etchgirl

Carving graphics on leather

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I NEED HELP!  I'm making a bookcover for my husband's co-worker with a graphic on the front and I believe I'm doing this all wrong. 

 

Here's the graphic:

I'm trying to carve this into leather but I believe I carved too much because it's not coming out like this. 

stock-vector-chef-s-hat-cook-chef-de-cuisine-221725696.jpg

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You need to cut a few till you get what you like on scrap letter, then cuarve your final piece.

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It looks horrible. And amateurish. I messed up on the openings on the"e" and the "f" and the upper curve of the "C". And I won't start on the chef's hat. 20170522_220307.jpg

Edited by etchgirl

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Count that as your practice piece. Outline your errors in pen or pencil with a ring around them. Study them; see what you think you did wrong and how you can do it better.

Slowly, ever so slowly is the way to do the delicate carving/cutting. For thin-ish delicate cuts I actually prefer using a Swann Morton scalpel with a fine blade for cutting

Photocopy the design, make it a bit stretched length-wise, might make doing the letters easier.

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For the inside of the chef's hat, rather than merely cut it away, use a matte backgrounding tool. 
Typical backgrounding tool:: 

leathercraft tools leather stamp Craft Japan A105 background leather toolings
Creates this effect:
Image result for background leather tool

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I would suggest you get some training.  You can find it pretty easily either on this forum or even Youtube.

It looks like you may be treating the leather as you would carve wood?  Looks like you are carving it dry and just cut that logo out.  Start by learning how to properly case your leather.  Then practice making curves and circles with your swivel knife.

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Hard to tell by the pic, did you cut it out of a piece of leather and have it laying on top of another?

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ashley%20cover_zpswvsyrpvr.jpg

 

I would do it like this.

1. Print out your design on computer paper.

2. Case the leather

3. Lay the paper on the leather, trace the edges.

4. Use a swivel knife to cut the trace marks (half teh depth of the leather)

5.  Use a beveler to bevel the edges.

6. Apply a sealer.

7. Apply an antique

8. Apply sealer

9. Paint design with a contrasting color.

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4 minutes ago, etchgirl said:

How to case leather??

 

Up near the top of the page over on the right there is a search box.  Search 'Casing' and it should produce a lot of results.

Just perform the search from the main page so you get all the results.

Edited by cjartist

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On 5/23/2017 at 7:49 AM, Bodean said:

Hard to tell by the pic, did you cut it out of a piece of leather and have it laying on top of another?

Ditto this. 

It's less an issue of the practice of reproducing graphics on leather as it is tooling fundamentals. It may behoove you to rework some fundamentals, watch a lot of videos, and get in a lot of practice on some simple starter patterns with more open angles/curves. There are quite a few aids and patterns out there particularly well-suited for practicing the basics. 

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This is supposed to be a notebook cover. This is the 7th time I've tried to do this. On tries 1-6, I carved the image directly onto the cover. It looked so bad (worse than what I have pictured.) that I had to chuck the piece altogether.

Yes, for try #7 (and out of desperation), I carved the graphic on a separate piece of leather and glued it onto the cover. The graphic started to look really wacky when I tried to trim around the edges of the graphic and in the spaces in the letters "e" and "f".  The leather started to shred and strand.

I believe the problem I am having is this: I am trying to tool the image the same thickness as the graphic (most of the videos I've seen on youtube and tandy's website have people tracing single lines then tooling the image in the leather). When I try to eliminate to create the 3D image, the graphic starts to go off the rails. 

I believe the problem is the image itself. Does this make sense?

I'm going to the class @ Tandy's on Saturday to see what I'm doing wrong with it.

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PRACTICE.

You didn't learn your alphabet in one sitting. You didn't learn mathematics in one day. You probably won't learn leather craft in one sitting either.

There is nothing wrong with the image. I believe it is your lack of practice. How many times did you write out the alphabet as a child? Probably more than seven times.

What tools are you using? 

What knife to cut the leather? 

What surface are you cutting the leather on?

What type of leather? (looks like veg tanned but it's hard to tell from the pic)

 

I have a piece I'm doing for a customer. I did FIVE test pieces (carved and colored) before I set down to work on the final piece. The first test piece would have worked but I don't do my final work until I am 100% happy with my test pieces. I also consider ever piece I do to be practice because we can always be learning and improving. 

 

Keep posting your progress and we'll do our best to help you. :)

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Where do you live?  I can teach you to carve.  Or elsewhere in the world there are others who can help.  Some Tandy instructors are great (I teach there sometimes) some have no idea.

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I live in Southern Louisiana. I do admit that I get really frustrated about carving so I don't do it too much. But, my husband wanted a piece with carving on it so I decided to try. Every time I look at it I just want to burn the darn thing.

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On 5/23/2017 at 9:44 AM, Colt W Knight said:

ashley%20cover_zpswvsyrpvr.jpg

 

I would do it like this.

1. Print out your design on computer paper.

2. Case the leather

3. Lay the paper on the leather, trace the edges.

4. Use a swivel knife to cut the trace marks (half teh depth of the leather)

5.  Use a beveler to bevel the edges.

6. Apply a sealer.

7. Apply an antique

8. Apply sealer

9. Paint design with a contrasting color.

This is also what I'm trying to learn.

I haven't seen much leather tooling where you actually remove leather. It's more about smooshing a design into wet(cased) leather. The cutting is just to provide hard lines for the different depths created by tapping different shaped tools into the wet leather.

Here is a practice piece, maybe my 3rd attempt? This would be up to step 5 listed above.

IMG_b0sqgo.jpg

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4 hours ago, pnj said:

What tools are you using? 

What knife to cut the leather? 

What surface are you cutting the leather on?

What type of leather? (looks like veg tanned but it's hard to tell from the pic)

Your user name is etchgirl.  This looks like you are trying to etch the leather. Perhaps with some type of beveler, or skiver?  It does not look like it follows standard leather carving practices.  That is why it may be worthwhile to answer those questions from above.

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First and foremost after you learn about casing the leather you need to decide how you want it to look.  You have to determine what is going to be the foreground part and what will be background, and start there. You separate the 2 with either color, like the Ashley notebook, or with some sort of background stamp like the pic from Djole or with beveling on outside edge of design.

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45 minutes ago, Dun said:

This is also what I'm trying to learn.

I haven't seen much leather tooling where you actually remove leather. It's more about smooshing a design into wet(cased) leather. The cutting is just to provide hard lines for the different depths created by tapping different shaped tools into the wet leather.

Here is a practice piece, maybe my 3rd attempt? This would be up to step 5 listed above.

IMG_b0sqgo.jpg

I think you are doing more smooshing than leather tooling. Leather looks to wet when you were tooling. I would suggest looking up some more info on Casing leather

 

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16 minutes ago, Colt W Knight said:

I think you are doing more smooshing than leather tooling. Leather looks to wet when you were tooling. I would suggest looking up some more info on Casing leather

 

Makes sense. This strip of test leather was very dark before casing, so I wasn't really sure when to start tooling since I was trying to use the "the leather is ready for tooling when it is close to original color"
Unless you mean my use of the word "smoosh" earlier? I didn't want to use the phrase "pound into the leather" in case there was confusion on what leather "carving" "tooling" meant. It seamed a better example for how little force is needed. If someone had told me "hit tool with mallet" before I saw it done I would have punched all the way through.

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4 hours ago, cjartist said:

Your user name is etchgirl.  This looks like you are trying to etch the leather. Perhaps with some type of beveler, or skiver?  It does not look like it follows standard leather carving practices.  That is why it may be worthwhile to answer those questions from above.

Actually i'm using an embosser tool, wet leather(dont know what kind; bought it long time ago), and a dremel

 

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Ditch the dremel and the idea of removing leather - Stick with practicing your tooling basics and go from there. 

 

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On Wednesday, May 24, 2017 at 5:05 PM, Colt W Knight said:

I think you are doing more smooshing than leather tooling. Leather looks to wet when you were tooling. I would suggest looking up some more info on Casing leather

 

Thats what I want my graphic to look like! How do you do that?

 uou do that??

Edited by etchgirl

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