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    SE Wisconsin
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    A bit of everything

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  1. The group is fine with edged tools, but nothing complicated as we will only have utility knives or scissors. Nice individual cutting tools are not in the budget. Good ideas, thanks!
  2. For a variety of reasons related to the pandemic, our scout troops are meeting virtually. With this in mind, and with the distribution of supplies limited to drop off/mail-out boxes, I'm hoping the larger community can help us come up with a project or three that can be done with minimal "real tools" We already have ideas on sharpie-colored keyfobs, with a pre-set rivet sewing a small pre-cut & pre-punched pouch 3d-print some simple stamps & give each scout a 3-4 different ones (I have a 3d printer at my disposal, and this would eliminate the 'good' stamps going out and possibly not getting returned) Trying to keep costs per family lower, so buying a starter set for everyone is out of the budget. Ideally, these activities can be described over a video conference & performed on a kitchen table - heavy stamping is probably not suitable. Does anyone have suggestions for adapting to the current times?
  3. I wanted to pass along some 'thank yous' from our scouts to all the people here who helped by donating supplies, tools, gave me awesome discounts on dies and stamps and everyone who has given me advice. Two recent events had leatherworking stations - an area-wide camporee had a station run by older scouts, the girls made leather belt pouches for their pocket knives. Another camping weekend had girls stamp custom bracelets for troop unity using their new mascot (a howling wolf). We are currently planning small projects for upcoming Ice Fishing and spring camp events.
  4. Nice! In what order do you sew the seams? Bottom first or side? That would be a nice project for some Xmas gifts.
  5. Invest $15 to get a stop collar for the press. Adjust it to the perfect depth on scraps, then press until the stop engages. I’ve unfortunately cut through leather with a stamp that had thin details when trying to bottom out without the stop collar in place.
  6. Ouch on the hand punching. I did 160 rivet holes with an arbor press, and have vowed to get hole punches added to any new dies. I’m sure the kids loved your project!
  7. In a school setting, the teachers would prefer not having anything sharp or pointy, so I'd also do lacing there - don't poke the litigious bears! Do you hand-cut all the key tags, or have someone die-cut them? I have a single-rivet key tag we did for an event that I cut using a 3-ton arbor press & a homemade die - the girls (and adults) really enjoyed that project & throughput was limited only on how many mallets and stamp handles I had available. Most of our events are 80 - 250 participants, so I'm always looking for something easy to make & low prep work for me. Part of scouting is learning to safely use tools that can be dangerous. We train the girls with pocketknives and kitchen knives as young as 5 years old, with parent permission & adult supervision. I'm planning on sewing with actual needles, using the technique I learned here to thread the needle with a splice - reducing the need for re-threading lost needles & saving my sanity. (photo stolen from that link)
  8. I put together a really quick project that will be easy to complete for kids about 8 years old and up. Younger kids might need some help with the stitching. The samples are all from suede scraps I got from donations, but veg-tan leather would allow more design and finish options. If you have a large circular punch, use it to cut the notches for the swivel hardware. I chose to punch the stitching holes with a diamond chisel set (mounted on an arbor press to reduce injuries and catastrophic mistakes.) There isn't much stitching, so the project will take an adult minutes and a child should be able to design and assemble in an hour. Dimensions are in the photo, 8" long by 1.75" wide. Cut the notch to fit your hardware. These make great gifts for clipping onto backpack or purse and may appeal to kids uninterested in knife pouches or with groups that discourage pocketknives.
  9. Wow, Thanks! I've never found that part of the site & the instruction sheets are well written.
  10. Successfully finished designing a keyfob project for the scouts. A lot of skilled volunteers helped in the making of this, and I hope to prepare 50-100 pieces in preparation for an area event The die is CNC milled cold-rolled steel, pattern is my own design. Following the milling, it was hardened by heating with a torch to a dull red & quenched in oil. Pieces can be cut with an arbor press. The stamping is done with an arbor press fitted with a drill chuck to make quick changes for tools as each scout makes her project.
  11. We are Girl Scouts ;-) The program has far less ceremony/uniform/etc, as far as I can tell, and what uniform there is seems to be highly regulated to restrict customization
  12. I'm looking into getting a diamond chisel & set of hole punches for the arbor press, reducing the flying hammers and squished fingers! Considering tracing everything & having holes chiseled, leaving kids to cut out the pieces with scissors and assemble. They would also add snaps as needed. For fabric sewing & embroidery, we are picky about size, type of needle and pairing thread appropriately - is there just a standard size leather stitching needle/theead or do I need to pair things for nice results?
  13. Hi, I scored many 11" x 3" x 2mm suede rectangles from a former employee of a closed tannery, ($20, estimated 300-500 pieces), and trying to think of projects I can do with the scout troop. Some experimentation shows: can be cut with scissors can be punched with moderate force (not for a kid to do without mechanical advantage) can be colored with sharpies will not take a stamp, even with a 1-ton shop press has a small amount of stretch My initial thoughts (let me know if something is a foolish idea, I've never done any of this before!) mystery braid bracelet with snap (1.5 x 7" ish) fold-over wallet small coin-purse keyfob belt pouch for their pocket knives Does anyone have other ideas that would work for this size/shape piece? Can suede be painted with something kid-friendly? (mess/stain is ok, toxic is not ok) I'll need to invest in a couple stitching chisels, preferably for the press to save my hand. Can anyone suggest a thread size/chisel size combination that will be attractive on a finished product? image with the knife pouch layout shows the sample beneath - very light grey color. Ideas for projects: Thanks! --
  14. Thanks for the tip!
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