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Everything posted by CitizenKate

  1. Kate's instructions have been copied into a PDF file A while back I had posted my biker wallet pattern, and a few people have asked me for more detailed information on how these wallets are put together, as it is not intuitively obvious from just looking at the pattern pieces. It took me a few tries to figure out the construction sequence; the pieces have to go together just right, or you paint yourself into a proverbial corner! I usually cut the interior pieces from some very light calf skin. But I'm out of that, and I really wanted to do this demo this weekend, so instead I used some light-weight chap/upholstery leather I had laying around. It does not sew up as nicely, and it's a little heavier than I normally like to use for this, but it's good enough for demonstration purposes. I'll probably update this later, when I've got more calf skin to work with. To start off, here is the pattern, and a couple of photos to give you an idea of what the wallet looks like when completed. If you print out the attached PDF file with no scaling, this will give you all your pattern parts in actual size. billfold_Bikers.pdf Here's a view of just a fully-assembled interior, with the cover not yet attached. It's got a zippered coin/key pouch, two bill/receipt pockets, and 3 id/cc pockets. It's a little hard to see here, but there is an eyelet through one corner of the first bill pocket that you can attach a chain to. Here's a view of the cover. Note the snaps fasten to the front of the coin pouch. On my next post, we'll get started making one of these. Kate billfold_Bikers.pdf
  2. I just had to share this with the group... I came across this very detailed compilation of modern experience on how to create cuir bouilli, or literally "boiled leather" armour, which was commonly used from the 14th-16th centuries. I probably won't get to try this anytime soon - it's just something I'm casually curious about, but since I found an article with so much practical information, I thought I should pass it along. I'd be curious to know if any of you have tried any of this. It's quite fascinating. I'll post anything else I find on this topic here.
  3. CitizenKate

    3D design programme

    Good grief, nobody here knows about Sketchup? There's a free version of it that does everything I ever needed. I also use Inkscape for 2D and isometric drawings - excellent free drawing/design/illustration tool.
  4. I got a chance to use latex rubber as a dye mask on my powercat clock project (yes, I'm finally getting some more work done on it), and decided to snap some photos as I worked so you could see how well this latex rubber works as a dye mask. If you like to spray on your dyes, this seems to be a fairly trouble-free way of keeping the dye off the areas of your project where you don't want it. PLEASE NOTE: Putting this latex product on leather may affect how the leather is able to absorb dye after the latex is removed. It has also been known to cause some discoloration of some leathers. (I haven't had this problem with the leather I use, but some people have reported this problem.) It's generally best to only use it on areas you don't plan to apply dye to. It is still usually okay to use paints and antiques or stains in those areas. But if in doubt, test first. ALSO PLEASE NOTE: This demo was done with the dye being applied with an air brush. If you are applying dye with a bristle brush, you will still need to be somewhat careful around the edges of the area being dyed. If your brush is loaded too heavy as you work around the edges, the dye can bleed under the mask. To prevent this, be sure your brush is loaded relatively lightly as you work around the edges near the mask. The product I used is from Woodland Scenics that I got from the local Hobby Lobby in the section where model train stuff is. It's a fairly thick, creamy material with a very slight odor to it. I think it was a little thinner when I first bought it, but it has sat on my shelf for probably about a year, and has thickened slightly in that amount of time. I found it easy to apply with my acrylic shader brushes. This is the second coat that is going on. Two coats seemed to work fine, as you will see at the end. Here is how the project looks after two coats of latex have been applied to the entire matted area in the middle of the clock, around the powercat logo. It still hasn't dried completely, but when the entire application of latex turns clear, it's dry and ready to spray on. It took this one about a half-hour to dry completely. I masked off the rest of the leather with "purple" painter's tape to protect it from overspray. The latex is used to get into the more intricate areas of the design, and the painter's tape is used for more nondescript areas. Now spray the entire area. You don't need to worry too much about getting it on the mask. In fact, you want to make sure the color is nice and even all the way to the edges of the logo, so the dye needs to be sprayed well into the masked area. Now the tape is removed... And here's the slick part... look at how this stuff just peels right off the leather! Behold, Willie is purple! (Although it looks a little more brownish in the photo.) Almost a perfect dye job. I ended up getting just a little bit of latex into the edge of the logo, so after I removed the mask, I was able to do a little touch-up in a couple of spots with a lightly-loaded brush. There was no noticeable discoloration of the leather where the mask was applied. (But note: the slightly discolored areas you see on the project were caused by mold. The mold is dead, but the stain, unfortunately, is more or less permanent. Fortunately, this is going to be my clock, not someone else's so I don't have the dilemma of whether to re-do it or not. I'm hoping the antique will cover up that little problem.) I'm hoping to finish this up tomorrow - no promises - the leather part, anyway. I'll post another photo after the dye, stain, and finish are done. Kate
  5. CitizenKate

    Biker wallet pattern

    Hi rfkoen, yes, I did eventually post that tutorial. You can find it here: Cheers, Kate
  6. CitizenKate

    Demo: Oak Leaves

    This is a response to the photo tutorial that Clay posted previously. He said rightly, that there are many ways to carve oak leaves, some more realistic, some more "stylized" or abstract. This is one of my favorite styles of oak leaf carving - I don't know what it's called, or who it originally came from - I picked it up from an example I saw. I do not presume to be an authority on carving oak leaves, but I would like to share with you what I like to see in a carved oak leaf, and how I obtain it. And lastly, before I begin, I do not presume to be an authority on this topic - again, I'm just sharing what I know and do currently, and I am here to learn, too. So in the spirit of learning, please do not hesitate to make observations about what you think would make this better. I think we would all benefit from such a discussion. I begin with a piece of leather that has the pattern transferred onto it, and is cased and ready to go. Here the lines of the design are cut with a swivel knife. The arrows show where I gradually decreased the pressure of the cut close to the ends of the lines. Next is beveling. I bevel around the entire outline of the leaf, along both sides of the center vein, and the upper edges of the side veins. For the ends of beveled lines, such as places where two branches merge together, or a vein line diminishes to nothing, gradually decrease the pressure of the bevel strokes near the ends of the lines. Also note some light beveling I did on the acorns to make them look more as though they are "tucked in" to the hulls. In retrospect, I think they could have used a little more work with a modeling tool around the edges, as well. For pear shading, I use a P370, a narrow, checkered shader. This is a burr oak leaf, which (as you can see) is more rounded at the tips. So I use the round edge of the tool to shade the tips of the leaf and give some shaping to the body of the leaf. I also add a little bit of shading along the sides of the acorns, but *silly me*, I forgot to do that this time. Now I add what I call "contour cuts". Some people call them "decorative cuts", but I think that term is more descriptive of cut lines that are added to embellish scroll work. These cuts help to enhance a perception of contouring of the leaf body. The cuts should follow the flow of the veins, or they just look out of place. In fact, while carving this leaf, I made a bad cut that was all out of whack. (Drat - I hate when that happens, but it's always the ones down the left side I struggle with, because I'm left-handed and my hand always blocks the vein line I'm trying to follow.) Rather than starting over, I decided to show it to you so you could see what to avoid. Also note the cuts made on the tips and around the hulls of the acorns. When making the criss-cross cuts on the hull, I like to give them a little curve to make them look more spherical and appear to stand out a bit more. Since this leaf is not enclosed by anything (and since I've seen people asking how this is done), I'm going to create a background for it that gradually fades out to nothing - a halo. For everyday backgrounding I have my A104 and A104-2 stamps. On the first pass around the leaf, I'm not too concerned about the outer shape of the halo, I'm just making sure I get the tool in good and tight against the edges of the leaf. I lean the tool slightly towards the leaf, so I get the most depth next to the leaf. Here's the second layer of the halo. As you can see, the strokes on this layer are lighter, producing a fading effect. I extend the area of the halo by about half the length of the tool face. Here's how it looks after the third layer, which was produced the same as the second, but again, with lighter strokes. For this layer, I switched to a smaller maul and used very light taps. I still have the tool leaning slightly in the direction of the leaf, to produce that fading effect towards the outer edge of the halo. Now I go back for another pass on the first layer, to get more depth and evenness. You can see a pretty clear line in the halo that needs to be blended in, so there are subsequent passes to blend the burnishing of the layers more gradually out to the edges of the halo. This looks like a lot of work, but the last few passes go pretty quick, as they don't require much care. I also made another final pass around the entire leaf with a beveler, to smooth the edges a little more and provide a little more relief. And here the carving is complete. I've treated the carving with an antique stain. As soon as it's dry, I'll post the last photo. Cheers, Kate
  7. CitizenKate


    From the album: IFoLG 2004

  8. CitizenKate

    Eagle by Jim Linnell

    From the album: IFoLG 2004

    © &copy

  9. From the album: Katherine Louise Leather Designs

    Clock design created for a PIF event.
  10. CitizenKate

    Book Cover

    From the album: Katherine Louise Leather Designs

    © &copy 2011 Katherine Louise Leather Designs

  11. CitizenKate


    From the album: IFoLG 2004

  12. CitizenKate


    From the album: IFoLG 2004

  13. From the album: Katherine Louise Leather Designs

    Backgammon game I made for a PIF event.

    © &copy Katherine Louise Leather Designs

  14. CitizenKate

    Chess board

    Here's something I don't have on my web site yet (...after about a year and a half!). It's a custom Chess board that was a collaborative effort with a very talented artist I work with at my day job. It's a celtic influence, as the customer wanted a continuout knot pattern all 'round the border. As I remember, the backgrounding an beveling were mind-numbingly tedious, but the results were worth it! (I'm going to charge a lot more if I make any more of these, though! Sheesh!) Kate
  15. CitizenKate

    Amplifier by Jeff Mosby

    From the album: IFoLG 2004

    Detail of the carving on Jeff's amplifier.

    © &copy

  16. CitizenKate

    Goods Japan

    Just wanted to pass along an interesting find I stumbled upon that I don't think very many of us know about. This merchant has an interesting assortment of leatherworking tools and supplies, much of the typical stuff, but also some fairly unique and unusual products (at least in the US market), including stamps, swivel knives, an interesting assortment of punches, powdered dyes (that mix with alcohol, and can be shipped by air)... those are just some of the things I noticed. Kate
  17. CitizenKate

    Stamping "Scratchpad"

    I just found a really slick way to play with new stamping designs that I thought some of you might be interested in. This method lets you play with your stamps all day long without sacrificing any leather, and without spending time rummaging through your scrap bin and casing leather for your stamping experiments. Take some polymer clay, a sheet of glass, a rolling pin, and your stamps. Roll some of the polymer clay flat on the glass. Press your stamps into the soft polymer clay to make your stamping patterns. If you don't like what you got, just wad up the clay, roll it back out flat, and start again. The clay stays soft indefinitely, so you can just keep using it over and over again until you have what you like. If you like it, you can just stick it in the oven for a few minutes to harden it, making a permanent stamping pattern sample. This really lets you see your ideas and work out layout issues before having to commit them to leather. Hope some of you find this as useful as I have. Kate
  18. CitizenKate

    Inlay Project

    Maybe some of you can help me with this... I've got an unfinished elder wood occasional table that I'm finishing with an inlaid leather top. I've routed out a recessed area 1/8" deep over most of the top in which to place a piece of tooled/finished leather. When finished, there will be a little bit of wood showing around the edge of the top. The diameter of the top is 24". I want the inlay to fit perfectly into the recessed area of the top, with no edges showing and no gaps anywhere. I have already made one attempt to cut a piece of leather to fit into this recessed area, but anyone who has done any work at all with tooled veg-tan (especially a piece this size), it tends to shrink and get out of shape. So as you might guess, despite cutting it slightly larger than the actual size, and my best efforts to prevent shrinkage, it shrunk anyway, and was no longer the perfect circle that it was when I first cut it. It's now sitting in my boo-boo bin. This is my first attempt to do an inlay, so before I sink too much more time or money into this, I wonder if any of you out in leather land have any tips or stories from the trenches that might help me make the best of my second attempt? Kate
  19. CitizenKate

    Inlay Project

    Oh yeah, forgot all about this thread. I may have posted these in some other thread - a quick search didn't turn anything up, so here they are:
  20. CitizenKate

    Leather Chess Table

    From the album: Katherine Louise Leather Designs

    Yes, I do know I have the pieces set up wrong! LOL

    © &copy Katherine Louise Leather Designs

  21. CitizenKate

    Custom Chess Board

    From the album: Katherine Louise Leather Designs

    Custom Chess board, full view.

    © &copy Katherine Louise Leather Designs

  22. CitizenKate

    Photo Demo: Making a Biker Wallet

    Hi Clark, That is exactly it, the second piece is a liner, and the wallet will function perfectly well without it. Kate
  23. CitizenKate

    6-hook key plates

    Does anyone know a good supplier for those 6-hook key plates that are used in key cases? I remembered seeing them in one of my Tandy catalogs, but their most recent one doesn't have them. I called Hidecrafter, but this was one of the items they recently dropped from their inventory. I found an ebay seller that has the nickel-plated ones, but none of the brass plated ones. I checked on Springfield Leather's web site, been searching all over the web... nada. Thanks, Kate
  24. CitizenKate

    Lab-Grown Leather?

    Nothing wrong with it, I guess. It'll be interesting to see how it compares with the real thing. But the author is in for a disappointment if she thinks it will spare many livestock that are raised "for leather", since we don't generally raise livestock for leather. Guess we'd all have to find another hobby/profession if the human population were herbivores. Also ironic to note how there is getting to be so much on the market to substitute meat and leather products. Have you ever read the labels of what goes into a veggan meat substitute? The list of chemicals is kinda scary to me, yet this is considered by some a "healthier" diet, since the main ingredient is plant-based. How twisted is that? Interesting thought. What you're referring to requires human DNA to produce. It's definitely not plan-based, but I suppose we could do the same thing with DNA samples collected from animals without harming them.