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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. You might try a violin maker's plane. Search ebay. They're inexpensive and come in flat- or curve-faced models. I have an ebony curve-faced one from China. With a little practice you can get pretty good with one. I use it for skiving edges but there's no reason it would work over a larger area. After all, if it worked for Stradavarius it might work for you. 8^) I've seen a famous saddle maker skive a huge area underneath the seat of a saddle with a safety skiver. He was a master at it and it came out smooth as a baby's rear end. You might also try to find a local leatherworker who might have splitter. Michelle
  2. Good work, Dunluce! Your stitching and edges are great having only started. And you definitely made the right decision following through even after you realized your mistake. Look at all the experience you would have missed otherwise! A less intelligent leatherworker would have tossed their work as it was hoping to quickly move beyond the evidence of their error. They would have learned nothing and would probably be destined to repeat their original mistake. I have a "boneyard" of projects that failed for one reason or another. I keep them as reminders to avoid those mistakes in the future and to revel in how much progress I have made since I made them. My good work is being used by my many satisfied clients. Keep it up! Michelle
  3. Well, I should have done this a looong time ago! After getting a nudge from your post, Jess, I took a break and went ahead and made an apron from some chap suede I've had laying around. Unlike yours, it has short flaps to cover my upper thighs, that part of my legs that is exposed as I sit at my workbench. I stitched in a row of pouches for tools and pens and such, a pouch for my leather shears and a couple pockets with cover flaps for miscellaneous items. I've had surgery on my cervical spine so I made adjustable crossed shoulder straps to avoid having the weight on my neck as would be the case with a simple neck strap. The apron fits me like it was made for me (it was!) and the straps don't bind or chafe. There's a little heft to it but in a positive, comforting way. It is a joy to use. It took me a little while to get used to putting tools back in their respective pockets instead of on the bench top. At first I couldn't find anything as I searched the bench top out of habit, only to find the item in my apron pocket. But once I got into the habit of using the apron, I was freed from the ritual of stopping progress to hunt for a commonly used tool buried somewhere on my bench along with other tools, pieces of leather and such. And just yesterday a leather strap that I was applying edge dye to got away from me and swiped across the apron -- instead of a perfectly good shirt. I haven't had it happen yet but I've bloodied my legs before with an errant dropped awl or knife. No more. One last silly little thing. I feel more like a professional leatherworker when I wear it. Now all I need is a Chan Geer-style leather-billed hat to match the cowboy cuffs I also wear to protect my forearms. Thanks for the idea, Jess! Michelle
  4. Try casting your stitches to maintain that angled look. Start watching the Master at 5:52 to see what I mean. Michelle Michelle
  5. I sit at my leather bench but I'd like the benefits of an apron. I've thought of making one of some spare chap suede but I've been torn between a short one like yours and a longer one possibly with a split for my legs. Right now I'm favoring the latter because I would like to protect my legs in case of a spill or if I should drop a sharp tool or the like. I'd also put in some purpose-driven pockets for pen/pencil, awl, leather scissors, ruler, etc. -- things I'm always reaching or looking for on my bench (when it gets a bit cluttered). I appreciate you posting this, Jess. You've spurred me to go ahead and design and make an apron for myself. Michelle PS: I wonder what finish you used? A few splatters from some BBQ grease might change your apron's lovely appearance pretty quickly.
  6. I LOVE Youtube but the quality of YT videos, like that of any other internet content varies wildly. You have to sift through tons of videos to find a good one, but when you do it can be revelatory. The thing I hate is when some dufus records a half hour video on the first time he did something. Please! Michelle
  7. A few things regarding snaps. First off, I HATE segma snaps! Hate 'em! I'll never try to use another one ~ever~ again. I can't tell you the misery they've caused me. I've wasted dozens trying to get them to set right (I never bought dies for my presses 'cuz I dislike them so intensely). Now I use spring snaps exclusively for thinner leather. I have thousands of them, looking for a good source. I finally purchased a Goldstar press & dies just for spring snaps. Their spring snaps aren't bad either, though there are better ones. They work OK and are dirt cheap. When used properly they work fine (Arthur Porter, who is a big exponent of Goldstar presses and snaps, uses them incorrectly in his teaching videos on the subject). The press is the deal, though. Next, I learned some time ago to not pinch pennies when it comes to snaps. Snaps are the only leather hardware that is subjected to thousands of "engagings" and "disengagings" and in that sense are the only leather hardware item that is subjected to that sort of intense use. (I'm not including items like belt buckles that just rotate, but am referring to items that engage and disengage). Steel snaps are to be avoided in general, though I've found some steel spring snaps that work OK (Goldstar's are steel). For larger snaps like Ligne 20 or 24, though, forget steel snaps. I never want one of my products to be returned because of a silly bad snap. Bad for both my time and my reputation. One thing to be aware of is that Goldstar's and Tandy's snaps and presses are incompatible. And yes, there are far better sources for snaps and all manner of other kinds of hardware used in leather products. I use Ohio Travel Bag for all my leather hardware and many tools as well (except spring snaps as above). There are other sources but I know of no other single source that carries just about every sort of hardware imaginable from Segma snaps to genuine Birkenstock shoe parts and OEM Samsonite luggage repair parts. (Ironically their stock of spring snaps is anemic at best -- that's the only contradiction to my above statement I'm aware of. Understand that I am a spring snap nut because I make a lot of products out of garment leather where beefier snaps are inappropriate.) And, even with OTB I choose only solid bass snaps. It's a bit more time-consuming but one of the great things about OTB is that they carry many variants of their snaps so you buy by the individual component rather than as complete sets. I particularly appreciate being able to choose different post lengths for my rivets and snaps. Yes, I also choose solid brass rivets. OTB carries their hardware items in many different "finishes," such as plain solid brass or nickel plated solid brass, painted SB, anodized SB, etc. The only potential drawback is that OTB sells only wholesale so you need a tax ID. They also have a minimum order of $30, but you can eat that up in a hurry. They do sell in any amounts from single parts to thousands. Good luck, Michelle
  8. You could make a design on the surface of a small steel jeweler's block with some needle, checkering or "riffler" files. Michelle
  9. Why do you want to use a log in the first place? Nige's always seemed a bit clumsy to me. The tool loops are a nice feature but don't hold nearly all the tools I need. The surface is also pretty small for many of my projects and you really have to have a workbench as well anyway (Nige does). Finally, I have a bad back and wouldn't want to have to hover over a log like that very long. Don't get me wrong. I have learned volumes from Nigel and am deeply indebted to him not only for his videos but his responsiveness with emails, etc. He's even been so generous as to help me via Skype (before he became famous). He's the reason I can saddle stitch well. In fact, my mantra is, "WWND" (What Would Nigel Do). But this is one thing that Nige does that I don't get. Maybe he'll read this and chime in. A well-lit, nice, solid workbench with a good-sized chunk of marble or granite flush-mounted into its surface and a tool rack along its back is as near perfect a leather workbench as I've come across. I only wish I could say it was mine! I will admit, though, that a leatherworker could do a lot worse than emulating everything Nigel Armitage does down to the last detail! At least that's the way I see it. Michelle
  10. Very elegant and pretty bag with nice stitch work. I agree with thefanninator about the handle. It s crude by comparison with the rest of the bag and seems like it would be uncomfortable with seam as prominent as it is. There are more streamlined ways to construct a handle. The other weakness I can spot, and I had to look closely, also relates to the handle, but this time how it is attached to the bag. The loops that go through the brass square rings are stitched all the way across the straps. This perforates the straps across their widths, weakening them significantly. I'd suggest making them in an arc across the strap or a rectangle inside the strap's widths instead. Overall the stitches also seem a tad long but that is mostly personal preference. But, like I said I had to look close. That is a bag to be quite proud of. Michelle
  11. No other finish required, though a coat of floor wax and some buffing might put a mirror finish on it. Please let us know how it works for you if you try it. Thanks, Michelle
  12. Well I will agree to disagree with the expert with regard to using belly leather. It's saved my hide (literally) on many occasions. But there are bellies and there are bellies. As I said, use a good belly, not one that has been through the wringer. And I was really referring to those designing your own patter from scratch and for those making their first holster. If you are using a proven pattern and have experience, then by all means, start with prime vegtan. But if you are designing your own pattern or it's your first foray into holster making, I stand by what I said about "practicing" or "developing" using belly leather. Chances are very good you will make some mistakes. I know I do. I use belly leather until I get "close" to an acceptable design and then switch to prime vegtan. Saves me a lot of money. Maybe JLS can arrive at a pattern wasting only $10-$15 of good vegtan, but not me. I treat my interiors with a good coat of neatsfoot (I dye my leather before assembly), then a healthy coat of Carnauba cream. As I rub these in these I try to find and follow the direction of the grain of the flesh side. When I am done with each application, I give it a good rub with a piece of canvas, again in the direction of the grain. Finally, I give it 2-3 coats of Bag Coat, once again with the grain. Then I rub the grain down as much as possible with a bone folder of burnishing stick. before it is completely dry. Works for me. Inserting and withdrawing the handgun with use will polish the ares of contact even further. Michelle
  13. You could try inverted carving. You just leave foreground plain. The look may appeal to you. Michelle
  14. All excellent advice here. I would only offer a couple of twists. 1) I think lining holsters is vastly over-rated, especially if it's your first. It significantly increases the degree of difficulty and offers little in the way of additional functionality in the field. A holster made from top-grade Hermann Oak or Wicket & Craig vegtan with a properly treated interior is just fine in every way with no lining. 2) I'd start with some good belly leather. By the time you are satisfied with your prototyping you will have learned volumes and avoided ruining a perfectly good piece of prime vegtan. One last thing. Although it is an Avenger model, I think you might find Eric Adam's video series informative. Good luck, Michelle