Rolandranch

How did you get into leather work?

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On 5/28/2018 at 10:08 AM, kyrrk said:

P.S. 

I still haven't made myself a watch strap lol

I guess the watch strap was exactly my first hand stitched project. :)

*****

Thanks for the interesting thread, so many stories here. 

I was just looking for some quiet hobby…. LOL just kiddin :)
I guess I had mentioned that in my thread in Members Gallery, it was about 2 years ago when I got a tiny little puppy, and I couldn’t find a harness for her, she was too little, everything I could find was too big. 


So I found a tiny little sewing machine on my boat and my neighbor brought me a veg tanned sheepskin from Tandy and also gave me some supplies like snaps, rivets, setters, some other tools, it was scary but after some experiments with fabrics I decided to try, and actually she used this harness for over a year until it started stinking like hell so I made her a few new ones. 

So, before this year I was sewing some bags out of fabric, and then I ordered 3 sides from Acadia which none of my two machines could sew properly (because they were all 5-5.5 oz) and I decided to try hand stitching and got addicted to it. 

Actually, I loved the leather since I can remember myself, I just thought that I would never be able to make anything decent and it would only result in wasting expensive materials :D 

Well, sometimes I do waste some expensive materials due to some failed projects but now I'm OK with that! 

I’d say I am jealous when I read about the people who have real leather stores nearby, I can only order online - there is just nothing here! Tho, this might have saved me a lot of money LOL!
 

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I had a girlfriend with an almost identical dog. I made a black studded collar, appropriate for a pit bull. Too funny! Unfortunately no pics of the collar.

 

 

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2 hours ago, BDAZ said:

I had a girlfriend with an almost identical dog. I made a black studded collar, appropriate for a pit bull. Too funny! Unfortunately no pics of the collar.

LOL I was going to make her one like this, too, but she doesn't wear collars, only harnesses. She's less than 4 pounds and her neck measures the same as my wrist, I thought this is too fragile for a collar. When she was a puppy some people called her Cujo :D 

 

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1 minute ago, karlova said:

LOL I was going to make her one like this, too, but she doesn't wear collars, only harnesses. She's less than 4 pounds and her neck measures the same as my wrist, I thought this is too fragile for a collar. When she was a puppy some people called her Cujo :D 

 

This one was named Biggie Smalls..The Notorious B.I.G., Biggie, or Biggie Smalls,[1] was an American rapper. He is ranked by Billboard as among the ten greatest rappers of all time.[2]

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Good topic!

Years ago I got a new carry gun and paid what I thought was too much for a holster. Months later, the holster was coming apart from daily wear and I decided that I could do better myself. Lots of tools and practice later I can do better!  Now I have people wanting all kinds of stuff, along with holsters.  My kids are grown so I spend many hours in my leather shop, it keeps my bride from seeing too much of me (ha). I looked at my tools as an investment for the future and a retirement hobby.  I have sold enough now to more than brake even, but would continue  even if I had not. Nothing you can buy is better than what you have made yourself! 

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Just an update as I'm unsure where to put this, after a long discussion, narrowing the focus and prioritising I've decided that small leather goods repair and restoration as well as leather monogramming and engraving maybe a more practical option.

 

 

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On 4/6/2018 at 9:55 PM, JKHelms said:

A little over a year ago I had to retire on a medical disability. Needed something to keep my hands busy and keep me from watching tv all day. 

Had made some knives and needed sheaths for them. Did that and caught the bug . Now I’m hooked.

My story is your story, I tried my hand on belts. Made them for some members of my metal detecting club and family and friends. If it weren’t for this site and the fabulous folks that meet on it, I would not have stuck with it.  Dont forget YouTube, Nigel Armitage and all the other folks who took their time to help others.Thank you all.

Jersey Jim

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I started in the 1980"s with some friends. We never tried anything complicated or detailed. After I got transferred I left the tools and supplies boxed up till recently. The key holder was one of and maybe the first project for me. I recently found a renewed interest, have added some additional tools. I bought some pre-cut belt straps to make a custom gun belt.  I've been practicing on some leather pieces I've had since the 80's. That has sent me a strong message that a whole lot more practice is needed before I do anything serious.  I've watched a lot of you tube instructions. One thing I was convinced o is that I needed to give up the bucks and buy the Barry King Mauls. I got two from Rocky Mountain Leather Supply. (16 and 32 oz 149.98). I do find them to be much more useful than that old leather one I bought long ago. I'm looking forward to sharing leather crafting with ya'll. Thanks for the add!

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Glad to see you're back at it, Redcrane!  Where is that MLB breaching the surf?

Jeff

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How I got started? 

Well I needed a new radio strap at the firehouse and wanted a pair of suspenders for my bunkers didn’t want to buy. So I decided I could make em. Well that turned into me making 25 or so straps for guys at the station all profit plus some to help a brother whose injury took him off the job. 

Well that got the fire burning and I decided to learn how to tool. More tools more leather and lots of books and now I’m trying to make it a part-time job. I’m having a blast doing it and it’s great therapy plus I get to work on my schedule. 

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I grew up riding and working with horses and I got tired of either sending gear off when it would break or dealing with poorly made stuff to begin with.So around the age of 18, I acquired a few tools from my grandpa (who did leatherwork while in the Navy in the 60's) and started tinkering. I was absolutely hooked! I now make anything from tack to belts, portfolios, fire gear and the list goes on. Working on a portfoilo now to send to Canada which is my first international order, as well as, partnering with a lady who beads belt strips. Its such a fun ride and I love meeting new people who either ask about my work or who are fellow leatherworkers.

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I had an art teacher who did a 6 week class on leather work, I was hooked. Got a Tandy kit for Christmas that year and as  they say the rest is history.

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On ‎4‎/‎6‎/‎2018 at 4:25 PM, Rolandranch said:

I was just a little curious about how you all began as leather workers. 

I started 2 years ago when I made a cheesy knife and wanted to make a leather sheath for it (I was 14). My dad took me to Tandy to get some leather and tools. I thought I was just getting enough material to make a sheath... but dad said I should make a bunch of leather products and try to sell them. We walked out with $300 worth of materials. :blink: I made the sheath and was hooked with leather ever since. I started doing custom leather projects for friends and made enough money to buy a cb4500 sewing machine so I could up the production... and here I am enjoying leather work and learning something new from every project I do.

Here is that knife sheath. :rolleyes2:

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What's your story and first leather project?

-Ryan

My adventure in leather began when I saw how much it was going to cost get a holster I wanted.  I told my Dad I was interested in trying to make a holster, so for my birthday back 2012 he bought me a Tandy Deluxe Leather Kit.  I invested in a copy of Stohlman's How to Make Holsters book, and never looked back.  I gave my Dad the first holster I made.  I used one of the patterns in Stohlman's book to make that holster.  I made the holster I wanted not long after that.  

 

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On 4/6/2018 at 7:25 PM, Rolandranch said:

I was just a little curious about how you all began as leather workers. 

I started 2 years ago when I made a cheesy knife and wanted to make a leather sheath for it (I was 14). My dad took me to Tandy to get some leather and tools. I thought I was just getting enough material to make a sheath... but dad said I should make a bunch of leather products and try to sell them. We walked out with $300 worth of materials. :blink: I made the sheath and was hooked with leather ever since. I started doing custom leather projects for friends and made enough money to buy a cb4500 sewing machine so I could up the production... and here I am enjoying leather work and learning something new from every project I do.

Here is that knife sheath. :rolleyes2:

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What's your story and first leather project?

-Ryan

This is roughly a year old, but my story is simple. This was just under a year ago (or is it just under 2 years?) And I wanted a leather holster for my phone I could wear to work and not put it in my pocket due to much bending over, so I discovered a Tandy 45 minutes away and bought some oil tagged scraps and some Chicago-type screws; little did I know, leatherwork would be so fun. I knew it would be cheaper buying a phone holster premade, but I wanted something to do in the evenings after work and in on weekends other than video games. I ended up making the phone holster from trashy leather from Michael's, but I still have it so it may not have been too trashy... I'm graduating from Ashland University in 3 weeks, and an currently 21 so my experience is limited as are my resources, but God does provide. I came into college knowing it was the path I needed to take to grow in God, and here I am now about to enter a new chapter in my life with leatherwork in my arsenal.

Benny

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On 4/11/2019 at 8:20 PM, Bennyleather said:

This is roughly a year old, but my story is simple. This was just under a year ago (or is it just under 2 years?) And I wanted a leather holster for my phone I could wear to work and not put it in my pocket due to much bending over, so I discovered a Tandy 45 minutes away and bought some oil tagged scraps and some Chicago-type screws; little did I know, leatherwork would be so fun. I knew it would be cheaper buying a phone holster premade, but I wanted something to do in the evenings after work and in on weekends other than video games. I ended up making the phone holster from trashy leather from Michael's, but I still have it so it may not have been too trashy... I'm graduating from Ashland University in 3 weeks, and an currently 21 so my experience is limited as are my resources, but God does provide. I came into college knowing it was the path I needed to take to grow in God, and here I am now about to enter a new chapter in my life with leatherwork in my arsenal.

Benny

That's great that you enjoy leather work over video games. Most of my friends would rather play video games than making something. My family does not have a TV so everyone's usually busy making something. God certainly does provide. I'm very blessed to be able to do leather work! Congrats on graduating! I'm 17 so college is just around the corner. I'm probably going to get a degree in business and then go back to my many hobbies, including leather work, and be an entrepreneur. 

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14 hours ago, Rolandranch said:

That's great that you enjoy leather work over video games. Most of my friends would rather play video games than making something. My family does not have a TV so everyone's usually busy making something. God certainly does provide. I'm very blessed to be able to do leather work! Congrats on graduating! I'm 17 so college is just around the corner. I'm probably going to get a degree in business and then go back to my many hobbies, including leather work, and be an entrepreneur. 

Thank you! Good luck in college, and don't let it drag you down!

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I got interested in leather work while looking for a magazine carrier for my 1911. Of the designed I liked none were available in a timely fashion,  like 18 to 20 weeks wait. so I said time to learn how to do it my self and if I like it time to get to work doing more for extra cash since there is so much business. still a complete newbe and have been making simple practice pieces like coasters and a tool pouch.

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I am one of those who said to himself... "I am not going to pay $60 for a holster, when it is only a few dollars worth of leather and so easy to make!"

Now, eight years later, having invested hundreds of dollars and many hours of studying and making, I can make a holster that is worth $60 (maybe).

Well, it has been fun and interesting all along the way.

The most amazing surprise to me, was when I discovered how willingly people gave up their secrets of the craft, helping others reach their level.  

I don't think that I have ever seen that in any other arena.

Many thanks to all of these giving artisans on LW and YT.

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On 4/16/2019 at 7:36 PM, Rolandranch said:

That's great that you enjoy leather work over video games. Most of my friends would rather play video games than making something. My family does not have a TV so everyone's usually busy making something. God certainly does provide. I'm very blessed to be able to do leather work! Congrats on graduating! I'm 17 so college is just around the corner. I'm probably going to get a degree in business and then go back to my many hobbies, including leather work, and be an entrepreneur. 

Bravo Roland!

From the middle side of the age spectrum-  at 47 with 10 plus years of marriage under our belts my wife and I still don't have a TV either! My daughter loves tinkering and playing while her cousins all hunker down on the couch with their iPads and Devices.  Its kind of a sad narrative really.

Get the degree and never stop crafting! The down time at my job allows me to do a few things- as a career paramedic (like the other fire guys here) radio straps and harness items are a big seller... and crafted items for the wives and nurses... almost a fulltime-pastime!  HA! ;)

I will let you in on a little secret that you probably already know... If you examine successful folks most of their "Hobbies" are either budget neutral (They take in as much as they cost) or they contribute to your growth financially either by direct income (selling to others) or by saving your money (you can make it for less than retail). I have no hobbies that cost me outside of setup/start expenses. They all have to be self funding and driving. Keeps the family budget on track too! (And honestly- it ROCKS to be able to use side income to take the family somewhere!) Others have different paths- this is only my path- and it works for my family. All the usual caveats apply: Your mileage may vary, some assembly required, batteries not included, only for ages 3 and up, yadda yadda yadda, call your mother... (you get the idea- this is just ONE way to think about it).

For example- The Warden... My wife completely freaked when I spent a LOT on a metal detector- until she found out I had used the crappy one I had for 3 years to find enough bits and bobs and rings and coins to pay for it... and that detector has paid for itself again in about a year (as of this writing).

Same with the leather- she was wary of a "whole hide" purchase- until I made workbelts for guys and a few things she wanted as well plus a knife sheath or two I needed. The belts paid for the hide- and she was happy to let me keep exploring this craft. Yes- she has me trained very well.

(FULL DISCLOSURE GUYS/GALS and FOLKS- I married an accountant... so I absolutely HAVE to answer for every penny!)

My path into leather was like a few others- I "couldn't afford" or did not want to "pay for something at retail" I could make for less and my metalworking was starting to need leather accent pieces and sheaths. Kydex is great for some things- but not things that need a tactile or "warm" feel to aesthetic value.

Love the thread- 

Edited by SilverForgeStudio
kant sphell... not enuff cofffeeee

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We cleaned out my Dad's garage workshop a few years after his passing and I found a burned up knife and axe heads to work on. I also found my grandfather's awl and leather punch. I did a fine job on the axes and knife and they needed leather protection.

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My first leather cut I made from my paper pattern of this EG Hughes WWII battle knife was not properly done to reflect my right handedness. I shelved that, re-cut for a RH, and it became my second project ever. The first project was an axe head cover that is rivet heavy. My 3rd project was the LH sheath.

 

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Stitching wise that is project #1 on the left and project #2 on the right. I like Velcro on the strap for ease of release. I learned some things right there.

 

Edited by dmau
mislabeled both a left

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It was about 1973 or close to it, I had an art teacher in grade school that had a 6 week course on leather work. I got hooked, got a Tandy Leathercraft kit for Christmas that year. Over the years I have picked it up and laid it aside but whenever I needed a belt, wallet or something for the horse I got it back out. Got my first cell phone in about 1995 or so. That cheep holder that came with it would not do so I got out the tools and made one. Everyone saw it and wanted one. My business started there.

I was basically self taught, Just Al Stohlman and all the books and pattern packs I could afford. I got the internet in 1996 or so and found that there were others who did leather too. I learned from those I became friends with through the IILG and later this forum. Went to my first IFoLG show in 2005 and got hooked showing and then later as a judge. 

My son won the Ann Stohlman Youth Award in Leather Craft. 

I am retired now and basicly just work in my leather shop, It keeps me as busy as I want to be. About the time I get caught up the phone rings and I get busy again. My hobby has turned into an obsession 

As a side note I used to be on Leatherworker all the time and I have kind of drifted away but I plan on coming back and hanging around some more. Maybe just to lurk.

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12 hours ago, Randy Cornelius said:

I plan on coming back and hanging around some more.

That has to be the best news I have had all day. Its the old salts more accomplished and experienced people, that really make Leatherworker.net what it is. I hope you can be a part of, and contribute to, Leatherworker.net for many years to come

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I got my start in 1965 when a SW Colorado rancher’s wife, Sara Masco, an excellent leather tooler, taught basic tooling leathercraft to a bunch of us 13-14yo knotheads in 4H.  She relied on Tandy kits for projects for beginners the first year, and let 2nd year students branch out from there.  I don’t remember my first project, but I recall vividly a belt that I made my second year.  It featured a very dramatic footprint storyline of a barefoot man walking in sand with a bear falling in behind him to later consume the man and walk off alone.  The judge at the County Fair made a special note on my entry card. “What happened? Did little brother spill dye on your belt?” (my red dye simulated blood).  Pffft, not much of a judge.  Hell, I don’t even have a brother.

No more leatherwork for years except repairing horse tack, and then I took up leather tooling again after 20 years in 1985 in Oklahoma.  With a wife and three children, I made belts, covered belt buckles, wallets, clutch purses, knife sheaths, and purses for my family and friends.  I tooled and laced most items.  Nowadays, three of the little belts that I made for my children have been converted into a paper towel holder in our kitchen.

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I got to thinking that I was getting pretty good at leather work (I even made a belt for Country Singer Pake McEntire), so I consigned some things to a popular Westernwear Store near my home.  A few months later, I went and got it all and brought it home.  I still have most of it boxed up somewhere.

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I’ve puttered with tooling leather a bit through the years, tooling and buckstitching electrical linemen climbing gear “gut straps” and making a few more laced checkbook covers and clutch purses.  Eventually, I quit tooling and got into wet-forming folding-knife sheaths and plier holsters that I sewed by hand with waxed thread.  Now that I have great leather sewing machines on hand, I haven’t gotten back into production at all, and use my machines to make repairs to mostly woven materials.  I use my machines for some leather mending, but ironically, hand-sewing or hand lacing has usually been the best method to repair leather items that have come through the door at my sewing shop.  Fake leather (yes?, no?, umm probably) purses are the exception.  I usually use a machine to mend them, whatever they’re made of.

I don’t see me getting back into production leatherworking for the public at all.  I still have all of my hand tools boxed up if I ever change my mind.  For now, I enjoy the challenge of mending someone else’s work, and besides, there’s more money in repairs, at least in my experience.  Your mileage may vary.

CD in Oklahoma

 

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