Hunter’s Pouch

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

Sandals

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

Traveler’s Wallet

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

Large Possibles Bag

Another possibles bag completed and out the door.  This one was designed, at the request of a customer, to fit a specific case that would fit inside.  This is clearly my favorite "go to" design and will make an excellent bushcrafter's kit. This one is about 3 1/2" deep and a little over 12" by … Continue reading Large Possibles Bag

Deluxe Possibles Bag

More shameless promotion from the workshop.  This is my new, deluxe model possibles bag for the right mountain man or woman.  This design has proven to be practical and popular.  The leather is veg-tanned Hermann-Oak and all sewing is double-needle saddle-stitch.  The hardware is premium solid harness brass.  This bag will only get better with … Continue reading Deluxe Possibles Bag

Work from the Leather Shop

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

Action Photos

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

Sporran in Progress

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

U.S. Army Riding Gloves Pattern – free

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

Making a Stitching Pony; Video Tutorial

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

Saddle Stitching

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

Art and Craft Fair

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

Possibles Bag

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

A Leather Purse and Wallet

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

Cavalry Saddlebags

It isn't cheap to find good saddle bags these days but excellent ones can still be made with a little time and dedication.  The U.S. Army M-1924 model is the culmination of a century of design improvements and feedback from real field use.  This model, in one form or another, saw  service across the West, … Continue reading Cavalry Saddlebags

Some New Leatherwork

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

Ghillie Shoe Commission

A while ago I received a request to make a pair of carbatinae (ghillie shoes) for a reenactor.  It was the first time I have done this long-distance without being able to measure the foot directly.  Luckily, we had good communication and I had a shoe last in his size so with these factors and … Continue reading Ghillie Shoe Commission

Making a Stitching Pony

I have needed a stitching pony for a long time now... Like so many other undone projects, this one has been stirring around in my head for several years.  Since my efforts have been so focused on sewing leather lately, the time had come for a new and useful tool in the shop.  I've looked … Continue reading Making a Stitching Pony

More Wallets

Maybe this is a little mundane but I've been using the cold and snowy weather as an excuse to do some cutting and sewing of leather.  I completed a passport wallet and finished up another minimalist wallet design.  I got the pattern for the larger travel wallet from Tony, the owner/designer at DieselpunkRo.  He sells … Continue reading More Wallets

Making a Minimalist Wallet

I try to live by the creed of learning and making something good every day. As we have been pondering the holiday season it seemed a good time to get a jump on some leatherworking projects I've had in mind the past few months.  This morning, before getting to work on other chores, I decided … Continue reading Making a Minimalist Wallet

Tanning Leather: Not a Lost Art

Many years ago, in Morocco, I was able to tour an ancient tannery and see some of the process of creating beautiful leather.  I use leather for many projects and although I do some brain tanning myself, I purchase all of my truly "tanned" leathers from others. One very important lesson about tanning I learned … Continue reading Tanning Leather: Not a Lost Art

Knife Sheath

I realize this isn't the most exiting project of the year but a necessary one nonetheless.  My knife sheath for the "regular" camp knife was a sloppily done remake of the original.  The knife maker did an excellent job on the knife itself but the sheath wasn't up to the standard of this fine tool. … Continue reading Knife Sheath

Making a NATO-Style Watch Band

Taking a break from work to make something for myself... I don't wear a watch every day but when I do, I like it to be comfortable and not at all flashy.  I was never a fan of wearing a watch when I wasn't working but having a crew who expect regular breaks and a … Continue reading Making a NATO-Style Watch Band

Pack Basket

In a fit of energy I got around to putting proper and better shoulder straps on my pack basket made last summer.  The pack is willow and the leather work is approximately 10 oz. Hermann Oak harness leather. Once the leather ages a bit they will be beautiful and rustic-looking.

The Crafting of Traditional Vegetable Tanned Huarache Footwear Leather

I have raved about the Huarache Blog before. Here’s a re-run of the excellent post about how real leather is still made by hand in Mexico.

Huarache Blog

Unlike most mainstream footwear, Mexican Huarache footwear leather is still vegetable tanned using tree bark. Fewer tanneries in the world still offer vegetable tanned leathers because of the slower tanning process and higher costs of the natural raw materials used.

The natural benefits of vegetable tanned leather are:

1. The organic tanning process is non toxic and has a much lesser impact on the environment and the health of the tanners (chrome tannery workers have a 20%-50% higher chance of cancer risk).

2. The leather maintains some of its natural qualities to stretch and adapt to your foot shape.

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A few months ago in a post titled “Taller De Curtiduria González – Vegetable Tanning the Best Huarache Leathers” I introduced Jesús and Antonio González the father and son tanners in Colima, Mexico who still practice this traditional and centuries old tanning method.

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The González tannery offers a variety…

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Make a Shop Apron

Shop aprons are not as widely used as in the past.  I believe this is related to our modern view on clothing and how it has changed over the past century.  Not only are we training less in the trades, our clothes are ridiculously cheap in the modern world.  Low prices and availability keeps our … Continue reading Make a Shop Apron

Roman Loculus

Or what we might call a messenger bag. I finally finished the commissioned bag from last month based on the beautifully proportioned Roman design.  As far as I know, this design dates back to at least the First Century C.E. and judging by it's logic, probably much further. I think the true loculus (satchel) utilized … Continue reading Roman Loculus

Project: Buckskin Bags

To aid in downsizing our worldly possessions (and tons of raw materials), I initiated the buckskin bag project.  The goal is to produce as many little beauties as possible while experimenting and learning new techniques. This is the first run of bags, which still require embellishments, closures, and neck straps.  More to come...