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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. Fred, some people mount small motors or hand cranks on the bobbin winders that are designed to ride against the belt of the machine. My Boss came with a metal stem split on the end and goes in a drill to wind bobbins. Easy to use and 20 plus years later I have still never used the built in bobbin winder on a machine.
  2. Not the easiest to explain. I’ve seen some video clips and pictorials but none I can lay a hand on right now. Basically here goes. The cantle is shaped and trimmed. The “bumps”are usually made with a filler like sash cord. Holes are spaced and punched through the three layers. The sash cord is whipped through the holes and around the back edge of the cantle. The cantle binding is fit up on top and pulled over. The binding has to be cased or tempered up right to be molded over the sash cord once it is stitched down. Rawhide can be fickle to work with to get the moisture just right. Mold with sticks, rods, whatever to get that definition of the cord underneath. Slits are then cut through the 5 layers for the lacing between the sash cord bumps. The lace is tacked underneath at one end and whipped through the slits and pulled down tight. This is another no fun part of it and wear gloves. Tack the other end.
  3. My personal favorites are Gomph round back edgers.
  4. I’m with Mike also. Slightly damp is much easiest and smoothest if you have a sharp edger. Dull edgers tear, push, and chatter. As far as what type edger - I doubt that very many people have used as many different edgers than me. Each has an advantage - might be lower price, ability to hold an edge, cuts a flat or rounded profile, easily obtainable, pretty or matching handle, or what ever. My number one criteria is ease of sharpening. Doesn’t matter how sharp they come new, they need to be maintained. Sharpening might be on optional skill if you cut with a utility knife, but there are no disposable edgers I am aware of. I want the top and bottom of that cutting edge to be easily accessible to sharpen.
  5. LOL, only 63 years young. These catalogs mostly came with old sets or bought on EBay
  6. My Mast press takes 3/8 dies. The Weaver Little Wonder hand presses I have sitting here take 3/8 dies also they should be pretty available. It looks like Weaver is only selling their Master Tools foot press now. Another source for dies is Beilers in Ronks, PA. They still sell foot presses similar to yours, Amish business with no website but they send out catalogs.
  7. Exactly right! When they grab and throw a tool it is exciting. I reverse the buffers on the cradles so they rotate away from me on the top. I work off the top of the wheel where I have better visibility of the edge and maintain a more consistent angle. I have arrow stickers on the top of every buffer showing the direction of rotation to keep it in mind. When I had a helper the arrows reminded him these are opposite of most shops. I don't throw tools like I used to for sure. when I do it is thrown away from me and not into my lower body like it was before I reversed them all. The wheels I had the most problems with grabbing a tool are the airway pleated wheels. The chrome detailers, refurbishers, abrasive dealers all told me how great they are - longer life, hold compound better, run cooler, etc. Buy them, guarantee you will like them they said. I bought a decent assortment of airways and I was throwing tools like a monkey throws poop. Those pleats were like hands grabbing the back edge of a knife or even a shank on a handled tool like a creaser. My shop helper found jobs in the other shop areas. I figured I was in the learning curve and mucked ahead. After a week I was not much better - gave up and took them all off.
  8. I've done a bunch with hair-on. I have used them for bags and pillows some. You just have to know you can walk on these for years and no hair slips. Put it on the back of a bag and a ladies purse will be bare in the 3-4 months from rubbing against them. I don't know why that difference!. I mostly used them for inlays on rope cans and bags, notebooks, restaurant menus and wine lists, and bigger things. I did a few hundred contract belts with hide inlays too. I like working with hair-on a lot but It can be messy. Pattern cut from the flesh side. Pay attention to the lay of the hair and how it will be oriented on your work.
  9. Seems like a good time to bring out the OSHA-like safety poster I made up several years ago for the door to my tool working shop. It is laminated and still there for a daily reminder.
  10. The Rocky Mountain Leather Trade Show is coming right up on May 17-19. Classes start earlier in the week and continue through the show. This is the biggest leather trade show and continues to grow. Last year there was a last minute change of venue and some learning curve there but the Leather Crafters Journal has smoothed out the bumps and this year's class selection and vender layout looks to be great! Classes, informal BSing and socializing with a world wide attendance, the Leather Debut Show of judged entries will knock your socks off, and lots of venders. I am starting to pack tools today and we have the same location as last year - first hallway near the entrance. Lots of people in this group use a screen name but if you are there, please stop by and introduce yourself! Free stickers and the famous 6 inch Bruce Johnson Leather Tools rulers are free as well, plus a regionally famous candy dish. Oh yeah, we will also have a good selection of refurbished and new leather tools. Here is a link to the exhibitor list and map - https://leathercraftersjournal.com/rocky-mountain-leather-trade-show/exhibitors/ Hope to see you there! - Bruce and Rundi
  11. I guess for the few minutes it takes, I usually just sit there and watch it simmer. Never let it boil away before. Evaporust is safe for wood and rubber so cold soaks are fine.
  12. Just a tip with the Evaporust. If you want to save time you can heat it a bit and and reduce a 24 hour soak into about 10 minutes. It is a temperature dependent process. I got this tip from a phone call to the shop of one of their endorsers several years ago. The temperature is "cool enough you can stick your finger in but too hot to leave it there". Kind of a wisp of steam coming off but no bubbles. I put the parts in an aluminum pan with enough Evaporust to cover and turn the burner on. After the parts are clean, filter the Evaporust back into the jug and rinse the parts with water. Then I use a brass wheel for stamps or steel wheel for other parts to knock off the carbon and residue left behind and start the polishing process.
  13. It depends on what the tools are. Realistically unless they are museum or display pieces that need to look the part, removing the old paint and repainting has little to do with lessening value of leather tools. Other tools yes, but most leather tools are going back to work, not be on display or to traded between collectors. It blows away some of my general tool collectors friends what I do that they could never think about with refurbishing. They would kill the value and I don't. I've pretty well tried it most processes and it's evolved - scotch brite, strippers of all varieties, abrasive wheels and papers, etc. Some of these old paints are hard a rock and just laugh at strippers and solvents while others dissolve like KoolAid. I never knew what was going to happen from piece to piece. Here is my process now. I have blast cabinet and blast them down to bare metal. That has been the great equalizer. Faster, gets into the pits, takes off rust as well as paint, and leaves a clean surface with minimal residue I can blow off and go straight to paint. No rinsing off a stripper or residue that resists paint. In the old days a local powder coating outfit blasted for me at an hourly rate. Once I set enough money away I bought a big compressor and blast cabinet. After blasting I smooth and polish every place that needs polished with several abrasives and compounds to the desired finish and then tape off the areas that don't need paint. A coat of primer and let it dry a day. Light coats of rattle can paint for color. I use ACE brand matte or gloss and Rustoleum hammer finishes mostly. I use light coats from a distance every 10-20 minutes until I get the coverage I want. Usually 2-3/maybe 4 coats. In the winter I've got a heated drying cabinet I hang them in. I let the paint cure for at 24 hours or more before handling. Punches and things like that - I blast, polish, and sharpen. I stopped repainting punches a few years ago. I was offering it for $5 more and essentially nobody wanted it. I like powder coated finishes but that's an involved process with more equipment and time that just doesn't pencil out for me right now.
  14. Another vote for the Cobra if you can swing it. I used a drill press and wooden burnishers for years. Burned up two drill presses and went through several burnishers. I got my money's worth out of them for sure with the amount of production pushed through them. Last year my wife bought a Cobra burnisher at Prescott. My nephew used to come down when he had enough work stacked up and use the Ferdco to sew on and then burnish on her Cobra. This year he had us haul home a Class 4 Cobra machine and burnisher from Prescott for him. My wife and nephew don't seem to be violent people but I expect somebody would be bleeding if they tried to take away those burnishers from either one. I had a Weaver through here a few years ago. As much as I like those folks from Mt Hope, that burnisher was not my favorite. It takes up bench space and not the handiest to get around. Fixed speed of 1725 RPM The Cobra is on a pedestal stand and variable speed (2000-3450 RPM). Smaller footprint and about $400 less expensive.
  15. I've been using tubes for about 20 years and know of people doing it longer. The tubes fit well into a Gorilla Rack system. When we were renting the place this wasn't insulated and during the winter it might be 40 degrees and 90% humidity in there and summers might be 100 degrees and 15% humidity. Not problem number one with the leather ever. Excuse the background of the pictures. These are from about 16 years ago right after we bought the place and were converting the garage to the leather shop. At one time I had three of these racks of leather mostly all in tubes. The skirting wasn't in tubes because I was going through 2-3 sides every week or two. Other vegtan was sorted by thickness. The chrome tans were sorted by color to prevent any contact color bleeding.
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