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About CelticPrint

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    Crafting in general

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  • Leatherwork Specialty
    Holsters and belts
  1. Beginner's Questions...Again

    If a person is diligent and pays attention to detail any beginner set of tools will work but as you grow and if you get some profit from a few pieces allot some of that money for not just better quality tools but a wider array. As I've made more projects I've found that better quality and a wider range of tools not only cuts down on time and frustration but allows me the free time to get more creative. I started by buying what I could afford and I've bent or snapped needles, bent stamps, tried to free hand cut half circles and slipped ruining a strap here and there. Beginner tools are fine but as time goes better tools prove their worth.
  2. A complete Newbie from Western Massachusetts

    Mass guy here too, I got back into it for holsters but then found out I liked making a lot more. Holsters alone can make you some nice side coin and for your own pieces the comfort of choosing every angle, fit and finish of how you get a hold on your steel is unmatched. Definitely try a good deal of hand stitching, I have no disrespect of machines but hand stitching gives you a serious feeling of completion. Just don't be afraid to use a thimble or make a leather palm pad to catch needles and awls on the press through, nothing like getting excited to finish a piece and shoving an awl through your piece and into your hand. Best of luck.
  3. Help with Round braided cord

    Veg tanned, water, a plank and a solid smooth surface. Braiding is just a pattern, whether 3,4,6 or 8 keep your plaits tight and uniform, keep the skin side out and as long as it's not sealed you just have to get the braid wet and roll it back in forth in between a hard flat surface and a hard smooth plank. You can turn a braid so round and smooth it will look like clay that came out of an extruder. When I make whips I skive or edge the strips to get an even tighter, rounder finish.
  4. Kevlar Thread Questions

    Be careful with some of the stronger stuff, I used Spectrafiber for a bit and the beadstress that sold it to me said "if you try to tie this too tight you'll find fingers on the ground." I try not to imagine someone trying to snap off the excess by just yanking a thread that thin and strong. Like others have stated for finishing I just back stitch down a few holes and then used a curved needle to come between the plies, use a finishing knot and tuck it back in between the plies. Since it's backstitched down a few holes it receives virtually no tension and if it's tucked back in it receives no abrasion and is hidden from view.
  5. Ahh the slow cooker and it's many uses, I've used it to render out leaf lard for cooking, I suppose I could try a run at tallow. Pretty sure I saw cuts meant just for that at our local butcher. Thanks
  6. I think if you add more coats of an acrylic paint on top of a sheen sealant the paint will just be able to be picked off with your finger nail, might sound like a pain but you might have to degloss the sections you wish to paint.
  7. Beeswax

    I've been making a lot of random blends and find with bees wax you don't need much, I've used as little as 15% by weight and still had it too solid at room temperature. A digital scale and small test batches helped me hone in on which oil blends needed what amount of wax. edit/add : I also find with some oils you have to stir it a few times as it cools down to keep it homogeneous, one blend I didn't mix as it cooled and the wax crystallize into tiny beads in the oil.
  8. Finally started working with 8-10oz and didn't realize all the hardware that I've been buying in kits, bundles and closeout sales do not fit that thickness. Just looking for a few sources for rivets, grommets and snaps meant for thicker hide.
  9. Suet, now there is an idea I haven't tried. I did after all this testing find a 5 year old batch of part pure unrefined shea butter mixed with bee's wax, it was meant to stop skin from chapping in the cold. It's at least 5- 6 years old and still smells the same as the day as it was mixed, I wonder if the bee's wax prevented it from going rancid. It was also stored in a sealed bin so I have no test data on how it would hold up as a conditioner. On my last project after dying I rubbed all the excess dye out by blotting and light buffing, then just mink oil paste from a leather goods store up here for a finish. Too hesitant to risk ruining a project just yet. I find that if I dye it slowly and in even layers I don't need resolene, so far no bleed outs.
  10. The Mottled One: Slap/Sap/Blackjack

    Legal to own here in the U.S. however legal to carry various state to state and because laws are fun it's a whole other animal if you actual use it. As for novelty I'm making one right now, just filling it with #5 lead shot. The coins are cool and would hurt but lead shot or even powdered lead is used so the force is all impact and not abrasive implement. Getting hit with a solid or semi solid weight might gash someone while powder or birdshot will just transfer the kinetic energy. Still could break skin but more likely to just stun. Definitely look up any local laws especially if you've been commissioned to make one, the sale of a felonious weapon carries a serious charge. All and all if you put 10 ounces of lead shot packed tightly in a leather strap it's definitely a one way ticket to napsville.
  11. Very true. I'm making my tests 1 inch by 8 inch, bending and flexing them everyday but it's still nothing compared to real life use. My last few projects were knife sheaths for people that live in the mountains up here around me and not only do they use their knife every day but completely abuse all of their equipment from temperature and humidity to abrasion. So far on just the few test runs there have been dramatic changes in some of the samples. The one I loaded with a blend of shea butter and bees wax can't even be cut by my leather shears anymore. Had to cut the last sample with a serrated knife using a sawing motion. I'll have to not only put the swatches and test strips through real life experiences but also look up qualities that matter, things like linoleic content but what turns rancid, what absorb quickly etc. I have the oils and I have veg tan scraps so it's worth a shot. I'm just going to try to stay as empirical as possible, if it doesn't work I'll face that and move on.
  12. Good point about turning rancid, I honestly don't even cook with olive oil because I feel like it is more volatile than other oils and I personally don't like the smell even when it's not rancid. Some animal fats like mink oil never seem to turn rancid but might have a stabilizer added to them, still new to which witch is which. I got turned on to shea butter because I do carpentry in the north east mountains, we have some vicious winds and it stops my face and hands from cracking so I tried it on some leather, so far in the short run it seems decent but I will have to keep data on the long run, could be a huge waste of time if I'm wrong, only one way to find out. This argan oil penetrates quickly and dries nicely but again, not sure on the long run. I use mink oil on my belts but sometimes it makes marks on my pants, luckily though those marks are hidden by the very same belt. Both of you have mentioned beeswax, I wonder if it would help stabilize either oil animal or vegetable, the whole reason I started fooling around was the original skin balm was part Cocao butter, part Shea, and a small part beeswax. We called it "invisible glove" because if you put it on your hands you could walk outside in sub zero temperatures and high wind and not feel the bite of the cold. That blend works on leather but does darken it a bit and my oldest piece treated is only 6 months old so I don't know if it turns rancid. Mustache wax lol, with a tiny dab of this stuff I can pull my beard into a devils spike.
  13. A tour of SLC!

    I ordered a complete grab bag of stuff from you guys a few weeks back and it was one of the best orders I've ever received, I wish I lived closer. Being able to order by the square foot instead of a whole hide gave me enough leather to do a few quick projects and still have money left over for dye and hardware. I will definitely order again without hesitation.
  14. One of my favorite lines in leather treatment is "if you wouldn't put it on your skin, why would you put it on your leather?" That statement is meant to avoid using harsh chemicals or unknown recipes on leather, if it makes your skin feel damaged what's is it going to do to leather. So on reverse engineering I decided to wonder "if it makes my skin feel good, what will it do for my leather?" My wife makes soap and lotion blends so we have all sorts of natural cold pressed oils laying around and I've started applying them to test pieces. So far I've tried grape seed oil, olive oil, coconut oil, she butter, cocoa butter and argan oil on separate test swatches. I have to say all do a decent job at conditioning but some wear off in days like it never even happened, others remain flexible as if they were soaked being ready for a wet form the rest so far lie in between. At first a few of the oils seem splotchy but after a decent rub down and some resting time they even out and only slightly darken the original test swatch. I am going to set up a more controlled experiment and see which one seems to work the best for the results desired but was wondering what oils other people use other than the traditional mink oils and neatsfoot. The one thing I've noticed between animal fats versus plant fats is the animal fats seem to still wear off onto your skin or clothing where the vegetable oils after a rest eventually saturate deep enough that they don't rub back off. Any thoughts and preferences would help, I'll eventually post pics of a step by step test of swatches vs each oil.
  15. Last minute gift

    Sheilajeanne, I got into leather craft from friend from Arizona, she worked for the highway department and they had to remove loose animals that had been struck on routes and highways. She taught herself how to tan leather and would send me all sorts of stuff. It felt good working with materials I knew were part of the circle of life rather than just pursuing a trending material. Hence the skinning knife. I can shoot an arrow or a long gun, it's about time I used that skill for more than just a meal.