Freezing cold temperatures for weeks on end and no pressing chores with this old house gave me a chance to cut out a dozen new projects. Now, just a bit of trimming, stitching, lacing, riveting, and wet-moulding to make these into some useful heirlooms.
I'm calling this one the Ranger Bag - It takes a lot of work to prototype a new bag design. To get just the right shape and proportion, find the right materials, and choose the appropriate construction technique is a big deal; especially if it's going to be done well. I wanted something that looked … Continue reading Prototyping a New Belt Pouch
I like to add a little character and variety, even if I'm just making the same thing again and again. I want to believe that this is what my ancestors would have done, toiling away in the craft to make a living. It keeps things interesting and more human than the soulless, mass-produced consumables. Here's … Continue reading Catching Up
Sandals in progress... If you have ever taken a class with me you might know that all the intimidating sewing isn't as bad as it looks. The sole is three layers thick but the use of a good, sharp awl makes the double needle sewing go quickly. A lot more work goes into these than … Continue reading Handmade Sandals
One of the better things about modern communication is the ability to meet and talk to people from nearly all parts of the globe. I have been in communication with Jacob from Botswana for years now and he has shared some photos of the beautiful backpack he made based on my earlier design. That one … Continue reading Jacob’s Beautiful Leather Backpack
Kentucky Hunter's Pouch - Few words are needed to show this project. It is a Kentucky Hunter style pouch of a style popular throughout the 17th and 18th centuries in America. Its antecedents come from Britain and mainland Europe but changed with the times as North America was colonized. In the days before the common … Continue reading Hunter’s Pouch
This post came from looking through a few class photos from Rabbitstick several years ago based on an inquiry. This is one of the years I taught my favorite sandal design, an ancient one though still cleverly marketed as a modern style. I call them saint sandals as they look like something you would see … Continue reading Sandals
Once again, I am producing some large, traveler's wallets. While some are waiting their finishing touches, here's the first of six. They are all of the same general size and design but each has some variation in shape and closure type. I think my dying is improving. Having read more on the subject, I've been … Continue reading Traveler’s Wallet
Long, cold nights in the Midwest. Limited mobility due to injury. A need to create new things A desire to fund my trips later this year... This is a recipe for high productivity in the workshop. Fortunately, I have a fairly large stockpile of leather and supplies to see me through my projects as I … Continue reading Work from the Leather Shop
Just a quick follow-up from yesterday's post... The sporran is complete and ready to go so, of course, I had to model it to show the size and wearability. Here is the Maker in his workshop sporting the new bag. I didn't bother to "kilt up" but that is the belt I frequently wear when … Continue reading Action Photos
I have been wanting to make a few sporrans based on the classic 18th century style. This type, often referred to as a Rob Roy style, is a fairly simple, single pocket design that can have a number of variations. The one I'm making here is from 6 oz full-grain hide and should outlive it's … Continue reading Sporran in Progress
Despite how much I like this photo, I have held off posting this image here because I couldn't find any attribution or further information about this gentleman and his fine bicycle. I came across it several years ago and stuck it in my image files until I could find out more; alas, I have not. … Continue reading Bike Trekker – Allen Hastings Fry
In my internet sleuthing I have gathered literally thousands of images, plans, and patterns of things I would like to make or have for reference. Government documents, like the scans below, are invaluable resources for the maker when they are made public. Who would know how to better and more efficiently make a pair of … Continue reading U.S. Army Riding Gloves Pattern – free
Wise words. Learning to really properly sharpen an edge tool by hand is an epiphany and makes wood and leatherworking a real joy.
The other day, I was teaching a friend to sharpen his plane iron, and it got me thinking about sharpening. Of all the skills I have learned while working wood, sharpening has been the most life-changing. It started with chisels and plane irons, but then I began sharpening my kitchen knives and pocketknives. I had no idea that steel could get so sharp! It used to be that dull tools were merely inconvenient, but now I find a dull knife a heartbreaking disappointment.
I say this because I want to share a recent article on sharpening by Chris Schwarz, former editor at Popular Woodworking Magazine and current head of Lost Art Press. In it, Schwarz reflects (well, more like pontificates) on how few woodworkers actually know how to sharpen an edge tool. Even the some of the professionals who write for the big-name magazines often lack basic sharpening skills. He…
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Stitching Pony, Leather Worker's Clamp, or Saddler's Clam... Whatever you call it, it is a handy device to own if you sew any leather. These are simple devices that just about anyone can make with little time or money invested. Although there are many varieties and models, the one shown in this tutorial by Harry … Continue reading Making a Stitching Pony; Video Tutorial
When teaching a leather craft or making an item for someone, I am often asked about the machine used to sew such thick leather or through so many layers in tight areas. People are often astounded when I explain that this is all hand sewn, with an awl and two needles. I learned saddle stitching … Continue reading Saddle Stitching
I would not have ever thought myself a craft fair kind of guy yet here we are... Last year, our local community center hosted an arts and craft fair as a way to bring local artisans together and raise money for public programs (art classes, GED education, computer skills, tax assistance, etc.). Being new to … Continue reading Art and Craft Fair
Here is an update on the most recent possibles bag I have been working on: Sorry the photos aren't so great but here is the description: Made from 7 oz (~3 mm) Hermann-Oak full-grain harness leather top dyed and antiqued Fiebings medium brown with a single patch pocket inside. It still needs a little edge … Continue reading Possibles Bag
Here is a shop update on a couple of the many leatherworking projects undertaken lately. I decided to use up all the leather I have been storing and put it to good use. I have about 100 projects I'd like to make for myself but the Yule season is coming, gifts are expected in many … Continue reading A Leather Purse and Wallet
There are some new projects coming off the bench.Here's a new minimalist traveler's wallet. I'm still working through the design and construction process but like it so far. Simple three-pocket design; a vertical a horizontal card pocket as well as a large one for bills. A bucket purse made from an oil-tanned leather. Welted and … Continue reading Some New Leatherwork