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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. I deal with a lot of rusty tools. Two things I deal with after cleaning up are either flash rust right away or rusting during storage. Used tools rarely rust for me. MY volume of tools is probably different than anyone here so I am looking at some of these products from a different viewpoint. I've used a lot of products - the vapor barrier things for drawers, Boeschield, Glidecoat, waxes, Flitz, several oils, and more ive forgotten. Some oils will darken the metal over time, some not as much. Some get gummy, some are light. Ballistol is a nice oil for me. Some of the stainless steel polishes seem to work well and change the color less. Boeschield is good but expensive and a bit fragile. Scratches in the surface will rust. Glidecoat works OK but messy. Flitz is good for a final polish and gives me about 6 months rust protection. I've used a few waxes and OK but not my #1. I really want to like Renaissance Wax. I think it is a good product but takes a lot of work. In my little unscientific test on raw barstock. It took around 5 coats to be protective for metal. I like it on wood and a few coats on a handle gives a nice finish. My bottom line is either Flitz or stainless steel polish on the metal. Tools with no moving parts like edgers and the like get Flitz, Tools with moving parts like stitch markers or pliers get stainless steel polish. Always subject to change if I find something more effective, cant get much simpler than what I'm doing now.
  2. Bruce, Here is what Im seeing right now. Since midJuly things changed dramatically for me. Before that domestics maybe a 1-3 days more across the board for all sizes. Small flat rates seem to be 1-3 days longer. Mediums take another 3-5 days. Large flat rates have taken much longer and I'm thinking with the times between scans and the sorting centers they go through - they are on trucks not planes. My priority packages coming in go through West Sac. First class goes through Richmond, CA. Last few large flat rates tracked through Richmond and were five day from the previous scan - about enough time to truck them cross country. My internationals are hit and miss the last month, but mostly hits. Canada was about a 10 days on the last one. Australia was 5 days. In March and April nothing was moving. Stuff had stuck in that logjam took up to two months but all got there. I've Germany and England I'm keeping an eye on this week.
  3. I've got a pretty well equipped shop for refurbishing and sharpening and cant think of a damn thing I have to spin it slow enough to be safe with any of these suggestions or risk damaging the temper in the edge. It is going to take some precision equipment to keep the bevel angle the same even if you could spin it. Pretty much all the stock removal to get the notches cleared needs to be done on the bevel side. You can take a bur off the flat side but remove any metal to speak of and you've got a gap to the feedwheel. .Shoe Systems Plus took over from Pilgrim Shoe who had a good stock of replacement blades. I don't know what Shoe Systems Plus has for blades now or what they charge, but that's who I'd be on the phone with first thing tomorrow.
  4. A guy came and sewed on mine a while back. He wasn't sure he wanted to drive 500 miles to look at one on Craigslist if wouldn't do what he needed. Ten minutes later he was on the phone to his wife to say he'd see her the next night and lit out north from here. He paid $1400 for it with 8 spools of thread and bunch of needles.
  5. How big a hurry are you in? I've got my five petals loaned out and he's about two months from being done.
  6. With the flat sides like that, I'd go for something nonslip. My first one was like that and I chased the first few around most of the time. I tacked on some self padded carpeting with the rubber side up and that helped. I doubled the front. It was OK. Second one I shaped the boards with an angle grinder and put some rock in it that way. It held the trees pretty well and used some closed cell seat foam - better. My last stand was Ron's. It was shaped and tightly padded with a suede covering. Best one.
  7. Experience with both and several other styles. A few things to consider. The wider blade does not necessarily mean you can split wider, you just have more blade width to use before you need to strop/hone/sharpen. Most people can pull a 3 inch width through of fairly firm leather, much past that and it gets a lot harder. The 86A is a newer style but basically a mediocre-to-works-OK adaptation of the Krebs splitter adjusting mechanism on a #86 frame. They will both level skive an end or level split a strap. If you pull with one hand and on the #84 push the handle forward with the other hand you can do a tapered skive or lap skive. You can do that on the #86A by moving the adjustment handle as you pull. Either way you are pulling with only one hand. I found the #84 was more consistent for me to lap skive than the Krebs or #86A.
  8. Turned out well, I've also made scallop cutters from veiners too.
  9. I sell them clean and sharp - here is a link - https://brucejohnsonleather.com/leather-tools-sale/leather-scalloping-and-pinking-punches-sale/
  10. I’ve been told that the ones with the Albany marking were earlier but no real basis. As long as they have the rosewood handles and some shaped ferrules they are original to HG Gomph. There are some newer knives marked Gomph that Ellis Barnes had made up. Modern handle design and nice enough knives - just not the originals. Several years ago I had a guy contact me. His wife was a descendant of Henry Gomph. He ordered Albany marked Gomph knives for each of his family and had them shadow boxed as Christmas gifts.
  11. On some batches of rivets the hole is the burr is a touch too large/shank is too small. They don't have enough grip to hold in place once you nip off the excess shank The burr falls off. Very aggravating and I've never found the cure. Some can blame a source but I've had it happen with a couple reputable suppliers too.
  12. I made a bunch of doubled latigo reins, mostly split reins but a few single reins too. At the time a lot of harness reins were a bulk production deal and enough imports I didn't want to compete with. Most I sold direct and some through resellers. I got 7/8 sides and doubled them up. I kept them paired thoughout even though maybe not necessary. I added a third piece sandwiched at the bottom as a popper and for weight. The butt of the hide was my bit end. After I edged them off I did a 5 second or so dip in olive oil. Olive oil added a little weight and "life", and is not greasy feeling. I hung them for a day to soak up and then I worked them back and forth around a 2" panel pipe to break them in. Pretty much after that they felt the same forever. I made the loops out of heavy skirting I oiled and greased or harness. They went to weekend riders, working cowboys, trainers, and show arenas.
  13. Prison work is still going strong in some areas. I sell tools to a few inmates. It is a bit of a process but can be done. Texas has a pretty big system - boots and stuff. One inmate is saving for a crank splitter for his cell. I expect he's pretty trustworthy to be allowed that. Duncan ran the saddle shop in a Colorado prison. Because their output went into interstate commerce the inmates there were required to be paid federal minimum wage. He said they were the most sought after jobs in the prison because of the pay and had minimal discipline issues. Biggest problem was if there was a lockdown your employees couldn't get to work. I'd always liked the Deer Lodge MT hitched hair work. A couple years ago we toured the old prison and went to the craft store across from the old prison. Joe Benner had told me I needed to stop there. Leatherwork, bunch of hitched hair from keyfobs and bracelets to belts. The prisoners price their own work. Half goes to a crime victims relief fund, a fourth to the craft store for overhead, and they keep a fourth when something sells. They tag the items themselves and have a little description. Some are pretty funny. One key fob had a pink heart hitched into it. The tag read "Buy this for your sweetheart. Since I've been here mine dropped me. Maybe she's your sweetheart now". I bought a belt from a guy proudly boasting "27 years experience!". We spent a couple hours in there and several hundred dollars. All the while I was piling things up I was saying to myself "Damn you, Joe Benner!". Good stuff. I saw a recent documentary on Deer Lodge. Besides the cattle setup and trades shops, they also do something interesting. Some inmates work in a phonebank and serve as fundraising telemarketers for outside groups. They make the calls and if anybody wants to donate to the group they are working for, they hand the call off to a supervisor who handles the credit card info. I hadn't thought of that before. They cant say where they are calling from. It kind of made me nicer to telemarketers now. That feller on the other end could be wearing a number and he's got nothing but time. I can spare a little time to be polite and wish him a good day.
  14. Here's my experience after working on several hundred punches. The ones that are sticking can have a few issues. First off, some are just plain sticky new, the hole is lacking a fine taper to allow the punchings to slide up the tube. Manufacturing issue. Unless you want drill out a taper - return or garbage. Some have a slight ridge inside and punchings hang up on it. Tapered round files can help that with a little effort. Corrosion is far and away the most common thing I deal with. I'm set up with a pretty decent shop and aim an abrasive blaster down the hole from the top first if bad. I soak them in Evaporust to remove active rust if not too bad. I clean up the inside with everything steel wool to tapered files to abrasive cord depending on size. You want to smooth out the pitting from the rusting inside, that is a big grabber of punchings. . A bit of coarse steel wool spun onto a slow moving drill bit and then sprayed with WD40 works pretty well on straight punches. Ill polish out with finer grades. test with some pretty firm leather and oil the tube frequently to help feed the punchings until it is smooth enough to clear easily. Then I run a punch of a bunch of paraffin punchings through. I never leave punchings in a punch at the end of the day. They will corrode fast. Keep the punches cleaned out and lubricated with paraffin or the oil of your choice.
  15. Chris, Since 90% of these are now getting used for something other than stiff sole leather, I set them up individually to average needs. It depends on what thickness you are starting with and where you want to end up. I start with the bottom roller first. I like to have just enough space under the blade to let the split amount pass. I have found that most of the time the 1/16" space is about right - allows 4 oz to easily pass. That seems to be good for average use - If a person is regularly converting 14 oz skirting to 3 oz wallet backs, then I'd open it up more. On the other hand if a person is just leveling high spots on something, I'd have a tiny gap, just enough to keep the teeth off the blade edge. If there is too little room then you are fighting the spring tension more than necessary. The bottom springs have to compress to allow the thicker split to run under the blade edge. I run a pretty tight tension to help feeding. So I go 1/16" unless it is one extreme or the other. Then I go to adjust the top roller. The space between the top and bottom roller is what feeds the leather. The top roller has to put some pressure on the leather to allow the milling on the bottom roller to grab the leather and push it. Too much space and there isn't enough compression and the leather may sit while the rollers spin out. Not enough space and thicker leather won't get pulled in or really compresses those springs and cranks hard. Spring tension is what I do last. I want enough tension to force that bottom roller to grab the leather and push it. I like them cranked fairly tight. The downside is if you are set up to be routinely taking off 4oz and want to split off 8oz, then those springs can sure enough take up 1/16" of compression but maybe won't like it if they are super tight. Personally, Id do two passes of 4 oz unless it was enough pieces to warrant changing blade to bottom roller spacing. I fiddle around with tensions until I get the feel I want and then do minor tweaks on tension if needed so they feed evenly side to side.
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