, in fact, should apply it with a wet applicator and it will soak in, leaving a nice, even coat without streaking or spotting. Most of my products aren't destined for outdoor use but if the product does get wet, as long as it gets fully, not partially wet, it will return pretty much to its original condition. Bag Kote will allow spotting if only parts of the leather get wet, though. I haven't found a fully waterproof finish that isn't waxy, really shiny, or that cracks when flexed so I settle for the best looking and wearing dry-compatible finish I know of, Bag Kote. One of the best things about Bag Kote is that it will flex without cracking and that was your original question. I hope this helps some. Thank you, Dwight, for all your generosity on this forum! Michelle
  2. Bummer. You could split the tongue to the required thickness to allow it pass through the slot. I'd use my splitter but you could also hand-skive it. You may also have to narrow the tongue slightly at the part that can pass through the buckle, but that could be done tastefully. Michelle
  3. I have an intense dislike for Resolene. Its inherent fake-looking shiny finish can be dealt with by diluting with water as you did. But, that isn't my problem. Resolene once ruined a nice project I had worked long and hard on. It dissolved the Fiebings Antique paste that I had applied and rubbed it all over the piece. It dried so quickly that I couldn't remove the streaking, not unlike your picture. My takeaway: In spite of its popularity I'll never use it again. Michelle
  4. I'm a tad surprised no one has mentioned your edge treatments, or lack thereof. Little touches like carefully finished edges are what separate a high-quality hand-made belt from those churned out in a factory somewhere offshore. For me, the glitz of fancy buckles are mere distractions from the absence of fine workmanship. I'd opt for good, solid construction and a simple buckle Add the fancy buckle and keepers after you have nailed proper construction techniques. Look at Nige's belts for examples of what I'm talking about. At least that's the way I see it, Michelle
  5. Not exactly on the topic of burnishing slits (don't even try), but I've found a way that I burnish holes. I make a lot of no-stitch boxes with the method described in one of Stohlman's box & case books. To do this you punch holes at the corners where the leather is bent at right angles and folds over on itself. It's always bugged me leaving the edges of those holes unburnished after I spend so much time finishing the rest of the edges. I do have a cocobolo drill press burnisher with a small diameter section but it's in my shop and it's sort of a hassle dropping everything and running out to the garage to use it. I normally just finish edges by hand with a cocobolo slicker, beeswax and a patch of canvas following Bob Park's method. So I've been wanting a way to do finish those pesky holes by hand right at my workbench. I recently got one of those Tandy Craftool stainless steel burnisher/awl tools with the black handle just for this purpose. It's been working pretty well. I use the usual wet/saddle soap/burnish then rub the tip of the tool with a little beeswax and go over it again, this time spreading a little beeswax. Not quite as nice as the straight edges but far better than just leaving them unfinished. They certainly don't draw the eye like the formerly ratty looking unfinished holes. Michelle
  6. I imagine from your profile that this is a laser engraved Delrin or similar plastic stamp. The stamp itself is amazing enough but I am very curious about how you actually make the impression. It is amazingly uniform in depth. I've tried everything from maul to dead blow hammer to arbor press to hydraulic shop press and I don't think I've ever gotten that even of an impression. Would you mind sharing how you manage such a uniform impression? Thanks, Michelle
  7. Methinks it's the total mass of whatever piece of rock you're pounding on. A piece twice as large area-wise but half as thick will yield the same inertial resistance. Michelle
  8. Very nice tooling! Is the concho function or decorative? Looks good whatever it is. Thanks, Michelle
  9. I have a pretty intense dislike for Acrylic Resolene, beyond the fact that I don't care for the way it can make project look so shiny (undiluted). Depending on your finish, AR can be a disaster. I used it over antiquing once and it dissolved the antique paste and ruined my project. I'll never use it again. Other people swear by it but I prefer Bag Kote. Michelle
  10. On matching shades... +1 on needing not only the same hide but taken from the same part of the hide and split down. Leather more towards the belly will take dye differently than back or neck leather. Also, +1 on diluting. That's the only way so control the shade unless you want your products to be very dark. Lastly, I find that I get my best results by letting the dye completely soak the leather. Fewer issues when finishing edges and the only way I've found to ensure uniformity of shade. I leave my workpieces to soak until they quit bubbling. I use Pro Oil dye. It takes a few hours to dry before I can continue working, but overnight works best. If I do these things I can count on the shades of the different pieces of leather that make of a project to be the same. Michelle
  11. Maybe I'm doing something wrong but I made a two-sided wood strop with horse butt and put the grain side out. Now no matter what I do it won't take or keep polishing compound. I wish I'd have made it flesh side out. I've sanded it with coarse sandpaper and that helps but my little belly leather strop with the flesh side out works much better. In fact, I am just about ready to make a new flesh side out horsehide strop out of frustration. Michelle
  12. Antique paste or gel.
  13. One thing about backstitching. If your machine doesn't put the needle in the exact same holes, all manner of ugly stitches can result, especially on the underside. My Cobra 4 has a longer backstitch than its forward stitch. For a long time I didn't know why my backstitches were so gnarled and protruding. I don't go to Michael's length to finish by hand. I'm lazy and I get better results using the machine to maintain its tension. I get my best results by backstitching without the machine's motor using the hand wheel and lifting the foot to position the needle to be spot-on the same holes created by the forward stitches. Another option is what you'd have to do if your machine didn't have a reverse stitch. Lift the foot (while the needle is down, after the stitch is competed) and manually turn the workpiece around and forward stitch. That will put what are now the backstitches in those same holes. Michelle
  14. In a word, Wowza! Chief, you would be doing all (well most all) of us a big favor if you'd make a detailed video of your different basketweave stamping methods. Your work is textbook perfect. In fact, better yet, you should write a book! Michelle