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About Klara

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    sighthounds, textiles (spinning to sewing), music

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  1. Klara

    Fly swatter

    My scream of horror (freaking $ 45!!!) just bothered my dog... Still haven't made a better version because I've decided to first transform part of my wool workshop into a proper leather workshop with a decent cutting table. @Bert03241 As the person who opened this thread I'd like to point out that I'm happy about the drift. After all, I asked about the situation in Northern Ireland... I am also very happy that I could inspire people to build better fly swatters - less chemistry, fewer flies is win-win!
  2. I lnow nothing about tooling leather, but out of curiosity: Why do you want to make an exact copy down to the thickness of individual lines? Unless you are trying to start a career in forgery I would have thought some variation desirable...
  3. Klara

    Fly swatter

    Really? Northern Ireland is now separated from the rest of the UK AND from the EU? How is smuggling from the Republic going? (Seriously, when laws get too crazy, reasonable people need to disobey them.)
  4. Klara

    Fly swatter

    I knew that there are no snakes in Ireland, but I wasn't aware of there not being any biting insects - though maybe that contributed to the success of my bicycle tour 1987 (maybe the best holiday ever). Couldn't you get your hide - and shops their food - from EU countries? I believe you wrote that N.I. economically is still in Europe?
  5. Klara

    Fly swatter

    I pre-pierced the second hole after the first started splitting the dowel Doesn't matter, it's something like a proof-of-concept prototype - before I had only my market neighbour's word that leather swatters work. It's only now that I see how very well it works that I think about selling it... I don't have rivets that would work and I believe that screws are better because they allow to change the dowel if it breaks. Or the dog chews it up... Where do you live that there are no flies? Does Nothern Ireland still accept immigrants from the EU? Have they sorted out shipping and mail from England? Living without flies sounds like a dream come true (what about the blood-suckers, though?)
  6. Or maybe people need to accept that being frustrated is part of life sometimes. And that proficiency comes from practice. And that even as an adult you can't expect to be good at new things right from the start. Leatherworkers have the "advantage" that bought patterns and pre-pierced holes make the work a lot easier. For spinners there is no such shortcut. Or for musicians... Money is not everything and millions of people do things for fun that won't ever bring in any money at all... I never felt I was getting poorer when working with wool. It was at the markets, waiting for customers, that I got annoyed. My animals and the making of things enrich my life and I would do it for free. Selling is mostly boring, and I want to get paid for it
  7. Klara

    Fly swatter

    May I ask what you are getting for them? As for the holes, both the other guy and I have discovered that they are not necessary... (I thought they were, at first, but no.)
  8. Regarding material, stainless steel is the most solid by far (assuming I can believe the data on the Pethardware website. They are in Europe, so it's probably not worth buying from them if you are in the U.S. but you could get an idea of the available variety. )
  9. Stuff to purchase, yes. "Dues to pay" only if you are still referring to the hundreds of dollars the reader of the book is supposed to invest in top-quality tools before having made the first cut or stitch. Because Armitage promises that there is no need for "apprenticeship" - you do exactly as he says and you make nice things from the start. No need to learn "proper" saddle stitching or how to cut free-hand... And it works! I followed the instructions for the gusset-less bag, pre-pierced all the holes and put my pocket protector for dog treats together. Felt a bit like doing Lego... I much prefer Jo's style (from JH Leather) - she makes it look so easy. But I'm almost sure that Jo formally trained as a saddler, i.e. spent years full-time learning how to cut straps, how to work with an awl, how to care for tools etc. Back to Armitage's book: Imagine a person expresses an interest in leatherwork and gets the book for Christmas. They read the chapter on tools, go to a web shop and learn what all these absolutely essential tools cost in their top-quality version. Will they buy them - or will they think "Wow, leatherworking sure is expensive, now I know why leather things cost so much money." That's what I meant with my comment about reinforcing the misconception. I would like the book much better if the chapter on tools were different. Like listing the tools in the order in which they are needed for the projects (and clearly saying so!) So the reader would only need to buy the things actually necessary for the finger protectors at first, and then add tools as he progresses through the book and the projects. Back to the actual topic: I buy handmade things - even expensive ones - when I like them more than industrially made stuff. Because they work better (like my friend's knives) or because they are prettier (my friend's knives as well, a felted shawl, a sewn scarf), or because I need something right now and the handmade thing is there and reasonably priced (a leather coin bag, various pottery). Basically I agree with whoever wrote this https://www.jlsleather.com/hand-made-well-made/ - well-made is more important than how many machines were involved in the process.
  10. Klara

    Fly swatter

    I admit, it wasn't my idea. My neighbour in the Craft Association's Christmas Market had one with a shiny metal handle which he tried to sell me at a ridiculous price (over € 10 - possibly justified for the handle, but much more than I'm willing to pay for a fly squatter). Guy started out making leather shoes with a "hippie" look, now he mostly switched to simple wallets, purses and jewellery. Much less work and much easier to sell... I figured I'd make one or two for the market in September. Emphasising not the genuine handmade aspect, but the functionality and durability. I was impressed when I killed a monster fly with a flick if my wrist yesterday. Try it, you'll be surprised! The leather is relatively floppy, btw, much softer than the plastic ones.
  11. Klara

    Fly swatter

    Strangely, yes! She has often lost or taken off her martingale collars, but not once tried to chew them up. Apparently Europe is so infused with environmental concerns that even dogs can't stand to see plastic around...
  12. Klara

    Fly swatter

    I wanted to show you this not because I am proud of the work (I'm not that deluded and it took me about 10 minutes) but as a public service: This simple leather flap (3.3 mm veg tan) is a much better tool for killing flies than the usual plastic thingies (which my dog loves to destroy)
  13. Yes, hats off to Mr. Lentz. And to my colleague who does the same thing. Very good leather, turned very quickly into a long-lasting product. But I feel that the commercial success is mostly based on a misconception in the general public that working with leather is horribly difficult and expensive (hmmm, actually, Nigel Armitage's book feeds that image very nicely...) But for me such a very simple design is not "worth more" than one that involved the use of a few more machines, or where the embossing was done with a roller. When I buy something it is because I like it, and I'm not overly fussed about how it's been made. The idea of paying more for a quilt because it is hand-sewn seems ridiculous to me. Now, if one can sew a quilt by hand that can't be done by machine, that's different. And on the selling side I've always felt that I can't charge extra because I insist on doing everything by hand. It's not my customer's problem that my "business" is too small for machinery... Incidentally, last week I showed off my dog collars to friends, and they were impressed with the stitching. Not because it's particularly good - it isn't - but because they didn't know anything about saddle stitching. First they thought I had a really good, expensive sewing machine, then when I explained it's sewn by hand that it must have been very hard, because they didn't know about diamond awls, and then I maybe made a mistake explaining about pricking irons and stitching pony... If you don't know about leatherwork, it seems a black art. I have had for ages a horse harness with some stitching broken, until now I never even thought about repairing it myself...
  14. And what if there's no stitching at all? Just a strap of leather (cut with a strap cutter), a point cut free-hand, the buckle attached with rivets, and that's it? No machine involved since the tannery, but does that make the belt more valuable than a machine-stitched one?
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