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Seasoned Warrior

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    Mendocino Coast of California

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  1. Has anyone here used a computerized cutter in their leatherwork. I've been experimenting with my cutter that I use for other maufacturing. My cutter has adjustable cutting depth as well as variable cutting pressure. I have cut leather forms but I was wondering if anyone has tried it for stamping?
  2. Hi I am looking for a pattern or a source for a ladies sidelace vest similar to a motorcycle vest. Similar to this http://www.boothideout.com/stspficllalo.html?SIZE=XL It is manufactured by First Manufacturing Company
  3. Greetings, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all. I am looking for some instructions for making leather plaited buttons and loops kind of like a frog (not green and croaking). Has anyone made these? Regards, Chuck
  4. Using the $5 hammer v the nail gun analogy. The nail gun makes you more money than the $5 hammer. I can frame much faster with a nail gun and therefore I can put up a lot more wood and make more money. My criteria for tools usually is that is it faster, is it going to make it look better, will I make more money with it. That's what I am in business for. Don't get me wrong, I like nice tools, I like the feel and the idea of having a quality tool but one has to determine why one is buying the tool. If it is to make money than you need the most efficient tool for the buck, if its for yourself well that is another story. By the way I have some unbelievable tools made from the latest and finest radio frequency, controlled atmosphere smelted unobtainium that I'll sell you for the price of your first home and they are cheap at twice the price.
  5. I do quite a bit of lace and love the roo hide which I buy in from Austrailia, it has such a nice "hand" to it and the tensile strength is the best. I like the little trigger type lace maker from Australia also, it's slick. When I need to split some lace for a special project I use a block plane as my favorite splitter. I like the ones with the adjustable throat and if you keep the plane iron nice and sharp they work great for small stuff.
  6. Did you make your own patterns or are you using a commercial pattern that you've modified? Do you offer different styles? I like the vests they look real comfortable and keep the vitals covered
  7. Sorry I didn't get back to this topic for a while but I've been really busy especially with the holidays coming up. One of the hardest things to do is do the numbers because we are always taught to think linearly. Like from a to z. With the business plan you need to define z first and then figure out all the stuff in between. I tell people that the best way to set out is to figure out how much you have to have in your pocket to survive. Once you can figure that out you just go through and break it down. Say for instance (using round figures) you wanted to have $50,000 a year for income. You already know what you have to do to create a piece that can be sold so you work backwards. You figure out your costs and make sure that you figure out how much everything costs including your workplace, your utilities, your tools, replacements for your tools, everything from your wool dauber to your hide. Then you figure out what you would like to get for profit, 10% is a nice round figure that is frequently used because it is often what it winds up at. So if you are making a piece that retails for $100 then $10 goes into your pocket and everything else can't cost you more than $90 that include things such as taxes etc. literally everything. So nwo you have a point of beginning. Most people make the mistake of thinking that the business plan has to be exact or else you failed. Its just like you going from Salt Lake City to San Francisco. You know where you want to be and you know kinda what it takes you to get there but there are a number of ways to do it and each is uniquely your own. The important thing is to update your plan if you wind up in Elko on the way you need to know how to get from Elko to San Francisco. Its ok if you wanted to catch Elko on the way over or even if you get lost but you need to update your plan on a regular basis. Just look at where you've been and figure what you still need to do to get where you want to be. Then you do what you need to. Sorry about your posting. I hate F g Spammers! Die Spammer!
  8. Here are two of my preferred aprons. The first is a traditional farrier's apron and the second is the blacksmith apron I prefer to use for general blacksmith work.
  9. Blacksmiths and farriers aprons are frequently split down the middle from the bottom of the apron to about the crotch of the wearer and are much longer, almost to the floor. Blacksmiths and farriers have to worry about extremely hot sparks flying off the steel and possibly landing in their boot tops: even with an apron it happens. Additionally the aprons have snaps at the bottom that snap around the leg so that they are kind of like pants with out a back. Again it helps protect the legs of the wearer. You just haven't lived until you get a steel spark or a cinder land and lodge in your cothing: it gets real exciting real fast! Also when you're steamin' on a hot shoe or nailing on a finised one you have to be able to get the horse's leg between yours so you can have your hands free to do the work: its kinda tough to do with a solid apron.
  10. My Grandfather was my inspiration and my mentor. Both my Father's family and my Mother's were blacksmiths going back many generations: there are tools named after my paternal great-great-grandfather still in use today. As was the tradition in our families the oldest male children learned the "trade" and so did I. One of the first things I learned to do is make knives and axes and of course they all had to have sheaths so leatherwork was just a thing you did in the evenings after you beat iron all day. When I went to college I was going to be an Industrial Arts teacher and took a series of courses entitled craft industries where we learned the various traditional crafts from an historical as well as a practical perspective crafts that were the basic industries that made our great Nation great. I tooled my first piece of leather as a craft industries project and I was hooked. I have held a number of jobs since I left school but everywhere I went I worked steel and leather together. I don't have a son but my daughter can beat steel with the best so I like to think I've kept the family tradition alive. At least for me I don't think I could have had a better mentor than my Grandfather.
  11. The considerations are basically the same as those for any other manufacturing business. You need to define you product, your suppliers, have an idea of production anticipated, set your prices based on your costs and time involved, have a plan for marketing and an anticipated sales volume. A lot of people get stumped becasue they can't conceive how to plan something that is in the future and they have no experience. A business plan is not something that you do once and then forget, it is a map for your business. The initial plan is the hardest but you need to take it out every once in a while (I do mine on a monthly bases) and see if you are on track and if not why. Then you adjust your plan and go forward. I keep mine in my computer and its easy to update. Its a great tool for seeing where you've been and what you've done right and then you can project where you are going and what o might have to do differently to get there. There is software available and lots of books have been written on the subject. I also keep track of time and costs on all my projects and so I have an idea of how to price future custom work. I find a lot of artisans tend to price way too low and so no one appreciates the work. At the same time when one prices too low it demeans everybody else since the work is not appreciated. I have one rule, if I can not make a decent profit on a job its not worth doing! This doesn't mean that I don't give to charity or give discounts but when I do I do it conciously and have other types of payback. Sometimes payback is in just feeling good about doing something for someone! But for general work you have to make a living so you need to know your costs and how much profit you need to make.
  12. I never pound, I believe it weakens the thread. On edges I frequently gouge out the stitch line and sometimes I'll use an overstitch wheel. Other times I use a hardwood roller to even out the stitches and eliminate any tendency to "bunch". With lace I always roll it with a dowl and even braiding, rolling it tends to level out the braid and make it more even.
  13. I like the old Necchi BU models and have several (I'm always afraid they'll break but none have in a number of years). I work with many different types of leather and skins (hair on) some of which are very supple and slippery. I lower the dogs until they barely touch and help pull the material through (you can feel when the dogs engage) and don't have any problems, even rabbit skins feed well. I don't use any adhesives becasue I don't like the residue. Good luck!
  14. I have been reading this site and it seems that the questions of business, profit, how much to charge and other business related questions are asked regularly. One of the tools of successful businesses is to create a business plan before you start. The business plan answers a lot of questions before you go to the expenses necessary to be successful and defines what many of those are. The business plan is one of the most overlooked tools of business and yet it is one of the most improtant. There are many books written on the subject and there is even software available to help you write one. Many comunity colleges and other learning instituions will have courses designed to help you create your business plan. I'm very curious to see how many actually have gone to the trouble of setting down some of the rudiments of their business. As a little background I am a commercial real estate investor, broker, mortgage broker and insurance broker in California. I specialize in brokering business properties and do a lot of business analysis. I've been at this for over 35 years. Incidentally, I also have a business that manufactures leather goods as well as other art and craft products. Best regards, Charles
  15. This is usually an unpopular reply but your best way to answer your questions is to do a business plan. There are many local resources for developing a business plan and some online resources including software. If you can answer the quesitons in a business plan adequately you will have your answers as to whether you can make it in your business or not. For me leatherwork is a portion of a diversified income stream from different sources and now, after years of hard work, I have the time and the resources to do pretty much what I want.
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