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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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    Oakdale, CA

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  1. A little touch up on the edges. Keith was a great guy on tool restoration and kept them in wonderful condition. I had visited him several times and he had shown me his personal tools for at least 10 or 12 years. When the opportunity to buy his whole set of personal tools came up, I was blessed to be able to do it.
  2. I recently was given the opportunity to purchase the personal tools that belonged to Keith Pommer. Keith was one of my heroes and mentors on leather tools as well as being a good guy to BS with. These are the Gomph French edgers and as complete a set as I have seen or heard of.
  3. For a cheap option - Benchtop drillpress with a laser guide if you want laser. I think my Sears has laser. Put a piece of LDPE on the press table. Chuck a minitube handle in the press with the #2 tube. I bought the Tandy mini punches and maxi punches and had one handle for each size tube. Turn it on and crank it down. The spinning action will make a very clean hole and the LDPE permits the tube to go completely through the leather with a clean exit as well. The return spring action makes it easy to back out of the hole. Wear eye protection because the punchings will fly out in random directions. I've done thousands of holes with this drill press setup.
  4. Your shop looks fantastic! Thanks to everyone for taking the time to share advice and pictures , Robert McNinch 

  5. Yes it is! I favor Matthews' work. This is probably the handiest shop I've had. It is all pretty modular and we haven't been forced into a layout because of permanently installed benches or cabinets. Before the leather tool business took over and I was making a lot, I had the shop set up a little different. My wife works well in this layout.
  6. The opposite side of the work table has the two (soon to be 3) sewing machines and the crank splitter. This shop has gone through a few versions and had a draw down and stitching horse out when I was building. Since my wife took it over she has changed it up some but still very workable. It has been an adaptable set up.
  7. The hand tools are organized to be within a two step reach of the work table. The handled tools are stored in loops that are hung on free standing pegboard racks I made. The board holding each row of tools is hung on hooks to be easier to reorganize as more tools were added. The HF workbench has a granite block and pads for punching, the anvil underneath is put on a bench for rivet setting. She has her drill press for hole punching and burnishing as well as the grinder burnisher on that side of the work table. The Chase splitter is over there too. Leather is stored underneath and some is rolled and in concrete form tubes also. The working and cutting tables a repurposed desk and a yard sale worktable. There is a piece of 1/4" HDPE to cut and glue on. Minimal deep cuts in the surface and glue peels off.
  8. This will be broken into a few replies. I built this stamping bench with dimensional lumber and an inlaid granite inspection plate from Grizzly. The plate is supported by 2x4s on edge and glued and bolted construction. About 6 months later I tightened up the bolts after the wood shrank a bit. Quite a few years later and still no bounce and never has had much noise. The stamp organization has been a work in progress but the commonly used ones are in the racks and the rest are in rolls sorted by makers. One of the worktables is actually a desk and the McMillen stamps are sorted by type into small cups in a drawer. When I was using it I was doing a lot of longer and bigger projects so the roll stamps were in drawers also. My wife doesnt do as big a pieces and leaves them out.
  9. Doc, The fact is that some neatsfoot oil may not actually NF oil in the true sense. During a wartime effort (WW2?) the restrictions were eased and other animal fats/oils were allowed to be added or substituted and still called pure NF oil. One of the common ones is cold pressed hog lard. I used to buy gallons of pure NF from whoever was cheapest and often that was a local animal health supplier. Once in a while I'd get some that was cloudy and chunky, sometimes clear and super thick. I went to using Fiebings and had a more consistent product. I have never heard of a thinner for leather oils but light heating usually helped mine out.
  10. That is a typical drill bit hole. No getting around it, drill bits are not knife sharp no matter the quality or speed of feeding - they tear leather. Doc Reaper's advise with an oval punch was dead on, but finding really small oval punches without a steep taper is hard. The old European ones are good but hard to find one that has survived in good condition with the smaller sizes. I've done several thousand round holes with the same Harbor Freight bench top drill press with a mini or maxi tube punch chucked in it. Turn it on the punch won't stick even in wet leather. Use a cheap LDPE cutting board for the punch to go into and cut cleanly. This will work well even in wet skirting leather, At the end of the day, drill the punch into some paraffin wax and few times to lubricate the inside of the tube and prevent corrosion. Be aware and wear eye protection, the punchings fly out in random directions. As far as your question on dies. Some of the ones I have had through here have screw in punch tubes. They are not any less or more apt to clog than that same tube in a regular punch. I've also had dies with pressed in tubes. when they break its a pain to swap them out. Sharpening the press fit tubes is a little trickier. With a screw in tube you can screw out of the die and into a handle to easily maneuver and watch your angle. Sharpening edges of the cutting die itself is pretty straightfoward with a handheld knife sharpener like an AccuSharp.
  11. Old school but here is what I used on everything from 5/8" headstalls to 3" stirrup leathers. It is a cheap and easy to do master and you likely have everything already. The technique was shared with me by an old friend. He had drawers of them - full and half hole stirrup leathers for Blevins, English and western headstalls, belts, tiedowns, breast collar tugs, etc. Take a strip of the leather the width of the strap. Scribe a centerline and then scribe off your desired hole spacing with a divider. On each spot punch a hole and set a copper rivet. You can leave the stem a little long. The master is done. To use it just lay it on your strap with the peened side down and tap with a small hammer. The peen will make impressions that are easy enough to follow.
  12. Wiz, Thanks for the link to that servo motor. I just bought my wife a Singer 17-1 with a speed reducer and clutch motor. I can sew with it but I expect she will have some speed control issues. When I got my Ferdco 2000 several years ago it had an analog servo. Within 5 minutes of sewing with it I was on the phone ordering the same motor to go on my Adler 205. I like the smoothness, performance, and simplicity of the analog servos over the digitals and you saved time me from searching for another. Appreciate it! - Bruce
  13. He hasnt been to any shows this year and not listed there either
  14. Pretty much gray in the US unless somebody has changed it up in the last few years. I got a few sides of a nice tan color from Canada several years ago.
  15. These tend to heat up quickly if you drill copper rivets. Get too hot and they scorch the leather and will glaze and spin. A new quality bit or a cobalt bit is my choice and go slow. The other old-timer technique I've been shown and use successfully is to punch the burr with a small chisel. it will fold up slightly and you can get a grip with an end nipper to cut and then pull off the burr.
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