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About SmokeyPoint

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    Smokey Point, Wa
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    All forms of leather working, hunting, fishing, scuba

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  1. It's easy to visualize the answer to this question if you think in terms of extremes. Imagine a pair of sandals made for the diminutive feet of an Asian woman, let's say a size 4. Now imagine the same straps applied to a pair made for Shaquille O'Neal at size 22. Clearly the straps need to get longer to accommodate the larger foot, or we'd be assuming that a foot simply grows in length to get to size 22, but not height and width. Since feet and hands are generally proportional, the longer the foot, the wider and higher it will also be. However, there are also variances among persons of similar sizes. Some men have short, stubby fingers and some have long, thin fingers for a given palm size. It's the same with feet, which is why we see different widths for shoes. If you want to figure out a general measurement for flip-flops, take a rule in with you to a department store and measure a few different strap lengths from different brands of flip-flops and record the lengths against the sizes. You'll begin to see a pattern for the GENERAL lengths for each size.
  2. So, I'm going to be the counter-argument to a lot of the responses and might get flamed for it, but whatever. There is NOTHING wrong with corrected grain (AKA sometimes Top Grain) leather or chrome tanned leather, as long as you understand their limitations and uses. Don't eat chrome tanned leather - I think we can all agree on that. I would also advise against eating veg tanned leather. Ok, kidding aside, it seems like you understand most of the limitations - it won't mould, stamp, take dye worth a darned, the edges don't burnish well, etc. But it's generally softer, more pliable and more resistant to water than veg tanned. You don't really need to seal it against moisture - that's one of its good traits. Uses: Bags of all types, accessories (dop kits, etc.), portfolios and journals, wallets, phone cases, the list goes on. As for the cut and paste work not being "craft", I disagree. Starting out in leather, you're going to explore your world with your tools and materials. It's amazing what you can make on your own with just a few bits and pieces of leather and hardware. Don't be afraid to do the simple stuff. If you're just starting out, make the little things. They're good practice cutting, gluing, and sewing. All of that improves your craft and allows you to take steps towards bigger and better things. Sell them if you can. It allows you to buy more/better tools and better materials, then continue to hone your skills. We don't all start out apprenticing to a master craftsman. Eventually you'll find your focus and zero in on how you want your craft to evolve. Some will never go beyond the cut and paste things that are little more than someone else sewing a quilt or a dress. Others will stamp, carve, mould, and burnish their way to leather nirvana. To each his own. Make your messenger bag. What's the worst that can happen? You're out $50 in leather and have gained some valuable insight into what to do and what not to do. I know this from experience - I just cut apart the very first messenger bag I tried to make into scraps. I had tried to sew it on the machine and couldn't keep the backstitching straight. The second bag I made, I hand stitched instead. I use it to carry my iPad around and it's a great bag. It has held up well and the leather was never treated beyond the factory; it's corrected grain, chrome tanned leather. No apologies will be given. I learned from the first bag that my $3k sewing machine is not the direction I want my leather work to go, so mostly it collects dust. $50 in leather is cheap by comparison. -Sean
  3. Looking for some advice from experienced sandal makers. I was inspired by the latest Leather Crafters and Saddlers Journal to build a present for wife's birthday. Here's the background story in her words: "A few years ago Sean and I were on a late night stroll on a Mexican beach when we came across of newly hatched nest of turtles. Instead of trying to make their way towards the ocean, they were drawn to a light away from the beach. So we scooped them up and gently released them in the ocean. There were hundreds of turtles and I was like a little kid holding these tiny little creatures. It was a life changing moment for me, and I have loved anything to do with turtles ever since." My intent here was to make her a pair of sandals with turtle hatch-lings on top, and as we stroll on those same Mexican beaches this winter, her flip-flops will make the same tracks in the sand we found the next morning all those years ago. But... here's my dilemma... Since she posted this on Facebook, I now have two orders for these things - not what I was expecting. I could turn them down, but they were kind of fun to make. The problem is I don't know that they will withstand years of use, which I would expect if I'm going to charge money for these things. If my wife's break or wear out, I can fix them or make her new ones. So, I was in a bit of a hurry when I made these - I know I have a couple faulty stitches, and my stamping technique is improving but not totally there yet - I get all that. But I cut two stitch grooves, one on top of the sole and one on the bottom, and the stitches sit in these grooves, slightly recessed below the surface of the leather. Cobblers cut an angled cut in the leather and put the stitches in there, covering the actual stitches on the bottom with leather from the cut. Will these exposed stitches on the bottom wear too quickly? They're 0.8mm Tiger thread, so they're poly, but my concern is the abrasion from sand getting in there and fraying/cutting them. And the thong piece between the toes is a piece of suede 0.7" wide and 5 oz when folded over double and glued. Will that wear too quickly and break? I didn't want to use full grain leather because the suede is more comfortable, but like I said, if hers break I can fix them. For custom order sandals, should I use full grain leather for these or will the suede work fine? I tend to over-engineer things so I don't want to use an I-beam where a 4X4 will work. Thanks in advance, -Sean
  4. Tyler, I've been looking for watch strap templates, and these look good but hard to tell from the image. Have you thought about setting up an Etsy store and selling them there? Just "send me paypal money to this email address" doesn't leave warm, fuzzy feelings with people. -Sean
  5. Hey Devil Dog, One small gotcha here - one Marine to another... The USMC has trademarked the Eagle, Globe and Anchor and requires you register products for sale with same and pay royalties for its use. It's a big tangled mess and requires a ton of red tape. Just be forewarned, put that stuff on Etsy or Ebay and you may get a knock on the door. And, no, earning the insignia does not earn you the right to sell it. You can give them away, but that's still a slippery slope. Great job! -Sean
  6. We use the H&R Block tax software for small businesses and it walks us through the process. Just enter sales and expenses - that's it. My wife does the actual taxes but I'm there when she does that part because I want to make sure the numbers are right. Don't know what line it enters it on, that's where I depart the process. -Sean
  7. If you're going to try to try to track inventory against COGS in a manufacturing business, which is what it sounds like you're trying to do, then you'll need to jump up to the version of Quickbooks that supports that. The one you buy at Costco, pro I believe, doesn't really support it. And that other version is $$/month more than I wanted to pay. And it would turn leather crafting into a JOB! I talked with a friend who used to do a similar business for decades, and decided to do a simple cash-based accounting. Now, in QB things either get entered as bills or as sales (invoices). All leather, hardware, tools, etc., are expenses and all sales are income. A very simple profit/loss statement and my taxes are done. There's the accounting for tools and machinery for the SOS, but that's different and I track it separately. And, I do track the cost of materials per item so I can determine pricing, but that doesn't go into QB or on any tax forms. -Sean
  8. To the OP - I have one of these and went through the same exercises you're engaged in. Trial and error for the temp/pressure for chrome tanned. Every leather will stamp differently and with varied success. If you are stamping veg tanned, which I suggest for the type of label you're looking for, then case the leather as others have pointed out and leave the heat off. It will burn the leather due to the moisture, it generally won't burn it consistently by hand, and... it's not necessary. Just make a jig to align the stamp on the patches, line it up and press down hard. Start with a five second press and go up or down from there. -Sean
  9. I use Ritza 25 and I have to literally cut my needles off of the thread when I'm done stitching, even after stitching a meter or more (since you're in Germany ), the thread never comes undone with even just a couple cm of thread beyond the eye. How? Thread through eye as normal, pull enough thread through to go beyond the needle point for a few cm, pierce the thread through the flat side a few cm from the end, pull the needle through the hole all the way and tighten it so there is a loop of maybe 3-5mm beyond the eye. The first pull through an awl hole will take some work, probably with pliers to flip the loop because this puts a twist in the thread, but your thread should never come off. Let me know if you need pictures or something. -Sean
  10. Nice! Maybe look at getting a yard or two of 10oz canvas, you can also use it for burnishing the edges of veg tan leather. Make a removable liner out of that, then mix paraffin and beeswax 50/50 and wax your liner. People make waxed canvas dopp bags all the time. This would be that, with a leather jacket... -Sean
  11. Thanks all, it really came together. There are a couple things I'd already change but for the most part I'm very happy with the results.
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