bruce johnson

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Everything posted by bruce johnson

  1. bruce johnson


    For what you are doing, the #86, a Chase pattern, or any of the locking handle will do the job. Had a little health hiccup and working on sharp blades with vertigo was not a good plan. Back after it now but I only have about half the splitters done I'd like to and packing for the Prescott show this weekend. I've got a lot in the works of #86s in various widths, Chase splitters in 8 and 10 inch widths, and maybe one locking handle splitter. They will have to be after the show now. Another 2 weeks and I should be good.
  2. bruce johnson

    Sheridan Leather Show

    Matt, The leather venders will mostly all be there but they only have so much booth space. They can't bring it all. If they have show specials that are decent, you will see people packing out rolls at 9:15 and then come back. If you are looking to compare and order to ship they will have samples and sides. They will usually have stacks of the common leathers like tooling, skirting, and latigo for the duration of the show. A few sellers of exotics and specialty leathers too. The show itself is a great experience.
  3. bruce johnson

    Tired of soft edge bevelers. Edge holding brand?

    My personal favorite for edgers are the Gomph round bottom edgers, Easy to sharpen because of the design and have a tremendously long life. They cut a rounded profile. The "fine edge" edgers are fairly similar. I also like bisonette edgers but trickier to maintain and shorter life. The key to any edger is a good edge to start with and stropping as needed. I've got a tutorial on my website regarding edge beveler sharpening and maintenance - To answer a few questions above. The last couple months have been tied up with family issues and I just haven't had enough time to get as many tools cleaned up and refurbished for the website. I've got a good backstock, just not enough shoptime to get them all ready until recently. We are going to the Southwest Leather Show in Prescott in a couple weeks so the focus has been to get tools ready for that. I'll be "restocked" on the website after we get back. As far as sourcing, some of my tools come from estate sets, shop retirements, or tool auctions and swap meets. A few from Ebay, and some from other leather workers who want to trade.
  4. bruce johnson

    Weaver Strap Edgers

    I have a prototype for the 2 cutter Bluegrass edger. Came in a shop retirement set and he said that he was given it to try at a Harness Makers Get-Together some years before. I had it for sale at the Prescott Show last year. First guy that looked at it asked me why I was selling it - he thought it was a better design than the later versions and no gig needed. As soon as he left I stuck it under the table after Ms Rundi asked me why i WAS selling it anyway. I'll get a picture tomorrow.
  5. bruce johnson

    Rosette Cutter

    My past experiences - The Douglas ones are going to come sharp and most likely to be ready to use. It is tie between Weaver and CS Osborne new ones. Some are going to be good, some are going to have burs and some are going to be dull as a hoe. None are apt to be duds, they just need some attention first with round rods and fine wet-dry sandpaper. Sizes - I liked 1-3/4 and 1-1/2 mostly, with the occasional need for 1-1/4.
  6. bruce johnson

    Vintage skiver splitter

    That sounds pretty close if not the common size for the older 8" Osborne #84 splitters. The new blades vary a bit vs the old blades. I would contact CS Osborne and see if they can give you the specs on their replacement blades.
  7. bruce johnson

    Like New Weaver Little Wonder

    I will take this if it isn't already sold. Please contact me for payment information. phone (209) 505-3621 or message me through the PM system here. Thank you, - Bruce
  8. bruce johnson

    Financing equipment.

    A differing point of view from the flip side. This is coming from a guy who was happy as a clam at high tide with a LTO on a sewing machine. A long time ago in a galaxy far far away new sewing machines used to cost twice as much as they do now. Feet and accessories were not a gimme deal either, and a wise man named Art gave me the advice to buy every foot and plate you think you'll need. At the same time get all the other ones you don't know you need yet when you buy your machine because they don't get cheaper afterwards. I called the friendly folks at Ferdco, who I had bought a used machine from previously and set up a new Pro 2000 with the accessories on a $6300+ LTO through their arranged lease company. Some people know my story, but due to some medical debt then I personally couldn't have qualified to finance a pack of needles. As a business with books showing income, I qualified for LTO easily. Fast forward, for 5 years I got to deduct the full annual cost of the lease against my business income. Two basket stamped belts a month paid for the machine. At the end I paid $1, did the happy dance, and own it. If I had financed it I could have only deducted the interest and first five years of depreciation during that same time with a regular loan. Another factor - insurance. It was also a lot easier and cost less to get specific coverage insurance on the machine through the lease company than a rider on my own insurance. As the tax advisor in a small business development/management program explained to us - businesses generally lease, people generally finance.
  9. bruce johnson

    Question about my bell skiver

    I had a bell knife (not a Consew) with a steel feed wheel with milled lines. It was like the feed roller on a crank splitter. It fed a variety of leathers from firm skirting to very soft chrome tans better than the stone wheels. I don't recall ever having the sticking problem with the steel wheel like I did occasionally with the stone wheel.
  10. one of the most complete places for parts is Pilgrim Shoe Machine -
  11. bruce johnson

    Bronc Saddles

    We have a few new folks here, and sounds like all of us have been bucked off. I want to start this thread to kind of tie up this topic in one place. Probably very few of us build many bronc saddles, unless the 7-10 guys that do are using aliases here. Some of us will see them for repairs though. I just want to have a thread dedicated to construction and repair of them when we do see them. Things like stiffener material for inside leathers, bind material (biothane, latigo, or harness?), is it doable for the average guy to "rod" a tree, should we rod a tree or is it time for a new one, replacing or reworking a ground seat, all leather or half strainer seat, rerigging to stay within the rules (which are a bit nebulous), that sort of thing. If we tend toward new construction, that's cool too.
  12. Same as MadMax22, I oil the holes and grease the gears. I grease the covered gears pretty good but only lightly grease the gears by the rollers to prevent messing much with the leather. These Landis cranks are a little different than the Americans. The Landis drives off the top roller and the gears connect the top and bottom to synch the rollers. On the Americans the bottom roller has a drive shaft with universal joints within the frame. I grease the heck out of that.
  13. Those are tapered pins on the rollers and indeed larger on one side than the other. Landis liked using them, American did not as much. Most have been peened over on the smaller end. One some the peen on the small end is about the same size as the head on the big end. You will need to carefully grind that peen off first. Then carefully drive out the pin. Here is something to consider. Do you REALLY want to do that??? I do not know the availability of those pins where you are at. Here I have exactly one local hardware that carries any kind of a selection of them. If you are going to be tearing it down to repaint, then that is one thing. If you are looking to clean it up and use it I'd consider a good steam cleaning and hand cleaning the rollers and leaving the pins as is.
  14. bruce johnson

    Hello from UT!

    Great job! look forward to seeing more work.
  15. bruce johnson

    Looking for door hanging sleigh bell pattern

    Yes they do! They have a bunch of boxes in all sizes and shapes that are not flat rate and available free. Some post offices have them in the back if you ask and others don't. Like craftsman287 wrote, I go to and end up someplace on the site at "free shipping supplies". They have a bunch of boxes and tubes that are free. You order them (no charge) and your mailman delivers them (no charge) or they hold them for pick up at the post office (gas to get there)..
  16. bruce johnson

    order right & left skirting sides?

    Ordering a right and left is pretty common in the saddlemaking business, and likely moreso in the smaller higher end one man shops than production making. Some of it is cutting for economy. Some of it is cutting a particular part for a particular section of the side to take advantage of the stretch or firmness characterisitcs of that section of the side. Saddles are three dimensional and some parts need to be firm, some need to compress, and some need to stretch. Different sections of a side tend to have different abilities to stretch or compress. Most saddlemakers have a layout pattern on the sides for cutting parts. Stirrup leathers need to be firm with minimal stretch. Some parts of the saddle need to have firmness in one part but moldable in another. The backs of skirts need to be firm to hold shape but the fronts can be a little more moldable to fit up tighter. Fenders need to be firm. These right and left pieces need to have the consistent characteristics. Cutting patterns can be flipped on right vs. left side and be in the same orientation on a side. Realizing that there are large single pieces like seats swell covers that you prefer to be "behave" symmetrically on the right vs. left side of the particular part, Big piece that you want to cut right the first time. A little tidbit. I was in a roundtable several years ago. One elder statesman of saddle making was talking about the old days in the reputation big shops. He had worked in some, and been taught by the generation before. In one of those shops for the really good orders, they cut the paired stirrup leathers from the right side. The reason was that on the living beast the rumen sits to the left. Through the course of the day and good grazing/poor grazing seasons the rumen expands and contracts. The lore of the day stood that the left side would be a little stretchier up high than the right side because of that.
  17. Glue fumes can be nasty, most any dust isn't good. Some people will never have a problem and other will do something for 20 years without a problem, then on day #7305 they do. Masks are cheap, gloves are cheap, ear plugs are cheap, vacuums are cheap, fans are cheap and windows usually open easily. Now that I have switched over from leather work to leather tools, I can also add that leather aprons with leg shields are cheap, leather sleeves are cheap, and eye protection is cheap. My biggest problem used to making myself put it all on. At my other job (and likely yours) there are all these safety posters that take up wall space. I made up a non OSHA approved version for my little home shop. Laminated right there on the door - eye high for me to read every time I walk in. It has sure helped me to safety up. I attached a copy below here.
  18. heat works, but be careful no to get too hot. Getting the cover somewhat damp and "cased" a bit will help too.Work pretty slow and you can likely get all but a crispy worn out cover off. Figure the time involved and decide if it is worth the effort vs. what the customer expects (and expects to pay).
  19. bruce johnson

    Granite slab 12"x18"x4" for $20 bucks... worth it?

    My rock on a scrap of chap leather. The surface is about 1/8 higher than the surround bench top. makes it easier to move big pieces around. The whole thing was built with dimensional lumber and bolted. As the wood shrunk I gave a few cranks with the wrench every so often until it wasn't shrinking anymore. The height is comfortable for standing or using the drafting stool to sit.
  20. bruce johnson

    Granite slab 12"x18"x4" for $20 bucks... worth it?

    I would hope that delivery is already scheduled AND you have a Bevmo gift card waiting for him as a thank you gift! I have a granite inspection plate from Grizzly like that inset into my bench. When you stamp the only sound you hear is the soft "tink" of the maul on the stamp shank.
  21. bruce johnson

    Old leather Tools and How To Use them .

    be glad to share what I know which is more on some tools than others. On the ones I don't know much about, I know people who know people....
  22. bruce johnson

    Trade Shows

    The LCSJ has sponsored most all of these shows. Ones I have been to - Several years ago they tried Ventura - didn't work because of little foot traffic and interest at the time. They tried a few in Reno. One year at the Grand Sierra (or whatever it was called then) they had a decent enough show, but the next year at the Silver Legacy it didn't fly. They had one in Phoenix we missed. They moved it to Wickenburg in Feb and that show was good. Good foot traffic and class attendance. Next year ditto. The biggest problem was the trade show was at the community center, classes were spread out at the VFW, motel north of town, saddle classes were south of town, etc. The social one year was at an old restored mine site that was maybe 15 miles out of town. There was no one place to sit and BS with other folks at the show. The move to Prescott from Wickenburg was met with some resistance because the class enrollments and the trade show was the best it had been in CA, NV, or AZ. The advantage of Prescott was everything under one roof with plenty of rooms and options off site as well. We didn't get away to go the first Prescott show. All the people I knew that did shared the common theme of "ya shoulda been here". We have set up as vendors the last two years. Good show and in my opinion well managed, good facility, central lounge area, close by dining/lodging for all budgets if you don't stay there. I can't say for sure that all of the classes offered in Prescott were also on tap for Sheridan, but it was close for sure. Some people took classes at Prescott so they could take others in Sheridan that would have conflicted. The tradeshow in Prescott is a Friday-Sunday deal. Thursday night there is a get acquainted social in the central lounging area.
  23. bruce johnson

    Trade Shows

    I started off doing leatherwork as a hobby and it turned into a small business then a bigger business. I have been to Sheridan at least 4 times and the western shows in Ventura, Reno a few times, Wickenburg at least twice, and this coming year will be the third at Prescott,. I took classes all but one of these shows, and can say without hesitation I got something out of all of them. Some were half day specific technique and some were 4 day all day classes. When I was doing serious leatherworking these classes were a definite draw for me at the shows. The class line up for the Prescott show should be coming out soon if it isn't already. It is true that there are a bunch of booths and vendors. For me that was a good thing at the time. You can find suppliers you didn't know about. You can pick up a stamp from Barry King, Bob Beard, Clay Miller or whoever and try it out. You can compare sizes that is harder to do from a website picture. You can compare between makers. Pretty much most of the major tool makers are at both shows. There are different sources of leather and supplies you may not have known about. If you can balance out taking a class or a few along with some time spent in the trade show, id think it could step your game up just as it did mine. Meeting at the social get-togethers and friendships I have made are a bonus.
  24. bruce johnson

    Trade Shows

    There are classes at both shows, and in the past, a lot of the classes at Prescott were also offered at Sheridan. The classes offered range from entry level hobbyist to mid and upper range workers. Sheridan is the longest running trade show and bigger with more classes and vendors. The Prescott show was originally held in Wickenburg and a few years ago was moved to Prescott. At Wickenburg classes were spread out all over town, trade show was at the community center, and there was really no central R&R location. The move to Prescott seems to be a real shot in the arm - one location, good classes, nice cross section of vendors, common socializing areas, and a really nice facility all under one roof. There's advantages to both and it kind of comes down to which one might fit your schedule the best.