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I love this site usually I just look a lot and admire everyone's work. I started leatherwork as a teenager but stopped in my 30,s I am 63 now my tools are tandy but the older and better ones. I started back up about 7 yrs ago my friends like my stuff but I know what it is lacking. I want to get some barry king bevelers and a few other tools. What bevelers and swivel knives would you guys recommend starting with. thanks
Our friend Barry King generously allowed us to share his explanation of factory vs. handmade tools. Brian asked me to talk a little about "Custom/Handmade" tools vs "Factory" tools. I can go on and on with comments and reasons, so I may add a lot after initially typing this. Here goes: 1. The biggest difference is the impression you will end up with. Most handmade tools are finished by hand. Meaning: contoured, polished and filed, by hand. The key being the filing by hand. This leaves the tool with sharp lines and ridges as opposed to a Factory tool. Factory tool: Usually stamped out from a master die. This can be done cold or under heat. The disadvantage is the lines in the die are then rounded, not sharp. This is just one of the reasons for a poor impression. 2. Steeper angles and sharper tools are possible cutting by hand. No need for the tool base to be fat to handle the stress of the die strike(Factory). This is on the face I am talking about, not the actual tool shaft itself. A Veiner is a perfect example I am thinking of. 3. Finer detail by hand. This goes back to the hand filing. The Factory tools normally won't have fine lines because the die strike process distorts them. 4. Plating. MOST Handmade tools do nat have a plating process applied to them. If a tool has a chrome plating(Factory) it will usually start to flake after a period of time/usage. Some Handmade tools have a plating, but usually it is not a true "chrome" plating, therefore won't flake. 5. Material. Most factory tools are made from mild steel, except for the new Tandy Pro Line. Most of the Handmade tool makers are using stainless or tool steel. Wayne uses stress proof and has his reasons for that too. NO one material is perfect for all, but we all have our reasons for using what we do. I made my first tools out of nails, still use a few of them once in a while. Now, all stainless for stamps. 6. Different angles available by making tools by hand. Bevelers are the 1st thing to come to mind, followed by Basket stamps. Those that have use both, Factory and Handmade know what I am talking about. You don't have to hit the good tools nearly as hard because the angles are steeper and the tool is sharper. When seeing someone's work the is very intricate, just bet they are using a handmade tool. Tandy is great to get a person started, to see if he/she likes the craft, but don't seem to work well enough to get a fine, detailed look. These are just a few reasons, I know I am missing a bunch, but I will add more after awhile, as I am sure others will too. Barry King