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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
The González tannery offers a variety…
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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
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
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...
Bag maker and salesman from the 15th century. This should inspire some Medieval era artisans out there. Cutting board and leather knife.
I had a friend shoot a few pictures of the rucksack in action. My only regret is that it could be slightly bigger. But then again, I'd just fill it with more stuff. It should last a lifetime and beyond. Not exactly dressed up here. I'm wearing the old caulking and painting shorts. If I … Continue reading Rucksack
I needed a new laptop case and had some nice shoulder leather left over from other projects. It's a fairly minimalist design but serves to protect the little Mac. A small brass button closure is the only hardware. After giving this some thought, I realize that a leather case like this should last at least … Continue reading Leather Laptop Case
Fleshing a hide on a beam. A familiar site to only a few of us these days but a common one for most of our history. Source: Turkestanskii al’bom, chast’ promyslovai︠a︡, 1871-1872, part 3, p. 26.
Some craftsmanship seen at Winter Count 2014. Moving a little closer to a hand-made life, one skill at a time. Hand made pottery made by artisans who collect the raw clays, slips, and paints make for greatly loved cookware and cups. Wood turned on a foot-powered lathe from cleared alder trees make for intimate dinnerware. … Continue reading Handcrafts
Maybe not the most exciting project to document but a vital one. My F-S knife needed a sheath and I've been too busy lazy to make one. Well, I finally got down to business and got it done. Part of the reason to procrastinate this was that I wasn't sure what style sheath to make. … Continue reading Knife Sheath