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About fredk

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Northern Ireland, UK

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  • Leatherwork Specialty
    bags, bonnets, boards, belts
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    google search

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  1. fredk

    Basic Bag Bottom Design

    Most of my bags are made; two layers thin leather on front or back panel with compressed cardboard in between the layers. If its a one piece front panel/base/back panel/flap it gets 4 individual pieces of card, each cut to allow for glued and sewn edges and allowance for the corner to become the next piece. The gussets are sometimes made the same way, or done as a single layer if its your #2 3 pc, as in the belt bag above, which is now about 20 years old. I like bags to compress or expand to the limit of the gusset. As for keeping the bag on square its up to how thick the leather is and if you add re-enforcement
  2. a. make it a feature; if the client is any ways a bit overweight a curved belt will be more comfortable on (him). If (he) is doubtful, let him wear it for a while. He'll not return it b. I think ~ if you wet/dampen the leather and let it dry slowly and naturally a couple of times that will ease the tension in it and the next belt straps will cut straight
  3. You are releasing the tension in the stretched leather. The hide has been stretched during tanning and drying. The whole hide is in tension, a different amount in different directions. Without the pull of the rest of the hide the cut strip is returning to where it wants be naturally A belt with a curve in it is actually good. I cut belt straps straight, but after some time of wearing they take on a curve, especially on the bit on the back. You could wet the leather and hang it up to dry with a weight on the end to pull in downwards
  4. fredk

    When can you call yourself a craftsman?

    I'm not the best one to give advice on what you should or could do. Perhaps signage saying how many years experience you have, something like 'Hand crafting leather since 2006' or ' . . . for over 14 years' ** ~ 'Every item carefully fully made and finished by hand by the craftsman himself' ~ 'Guaranteed made in Australia by a local expert craftsman of over 14 years experience' Maybe? Design and either get printed or print up yourself (computer printer?) some A5 sized handouts with photos of a few items and short concise explanations of how you see to quality. They will pay for themselves in the long term. I don't think you need to improve your work or change what you make (as a member on here, I reckon we can take your quality for granted, ) but you may need to increase your marketing and pushing yourself in the craft fair. When I was a working photographer I had a friend, also a photographer. He once said to me ' We are friends, but when it comes to business I intend to wipe you out and I expect you do the same to me, and we will both be wiping out every other photographer in the area' and he mean't it. Alls fair in love, war and business. **Local home bakery near to me. Not long open, just about 1 year, has recently added 'Making quality home baking since 2014' ~ thats only 4 or 5 years yet I know some local women are impressed that the bakery has been producing for 'that long!' I think the people running the bakery shop started off literally at home.
  5. fredk

    Basic Bag Bottom Design

    I've done the; 5 pc, the #1 3pc and the #2 3pc. 5 pc: round the bottom corners of the front and back panels to ease the gusset pieces around. Sew the bottom gusset piece to the two side gussets first #1 3 pc: round the bottoms of the gusset side pieces #2 3 pc is just the 5 pc without the base being separate and needing sewing. Rounding the bottom corners can be just a small curve right up to a quarter or half circle. Not only eases attaching and sewing the gusset but also square corners get bashed in rather quickly giving the bag a bad look This is a type #2 3pc ( sorry, its an old photo), soft leather for a continuous gusset, rounded corners on front and back panels
  6. fredk

    Rally Navigator's Work Board

    Thank you for the compliments.
  7. fredk

    When can you call yourself a craftsman?

    I differ; no he won't. In this 21st C age he will gain more and more business - that is my experience, not only in leather work but also in wooden toy making and furniture making with my father. Add the words 'Craft' or 'Artisan' to anything these days and the ordinary buying folk become blind to the quality of the product - in this I speak with knowledge. eg a coffee shop not far me; did coffees, teas and sticky buns. Was losing out to a big chain one newly opened. On advice the shop 'rebranded' as 'Artisan' Coffee, and pushed that their stickies were all home-baked, ie in shop. Turned their fortunes around inside 3 weeks! Still the same doing inside, they made very little changes to how they did anything - it was the branding 'Artisan' sorry, I'm going to hit you between the eyes, Do feel threatened. Work to get rid of that threat. Call yourself an Experienced Craftsman or something. Push and push and push your quality over his. If you don't he'll be taking business away from you. I speak from experience, below a tale of woe; I used to be the only leatherworker selling 'medieval' style leather goods at craft fairs here in N.I. Then comes along a guy, calls himself the 'Medieval Leather Crafter'. His work was . . . rubbish. And dearer than mine. I made items to the patterns supplied by museums etc, his were literally just scraps roughly sewn together. I and my Mrs thought he'll drop way, so I basically ignored his rubbish. Guess wot happened. I was dropped by the craft centres and castles and museums as my stuff was not 'historically accurate' compared to the interloper. I lost out to him because I ignored the threat of sub-standard work but someone more pushy than me
  8. fredk

    Rally Navigator's Work Board

    I think this the first time I've posted up something for you to look at Background to this. Two members of my vintage sports car club got married a few months ago. I only found out on July 2nd (at 04:12 BST!). I like this pair so I thought I'd make them something especially as both are, to put it politely, very, very affluent and don't need a toaster or kettle. However, both compete in vintage car rallies around the world as well at home. This started as 'I know, I'll cover a clip board for them' ~~ then it grew and grew as I added the things that rally navigators need to hand. Vintage (aka Antique) cars do not have very many places to stow the necessaries during a rally. This is one of the pair with one of their cars, an early Buick Now I present to you my Rally Navigator's Work Board. About 4 evenings designing and thinking about it and 7 days to make, maybe just about 10 hours in total. It measures 34 cm wide by 42 cm long. Leather is some 2mm (belly type I think) that I had laying around in my oddments box. Dye is Fiebings. A couple of years ago I over thinned some Tan colour so I added some Dark Brown to it and added some Red dye just for. . . . well, cos I felt like it. And speaking of felt, sandwiched between the front and back leather pieces is 3mm MDF board with a layer of felt on the back. Item holders on the front are sewn to the front leather but all rivets are ready-rivets which go through the MDF board, but not the back piece of leather. The holder for the stopwatch was wet moulded, then a soft leather glued to the inside. The pen/pencil holder is wet moulded. The eraser/sharpener loop is just a strap sewn on. After dyeing it got several coats of thinned Resolene and then about 3 coats of a floor 'polish' which is actually a water-thin acrylic varnish. I find a few coats of this helps water-proof items Without the map in place: Across the top: 4 sail eyelets, you always need somewhere to tie or hook things, in this case I've looped the stopwatch lanyard through them. Below is the pencil/pen holder. Left the eraser/sharpener held by a loop, then the maps clip and on the right the stopwatch pocket. Below it is a bulldog paper clip - tbh I'm not happy with that but I couldn't find anything better. The back of the note book below that slips down through a slot in leather. It covers the top of a pocket deliberately The pocket, unobscured, A few items stuffed in with card to stretch the pocket a wee bit The rear of the board is plain except it has a panel with the couple's names on it sewn on Plenty of mistakes, could have been better I know
  9. fredk

    Sources for Round Stitching Chisels/Punches?

    I bought a couple sets like these. I got 4mm spacing and 6mm spacing. I've only used them a few times but they work fine
  10. fredk

    When can you call yourself a craftsman?

    aye chris you are basically correct. But in that my friend was a Gold Smith, he could not get his own makers stamp unless he was approved by the Guild. The issuance of Gold and Silver Smiths makers stamps is highly regulated. I mainland Europe in most professions one has to do an apprenticeship, then qualify, then spend a few years as a journeyman before one can call oneself a Craftsman. In the UK no one gives a sod anymore but many professions still insist on you have qualifications.
  11. fredk

    When can you call yourself a craftsman?

    right, here goes... it can depend where you live. I had a friend who is a Gold and Silver Smith. He was legally not allowed to call him a Craftsman in those metals until he had made his Master Piece and it had been positively appraised by the Gold Smiths Guild in London However, that apart, I reckon its when you enjoy what you do, turn out items to not only the best of your ability but push yourself to do even better on each successive item and sometimes have a break in your heart when you hand that item over to your client
  12. fredk

    clamp vise?

    if it works for you it works
  13. How about a toggle? sorry no pictures A. roll a strip of leather. Glue it as you roll it. Leave the last couple of cms. Punch a hole through the roll. thread a piece of thong/lace through hole. Glue one end of lace along the roll then glue that last couple of cms over the lace. One leather toggle with lace to attach. Attach to bag/box with lace though a hole. b. counter part. A loop of lace. each end through a hole in box/bag, large enough for toggle to go through length wise but not for it to go width wise
  14. fredk

    Hotdog collar

    hot-diggety-dog, go faster flame job. . . . . n i c e
  15. fredk

    Die rack

    Clever I think it would do for pattern templates as well