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bruce johnson

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Everything posted by bruce johnson

  1. Welcome back Ryan, yep I remember you when this forum was just a pup!
  2. Ken, I'm at $350 now on the ones with the 1-3/4" blade. They are getting a little more in demand and the supply is tightening up at least for me again. What I find is that unless somebody is doing shoe repair they are thinking they want a 3-in-1 and only realistically ever plan to use the skiver. The Landis 25 or American B is all they need and take up less bench space.
  3. Ken Nelson, You wouldn't believe his first one either. It was way better than most people's first. Nate - Great job on this one! Hope to see you in Prescott and crossing our fingers it happens.
  4. Here's my recommendations and preferences based on experience. Punching - I punch on either low density polyethylene or black rubber sole material (aka "Poundo Board"). Those surfaces allow the punch to partially bite into the board for a cleaner punch. Downside is that a knife edge can penetrate them and drag, and at some point you WILL twist a point off a round knife. Upside they are cheap and the low density is common at a lot of local stores. Great for punching, not for cutting on Knife cutting - High density polyethylene, UHMW, or puckboard. It is harder and the knife blade will skate over the material without significantly biting in. Makes a nice long lasting surface and most plastics shops carry it or can order it. I don't like the self healing mats for my round knife cutting. the blade can drag on the material. HDPE - a little harder to find, great to cut on, but brittle and punches will crack it. Roller knives - I like the HDPE, my wife likes the self-healing green mats. Flip a coin here.
  5. Most converted shed shops are pretty workable with some planning and size allowance. I'm with Ron on this. 12 feet wide for sure and 4 feet on each end of your table will be appreciated once you start filling it up and working.. With a 4 foot width off the cutting table that extra width will allow benches and storage against the walls with room to still move around it. My first shop was 10 feet wide and I had minimal room to get around a table. Two extra feet would have been way better. Also think about storage and with that small of a footprint you'll need areas under the benches for leather and supplies. Lighting - LEDS. Power - you can't put too many outlets in and I'd have a couple in the ceiling too. My two shed shops have LED strips in the ceiling plugged into switched outlets. In one shop there is a dropcord on a reel off the ceiling for power in the center of the room. Insulate and panel or plywood the inside walls to help keep it comfy and reduce dust buildup. I'd allow for extra windows like Ron's suggestion and think about an AC where you live. Electric space heaters can do for the mild winters but an installed AC unit makes it nice for the summers.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. How big a hurry are you in? I've got my five petals loaned out and he's about two months from being done.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Turned out well, I've also made scallop cutters from veiners too.
  14. I sell them clean and sharp - here is a link - https://brucejohnsonleather.com/leather-tools-sale/leather-scalloping-and-pinking-punches-sale/
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. I'm a little late to this party, but have the same Ferdco 2000. When I bought a previous machine, a wise man on this forum (Art Van Hecke) advised me to buy every foot and plate available. He said I'd probably end up using them all and they don't get cheaper after the machine sale. I did the same when I bought my 2000. Realize this was back in the day when this very machine sold for north of $5000 for the head, stand, reducer. and clutch motor, no accessories but maybe a light. Specialty plates and feet were about $650 and later Ron added a sole stitching foot. Servo motors were about 5 years in the future. I got one later. It has sewed a ton and still tight. JJN asked about the roller guides. I've attached pictures. The block slides onto the plate on the machine, There are two arms - one has a double roller for straight work. One has a single roller for scalloped pieces or tight inside curves. They slide into the block and secure with a set screw on top. There is also a sliding collar with a set screw on the arm shaft for repeated widths.
  22. Id raise the bottom roller up first. I go about /16" unless somebody is going to be feeding skirting in to make 3 oz in a pass. Having more room underneath allows more split to come off, but also gives more room for thinner leather to slide under. Also make sure the blade is up to the stops. Also might need more spring tension on the bottom roller. Another thing and it looks like you are good, but make sure the bevel side is up on the blade. I sharpened a blade for a guy and when he got it back he put it in upside down. After about an hour and half on the phone trying to trouble shoot it for him, the light came on. He turned the blade over and split like a champ. That has happened a few times with ones I have got in too. Won't split piece of crap, bad blade, wavy splits, etc. Turn it over and runs. BTW, the manual most people find on line usually says not to touch the top adjustment. I do it all the time, but I run with scissors too. I am pretty sure that manual is from the originals when most of these were leased machines and very few were owned. Landis didn't want worker bees messing with them and then having to send mechanics to readjust them. If you are consistently running thinner leather through than shoe soling, you can bring that top roller down, bottom roller up a tad and it will feed a ton better. You will have an easier adjustment range than all the way to the left too. .
  23. one word answer - Weaver. I like the Lucris Mach III presses too but haven't found anyone willing to part with one for less than they paid for it new. Right now we are using an air/hydralic ram on the Weaver benchtop A frame modified shop press. It is OK, and good enough for what I click now. If I don't find a used Weaver close enough before the shows next spring I'm going to see about buying their show model ahead of time and haul it home.
  24. Realize I don't build saddles anymore or do repairs so you can consider my advice for what it worth based on that. When you wrote that he uses this saddle daily, that would be a reason for me to make new fenders if he wants to continue using it. The tear is angled but half the width of the fender. A patch may work for a while but I wouldn't trust it on a daily user. I see no good way to sew a patch to bridge that tear with a postage stamp perforation effect.
  25. I haven't been able to get time to follow the forum lately and am finding a few questions answered today. Why did three people recently ask me about a tool that cuts round lace?answered. Lace cutters and bevelers seem to be one of those things that range from as simple as a notch in piece of wood and pocket knife or a piece of slotted plastic pipe and a blade to a bevy of made versions that range from rattling loose to true to up 1/1000 inch. Some like angled notches like the Lacemaster or Jueschke some like an angled blade like the Hansen, some like thumbscrew adjustments like Barbara's version (Y-Knot), Bryan Neubert, or the Tim George string cutter. There really is a rock to fit every frog concerning lace tools.
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