SilverForgeStudio

Hampton Roads anyone? Older guy getting into it for more than crafts and chatzkes

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New to leather in general- always liked working with my hands. Im in SE Virginia. I would love to meet and grab a coffee with anyone from Richmond to Raleigh and learn- as well as horse trade and be cheap shop labor if they need a hand.

My interests are mostly metal related- and now Im branching out into leather, kydex, wood and other mediums to go with the metals. In honesty Im a 25+year paramedic looking to slow down and have some fun as I explore my next adventure. (Main hobbies are casting/foundry and forging/blacksmithing (Metal detecting IS a hobby- but its metal related as well... soooooo- metals it is!)

Specific to leather Im looking to learn bags/wallets, holsters, belts (gun/casual/dress), and general strapping, wet-molding and whatever else my "Jobbies" throw at me. Im looking to do a few projects for my family and myself to continue learning and let this thing grow.

Yes, Im a long time reader and lurker- Ive digested the Wiz's sewing machine threads and Aurthur Paynes vidoes, and just about every pattern making thread here.

Why did I join? Glad you asked- Im at a point I need some help and guidance as well as I think I can contribute as well to some areas. This is a great place to chew on ideas, perspectives and some downright funny happenings- as well as serious advice and business outlooks too!

Thank you for allowing me to share what you folks have created- I hope to add something to these pages positive as well in the process and grow.

Thank you- Duncan

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Welcome to the most fun frustration available on planet Earth.

A simple suggestion.

Start things in batches. 

Small bracelets, card holder wallets, keychains, something small that won't require a lot of leather.

Take your group thru the whole process as a batch.

This will yield greater improvement with each step in the process with less material.

If you build one thing at a time and screw up, you have to start over.

But, by doing batches you can continue forward and use the discard pile for tests along the way.

I didn't hear about this learning method until I was doing this for two years. Grrrrrr!!!

Have fun.

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Great advice!

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15 hours ago, bikermutt07 said:

Welcome to the most fun frustration available on planet Earth.

A simple suggestion.

Start things in batches. 

Small bracelets, card holder wallets, keychains, something small that won't require a lot of leather.

Take your group thru the whole process as a batch.

This will yield greater improvement with each step in the process with less material.

If you build one thing at a time and screw up, you have to start over.

But, by doing batches you can continue forward and use the discard pile for tests along the way.

I didn't hear about this learning method until I was doing this for two years. Grrrrrr!!!

Have fun.

Hello Mutt,

You have learned well young Grasshopper.

And I know that you always will.  You have also been a provider of some hard learned wisdom as a result of your learning and that is what these forums are all about.

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20 hours ago, SilverForgeStudio said:

New to leather in general- always liked working with my hands. Im in SE Virginia. I would love to meet and grab a coffee with anyone from Richmond to Raleigh and learn- as well as horse trade and be cheap shop labor if they need a hand.

My interests are mostly metal related- and now Im branching out into leather, kydex, wood and other mediums to go with the metals. In honesty Im a 25+year paramedic looking to slow down and have some fun as I explore my next adventure. (Main hobbies are casting/foundry and forging/blacksmithing (Metal detecting IS a hobby- but its metal related as well... soooooo- metals it is!)

Specific to leather Im looking to learn bags/wallets, holsters, belts (gun/casual/dress), and general strapping, wet-molding and whatever else my "Jobbies" throw at me. Im looking to do a few projects for my family and myself to continue learning and let this thing grow.

Yes, Im a long time reader and lurker- Ive digested the Wiz's sewing machine threads and Aurthur Paynes vidoes, and just about every pattern making thread here.

Why did I join? Glad you asked- Im at a point I need some help and guidance as well as I think I can contribute as well to some areas. This is a great place to chew on ideas, perspectives and some downright funny happenings- as well as serious advice and business outlooks too!

Thank you for allowing me to share what you folks have created- I hope to add something to these pages positive as well in the process and grow.

Thank you- Duncan

Welcome aboard Duncan.

Sounds like you have done some serious homework while lurking in the shadows and that is a very good thing.  It also sounds like that lurking has helped you through some things that have made you want to continue down this path and that is even better.

As @bikermutt07 has suggested start small and with batches to get the consistency down and you will find that as you move through the process it will be much easier to get a larger project done, on the first try, and taking on one-at-a-time items will just feel like another day.  The smaller batch process gives you practice and allows you to make the adjustment from one piece to the next which also creates a collection of unique and one-of-kind items (neat little marketing trick there) when you enter the realm of selling to the public.  

We hope to see some great things from you as you continue down this road and you know by now that you have a large pool of minds to help you whenever you need it.

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@NVLeatherWorx, I'm pretty sure it was you that informed me of that trick....

You said something to the nature of " Only build (keychains?) Until you have perfected keychains, then move on to the next thing. And build it over and over until it's perfect".

That's pretty close to what I remember anyway.;)

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1 hour ago, NVLeatherWorx said:

Hello Mutt,

You have learned well young Grasshopper.

And I know that you always will.  You have also been a provider of some hard learned wisdom as a result of your learning and that is what these forums are all about.

Thanks, I still consider myself a novice at most of the hands on stuff. Although, I think I have reached an intermediate level of understanding of the overall process. That's mostly to do with all the reading and listening I've done here.

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On 10/12/2018 at 8:47 PM, bikermutt07 said:

Start things in batches. 

Small bracelets, card holder wallets, keychains, something small that won't require a lot of leather.

Take your group thru the whole process as a batch.

Great advice Biker- Right now Im trying to apply that advice- card holders, keychains and wallets to start- Thanks for the nod!

On 10/13/2018 at 12:40 PM, NVLeatherWorx said:

Welcome aboard Duncan.

Sounds like you have done some serious homework while lurking in the shadows and that is a very good thing.  It also sounds like that lurking has helped you through some things that have made you want to continue down this path and that is even better.

As @bikermutt07 has suggested start small and with batches to get the consistency down and you will find that as you move through the process it will be much easier to get a larger project done, on the first try, and taking on one-at-a-time items will just feel like another day.  The smaller batch process gives you practice and allows you to make the adjustment from one piece to the next which also creates a collection of unique and one-of-kind items (neat little marketing trick there) when you enter the realm of selling to the public.  

We hope to see some great things from you as you continue down this road and you know by now that you have a large pool of minds to help you whenever you need it.

Thanks Scooby and Biker and NV! 

I appreciate the invite to contribute- and look forward to giving you folks a few chuckles as my baby steps get a bit better also! Thats half the fun of things is looking back and going "WOW... I did THAT?!?" whether its good or not it will tell me where to go, and where to grow!

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Welcome aboard! Hope it will be an exciting ride for you - it certainly is an absorbing one. Even more so, I wonder if there's one human being who can say "I know all there is to know about leather and the craft it has given the world". And for me it is humbling to see all the great things that members of this forum make - the collective experience here must be in the hundreds of years. For a hobbyist like me, being on the forum is truly an opportunity to sit at the feet of the giants. Enjoy the learning!

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Reim- good info and I share your respect for the wisdom here! I am enjoying the resources and the fellowship

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Welcome @SilverForgeStudio. I've been at this for 3 or 4 years now and still contribute to the baby step humor/happy fun time/why did he do that compendium here. Luckily, there are many good folks here that will actually help you take the next step without mocking you in the open forum. There are some world class leather workers here as well. It's funny that novices like a lot of us are able to share the same pages as some of the world's best. I look forward to seeing you progress!

Also, the wisdom passed down from @NVLeatherWorx to @bikermutt07  and now to you is pretty invaluable. I took their advice and it cured my stitching inconsistencies I had been struggling with just reading and watching youtube videos. I recommend it. You can see improvement from piece 1 to piece 10.

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Everyone here contributes. I have seen some of the coolest techniques and styles from the newest of newbs here. 

I have been playing off and on for four years, but have only produced maybe a slow year's worth of products.

I have such a hard time commiting to a style or even to cutting into the leather sometimes.

My perfectionism mind is never truly honored with my finished product. So, a lot of time I have a problem just getting started. 

It is an ongoing conundrum for me. 

And, I see others just turning out project after project like YinTx. 

He and I started within a few months of each other and his work is so more advanced than mine.

Not that I mind, it's not a contest. Just something I've noticed.

I have been trying to take inspiration from Don Gonzales. Man, he just grabs that leather and gets to working it. While I will roll out a piece and stare at it for three days.

I think I have started to ramble a bit. Not sure I had a point....

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Ah, @bikermutt07, you have a style while I still go "huh, what's this thing called 'a style'"? At best, my style - if I have one - is "decidedly inconsistent". Perfect is the name of a town somewhere in the world, not close to where I live. I plan to move there in about a gazillion weeks... months... Maybe years from now. But I plan to continue enjoying the ride on the road that leads there, even if a few cows have to sacrifice their hides before I arrive!

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Reim... Good advice thanks

@battlemunky thanks as well... I've read your comments too along with Mutts' musings as well. 

Right now I'm in analysis paralysis trying to "batch" my first project (s)... 

So that being said...

Ok FIRST QUESTION...  How much waste do you plan on when considering doing lots or batches? I know when I sew I figure +1yard for bias correction and layout... Does same methodology apply to leather with blemishes and edge variations?

Thanks again and as always be safe, and in good spirits! I'll be away from the keyboard for my annual apple festival and pumpkin patch family outings... I can read just no response from me... I'll catch up with you fine folks when the apple butter is in the jars and I'm set for my winter jams and jellies! (Yes, I'm a dude that loves to can/cook!)

Until then- thanks for reading!

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10 hours ago, SilverForgeStudio said:

Reim... Good advice thanks

@battlemunky thanks as well... I've read your comments too along with Mutts' musings as well. 

Right now I'm in analysis paralysis trying to "batch" my first project (s)... 

So that being said...

Ok FIRST QUESTION...  How much waste do you plan on when considering doing lots or batches? I know when I sew I figure +1yard for bias correction and layout... Does same methodology apply to leather with blemishes and edge variations?

Thanks again and as always be safe, and in good spirits! I'll be away from the keyboard for my annual apple festival and pumpkin patch family outings... I can read just no response from me... I'll catch up with you fine folks when the apple butter is in the jars and I'm set for my winter jams and jellies! (Yes, I'm a dude that loves to can/cook!)

Until then- thanks for reading!

When it comes to waste you are actually the one in total control of that.  First thing to understand that your waste starts with the quality/grade of leather that you are purchasing so if you are going cheaper then the amount of waste is going to be greater because the cheaper leathers have more scars, bite, brands, etc. that can take away precious profit.  The next thing that will impact waste is how you lay out your templates for cutting - the farther apart they are the more that you will be leaving in between.  The industry average is suggested to be no more than 15% of a hide/side/skin should be waste, I have mine down to about 5% but I buy the cleanest sides (and hand pick them myself from the source) and I lay out every piece I cut on a very tight line so that I am not leaving money on the floor or seeing it find its way into the garbage.  This stuff costs a pretty penny and I will damned if I am giving any more than I need to for the cost of garbage service.

On your comment about being a dude who loves to can/cook!  I do my own canning and I am a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America so I know what you mean.  I love to cook, can, smoke my own meats, make my own sausages, etc. and so on; oh, I bake too and am pretty darned handy at candy making as well.

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When I did my run of bracelets I stripped out a shoulder. There wasn't much waste.

That gave me plenty of materials. I didn't complete them all, but made gifts of some of it to newcomers. Never hurts to pay it forward.

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I can’t! I can’t! There is too many fun projects! I can’t choose!!!! I have to do them when they hit my brain, that way they ricochet around and I can write down my mistakes and (hopefully) improvements.

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On ‎16‎/‎10‎/‎2018 at 11:01 PM, SilverForgeStudio said:

How much waste do you plan on when considering doing lots or batches?

I have very little waste that goes in the rubbish bin. When I cut out a heap of items, the lace work of leather left behind is used for practice stamping, dye testing, swivel knife practice, making small welts, sanding to make leather dust (add to PVA to fill small gaps) etc etc.

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On 10/21/2018 at 9:20 AM, Rockoboy said:

When I cut out a heap of items, the lace work of leather left behind is used for practice stamping, dye testing, swivel knife practice, making small welts, sanding to make leather dust (add to PVA to fill small gaps) etc etc.

Well I think that is sage advice- and I appreciate that- I know the veg tan stuff I am trying to get a stash saved of mini-bins so my scraps arent in a heap- thank for the info!

On 10/16/2018 at 10:18 PM, ScoobyNewbie said:

I can’t! I can’t! There is too many fun projects! I can’t choose!!!! I have to do them when they hit my brain, that way they ricochet around and I can write down my mistakes and (hopefully) improvements.

Hmmmm.... Im not sure if You're talking to me or the other you here- but I would hazard to say the analysis paralysis comment is what you are referring to... and I felt like your comment when I walked into a Tandy store- my grounding was in the prices for retail and NOT having a firm starting point I did not want to run down the wrong road... (And the fact that my wife is an accountant and I have a budget- shes good- like a built-in Office manager/Warehouse supervisor and Awesome-coffee-maker... and she supports me as long as I dont break the bank!)

On 10/16/2018 at 10:13 PM, bikermutt07 said:

When I did my run of bracelets I stripped out a shoulder. There wasn't much waste.That gave me plenty of materials. I didn't complete them all, but made gifts of some of it to newcomers. Never hurts to pay it forward.

Thanks for the advice and the ideas- Im hoping to actually work out my own materials listings (like the other 1,000 listed in the forum- HA!) and then move it along to others as I move up... hopefully!

On 10/16/2018 at 9:28 PM, NVLeatherWorx said:

 First thing to understand that your waste starts with the quality/grade of leather that you are purchasing so if you are going cheaper then the amount of waste is going to be greater because the cheaper leathers have more scars, bite, brands, etc. that can take away precious profit.  The next thing that will impact waste is how you lay out your templates for cutting - the farther apart they are the more that you will be leaving in between.  The industry average is suggested to be no more than 15% of a hide/side/skin should be waste, I have mine down to about 5% but I buy the cleanest sides (and hand pick them myself from the source) and I lay out every piece I cut on a very tight line so that I am not leaving money on the floor or seeing it find its way into the garbage.  This stuff costs a pretty penny and I will damned if I am giving any more than I need to for the cost of garbage service.

On your comment about being a dude who loves to can/cook!  I do my own canning and I am a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America so I know what you mean.  I love to cook, can, smoke my own meats, make my own sausages, etc. and so on; oh, I bake too and am pretty darned handy at candy making as well.

@NV- Apples are In- Staymans, GrannySmiths and Romes are the pick of the lot this year- Spent Sunday cleaning drying and dehydrating and baking- Love it! I considered the Culinary institute here in VA- but the program didnt afford a very strong post graduate market (resort area on the coast- highly seasonal and NOT a long term viable career here)... Candy making- My wife and I are looking at doing some various caramels and chocolates for Christmas- Ill be getting my hams ordered for next season 

Good advice on the waste as well- I'm looking at cutting out by hand most items so I think the waste there will be minimal as long as I keep a straight/flat side to cut from/reference- I am looking at weights now for the projects then- on to the ordering!

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Nah, it was more how every sensible guy here was saying, “Do your work in runs or multiples so you can prefect your techniques and do a more professional job.” 

Which sounds really, really good, and sensible, but I’m not good at that. I get bored and it becomes a grind and then I spend all my time painting, or reading or brushing the dogs. Anything to avoid making another -fillintheblank-. 

But then I don’t ever intend to sell my stuff. I just want to be proud of the stuff I make and then force it on family and friends. I think I do okay. 

The advice these guys give is always really eye opening. I have learned a whole lot of interesting things. That was just a wild outburst, and should be ignored. 

Now I feel bad. Sorry. :unsure:

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lol Scoob, it's ok, I don't hate your take on it. I'm similar actually, leather is the first thing I've ever really done that with. I learned a ton from the repetition. I haven't done it since though ;)

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10 hours ago, ScoobyNewbie said:

Nah, it was more how every sensible guy here was saying, “Do your work in runs or multiples so you can prefect your techniques and do a more professional job.” 

Which sounds really, really good, and sensible, but I’m not good at that. I get bored and it becomes a grind and then I spend all my time painting, or reading or brushing the dogs. Anything to avoid making another -fillintheblank-. 

But then I don’t ever intend to sell my stuff. I just want to be proud of the stuff I make and then force it on family and friends. I think I do okay. 

The advice these guys give is always really eye opening. I have learned a whole lot of interesting things. That was just a wild outburst, and should be ignored. 

Now I feel bad. Sorry. :unsure:

HA! Scoob- dont feel bad- I just didnt get the perspective you were seeing it through- I get it... and I am a part of that mentality as well! Im not looking to go into business as a leatherworker/craftsman... Im more of a "maker of things I need" right now...

That being said- I am also looking to not just "git er done" I want a quality product. I eventually want to sell my knives and metals arts- and that requires (demands) that my parallel skills (leatherworking, casting, wax carving- ect...) have just as much diligence and attention applied to them.

(And yes- Im forcing the start up items on my family too- but my wife said- OK... if youre gonna do this I want "X" and has already set the learning bar for me pretty high! YIKES) ;) 

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One of these days I will post the other stuff I’ve made. Not just the chaps. Which were really just a size adjustment. 

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