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About robert

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    central texas

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  • Leatherwork Specialty
    western floral

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  1. Thanks! It is actually based on Sheridan style, just with leaves and acorns instead of flowers. Because of the shape of the leaves, it leaves more background than most Sheridan patterns, but I thought it turned out nice.
  2. Thanks everyone for the kind comments. I really enjoyed these projects after an extended break. All three are gifts, which is always fun for me. Regarding the stitch length, yes the Boss is a bit hard to keep stitch lengths exactly the same. I used to run a stiching wheel along the stiching groove to help - I could manually keep the stiches even, and probably need to go back to that method. Mostly on these projects, I had having a hard time getting the upper and lower thread tension right. I need to use the machine more, it gets cranky when it sits, or maybe I just lose the "feel" for it.
  3. I just started making a few projects after taking a couple of years off. The notepads are for the smaller pads, and the ring binder is for full size paper. All are sewn with my Boss, which I cant seem to get adjusted right. Its like an old chainsaw - you have to use it often enough to understand its quirks... The floral (non-oakleaf) pattern is one of Carey Blanchard's that I modified slightly. The oakleaf pattern is mine.
  4. Great advice! I have a Tandy ceramic beader blade, and a McMillen push beader. I pretty much have avoided curved lines because I can't control either enough to ensure a successful bead. For the straight lines, I cut with the beader blade, then use the push beader to shape and burnish the bead. Curved bead lines add such a professional look - I will give your method a try.
  5. Wow... yes, this is an old post, but it has lots of great info from lots of people. I am glad my tutorial has been helpful. I think these are the photos I used. A couple may be out of order, but the first few have numbers written by each impression - that should get you going pretty well. The last photo wasnt on the original post, but is a notebook I submitted to the Texas State Fair a few years ago. The floral tooling is done with the shopmade stamps shown. I hope this helps. Robert http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n44/robertw_2006/Leather/IMG_4390.jpg http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n44/robertw_2006/Leather/IMG_4394.jpg http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n44/robertw_2006/Leather/IMG_4395.jpg http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n44/robertw_2006/Leather/IMG_4396.jpg http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n44/robertw_2006/Leather/IMG_4398.jpg http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n44/robertw_2006/Leather/IMG_4399.jpg http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n44/robertw_2006/Leather/IMG_4400.jpg http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n44/robertw_2006/Leather/IMG_4402.jpg http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n44/robertw_2006/Leather/IMG_4403.jpg http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n44/robertw_2006/Leather/IMG_4404.jpg http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n44/robertw_2006/Leather/IMG_4108.jpg
  6. tried to send you a pm, but it doesnt show in my sent box... i am not too technology literate, so i apparently messed it up. anyway, i will just bring these to tandy one of these saturdays - not this coming one though. I used to teach some classes there also, so look forward to meeting. robert
  7. enjoy the notebook pic... it isnt my work, and actually it isnt marked with a maker mark. i live in pflugerville, so if you want, you can come study it first hand sometime. i also have a bunch of pics from the ranger museum, but they are better in person, so its worth the trip. re the doodle pages, i can either make a copy or you might check with dennis at the tandy store in austin - he may can get you copies. I seem to recall that tandy frowns on their doodle pages being posted online or reproduced on a large scale but i think a single photocopy for personal use would be fine. yes, the presidential saddle was made by troy west - truly a work of art.
  8. In the book "Sheridan Style Carving" and you can easily see the evolutionary change from some of Don King's early carving to what is called Sheridan style today. In the book "King of the Western Saddle," King credits Porters and particularly Cliff Ketchum as influences. So as noted above, the styles evolved as saddlemakers and cowboys moved around. Old Texas carving often used an S style pattern. Flowers often used basal pedals, a cam tool was often used instead of a mule track, stems were stamped with veiners (where stems converge - where sheridan carvers typically use a large mule track). Smooth pear shaders were common. "Stickers" were much more bulbous than other styles. A lot of makers used a "birds eye" seeder for a backgrounder. This notebook was made in San Angelo in probably the 1970s, but shows the historical style. Also, there are some doodle pages on the various styles, reprinted over the past few years by Tandy: Texas Style and Belt Patterns by Ken Griffin original print in 1964, reprinted in 2006 Texas Style Saddle Stamping by Ken Griffin, original print in 1964 and reprinted in 2005 California Style Stamping with Wallet and Belt Patterns by Ken Griffin, original print in 1964 and reprinted in 2006 Arizona Style Saddle Stamping by Ken Griffin, original in 1964 and reprinted in 2007 Another good source for reference, if you are in Texas, is the Texas Ranger Museum in Waco. Troy West and Carey Blanchard (and others no doubt) have taken some of the historical flowers and elements from saddle companies around Texas and stylized them into a contemporary Texas style... they both do beautiful work... so the evolution continues.
  9. Bruce, as you learn more, I would be interested in where and when it was made. The various regional styles are interesting to me. I like that border.
  10. I did a tutorial on this site some months back, but i think it got lost in the "big crash." Maybe this will help. I use a bench grinder, but you can use files - it just takes longer. If you are making a tool such as a beveler, you can just saw the bolt head off and use the bolt stem (or use a spike as noted above). Making your own tools 12-8-07 Tools I used for this project Bench grinder Mill file Coarse emery cloth Medium emery cloth 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper 1500 grit wet/dry sandpaper Rag wheel on bench grinder, with Ryobi stainless polishing compound Rag wheel on hand held drill with white rouge Brownells checkering file – 75 Lines per inch Hacksaw (to cut the threads off) Magnifying glasses [/size] I work on tools away from my leather bench… you don't want metal filings on your bench or on your leather. For this project, I am going to make a Sheridan style thumbprint. Pear shaders and Thumbprints are easiest to make because they relatively easy, and I, for one, like to have a variety – different sizes, long lined, cross lined, cross hatched, etc., and if they are slightly different shapes, so much the better. Thumbprints have a flatter bottom and are not generally walked like a pearshader, so this particular tool is pretty flat, but make it any way that suits you. Also, many thumbprints don't taper to a point on the end, and are used essentially as two different tools – each end is a different size and can be used as needed. However, I like having a more tapered end that will fit into the end of my "stickers" or "vines", whatever you call them. Leaf liners and center liners are easy too – they look flat on the face but have a slight curvature. Bevelers have to be shaped right or they leave tracks, and you want you different size bevellers to have the same angle, so they are a little tougher, but not too bad. For the thumbprint in this project, the general process I followed is: 1. I use stainless steel bolts, at least 5.5 inches long (I have started using 6"). I typically use 3 sizes – ¼, 5/16, and 3/8. The smaller ones are less than $2 each, and the larger are just over $2. You can use regular bolts or nails or anything, just check for corrosion before you use it – just stamp it on some scrap. I used regular zinc covered bolts for a while, and they work just fine – I have several that are part of my regularly used tools. 2. Leave the bolt threads on – you can use that to clamp in your vise while you work, then saw them off. I like tools with a final length of either 4.25" or 4.5" long. 3. Draw the rough shape of your tool on the bolt head with a Sharpie. This gives you a rough idea of how much metal to remove on a grinder before you get to the more detailed work. 4. Use a grinder to rough out the outside shape – I do this very rough. I don't try to do any curvature with a grinder (for example, I don't do the bottom of a shader with the grinder). Picture 1 is the tool and the impression when I finish with the grinder. Note it is very rough, and large. The grinder is just for bulk metal removal… but it takes too much off too fast to be used for detail work. http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n44/robertw_2006/IMG_4390.jpg 5. Once you have the rough shape, use a mill file to give you tool shape. I find it easiest to have a finished tool to compare to as I go. Many tools have subtle curves that you don't really notice until you try to make your own. Stamp your new tool into test leather often to make sure you are getting the shape you want. Note the second impression – it is a little smaller, and has a little more shape. This is about the point I stop using the file and go to emory cloth. http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n44/robertw_2006/IMG_4394.jpg 6. Continue to refine the shape. Once you are happy with the rough shape, use coarse emory cloth to put the final shape to it. Impression #3 is about the point at which I stopped using the coarse emory cloth. The scrap in the picture is to give you an idea of how often I am testing the stamp as I go. http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n44/robertw_2006/IMG_4395.jpg 7. Continue to refine the shape - use medium emory cloth then 600 grit to work out the grinder and file marks. Impression #4 is taken while I was using the medium emory cloth. See how much smaller the stamp is getting? Don't take too much off with the grinder… it is easy to make a tool smaller, but you can't make it larger! http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n44/robertw_2006/IMG_4396.jpg 8. At this point, I will clean up the tool and take it to my bench and do some testing with it. Typically, that leads me back to step 6 with the coarse emory cloth. Repeat as many times as necessary (hey, nobody said this was simple J). Impression #5 is taken while I was working with the 600 grit paper in the testing stage. See on the face of the tool – you can see very fine marks that I haven't worked out yet – I will work those out too. http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n44/robertw_2006/IMG_4398.jpg 9. Once you like the shape, use 1500 grit wet/dry sandpaper to put a nice polish on it. Then I put the smooth tool to use and make sure it walks if it is a walking tool, and just generally make sure it is going to work. http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n44/robertw_2006/IMG_4399.jpg 6. Then polish with a rag wheel on a bench grinder (I use rouge for stainless first, followed by a different wheel with white rouge on it). Then it is time for the lining tool. On this tool, I am using a 75 LPI file from Brownells (www.brownells.com). I try to get one end of the tool face, then line it up and get the other end of the tool face. I use magnifying glasses to get the lines lined up after I have run the file across the face once. It is tough to line them up, and takes practice. Don't be afraid to file off the lines and start again. The good news is that, even it isn't perfect, nobody will notice on your leather! I studied one of my good tools from a custom maker under a magnifying glass, and the lines aren't perfect, but you can't tell that in the stamp impression. http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n44/robertw_2006/IMG_4400.jpg 7. Then back to the scrap, to test some more now that the lining is done. http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n44/robertw_2006/IMG_4402.jpg 8. Once you are happy with it, take a fine brush and some household cleaner (even a tooth brush) and clean out any filings, and clean up the metal dust. Then cut the tool to the right length with a hacksaw and clean up the rough end. Do some final polishing, then you have your finished tool! http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n44/robertw_2006/IMG_4403.jpg 7. Here are a few of my tools. There are a couple of leaf liners, a small and a medium thumbprint, a set of fine bevellers (75 LPI) and a set of coarser (50 LPI). http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n44/robertw_2006/IMG_4404.jpg Hope this is helpful. Have fun… jump in and start filing – that's the best way to learn.
  11. Will Ghormley has patterns that I have had great success with, both for gunbelts and for holsters, even for a carrying case for a rifle. I dont know if tandy or hidecrafter still carry them, but thats where i got them a few years ago. http://www.willghormley-maker.com/
  12. Indy, if anything about my belt reminded you in any way of the belt that Kieth had on here, I am very flattered . He does amazing work. Carving the inside is easy . I don't do anything fancy, just a wave pattern - anybody that lines their belts can do it. It is a nice touch that draws compliments from your customers. Re the slicking, I actually slicked the edges, but after a couple of weeks of wear those little furry edges come up - argggg! ... I dont seem to have a problem when I use an edge coat, but i just wanted to leave this one natural, so i rubbed it with water and a wooden slicker. On the few occasions I do that, I end up re-slicking after some wear. How do you folks slick natural edges? Any tips appreciated.... Thanks all, for the nice comments and for any ideas on slickingn (or anything else).
  13. This is a belt I made for my son a couple of weeks ago. The pattern is by Carey Blanchard. It is 1.5" wide, with 1" billets, on 6/7 oz leather, lined with 6/7 oz, so it is a pretty heavy belt. Finish is Sheridan brown antique on top of Neatlac and sealed with Tankote. It is machine stitched with a Boss. Critiques welcome - I am always wanting to hear what other folks do. Did anybody else try this pattern? It was provided by the Leather Crafter's Journal with a subscription renewal notice. robert PS. Happy Fathers Day to you dads.
  14. I dont make saddles, and the thickness and sheer size is a factor in the casing/carving discussion, but I was taught to case the entire project, then wet it from the back side as it needs it. If you add too much moisture to the carving, the fibers swell and you lose definition. By adding moisture from the back, it wicks up to the top and wets the carving surface more uniformly. I know others that let the leather dry and then re-wet it later and it works fine for them - perhaps it is simply a factor of not adding too much moisture at one time.
  15. bruce, did you have a problem with the hair coming up through your stitch holes with the thread? i tried a notebook once with a hair on inlay, but never got it to look nice because of that issue. I was hand sewing - I wouldnt think that would make a difference, but perhaps...
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