I started doing leather work as a hobby in late1983, while on the road as a musician in a touring Country Music band. I bought my first industrial sewing machine, a Singer 96k40, in mid to late 1984. This was quickly followed by more industrial sewing machines, mostly walking foot. In 1985 I began taking orders for tooled belts and wallets, then later on custom fitted leather vests.
In my earlier years in business I operated both from my home and on the road, in hotel rooms I stayed in while traveling with bands. Later, I undertook a flea market location to do business, which lasted from 1991 through the summer of 1996. This expanded into making and selling bridle leather belts, bootstraps and holsters for other retailers. I even produced super customized holsters for the movie Romeo and Juliet, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
Over my years in and out of the leather business I've acquired and sold off dozens of heavy duty industrial sewing machines, including two Union Lockstitch machines capable of sewing 3/4 inch of leather. My current heavy stitcher is a Cowboy CB4500. I highly recommend this machine to holster makers, saddlers and anybody who needs to sew over 3/8 of an inch (the typical maximum handled by regular walking foot machines).
I currently operate in a partnership with another leathercrafter as R & W Custom Leatherworks, with a shop inside a huge antiques mall in Burton, Michigan, making tooled and bridle leather belts, fitted holsters, phone cases, wallets and biker accessories, plus doing sewing and repairs to all manner of leather goods and garments. A large segment of my personal work involves sewing club patches onto Bikers' vests and jackets. I handle our sewing with about 8 leather and cloth sewing machines, plus a blind stitcher and a serger.
When I am at home I do some webmaster work for a select few clients. I write my own HTML and CSS codes, as well as using various web design programs made by CoffeeCup Software. Ever since 2014, all of my websites and those I make or update for clients are coded or rewritten in Responsive Layout design, enabling the pages to be viewed on any device or screen size.
To this day, I sill augment my unpredictable and variable leather work income by playing pedal steel guitar in various mid-Michigan Country Music bands. I average from 2 gigs a week.