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About Tugadude

  • Rank
    Leatherworker.net Regular

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    St. Louis, MO
  • Interests
    Leathercraft, vintage bicycles and my family.

LW Info

  • Leatherwork Specialty
  • Interested in learning about
    To improve my skills and respect the craft
  • How did you find leatherworker.net?
    Surfing for examples of leatherwork

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4,650 profile views
  1. Tugadude

    Jig for my pricking irons

    I like it!
  2. Tugadude

    When can you call yourself a craftsman?

    A couple of observations. There is no need to feel threatened by competition. Without competition maybe all leather belts would be rubbish. In my business (not leatherwork) there is a trend towards the bottom lately. Contractors demand cheaper and cheaper pricing on products and don't seem to appreciate the service aspect that they once did. I believe in a value added approach. I work hard to make sure that my customers are well satisfied and in order for that to happen there is an attendant cost. That cost is added into the pricing. Sometimes I will have a customer say, "Hey, I want to buy it from you but can you match so-and-so's price?" The reason they are doing that is because they know if they buy from the other company they will get crappy service. So in the end they want MY good service at the competition's crappy service price. It doesn't add up. So I generally stand my ground and defend my service and maybe give a little back, but never match the lower price. Good service comes at a price. So you have a choice. Take the high ground and offer your customers finished goods, slicked edges, better leather, etc. or give them unfinished goods. Maybe that is fine with them? Maybe they don't understand the difference. Then it is your job to educate them. Make them a discriminating buyer. Tell them what burnishing is and why it makes a difference. Justify the difference. If handled correctly, your competition will likely get wind that customers are demanding more finished product and will begin to raise the bar on their own quality. That is how it is supposed to work. There is always room for bottom feeders. However, I've never wanted to be one. Or buy from one either.
  3. Tugadude

    1st (wallet) and 2nd (holster) projects.

    Great job on both projects! The edges on the holster are amazing. And I agree with Rockoboy's comment on the stitching. One suggestion to think about is the thickness of the wallet. If it works for you, great, but it is too thick for my tastes. I would keep the thicker shell but use thinner leather for the pockets and probably skive the edges down as well. Cutting the pockets in a "T" shape also helps reduce thickness. What I'm afraid of is as you load that sucker with cards it is going to get really plump and might not be so comfortable in your pocket. Like I said, if you are happy with it, great. But I would use pockets of about half the thickness of the shell. Keep it up and make sure to share your next projects!
  4. Tugadude

    When can you call yourself a craftsman?

    Members of the Guild of Master Craftsmen are required to maintain our Aims and Objectives, or membership will be revoked. These are: To bring together all artisans engaged in a craft, art, trade, profession or vocation, in order to safeguard the interests of both craftsmen and the public. To ensure that the minimum qualifications for membership preserve the high standards of The Guild by excluding unskilled tradesmen. To publicise these high standards through national and local media, thus increasing public awareness of the ideals and aims of The Guild and its members. To promote to the public the trading assets of its members, their honour, integrity, professional expertise, high standards of workmanship and the value for money which they offer. To provide clear identification and recognition for members, in order to enable the public to distinguish them from unskilled tradesmen who try to pass themselves off as master craftsmen, and so to attract and direct work to members of The Guild. To assist all members and to protect them against the damaging and devaluing activities of the unskilled, against bureaucratic discrimination, against penal taxation and adverse legislation. Equally, to protect the public by instilling in our members a greater sense of responsibility, alerting them to the national importance of the services they render, monitoring these standards to ensure that The Guild’s high standards are being maintained, and by encouraging members to always strive for excellence. To encourage an interchange of views amongst members, to unite these views and to bring them to the attention of the Government and local authorities in order to safeguard the livelihood and welfare of members and their dependants. To constitute a pressure group to seek the support of one or more Members of Parliament to make sure that someone speaks out for the interests of Guild members where it matters most. To promote continual research within the craft, trade, art, profession or vocation in which members are engaged, thus benefitting both members and the public. To foster learning amongst apprentices and students in order to perpetuate the survival, evolution and success of their particular craft. To promote sponsorship of The Guild by persons, firms and organisations, whether by financial support, by endorsement of the activities of The Guild, or by patronage.
  5. Tugadude

    When can you call yourself a craftsman?

    Yes, without the backing of an organization, institution, union or guild, it is self-adornment. With the others there is at least the appearance of if not actual assessment and adherence to standards. Yes, if you look at the verbiage in the link I posted, there is an expectation of respect for the craft and the quality of workmanship.
  6. Tugadude

    When can you call yourself a craftsman?

    BTW, a gentleman that is often lauded for his workmanship and his willingness to help others grow in the craft is Nigel Armitage. His videos are both enjoyable and informational. I owe all of whatever stitching knowledge I have to Nigel. He is seemingly quite proud (and should be) about having attained the level of Master Craftsman. This link tells about the organization or guild. There is a requirement that your work pass an assessment and that you uphold certain standards. Sounds good to me. https://www.guildmc.com/about-us/a-sign-of-quality/
  7. Tugadude

    When can you call yourself a craftsman?

    Interesting topic. I work in the construction industry. Most trades in my neck of the woods still have unions. There is a set hierarchy within each union but they all are similar. A worker begins as an apprentice, sometimes referred to as a "cub". Then after a certain period of employment and attending classes, they attain the status of journeyman. Their level of respect increases along with their paycheck. A journeyman is expected to be able to handle any sort of work which is required for a specific job. In other words, through training and experience, they should be able to complete a given task in a workmanlike manner no matter what skills are required. That is the way it used to be. Nowadays, there are journeymen that do not have complete skillsets. They get pigeonholed into certain aspects of their craft and may become expert in some skills while neglecting others. Plasterers are supposed to know how to do interior plaster, both conventional and veneer, stucco, EIFS (Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems) and ornamental plaster. Those birds are rare. Most become competent in two or three of those operations. So in leather, I would think the same "hierarchy" would apply. There is an apprentice stage, an intermediate stage where maybe you can call yourself a craftsman and then when you have truly mastered all of the necessary skills through training and experience, a master craftsman. In labor unions there are boards made up of journeymen that judge the progress of the apprentices and later, the development of the new journeymen. You cannot declare yourself a journeyman, you have to earn it. There is a timetable for apprenticeship, but if suitable progress is not made by the time your term is up, then you are subject to dismissal. So to sum it up, in my opinion a craftsman is one who can sit down at a bench and with the proper materials and proper tools construct most any item out of leather and do so in a workmanlike manner. Perhaps this individual is not keen on making saddles but probably has the skills to do so if need be. There is always specialization and it is quite rare to find people that excel at every task. BTW, my use of the masculine form in many of the terms above is not intended as a slight to the female gender. I have great respect for women in the trades and in fact have met many who outshone their male counterparts.
  8. RockyAussie, your generosity in sharing your methods is nothing short of incredible.
  9. Tugadude

    Set of 4 edge bevelers

    There is a Tandy video where they demonstrate how to create your own board for sharpening edgers. If you keep the edges sharp those tools work just fine.
  10. Tugadude

    Proper stitching chisels from Tandy?

    Tandy sells two basic types of chisel. The black ones and the stainless steel ones. The black ones are similar to some of the popular diamond-shaped tools out there and yes, they measure those differently so you have to be careful when ordering. The black ones are coated, that is what makes them black. They are pretty smooth. Used with bee's wax blend to help lubricate they work pretty well. I still use a block of wood when punching through thicker leather to enable the chisel to be pulled out without twisting. The stainless steel ones are totally different, sort of an elongated diamond shape, more like a slit and less chunky than the black ones. I have two sets, one for finer work, 2.5 mm, and the other for larger items where I'm looking for more strength. The larger chisel, 3.5 mm, allows me to use 1.0 mm thread. Nigel Armitage reviews the Tandy Craftool Pro chisels on a youtube video. He wasn't as fond of the smaller irons as he was of the larger ones if I remember correctly.
  11. Check out this thread for facts on the change, the reason and the results....
  12. Tugadude

    Prepunching Holes?

    For what it is worth I have decided after a couple of days reflection to at least back away from the forum for awhile. Might be back, might not, we'll see. Right now the "fire" is gone. I guess as a "going away" post I want to clarify what I said above. I stand by everything I said and feel that it was pretty accurate. One, small thing that I said could be interpreted as being in error, but in actuality may not be is using a sewing machine to make holes. I've never punched a sewing needle through leather and then sat and watched to see if the hole closes up, perhaps it does, perhaps it doesn't. Maybe the size of needle in relation to thread also makes a difference. Guess we'll have to do a double-blind study with all of the variables accounted for. Volunteers line up to the right. What I do know is that if you use a drill press with a drill bit and turn it on it is going to make a hole and that hole won't close up. That was the main point of my post, trying to establish the superiority of an awl when making holes versus a drill bit that is not tapered. This point was lost on some. I could have been clearer. I meant HOLES, like the huge ones on some pre-punched projects sold in stores. That sort of hole. Sorry I wasn't clear. An awl used in a drill press that is not turned on, simply used to move it up and down is somewhat equal to using the awl stitch-by-stitch. The difference is that when you do them all in advance, they begin closing as soon as you punch (assuming you remove the awl!), so in effect they will shrink somewhat by the time you get the work into the pony. Easy enough to go through them with the awl again if that presents problems. The hole is already there, just expand it. Regarding making sure information is accurate, I have spaced this post out to make it easier to cut-and-paste and correct. We don't want misinformation polluting all of the future information seekers. I mean, the internet is all full or truth and accuracy, right? Take care all. I've learned a lot from this forum. I wish for nothing but success in its future!
  13. Tugadude

    Prepunching Holes?

    There is a difference between quibbling and sincere interest. Some folks like to sit back and interject when they see what they believe to be an error. In recent weeks I have seen posts that I feel are really opinionated and unnecessary. I have never poked the tiger, but rather tried to add clarity. I suppose my attempt muddied the waters in the eyes of some. Time to go silent for awhile and take a break. I might come back, might not. I might fade away as many have done here. A lot of once great voices on this forum have run off. Just look at some of the old threads. To those who are active here and supportive, I say good luck and it has been fun. Maybe our paths will cross again! Ray
  14. Tugadude

    Prepunching Holes?

    I'm going to stop trying to be helpful around here.
  15. Tugadude

    Prepunching Holes?

    I think there needs to be some clarification. An awl penetrates through the leather, but the actual hole it creates is smaller than the width of the awl. When it is pressed through the leather, only the tip cuts, then the awl tapers out but it is not sharp, it doesn't cut. It only EXPANDS the hole. When it is removed and the thread is inserted, it then begins closing up. Hammering afterwards also causes the hole to close even more. If you cut the leather, the cut stays pretty much the same size as the initial cut. Leather can shrink, but it doesn't "self-heal". A hole can shrink in certain circumstances, but I think if you use a drill press or sewing machine to make holes they stay the same as the diameter of whatever made the hole. An awl in a drill press is similar to an awl in hand and I have to believe that the hole will close up some if it is punched and left alone for awhile. It is just the way it is. Maybe it isn't noticeable because the awl is large to begin with and you have not difficulty inserting the thread. In the end, if it works for you, keep doing what you do. If not, try the methods suggested here and find the one that does.