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bruce johnson

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About bruce johnson

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    Saddlery & Tack Moderator
  • Birthday 06/15/1960

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  • Location
    Oakdale, CA
  • Interests
    leather tools and history

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  • Leatherwork Specialty
    Leather Tools
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  • How did you find leatherworker.net?
    Ive been here from about day one

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  1. There have been some recent posts that Id like to share my thoughts and opinions on. This is just that - my personal thoughts. Take it for what is it worth and if you can use it - great. If not, write it off as a rant. Pricing leatherwork is not easy. When people ask about pricing, they have crossed a line. Gone from hobby to business (registered or under the radar, we are not the business police here). Grandma might give away her knitting she does for fun, but as soon as she sells a little and people ask for more - she's in it for some measure of money now. Break-even, coffee money, Disneyland trip, help a little with mortgage payments, quit your day job - there is probably room for everyone. There are complicated pricing formulas that work, some that don't. Not many simple formulas work. I made every mistake you can make and sometimes on a big scale. Some people here know my story, some don't and doesn't matter. That is not my intent here to be all knowing on pricing. I am only going to focus on one factor and that is leather. Realistically, leather is the cheapest part of anything you make if you have to value your time, tools, and other materials. Leather costs and scrap. Scrap is NOT free just because it is scrap. If you bought a side then you paid exactly the same amount for every square inch piece of flank as you did for every square inch piece of back or butt. You might not like the flank and should have bought a bend, but that flank or belly was paid for just the same. Figure out a place to use it with a "purpose for it's properties". (not an original quote). Then account for the real cost of it when you use it. You might be surprised what can be done. My late first wife took little end cuts off headstall pieces - 1/2 or 5/8 by 1" sometimes, stamped a random flower center impression or some small geo stamp impressions, put an eyelet in and a small split ring - instant designer zipper tabs. Even with chemo she might do 4-6 an hour when she felt like it. Sold them for $8-10, little beaded inlay took longer - $20. I was mainly doing strap work and personal stuff then with the occasional saddle and scrap was never an overflowing problem. My wife now started with 4" coasters, clicked out my saddle scrap and stamped simple designs on decent leather, on the crappy pieces glued some hair-on hide. At that point I was still building saddles, rope bags and cans, and she ran me totally out of scrap. Called my supplier and bought her rugged sides and second grade hair-on hides to keep up with those orders at the time. Point is, money was made and materials from either scrap or supplier pay their own way. I'd say don't fall into the trap of the scrap is just scrap and not account for it. Go into it with the idea that is has the same value and you will make "Profits From The Scrap Bin" Another not original quote - used to be regular feature in the Leather Crafters Journal. .
  2. Stephen Please check your emails. I've had Tandy, Chuck Smith, and Makers. Chuck's might be a little smoother but they were north of $400 new I think. I'm pretty sure they out of production from him now. The old Tandy version is prone to rusting interiors due to age. Some are OK and some aren't.
  3. You can sand or grind the edges fairly smooth. At the Sheridan show I saw some Stingray work that had one of the Italian edge finishes that looked great. The beads are hard on needles and one tip was to use a dremel cutoff wheel to make a stitching groove. Obviously that takes some care but it looked really good.
  4. We are in Sheridan WY for the Rocky Mountain Leather Show this week. My wife Rundi Johnson took a 2 day alligator wallet making class from Broderick Vaughan. They were supposed to make one and ended up with enough spare time to make a second wallet today. They started with alligator crust (undyed). They dyed the gator, made the interiors and assembled them. I think she did a great job and she had fun learning new techniques! Tomorrow we set up the vendor booth for the trade show Friday through Sunday. If you get the chance to take this class she recommends it highly. If you are at the show please stop by our booth!
  5. Those really look good Bruce! (coming from a guy who has seen a few....)
  6. Don, yes I think a heavier thread would be better than the #138. I’m glad you used the term “well meaning”. Realistically, is a bull riding vest the place to cut costs?? They might be saving $100-200 for the kid but if there is a failure vs tested and proven designs made with materials and experience that’s hard to justify.
  7. If you are going to any leather shows Chris Andre has a class on tips and tricks for the 26. Good class from people I’ve talked with
  8. I use the single edge razor blades. They fit my wooden strap cutters and I break off the excess length with pliers.
  9. The cutter is pretty self explanatory. Biggest thing is figuring out how to remove or tighten the blades on the shaft. Some have holes and an adjustable spanner wrench will work. If not, the old guy who taught me used a pine board wedged into the two wheels and cranked the handle backwards to bind and lock the blades and unthread them from the shafts. If that doesn't work then a vise grip will but be careful of the blade edge. To reinstall - spin on the inside wheel, then the outside. The board trick nearly always works for tightening them once they are threaded snug. Skiver - slide the blade in to the stop. partially tighten the two hold down bolts. put the "back-up bolt in the blade rest and tighten to the back edge of the blade, then back off about 1/4 turn to allow the blade to sit just behind the stop and tighten the hold downs. That slight allowance keep the blade just a hair back of the stop and prevents chipping that blade corner. The angle of the blade is adjusted at each end. On the side away from the crank, that small knurled eccentic the bolt goes through is rotated and that makes the blade go up and down on that side. Set it and tighten the hexbolt. On the side of the blade nearest the crank, the eccentric has a little "handle" and the bolt on that side has two ears to act like a thumbscrew. Turn the handle to whatever angle you like and tighten the thumbscrew. The gap between the top and bottom roller is what makes the tension to feed the leather through. Narrower gap for mostly thin leather, wider gap for heavier leather. It adjusts by the vertical hex head bolt. The spring helps with tension too and flexes to allow thicker leather through. If the leather feeds but then spins out, narrow up the gap by loosening the hex head bolt. This lets the bottom feed wheel get more of a bite. If it wont feed at all the gap may be too narrow and tighten the bolt. This opens up the gap so the wheels can grab the leather. Play with spring tension as needed. Realistically, once you get this all set you rarely need to change anything on the fly. The guide on the front slides back and forth - feather edge over to the right to a slight skive with a mostly full edge as you adjust it left. Oil the ports every so often, grease gears as needed. Once you grease up the universals on the bottom wheel drive shaft on the skiver you shouldn't need to break into that for a long time.
  10. I've never seen anything original. Pilgrim Shoe used to sell parts and I believe their catalog had a parts list. I don't recall a diagram. Bad News - Harris retired and Pilgrim Shoe is no more. I've refurbished and restored several. I don't have any pictures of the 3-in-1s handy. I do have pictures handy of a Landis crank skiver I did and this version of the crank skiver attachment is the same as the American. These might help some. The bottom end of the three in one is pretty basic. The gears pin to the shafts. The threaded end for the wheels are threaded right and left handed.
  11. If I miss anyone, it is not intentional New stamping tools - major players are Barry King, Wayne Jueschke, Horse Shoe Brand Tools (Jeremiah Watt), Clay Miller, Gomph-Hackbarth, David Mabe, Sergey Neskromony, or Tandy New Hand Tools - Barry King, Ron's Tools, Horse Shoe Brand Tools, Tandy. There are a few top end knife makers but they are pretty much limited to knives so really don't fit your deal.
  12. Where at in California? I'm in Oakdale
  13. Does it l have the heater? - plug it in no heater - paint stripping gun to melt the wax. Torches can be a little harder to control the heat and gets kind of exciting when they flame it.
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