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Everything posted by JohnBarton

  1. Can always depend on Leather Worker.net members to have the right answer! Thank you.
  2. These were finished up in 2012 but they are being delivered now. I am really happy with how they turned out. When we do these we never know how each piece of leather will take the colors so often we end up blending colors and that leads to some pretty cool uniquely colored cases. All of these are tooled across the seam on the back seam as well. All of these cases have laminated leather endcaps.
  3. Use good clean leather. We find a lot that lighter colors tend to highlight every flaw in the skin even when you can't see it before applying color. So now we buy ultra clean corrected grain which we use for the lighter stained pieces. Even then we sometimes will end up with blotchy pieces. When that happens someone else will be getting a black or dark brown case later. :-) Maybe some of the pros here have other tips. We generally will test on a scrap piece of the same leather before doing the whole piece. Sometimes that works and sometimes we still get funny spots. Other than that I don't have any advice but I will sure take any that I can get.
  4. As others have said your work never fails to amaze. It's not just that you make your own stamps but that you arrange them so intricately and blend the carving so seamlessly. Whenvever I see your work I think it could be 1000 years old and have been made by masters who deidcated their and their son's lives to the craft of working leather. Thank you for continuing to share and inspire.
  5. We get purple premixed from our supplier here and here we mixed in some blue to adjust the shade and thin it out with water. We generally do color samples for the customer until they are happy with the shade. I'd show you the bottle but it wouldn't do any good as it's packaged for China. Fwiw we use syringes to mix colors and try to write down our mixes so we can repeat them later.
  6. Thanks Michael, I should have read through the thread. You said it all right here.
  7. It's not a loophole. Fair Use does not cover commercial works. It is 100% illegal to take a copyrighted image or a trademarked logo and use it commercially. Fair use is broad but it draws the line at reproduction and distribution. Fair use covers excerpting for commentary, use in satire, and personal reproduction as a backup. Even one-off items are infringing if the copyrighted/trademarked images are used. That's the law. Now will someone come after you? Probably not unless you get a lot of attention for your work. I will admit right here and now that I use images and trademarks in my work when people request it. I don't see any harm in putting the logo of a football team on a case other than I find it tacky personally. I am not selling the case as a Colts case and the way I see it is that it's not really much different if I tool the Colts logo on the case or the customer goes and buys a Colts patch and glues it to the case. I guess one could argue that the Colts get some small revenue from the sale of that patch somehow and not any from my use of it. Well, that's offset well enough by the lifetime of advertising my $500 leather case is providing them. I will take my chances on being contacted about it. Now we do agree that if I put up a page on my site with all the team logos and advertise I can and will do any "team" case that this is way over the line. Regarding replicas. There is no copyright on utilitarian items. The design on a leather bag is not copyrightable. It can only be protected under a design patent which specifically covers the decorative look and style. This costs money and time to get and is usually worthless to the small maker as there is not enough money to defend this patent when it's infringed. Nothing about a created piece is copyrightable unless it's non-utilitarian art. So no loophole is needed to create replicas of anything. The only exception to this is called trade dress which is a sort of copyright that exists when a company's products become known for a particular style. This area is however the slipperiest to establish and defend. This is also why the big brands in fashion bags put their logos all over the bags. This makes it impossible to replicate the bag without infringing on the trademark. However the bag itself can be duplicated without any trademarks and this is perfectly legal in the USA and most countries. Not all countries though, the law varies slightly throughout the world. That said on a general note copying is what has led us to where we are as a species. I mean individually we can be against it and I personally have lost millions in revenue to being copied. But the reality is that anything made that is useful or attractive is going to be copied. Biologically we are copies of our parents, socially we are copies of our societies norms. As makers most of us learned by copying the teacher's example. Innovation only happens through copying and tinkering with what has come before. So while it hurts us individually when we see our work copied in the grander scale we have contributed to the ongoing evolution of the species by making something worth copying. Each of us has to make our own decisions as to how far we will go when making things in using other people's ideas. Hopefully instead of just aping what others have done we tweak it and instill some new perspective. If not then at least we spread good ideas hopefully attached to quality work. I didn't go back and read the rest of the thread. Probably read it before but I am just rambling here......
  8. Well I see this topic came back to life........got an email notice that there was a response. The topic title is comparison to other's work, the subtitle is 'how to do it without being a jerk', the shortest answer is probably that there is no way to do it without being a jerk. Meanwhile since I put the topic up Rusty Melton has truly become a master case maker. He builds a case now that takes no backseat to any other cue case maker ever in my opinion.
  9. We have them made. In the absence of custom extrusion tubes like this you can bundle plumbing and electrical tubes to make the interior. Search my posts and you will find descriptions of the process.
  10. Thank you everyone. It's a journey to teach people how to tool when I don't really know how to do it that well myself. I have a tiny talent for design and layout but I have to dig deep to bring it out. So I work with the apprentices to try to guide them and provide them with examples from the really talented toolers out there. I encourage them to explore and play with different ways to do things but to remember to pay attention to balance and flow. I hope we can get in to some really abstract stuff soon as well. That cannot really be taught but I hope by providing them with structure that they will get good at it and also bored with it enough to really let go and come with some radical stuff.
  11. Most industrial die makers use AutoCad so you can send them .dxf files. In corel and probably in inkscape you can export or save as dxf and it should be fine. I always ask if I can send corel files as well for control purposes. Most of the time they also have corel. For that you can send the files as .cmx instead of .cdr and that will generally open up across versions.
  12. A free and light vector drawing program is InkScape - you can find it via google easily. We use CorelDraw when we do patterns on the computer. You can find older versions of Corel for very little money that work perfectly fine for the needs of leatherworkers on Ebay. Look for Corel9, 10, 11, 12 and 13. I find that mocking up on paper is the trick here. We sample almost every part and element on paper and cardboard first and then in scrap leather before we commit to using the good stuff. With practice you can learn to print your patterns at exactly the right size you want. Sometimes you will need to print on two or more sheets and tape them together. Invest the time to learn to set up your printer's settings and learn and it will pay off hugely for those of you who would like to make your patterns on the computer. Lastly, try to avoid stretching your patterns if you want to change sizes. The computer is great for making patterns BUT you can get distorted easily if you start stretching the images you make. The way to do it in my opinion is to select the nodes and move them thus preserving proportions. This last bit is surely over the heads of those of you who have never used a drawing program to set up patterns. But as you get into it this will become clear. The beauty of using the computer is that you can change shapes and sizes easily. For example the credit card dividers that Reddevil shows can easily be changed to an almost infinite number of shapes and still retain function.
  13. I am interested in purchasing your process if that's what you are selling. We are a small shop that does custom work and low volume production. I have been looking for a consistent and dependable solution to imprint images onto leather for a while. Or please send me some info on what exactly you are offering to jb@jbideas.com. Thanks, John Barton
  14. Dylan, Bobocat is currently booking students for his Beijing classes. http://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=17944604275 My wife and I just signed up to attend them. Be nice to see you there.
  15. Excellent post. The wealth of experience on this site is incredible. I guess my thought after reading this is how would I feel if I provided something to someone that alters how the seatbelt works and they got seriously hurt due to the performance being altered. I personally think that when it comes to things like seatbelts let the people using them do whatever they are going to do with them. The idea presented here can be achieved by any number of things including a common belt. I'd stay away from it. the intention is good but the risk is great to cause harm. When it comes to safety gear I'd have to be damn sure of what I was doing before trying to make or interfere with it.
  16. Nice Site - I am an old tool junkie and glad to see your site up. I will browse it from time to time.
  17. Guess this means I won't be getting the three cases I am owed. :-( Well good luck in life young man. Hopefully you can take care of all the people you owed cases to who paid you a deposit. And please put those case interiors up for sale as I know that many case makers in the US would love to have them.
  18. This case was designed by our new tooler/designer Guo Jin in collaboration with John and Karen. It was debuted at the Super Billiards Expo and sold there. What we like about it is the combination of geometric shapes, creative stamping and floral carving. The case is called Thought to signify the amount of thought, practice and patience that went into creating it. Guo Jin created the initial pattern, John Barton refined it, Karen did the coloring, the team put it together. We made the magnetic Puzzle Latch to match the main shape on the design. The D-ring holders are riveted to the body with metal bracing under the decorative covers. The covers are sewn by hand all the way through. Thus the appearance is completely natural and flowing and still the reinforcement is present without being seen. Thank you for allowing us to show you our work.
  19. I like to use cloth bags to deliver our work in. I think it's a classy touch. I also include a business card holder which I fill with about 10 of our cards. If we have learned anything from Apple it's that first impressions set the tone. Nice packaging is kind of like someone holding the door open leading to a beautiful room inside. Already impressed with the service you are more receptive to what's inside. I could share many testimonials I have received from my customers talking about how impressed with the packaging they were.
  20. Absolutely right. Even in my shop we are constantly tweaking patterns to account for different thicknesses in leather, curves, pocket shapes, etc.... pattern making is actually the easiest part of the process.....knowing what to do with them and how to do it is the hard part.
  21. If you developed it then there is no reason for you to give away the bread and butter to those who won't do the grunt work. All of us HATE to make patterns. Nothing like making a pattern you think is the nuts and then you put the piece together to find that you still need to tweak it. And tweak it again and again. This IS the process that so many people want to skip over. I share what I WANT to share. I have shared basic patterns here and tutorials on how to do some techniques and also just given examples of stuff we developed or refined. But no way will I give out the patterns of the stuff that I spent a LOT of time developing. I didn't even have anyone else's case to start with for some of this stuff, we had to invent it some of the ways we do things. I do get very irritated when people ask me to give them a blueprint to the case making business. Thankfully that only happens about once a year. I maintain conversations with several case makers and aspiring case makers and will often send them detail pics on skype of the way we do things. But this happens AFTER we have become friends and if I have time. I don't mind sharing when it's on my time. But I don't share everything and I see that when some people copy me they get it wrong in important ways that are particular to cue cases. This is because they can see the exterior but have no clue about the engineering to make that pretty little d-ring holder able to withstand 15lbs of stress on it. I have an abundance mentality which basically means that I really feel that there is business enough for everyone. But I don't see the need to be the R&D facility for my competitors.
  22. This is where the money is. NEVER EVER EVER EVER run debt in your business and keep turning every scrap of leather into something to sell and you will do ok. But as soon as you start thinking it's ok to buy this $3000 machine and can't pass up that $800 worth of leather, and what's a couple hundred on the credit card for a new knife.......then you dig a hole that it very hard to climb out of. A friend of mine in the cue making business built himself a nice life one piece of machinery and wood at a time. He never went into debt and only bought more machines or wood stock when he had cash to do it. As a result he owns four corvettes, house free and clear, travels the world and was even elected mayor of his little town. I wish I had followed his example. DEBT sucks. In a major way. Another promising talent I know flamed out because he jumped in offering custom leather cue cases for $250. Sorry but I can't even get out of bed and think about making a real custom leather case for $250. So I knew he was headed for a wreck and sure enough he got a ton of orders from customers who wanted all sorts of custom works done on their cases. Well folks as you know part of the process is thinking about what you need to do and the other part is doing it. Facing a mountain of orders where each one is very different than the last one and knowing you are going to put 20-30 hours into it on top of the cost of materials will burn you out quick. And that's just what happened with him leaving many order unfilled. I picked up the slack on three of the orders and so I ended up being owed 3 cases that I will probably never see. On the other end of the spectrum is Jack Justis. Jack retired early and started making cue cases out of his house in 1989. He has a very limited set of choices and one style of case that he sticks to. His laundry room is the workroom and so I'd bet that he was profitable not long after he started. Jack says he makes about 100 cases a year. At an average price of say $600 a case that's $60,000 income. Y'all can look at the case and figure the costs and see that this is a nice little profit for a home based business. Jack's secret is that he keeps the case simple to make, only what he can handle by himself. Within the framework he established there is a lot of room for customers to have fairly unique designs but the basic construction and patterns remain the same from case to case. So there is a very good example of how to make money in leather work. Find a niche, specialize and be consistent. Also Jack gives away cases to prominent players which helps to market his wares. I figure he does about ten or so of these a year. I think that he has some sort of arrangement where they don't actually own the cases, he makes them a new one each year and takes the old one back and sells it - if that's right then it's even smarter as he certainly gets full retail or more for the used case being as how it belonged to a well known pro player. You can take a lesson from Jack and if you have the ability to structure your business like this then you should do ok.
  23. Here we played around with inverse carving to make a nice silhouette piece. Filching several cowboy themes from around the web I stitched them together and this is the result. The rest of the piece is textured. Rest of the pictures are here: http://www.jbcases.com/texas.html
  24. Paul's lessons have been a huge influence on us this past year. It's a sad day for the community and for his family. He will live on forever though through the lessons he leaves behind for generations of leather workers to come. Godspeed Paul. Paint the sky!
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