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Tesla Ranger

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  1. Pics would help. Just judging from the first pic I would assume I would stitch the exterior/visible seam first. Then I could fold the "rear" of the pocket into the seams for the main compartment. Alternatively, I could start the exterior stitch in the middle of the bottom seam and stitch in both directions so that the pocket closes as I stitch. There's a few other ways this could probably be done depending on how the rest of the bag is assembled. We'd need more angles to pin down the exact technique used.
  2. Prices are the appropriate tool to reduce the likelyhood of this scenario. It goes back to supply and demand. If the demand is outpacing the supply then the price should rise until the two are at equilibrium. That's difficult to do in the crunch of the moment though. My shop tends to be feast & famine most of the year. I'll go a week or two with one or two orders and then get five or six in a few days. The only thing I can do is take that into consideration when I give delivery estimates. If I have a bunch of orders on the docket I'll give an estimate that's at least a week longer than it would be otherwise. I can only work on so many orders at a time so the natural consequence is that orders wind up shipping later.
  3. Thanks for the suggestions! It sounds like a disposable surface (cardboard, paper, etc) is a popular solution. I'll look into the polyurethane and Corian though. If nothing else they might save me a lot of parchment paper!
  4. We're going to be moving within the next couple months and as part of that I'm gaining a dedicated work space. That's nice enough on its own the space is large enough for me to have a few different benches for different tasks and I'm planning to have one dedicated to staining. I'm sure I can build the structure of the of a staining bench but I'm having trouble figuring out what type of surface I'd like. To date I've been working on a piece of melamine-plated MDF (typical Home Depot stuff). I lay down parchment paper and/or silicon when I'm going to stain something but it still manages to get a bit messy from time to time. Gel stains have been easy enough to clean off it but Tandy's Water-based stains or Fiebling's dyes don't seem to come out at all. I've also noticed that my conditioner doesn't entirely clean off the the table with some Simple Green and elbow grease so there's a waxy feel that's slowly building up. The parchment paper is a reasonable way of keeping stains off the table but it tends to move around and stain finds its way off the paper from time to time. The silicon mat I have works a bit better (at least it stays put) but it needs a thorough scrubbing after each session or old stain can transfer to the next project. And again, the Tandy waterstain stains the silicon just as much as the leather. I suspect there must be a better surface out there for this sort of work. Maybe a flat sheet of glass? A particular kind of silicone? Stainless steel? Or is it more practical to use a disposable surface like paper or a thin sheet of plywood/MDF?
  5. I usually bend the leather before I stain it and if it's going to be a sharp bend I'll use a sponge to apply a bit of water to the flesh-side of the leather. Cracking isn't normally a problem for me but I've noticed that Tandy's brand of Water-based stain frequently leads to cracking and wrinkling. I have a good conditioner that I use on everything that gets stained but I'll still get the cracking/wrinkling with the water-based stains. It might be that it's just a few of the more commonly used one (Dark Brown for instance) and not the entire brand, but it happens often enough that I avoid using the water-based stains for anything that needs to be flexible.
  6. There's some different approaches. On the odd occasion I might use kote and burnish it well during the application. That seems to work pretty well for large areas that will be rubbing against something routinely. Alternatively, I'll stain & finish it the same way I do the grain side. I tend to use gel based stains and tan-kote for finish and so far I haven't had any problems. Installing a lining is a good solution, but time intensive and generally overkill for most projects.
  7. Most leathers can be heat embossed but that requires equipment specifically for that design (at least a stamp and something to heat it up). Unless you're planning on mass producing the journal covers (which doesn't seem to be the case) then an applique is probably the most practical approach. You can carve a piece of veg tan and then stitch it to the pigskin before it's applied to the journal.
  8. I'm not familiar with RTC off hand but the other two would probably be sufficient to prevent leeching. Conditioner is pretty easy to find and generally inexpensive. You can usually find some form of it at any hardware or sporting store if nowhere else. I use Obenaufs brand personally but different craftsmen have different preferences.
  9. In theory, any finish should keep the stains from leeching out of the leather on to other surfaces. In my personal experience, that hasn't been much of a problem with any of the stains or finishes I've used. I prefer to use Fiebling's Tan-Kote since it's the least Turn-the-leather-into-reflective-material finish I've tried. Even Eco-Flow's Satin Finish is a higher gloss than I would tend to prefer (and Super Shene is really high gloss). I would also condition the leather after the fact. It may or may not prevent any leeching but it does keep the leather in better shape. I would say it's a good habit to develop.
  10. I recently had an entirely unrelated issue with Tandy (which I documented on my blog) which is entirely different in context but similar in that it was at least unethical if not illegal. I had been shopping at Tandy for 5-6 years and figured it might have just been an oversight or human error. I tried contacting their corporate office multiple times but never had any response from them. It was that lack of basic respect more than anything else that convinced me not to do business with them any longer. I like the local staff out here and they've never behaved in anyway that I could complain about. I can't say the same for the corporate side of the company, especially with a PR person who seems unwilling to relate to the public. They seem to have one person who serves as the PR, Executive Assistant, and sole recepient of their support email (tlfhelp@tandyleather.com) and she'll only forward a message on to someone else if (I'm assuming) she thinks its worth the time. In any case, I'm not willing to shop somewhere that doesn't respect equality or it's customers. Over the past few months Tandy has shown me that their corporate side doesn't respect either so I've been switching to other suppliers. So far that's been a pretty rewarding excercise. I'm finding that there's a lot more options out there and the prices are comparable if not better than Tandy's. Even if I wind up having to rely on mail-order for most of my supplies it's looking like my bottomline could very will wind up better off.
  11. Tanning has always been a messy business though on the industrial scale it has the potential to be more or less a wash. The biggest problem with vegetable tanning is that it requires a large amount of oak and hemlock trees. Those trees take a long time to grow so they tend to be cut down faster than they can regrow. Chrome tanning is much faster and economical but whether or not it's damaging to the enviroment depends on the practices of the tannery. If they're using one type of Chromium and handling it properly it's fairly safe but another type of Chromium can be very damaging to the enviroment. This isn't usually a problem in North America or Europe but has resulted in some nastiness in India. Like anything that has to do with the enviroment, the real answer is a bit complicated. There's a few papers on the topic though I've only gotten to read one of them. The general impression seems to be that assuming the tannery is using best practices then Chromium is the least damaging to the enviroment. It still takes a whack of energy and water so it's hard to say if it's truly sustainable without considering where that energy and water are coming from.
  12. Just about any heavy leather ( 7 or more oz) should work fine. It can take a fair bit of hammering with the mallet to transfer a larger pattern and the tap-off might get stretched or warped if it was made with a lighter leather. The leather doesn't necessarily need to be decent quality either, it just shouldn't have blemishes or scars (since those could kind of transfer too). I usually use 8-9 oz scrap. It doesn't seem to work quite as well for larger patterns, or patterns that involve a fair amount of symmetry (like some geometric shapes) but for natural or small patterns (just a couple of inches across) it works pretty well.
  13. Short of a Craftaid you can usually get the same, or at least a very similar, effect by making a tap-off. You cut the mirror of the design you want into a thick piece of leather then after it dries you can flip it over and use a mallet to transfer the pattern to a piece of cased leather. I've made both good and bad results with this technique, but short of having a craft-aid for every single pattern I want to repeat, it seems to be the best approach.
  14. If I had to guess I'd say they're some sort of multi-tool (as suggested) and they're probably chrome plated.
  15. I'm not sure how you could line it in a practical way after it's assembled. There may well be a method but I'm afraid I'm not aware of it. Generally I tend to install the lining before I assemble a bag. I cut it about an inch larger than the piece to be lined, glue it down, trim the lining and proceed with assembly.
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