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About Alaisiagae

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    MA, USA
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    nature, science, animals, video games, cross stitch, leatherworking

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  1. Great first project! My first project was a keyfob for my sister's birthday.
  2. Cutting tools come in a wide variety. I have a utility knife and rotary cutter (45mm), but a round or head knife is a classic leather-working tool! I really want a single head knife but can only find one supplier, in the UK - shipping costs suck! There are specialized cutters, too, like strap cutters and skiving knives. Edgers can also have some variety. I don't think they are 100% essential on thin leather, but they are nice for taking the sharp right angle off the edge of thicker leathers. And the you can burnish the edges! That would require an edge slicker. These come in wood or even nylon. Some people use gum tragacanth, others use Tokonole or beeswax or similar. You coat the edge and run the slicker over it to create friction that hardens the substance and rounds the edge. Stitching tools - you'll want needles. They come in a number of sizes, especially the eye hole size. Thread is another rabbit hole to fall down, with different colors and thicknesses. Primarily there's synthetic (nylon and polymer) and linen. Additionally, the thread will come pre-waxed or you will wax it yourself. You'll also want to look into buying an awl (and you can have "fun" sharpening it so it works properly: I have learned from these forums that many new tools need additional/final sharpening by the end-user). For sharpening, sandpaper is cheap and works well (I have grits ranging from 100 to 2500), with a final polish on a leather strop loaded with a green strop compound. You'll want this for your edgers and blades, even if you don't use a swivel knife. Any tooling and pounding (e.g. hole punches) will need a hard surface, such as granite, and a mallet/maul, which come as polymer heads or rawhide heads. Don't use a metal hammer, because it will damage metal tools. A rubber mallet will bounce, which isn't good for tooling at all. Cutting calls for a good cutting board. I have both a self-healing cutting mat and a plastic cutting board (about 3/8th inch thick). Don't cut or punch on granite directly, it will damage the granite and the tool because the tool cuts/punches through the leather. Some good YouTube leatherworkers: videos from Nigel Armitage, JHLeather (UK saddlery maker to boot!), and The Leather Element. Tandy Leather also has some videos, most of them show how to use tools. Yes, to stamp, you use veg tan leather. First you wet the leather (aka "casing" the leather). One method: You can wet the surface with a sponge. What I've been told is to try to get the leather wet through half its thickness. Other people soak the whole piece overnight. Then wait for it to dry a bit, until the leather returns to its original color but is cool to the touch. Re-wet as needed during toolling. I use stamps frequently, too - I haven't carved very much. I do know that lots of tooling can smoosh the leather enough that the leather can warp its shape: so, people will often affix the rough side of the leather to some cardboard so the leather doesn't warp when it dries.
  3. As others have said, you will need to add a finish, such as Resolene, to lock-in the dye and mitigate rub-off and bleeding. I have only used water-based dyes, so I'm not sure about bleeding compared to alcohol based dyes. I also use Super Shene, but would use Resolene if I had any - and sometimes I use Neatlac. I always get a bit of rub-off when applying the finish, but after the finish dries, I don't get more rub-off. I usually use more than 1 coat of finish. There's a video from Weaver Leather ("The Leather Element") about black dyes, finishes, and rub off here on their blog page. If you bought black leather, I think it would have already had a finish added to it, but I could be wrong. It probably wouldn't hurt to add some Resolene on it anyways. You don't necessarily have to use Neatsfoot unless the leather is dried out. Pre-dyed leathers usually have oils put in them from the tannery, though my experience is limited so I may be incorrect.
  4. I guess that depends a bit on a few things. For example, do you want to tool the leather (put shapes/stamps/figures on it)? If you don't, then you can use leathers other than tooling veg-tan, such as pre-dyed leathers (such as chrome tan leathers, oil tan, latigo, bridle leather, bison, deerskin, chap leather, upholstry, etc.). Tooling veg-tan lets you tool the leather and also dye it whatever colors you want. As you can imagine, it is more work than just buying ready-to-cut leather. If you want to keep things simple, I think going with pre-dyed leather isn't a bad idea. But, if you want more practice dyeing and/or tooling, then go with the veg tan. I think a basic project might be a journal cover, valet tray, key fob, a wrap for a tool handle or mug, coasters (you can buy pre-cut veg-tan "rounders" so you don't have to cut a circle yourself), or a drawstring pouch. If you are not buying a kit that comes with pre-punched parts, then you will need tools to punch holes (or, use an awl or chisels) for thread/lace. You can even lace up coasters, if you wanted to make them fancy. I started out with kits (and I still have a bunch I have yet to use), and also took classes at my local Tandy shop (but they are not having classes anymore because of the pandemic - so, youtube would be a substitute). I learned about different stitches for threading (running, rope, and saddle stitches), how to set rivets and snaps, and how to use some tools, like an edge beveler and wing divider. The thing about leather crafting is that it is so easy to add on layers of complexity (and more tools!)! So, even a "simple" or basic project can be made to be very fancy and complex. I find that, for me, I could easily bite off more than I can chew (i.e. want to do a project that requires more skills, techniques, and tools than I currently have).
  5. @fredk Which Tandy press, the red one or the grey one? I have a half ton arbor press, but I can't get it to do deep impressions, no matter how hard I push the lever. I know the Tandy presses sometimes go on sale (e.g. Black Friday), so I'm wondering if it's worth it.
  6. Alaisiagae


    I recommend them, too. Shipping was fast, and great customer service.
  7. The dauber technique might work. And then you could do a second coat? Sometimes the finish (e.g. Super Shene) will help reduce blotchiness (depends on the dye, though).
  8. Depends on the components of the airbrush. My dad has some all-metal air gun brushes and after we used wood stain and varnish with it, he cleaned it out by running acetone through it. Acetone is rather harsh and would not be good if your air brush has any plastic pieces. Grumpyman's suggestion would work, though I wouldn't soak any platic parts in alcohol for very long, as there are chemical compatibility issues - especially with acrylic, that stuff is not good at resisting alcohols (isopropanol or ethanol, for instance) and will be damaged easily. You could look up the SDS files of commercially sold cleaners (such as from Angelus?) to get some info about the chemicals in those. But, I'm afraid I'm all out of advice, because I personally don't use an air brush with dye for leatherworking.
  9. I throw mine out when I'm done with them. A 100 pack on Amazon is not very expensive ($15 at most). The wool head gets compressed with use and doesn't seem to hold the dye as well. I used to wash my daubers out to reuse them, but the dye doesn't always fully come out. So now I just throw them away.
  10. My beeswax is so hard and old, I don't think it will work like that. Good tip, though, thank you. @Danne interesting, thank you for linking that video.
  11. I tried using gum trag on a spare piece, and the edge just wouldn't slick like veg tan. @Danne what does "cast" mean in this context? @jcuk the knives look good! I wish that single head was sold in the US, shipping from UK costs as much as the knife.
  12. I pulled out and redid the stitching on the brown pouch, got it to mostly zigzag correctly except for that errant vertical hole (facepalm). Having my stitching pony would have been helpful! But it's not quite ready to be used until my dad and I finish putting varnish on it (he insisted on using the slow drying varnish with an air brush, which I have no idea how to use), it needs one more coat.
  13. I watched the Armitage video and I think I know how to do it correctly now. But I also have a choice - I can make the stitching line a "proper" zig-zag, or I can do a straight line, which is probably what most laypersons think of as "regular/proper" stitching. When you make stuff for other people, do they like the zig-zag or are they all "why is your stitching slanted"? Because I'm thinking maybe I will purposefully make the stitching line flat/linear so it looks "normal."
  14. @Tugadude I have the Craftool diamond hole chisel set. It comes in three spacing widths, with 2, 4, and 6 teeth (and a single 1 tooth). I used the tightest width (3/32") for the brown pouch, and the middle width (1/8") for the black pouch. I did use the 2 tooth chisel when making the corners, but I may have lined it up poorly or at a suboptimal angle along my stitching line (I'm thinking of the left front radiused corner on the brown pouch. The right side looks good). Okay, so it's normal to have the front and back stitching look different? That's a relief, at least I know what to expect now. I think the pieces I worked with are in the 4/5 oz range (I'd have to use my thickness gauge on it to be sure). Much thicker than the thin veg tan that came in the Tandy kit, and thus why I opted for a single pocket rather than a bulkier 2 pocket pouch. I could buy thinner oil tan (I really enjoyed working with it, so flexible and pretty!)... I plan to give them to my uncle for the holidays, and fill them with those chocolate coins you see at Christmas time. ^_^ I admit, I was wanting for a better cutting implement when cutting out the leather. Keeping my scissors from skewing (yaw or pitch?) was hard, and I don't like using my utility knife (pull-cut). But those round/head knives look intimidating with a hard learning curve. Even the tools I used for these pouches had their own learning curves that I'm still working on, and they are not as finicky as a knife blade. Are 1/4 round/head knives easier? I saw Jo on JH Leather use one, it didn't look as scary as a head knife. I will try to watch some Armitage videos. Sometimes I like watching videos, other times it is hard for me to sit still (depends if my meds have worn off or not).
  15. Wow! That looks fantastic! I really like the two colors of thread, how it matches the overall color scheme. Very well designed and tooled.
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