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  1. I have software experience, so I saw the laser as an opportunity to produce perfect edges and hole alignment. At first I rented a laser at a maker-space. The 100 watt Epilog did a very fine job of engraving, but with a purchase price of $35,000, it was somewhat out of my range. I picked up a 100 watt CO2 laser for $4,500, but the trade-off is that the engraving on my machine is not very refined, so I do very little of it. As far as cutting, it does a great job, but on some heavier leathers I might have to "go over it" a few times to get it to cut all the way through. The trick that I learned is that because the focal point of the laser is what does the cutting and because the leather does not always want to lay flat, using a light adhesive, I glue what I'm cutting to a sheet of stiff "oil board" or "stencil board" that's available from a local art supply store. Then I use weights and /or tape to hold the oil board flat. I must add that I am cutting mostly somewhat stiff heavier leather in the 4-5-6 oz. range. Also, I not only cut out the pieces, I also cut in the lacing holes, as I only hand-sew my bags. The biggest headache I've had is aligning the laser beam. I replaced the laser tube, all the mirrors and the lens, and it took quite a few tries to get the beam back into play. If the laser is not aligned correctly it will not cut as expected. If you do get a laser and end up needing align the beam, here is a site that you might found helpful. https://smokeandmirrors.store/pages/laser-beam-alignment-guide With the laser, I can cut patterns that are almost impossible with a knife, and the edges are cut perfectly (albeit soot covered). The trade-off with laser-cutting the lacing holes is that they are soot-filled, so I can only use dark thread. Although there are a few trade-offs, I sure hope that is the good news you were looking for, I wouldn't be doing leather if not for my laser. Here is one of my recent bags.
  2. Good questions. I don't know what the first gel-like product is (maybe a primer), but the second two products are Tokonole, a burnishing gum that comes in black, brown and clear. As implied, it is not an edge paint that's painted onto the leather's surface, but something that is rubbed into and absorbed by the leather, in this case by use of a slicker. Tokonole is my "go to" product for finishing edges, and sometimes to finish the flesh side of leather.
  3. It doesn't look like leather at all, as leather comes in hides, sides, shoulders, etc., not in 3'x4' rectangles. This looks more like bonded leather and probably used for insoles. It is real leather, but is much like particle board and has no grain. I use bonded leather all the time, but in a much thinner weight, for stiffening bags. Sorry, but I have no idea what this would be good for.
  4. @Frodo This may not be what you're looking for, but here is how Bruce Grant does a 5-strand (and 7 & 9-strand).
  5. @Bert03241 You are asking a legitimate question to which there is no simple answer. When I started working leather about a half-century ago the choice seemed to be either "oil-tanned" or "oak-tanned". Tanning techniques and terminology have certainly changed over the years resulting in more leather choices. Here is an excerpt from the website of The Horween Leather Company, my favorite source of leather that you might find interesting: "Specific and proprietary mixes of bark extracts and natural agents are used to give Chromexcel, and many of our leathers, its heavy vegetable re-tannage. The benefit of combination tanning comes from the specific attributes that both chrome and vegetable tanning impart. Generally, chrome tanned leathers yield soft, supple, and durable leathers, while vegetable tanned leathers are round and full feeling, patina well, and are easy to coax into shapes using heat and moisture. "The next step is "hot stuffing" – that is, the impregnation of the hides with oils, waxes, and greases that are solid at room temperature. Stuffing is achieved through the use of steamed mills and is the process that is responsible for the "pull-up" of this leather. Pull-up is the temporary displacement of these oil and wax blends that cause a lightening of the leather."
  6. @MtlBiker Found this on Rocky Mountain Leather's website regarding Seiwa, a water based glue. Looks like it might be worth considering: "This Seiwa water-based glue is some of the best glue for almost all leathercraft demands. "It is water-based, non-toxic, and has no foul smells like many of the glues out there. The largest benefit is in its bonding strength to leather and the fact that it goes on white but dries completely clear. Because this is not a contact cement, you will want to put glue on both pieces of leather and then secure together right away. The leather allows for some time to work with it (2-3 minutes) yet dries fully in only 5-10 minutes allowing you to move on to the next steps in your project "The glue has a nice balance of drying strong, yet is pliable and able to move/flex with your leather. Because it is water-based any excess on the edges cleans up with a damp rag in the natural process of burnishing your leather edges."
  7. Here are some pics of what I did as I had limited space. I needed a bigger bench for laying out my materials, so I made the bench U-shaped with a sort of convertible table insert, and hung my tools on the walls. Please excuse the clutter.
  8. You should order their Sample Book so you can see the differences for yourself. I know the people at The Hide House, and I'm sure they'd be glad to talk with you about their products.
  9. I don't use veg tan, only chrome tan and latigo leathers (along with a laser cutter). The reason I selected Hide House's California Latigo for these bags is because the temper is very firm, unlike most latigos, and because the flesh side requires no finishing so I didn't have to line the bags.
  10. I have worked with latigo for quite a few years. It comes in many forms, with some hides very supple and others very firm. These days I buy mine from The Hide House in Napa, CA, but have made purchases of latigo from Maverick Leather in Bend, OR. The Tannery Row has offers this description of latigo on their website: Latigo is a combination tanned leather with a full vegetable re-tan; well nourished with a rich proprietary blended oil emulsion. Characterized by beautiful tight grain, Latigo has come a long way from its cowboy origins— the old days of saddle straps and hand staining. Modern Latigo retains its toughness while showing a rich look that improves with age and use. This leather blends the durability of a chrome tan base with a heavy veg re-tan to create an unfinished, natural look that’s excellent for molding. It holds embosses well, retains molded shapes and has both full and corrected grain versions. California Latigo 4/5 ounce from The Hide House.
  11. Here's a PDF of the book that @MikeRock references. Check out page 13 and see if it relates to what you're looking for. Encyclopedia_of_Rawhide_and_Leather_Braiding.pdf
  12. In a word... Tokonole. It comes in clear, brown and black. It is a water based burnishing agent. You apply it (can use a microfiber cloth), then work it into the leather with a glass burnisher. This will provide a good seal to the flesh side of your chrome tanned leather. https://www.amazon.com/Seiwa-Tokonole-Leather-Burnishing-Leathercraft/dp/B017X8GKZA/ref=pd_sbs_5/142-4591688-3861767?pd_rd_w=HYTfv&pf_rd_p=4b6b5072-e9bd-4f30-a3af-a1f5d52978ec&pf_rd_r=AX9KBQWR9ETXS500JJGE&pd_rd_r=406800ec-031a-4a05-926f-645bd90469b6&pd_rd_wg=iv1v4&pd_rd_i=B017X8GKZA&psc=1 https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004JAOB2K/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
  13. I visit The Hide House quite often and see that they ship leather all over the world.
  14. Sure. Here is a marker that you can fill with your own dye to match your work, for less than $4.00. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005KJJ8FO/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
  15. The photo that you've tried to post is in .HIEC format, but must be in .jpg format to display on this site.
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