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About Campchair

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  • Birthday 09/15/1951

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Oxford, AL.
  • Interests
    Firearms ("Walnut and Blued Steel), flintlocks, antique leather holsters, steam engines, almost anything mechanical.

LW Info

  • Leatherwork Specialty
    holsters and luggage
  • Interested in learning about
    holsters and luggage
  • How did you find leatherworker.net?

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  1. Make a sturdy backing "box" out of 2 pieces of 3/4" plywood glued together with a wood or metal rim running around it. Make sure it is supported 100% on the back side and the countertop weight slab will last forever. I have one I've used for 20+ years. Don't set rivets or snaps on it, though, and don't use a maul too "energetically". Get a piece of laminated solid wood countertop for that. Get to the right folks at anywhere they actually cut granite for counters, and they will usually let you have all you want. It's a disposal problem for them. Feeding the donation jar is excellent idea, too. Explain that you are not their competition, and they usual are very helpful. And, if you have a countertop job, go back to them and show you remember kind folks who took care of you.
  2. Second that. Buy all the Stohlman books. They are worth every cent you spend, as they have tips, best methods, advice, and the like. They might be a tad dated, (CB radio case, and case for flash cubes... ), but the basic principles they outline are timeless. And, in his "How to Make Holsters" (or something like that..) he shows exactly how to lay out a holster pattern. This methodology is transferrable to knives, flashlight cases, mace carriers, ....anything. And, buy all the manila file folders you can afford. Legal ones are best; overlap and tape together if your project is really BIG. I have several folks with office type operations that call me when they clean out their files. (Dr's, Dentists, county courthouses, and law offices,) The used ones with notes scribbled in and on them are just as good as new ones. I keep a stack about 3" thick all the time just for patterns.
  3. Anyone out there know of a good source for 1Oz. to 1 1/2Oz. leather by the side? I use it a lot for bags and liners, and my old source dried up. Only interested in top quality full veg-tanned, and I only want top-end stuff, preferably from USA or English sources. Just need stuff that will mold and dye well, and wear better than the South American and Asian stuff. And, I don't mind paying what it's worth for a top quality products.
  4. Anyone out there know of a good source for 1Oz. to 1 1/2Oz. leather by the side? I use it a lot for bags and liners, and my old source dried up. Only interested in top quality full veg-tanned, and I only want top-end stuff, preferably from USA or English sources. Just need stuff that will mold and dye well, and wear better than the South American and Asian stuff. And, I don't mind paying what it's worth for a top quality products.
  5. Good to see someone from 'Ala-Bam" here too! Good luck, and drop me a line if you have any questions. Done a lot of leather holsters, sheaths, and gun accessories, and every time I pick up my round knife and awl, if I don't learn something new, I'm not paying attention! Welcome
  6. That might work at your area, but I don't think that would work where I am based. I'm in the gun repair business, and I do leather items too, along with restoring fitted cases and specialized historical reproductions of shooting related leather items. I routinely hand out my business cards, but usually only to prospective customers I have already spoken with about a need they have. Cards are expensive, even if you print them 8 to sheet of Wal-Mart card stock on your printer. It takes time to cut them out so they look good, time better spent working on your craft, and the perforated stock for do-it-your-self cards is fairly pricy itself. The best use for your business card (in my very humble opinion,) is so the already interested potential customer can have an accurate source of your address, phone, Social Media site, website, etc, without having to look up or to try to remember your contact info. This is true even with Social Media. I can't count the times I used someone's card to enter the (correct and accurate) info in my electronic resources. I used to leave cards at a lot of places. I saw them used as notecards, to write grocery lists on, as scratch paper, and so on. I asked customers about how they heard of me, as I don't really advertise that much. I never could directly trace money coming in the door to me leaving a card somewhere. However, that being said, I ALWAYS include a card (or two..) with all invoices and jobs, and I can see lots of direct connections to where these were given out and a lot of repeat business. ("....can't remember the guy's name but I have his card here in my wallet....)
  7. Send some photos of what you have in mind. I get brass parts made out of investment castings for my own business, which is high-end oak-and-leather double rifle and shotgun fitted cases. I have to make my own because the old brass hardware makers were driven out of business by the Chinese. My caster can do copper. Q: Which alloy? Pure copper is VERY soft (as you know). There are some very high copper alloys that are much better for parts that will be subjected to stress, like clasps, D Rings, buckles, etc. that need resistance to bending. Check out the alloys and see what you might need. Mos are 80% or better pure copper and look and "weather" identicaly, but won't bend or break unexpectedly. TANDY: and anyone else that is importing "hardware" from China: I know EXACTLY what you are talking about. They use zinc castings, made in metal permanent moulds in high speed casting machines. I once worked making and repairing the metal moulds these machines utilize. To the Chinese suppliers, all "metal" is the same, and "Brass" describes a color, not a material. Most of this hardware is designed to accomodate the "fad and fashon" driven market, and is only expected to hold up a month or two till the next fad hits. Most of is dirt cheap, too. After 2-3 months of use, you can tell it, too. Google up "Alibaba" and search for handbag hardware. Interesting......sad, but interesting.
  8. See if you can find an old (or new) railroad spike. Locate a bench grinder, and grind (or get someone to) the head so the side flanges are flat against the square shank. Take a turn or two across the head, (the part the hammer hits) and polish it up with coarse emery cloth. 80 Grit is fine, it does not have to be prefect, just get the rough areas out. Round the sharp edges while you are at it. To use, tighten the shank in a bench vise, insert the rivet with a pair of needle-nosed pliers down into the hole at the bottom of the pouch, and slip it over the "stake". Peening the rivet is easy, as you have a solid anvil under the head. I make "Safari" type ammo pouches and I've found this homemede "stake" tool, can reach 'way down into a completed pouch and is very handy to set those copper "burrs" (Rivets). I have made up several in different widths for applications needing a rivet set at the bottom of a sewed-up pouch, and have found them to be a lifesaver. There is a type Confederate musket cap pouch that has one copper rivet at the bottom, and it was a real pain to set. Now, it's easy with this tool. Campchair
  9. I do hand sewing with waxed thread a lot, and I've found a very LIGHT (very sparing) mix of 50% DISTILLED water, 30% acetone, and 20% grain alcohol (Everclear) will remove just about anything before dieing with spirit dye. Use the mix very sparingly - do not soak the article in it. I have gotten "specs" like what is shown in the photos from the wax on the thread, and from various bits and pieces left on the workbench. Now, there will be some replies that the mix above will destroy the natural oils in the leather and make it prone to drying and cracking, etc, and this is absolutely correct. However, the spirit dye will do the same thing, as it has alcohol in the mix to degrease the leather so the pigments will penetrate and color the leather. It is necessary to oil and or restore the natural oils in the leather afterwards anyway, after dieing as the spirit dye dries it out and leaves it hard. I've found the extra surface degreasing won't matter that much. I make a mix of beeswax and neetsfoot oil that i mix up myself. Heat the beeswax in a tin or a Pyrex vessel. Add the neetsfoot oil a little at a time, letting it cool down and get hard. Add oil till it is about the consistency of saddle soap. To apply, heat till liquid, brush on, and drive it into the leather with a hair dryer (or a heat gun if you have one - BE CAREFUL AND DO NOT "COOK" THE LEATHER! Itat is irreversable. Practice on scrap first. ) I have some personal items that are 30+ years old that were dyed with this prep used beforehand, and they are pliable and soft as when they were made. I don't think it makes much difference if you sew before or after dieing, unless you don't want to color the thread. If it is properly waxed, it won't absoeb that much anyway. However, if you want very light stitching (as on a holster) that contrasts with the darker leather, you need to sew after. NOTE: ALWAYS use distilled water as minerals will color and sometings react with the dye. This is unpredictable and tends to happen at the worst times. Also, degrease any rags or applicators before applying the degreaser to the leather. Some daubers seem to be oily, especially the sheepskin pads as they contain a lot of the natural lanolin.
  10. Check with Mast Harness. They make a lot of stainless steel buckles, and although they are made for harness and halter use, some look really sharp when used on a belt. Some of the high-end English equestrian clothing suppliers have done this for years, and that stuff ain't cheap! They have the "Clipped-Corner" square gun/money belt buckle you see in the "Packin' Iron" book in SS. I have several, and they are excellent. Campchair
  11. I need a small piece of alligator or crocodile leather large enough to cut out a couple of watchbands. Any out there? Also. anyone had any experience with these two materials or have suggestions of a good reference source dealing with working these two leathers. Thanks, Campchair
  12. Chris, I think what is happening here is the wax is melting and carrying the pigment out. The application was in a small dip tank. I use it a lot for oil dye as otherwise, I have problems getting good coverage. The original was dark, dark brown, very solid colored, no "toning"and I think it would run out if I sat it in the hot sun. However, it's in a museum, and that's not possible to investigate if this might be the case. I believe the original was soaked in dark harness oil at some period of it's life. It was made in the Smokey Mountain region about 175 years ago and was handed down in one family. Anything is possible. Coating the repo is not possible as this is to be an exact stitch-for-stitch replica. Wonder if I could set it out in the sun for a couple of hours and scrub it down with acetone? I've tried this before with fairly good results. I have a feeling I have made the replica a tad too good; it duplicated some of the original's faults! I usually just use the beeswax/neetsfoot oil mix on spirit dyed items. I've always had really good results softening the leather back down, but I was afraid to use spirit dye on leather this thin, so I went for the oil. The customer wanted it to be "greasy", so I did the wax/oil and the trouble began. I'll try the acetone and see if it will get it down to where it won't rub off and report.Campchair
  13. Any suggestions for removing the pigment left on the surface when Fiebling's Oil Dye is applied pretty heavily so as to get good coverage. Just finished a Southern Mountain type flintlock rifleman's bag (copy of original) and had to really pile it on to duplicate the very dark brown color of the original. Original appeared to have been dyed with harness oil with tint added, like we use now. Very dark brown, almost black, with a slightly "greasy" feel. I dyed it several times, then applied 50/50 neatsfoot & beeswax dressing, which usually does not react with any dye; just usually softens the leather. I've rubbed it down with clean rags to blot the excess pigment and dressing several times after setting it in out the hot Alabama sun, (It's already 90+ here) and still get rub-off. Would hard scrubbing several times using saddle soap well rubbed while it is hot help? This has happened before. Used the oil dye because the original was very, very supple de-haired calf, about 2-3Oz.wt., "greasy" feeling, and I didn't want to go the re-softening route after using spirit dye. I'm about to the Acetone + frustration stage.... CAMPCHAIR
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