bruce johnson

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About bruce johnson

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    Saddlery & Tack Moderator
  • Birthday 06/15/1960

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    http://www.brucejohnsonleather.com
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    Oakdale, CA

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  1. bruce johnson

    Southwest Trade Show 2019

    Ok, look for the tall guy, Got it,
  2. bruce johnson

    What is this tool?

    It is a "Bluenose Rug Hooker".
  3. Bikermutt, Thank you for posting this!.This is obviously not a new concept and another way to hold straps. This is a fairly common shop hack that's been around probably for decades. The problem is a lot of leather workers haven't "been around" that long, and if not for the internet don't visit many shops. I hadn't seen the second piece tip before I saw this video. In the past I had a couple - one with a thick spacer and one with a thin spacer. Showing this was worth the price of admission and popcorn right there. As far as the other observations - Keith is a decent guy but personally I'd rank him way better than "decent". We've spent a little time BSing with him in his shop. He did do video this to help people out. It's not like he's making money off people screwing scrap leather to a bench. On the ribbons and awards comment - feel free to add one more. This weekend he got an arts award from the state of Wyoming.
  4. bruce johnson

    Removing conchos and copper rivets?

    If the rivet is tight I center punch and drill the peened end off with a cobalt drill bit. The cobalt bits are harder, sharper, and eat copper easily. Much cooler than other bits or grinding. Once the peen is gone, pop the burr off. If the rivet spins then it is generally loose enough to get the tips of an end cutter under the burr and bend it up enough to get a bite and cut it/pull it off. Another option that works is to use a small chisel and hit the burr. It will fold up the burr slightly and you can get a bite. For conchos a few tricks. Sometimes you can push a chunk of crepe rubber on the them and twist it get them loose. The ProLeptic concho turners once in a while can get them loose if you have one. I still generally fell to plan B. Channel Lock pliers with the jaws wrapped with electrical tape. A light grip on the concho is usually enough abd the torque from the handle length does the job.
  5. bruce johnson

    Southwest Trade Show 2019

    At Prescott people fly into Phoenix and either rent a car or take a commuter bus to Prescott. I'm not sure about any puddle jumper flights to Prescott. I'm not sure about the bus schedule either, but I know several have done it. Once you get to the facility, it is handy. It is held at a casino/conference center/resort on the edge of town. A few dining options right there, trade show and classes in the same building. Being a casino, there are usually waiting cabs at night for a run downtown. Nightlife and restaurants in Prescott, or over the hill to the east Prescott Valley. Sheridan. Until we started exhibiting we always flew. Billings mainly and rent a car. One time I checked out other options and Rapid City was a fair bit cheaper to fly into. The cost difference for the two of us paid for the rental car. Longer drive to Sheridan but we made a week out of it, spent a few days in the Black Hills first and it was a good way to do it for us. Tips of the Tradeshows - Sign up for classes you want early. The hot ones always fill. Don't sign up for classes the whole time and miss the trade show. Last year they started keeping the trade shows open an hour later on Friday, but that's only an hour. Between lunch and an hour at the end of one day, it can still be tight. Most everyone is very approachable. There are some top dogs teaching and some just showing up to hang out. They are regular folks. Gotta question, ask it. Just want to introduce yourself and meet and greet, that's cool too. There are a lot of people walking around just like you - they like to talk leatherwork and you can BS with a lot of neat people. Prescott also has big comfy chairs in the hallway. Great place to meet new people. Trade show - you can learn a bunch there too. See a tool you don't know, ask about it. Don't see a tool you are looking for, somebody likely will know where to get it. Ask about different leathers, hardware, machines - it is all there. You will see stuff that you didn't know existed. You can pick up all kinds of info. on a side note - I know a guy who gives away rulers and stickers, and has a pretty well stocked candy dish too. I just asked my wife what her advice would be to someone going to their first show. She said "Tell them shows are a kick-ass good time and to bring money!" Yeah, that too.
  6. bruce johnson

    Southwest Trade Show 2019

    This is a good show and fun. It is a really nice facility. My wife is taking some classes for the first time (joys of retirement!). We will be set up as exhibitors at the trade show also. Stop by and say hello!
  7. As KGG wrote above the fittings on the wax pot are strippers to remove excess thread lube. The plate to the right of the needle plate is the base for the roller guide. I've got one and can't remember if I bought it from Ferdco or later from Weaver. Somewhere in a place probably far, far away is a block that fits that slot and two arms - one with a single roller for curved pieces and one with two rollers for straight line stitching. The dealers can chime in here, but yours is built on the Juki frame not a clone. I'd think the plates will fit. Any parts like the tension disc assembly that go on the Juki should go on this. When I bought mine I got the clone version and with sage advice from Art Van Hecke I bought every plate and foot they made at time with it. I bought feet they came out with later also. The sole stitching foot was a particularly good one I used a bunch. I had a couple of the Juki frame ones through here at different times too and I don;t remember anything not interchanging. Hoffman Brothers bought out Ferdco and might have some of the feet and plates.
  8. bruce johnson

    Self inflicted wounds

    Everytime I did a tool related injury the first thing I said was a bad word. The second thing I said to myself was "Well, you could sure see that coming dumba**!". Don't shove leather into a dull draw gauge blade, the draw gauge will stick into your knuckle pretty far when the leather edge finally pops through. Pull the blade into the leather or make a knife knick if it is really hard leather. If the blade is dull - address that first. Don't pop your bare hand down on the bench clamp to loosen your leather while your draw gauge blade is still sticking up in a short cut. The sharp top point that serves pretty much NO purpose will bury right into your palm. Be careful of that point or do like several old guys did - round off and blunt that top point. You can have one of the safest designed splitters ever, the blade edge right there between two rollers. You sharpen the blade and screw it back in place. You grab that stubby screwdriver right there, not the longer one you usually use. About then you drag a ring finger over the edge and wonder where the hell all that blood is coming from. You notice a dime on the bottom roller and realize it is your fingertip and not spending coin. Watch all of your fingers around blades and use the proper tools not the closest tools. You don't want to be finishing up a saddle in flipflops. You will be stringing on conchos. You set the string bleeder down and watch it roll off the edge of the bench. In slow motion "real time" it does quarter turn in midair to land perfectly vertical in the top of your foot. Right there in that big vein like a lawn dart. When you pull it out you realize why the tool is called a bleeder. You watched the whole thing happen and didn't react to move your barefoot. It is a mesmerizing experience until you realize you are the target. From my old tool mentor, God rest his soul. He witnessed this repeatedly. People have some inborne desire to always check the sharpness of someone else's knife edges by running their thumb over it. Without asking, they just pick up knives and check them. If it is really dull and you can push on it, you will embarass him. If it is really sharp and you slice yourself, you bleed all over another person's shop and the embarasses you. Don't be that person. Just drink their coffee,njoy the comradierie and admire the knives visually. Murphy's Law - the further you are from the bandaids - the more the cut will bleed. Keep them everywhere to ward off the self inflicted wound juju.
  9. bruce johnson

    What do you cut your leather on?

    I like the self healing mats for rotary cutters. High density polyethylene for knives. HDPE is hard enough to not let the edge dig in, but forgiving to an edge. The blade skates over it and doesn't dig in. That can be an issue with tight turns on softer plastic and mats. It is easy to twist the point off a round knife if the board is soft enough to let the blade dig in. I bought a 4x8 sheet and cut it down to fit my cutting table. I used it a good 8 or 9 years of hard use and it still was good. When I switched gears and concentrated on leather tools and not leatherwork per se, I cut it into smaller pieces to test knives in the tool shop and gave away a few pieces. My wife retired and first thing she did was kick me and the tools out of "her leather working shop". Second thing she did was to drive over to TAP plastics and have them cut a new piece of 3/8" HDPE to cover the cutting table again.
  10. bruce johnson

    best punching board for leather

    I agree with the end grain wood as a best surface. Another good choice is the poundo board, which I believe may be neolite sole material. It can have a fairly short lifespan and punches can go through it. My other favorite is low density polyethylene (LDPE). It is softer than the HDPE i like to cut on. The LDPE is softer and edges can penetrate without damage. HDPE is too brittle, can fracture, and can turn an edge on some finely sharpened punches.
  11. bruce johnson

    Rose Round knife! New! (To me!)

    Nice blade - ok handle. Here is my take on the old "patina vs. restoration" discussion. Unless you are hanging it up to look at, get it off. The old single name makers (J English, Crawford, et al) have collectible value as a display pieces. Light patina and original are a plus. Remove and arrest the rust and call it good. Rose knives were production type knives and lots of them out there. I think their value is more as a user. First thing I would do is get the curl of metal off the ferrule. It isn't adding any value and is a detractant to use. For the metal I start with rust removal. I might use a rust chelator solution like EvapoRust or MetalRescue. Usually I am batching knives to work them and put them in my blast cabinet to remove the rust , especially in the name stamped areas. Either way works. Then I go to a wire wheel and knock off everything loose. Before I got the cabinet and variable speed knife grinder I would go through the grits with papers or steels wool to clean the surface everywhere, not just the cutting edge. It can be eye opening at the point as the "patina" starts coming off as a nice pumpkin orange color - rust. What some people call patina, I call polished burnished rust. I get it down to a near mirror finish. I'm going to say right here that there may be some shallower pits you may not be able to totally rub or grind out without making divots. I get to where 99% of them are gone and call it good. Some knives are too far gone to get that good, and some will clean up with no pits left. Rose knives are a little more notorious for pitting. You've already found out the hardness of the steel stropping the burr off. These and the older English&Huber knives are the hardest I've dealt with. You get an edge on them and they'll hold it a good long time. The handle has been burned at some point. I would go through a few grits of sandpaper to clean it up, smooth it up, and knock the black off the burned area. You probalby won't get it totally even and symmetrical but it'll be better. Some Rose knife handles have a really pretty grain pattern and others are plain Jane. These knives take a bunch of time. On average by hand I used to have about 8 hours total in a Rose knife. I thought I was really slow. I was visiting Keith Pommer several years ago and remarked about a nice Rose he had. He told me he had 7 hours in it and probably another hour left. I didn't feel so bad.
  12. bruce johnson

    tree fit question

    There are some old threads on the forum here discussing this issue. It may be 5-7 years ago. At the time Rod Nikkel was still making trees and Denise had done quite a lot of studies about pressure, bridging, fitting most horses, etc. The room to round up issue was addressed and Here is what I believe the consensus came to - At one point in the stride the back may round up into that area but generally the whole musculature is lifting through out the stride. To allow a space for one group of muscles to round into at the expense of increased local pressure on the rest of the supporting muscles doesn't pan out. You mentioned cowhorses and a whole different ball game than a walk trot lope events. Horses have to adjust their stride, stop hard, turn short and fast, stretch out, shorten up run hard slow up and rate. Rounding up throughout all of that is not generally the case. I am attaching a picture I took back then. This picture has been around a bit. Denise and Rod may have used on their website. The test monkey in the picture is cowhorse bred and might have been 7 years old then. The customer had ordered this tree brought it to be built on. The tree was from a production tree maker and popular with some of the cutting and cowhorse saddle makers. I did as much lifting tricks I could from the ground and could never get him to lift his belly enough to make any difference. I passed on using that tree.
  13. bruce johnson

    The Outlaw has finally Struck....

    Bikermutt, Thank you for the video link!! I have zero experience with this new version but quite a lot of experience with a cast iron Boss. I paid off a ton of medical debt with one. Basically it would sew whatever I could cram under the foot. I sewed corner leathers onto 1" felt saddle blankets, 4 layers of skirting for a few odd ball projects, and some other stuff that would be an issue for most other machines. Coincidentally I talked yesterday with a saddle maker who has a ton of experience with old stitchers who had a Boss with a lower serial number than mine and his experience with the Boss matched mine. The cast iron ones were good once they got the early bugs worked out. Simple to use, easy to control, and did a pretty decent stitch. A Boss then was around $1500, a hundred or so more got a few feet and accessories. At that time, a powered machine with any sort of capacity was either a used needle and awl machine that you took your chances with ($1500-5000) or you paid $5-6K for a new closed needle machine. (I did that later too). This was before Artisan brought out the short arm clone and priced them under $2000K and started the low price machine ball rolling. It was before Servo motors too. You "kids" don't know how good you have it now. Addressing some of the concerns above regarding use. After a few uses I set mine up on a lower table and sat on a stool up a little higher so my hand was no higher than my shoulder. That reduced quite a bit of the user fatigue.Easy to learn to sew on and you control the speed. After about 5 minutes you have the "stroke" down and it becomes muscle memory. My first wife was making some things while she was going through Chemo treatments and she sewed at her speed. My son was sewing spur straps by the box when he was thirteen. After my wife died and Rundi I started dating, Rundi sewed belts on some of our "dates" when I had wholesale orders to get out. User friendly. It sounds like from what Bob wrote, this Outlaw has addressed some of the "improvements" that have plagued the later version of the Boss. I've got a relative who does some leather work and handsews. He needs to step it up - something portable and I've been sort of looking for a good used cast iron Boss for a gift. Pretty sure I just switched trails and will be thinking pretty hard about one of these Outlaws for that price.
  14. bruce johnson

    Weaver Easy Edger

    The blades can be resharpened. There are 12 edges to use. Weavers offer a resharpening service for them once you've gone through them. They are worth the $$$ if you are doing a lot of strap edging. There are two versions one does two edges and one does all four edges. I just sold two of the smaller top edge versions at the Sheridan show. They will do two top edges at a pass, flip the piece over and pull through again to do the bottom edges. Handy dandy.
  15. bruce johnson

    Rocky Mountain Leather Trade Show...

    We will be there - the now semi-famous free rulers, stickers, what's been described as a pretty good to excellent candy dish, and some stuff to sell on a few tables.