Happy New Year! I’m happy to report that Christmas 2017 was a rousing success and that I was wiped out, both in terms of inventory and physically. But all that work meant I got to buy some new toys and some of them have radically improved my leatherworking technique and products.
Leatherworking is not a cheap hobby or business to start. Buying good quality leather is going to cost you $$, possibly $$$, maybe even $$$$. But the cost that will really get you where it hurts is acquiring all the tools that will take your shop or hobby to the next level. These are my current favorites, two of which won’t break the bank!
1. Blade Cutter and Replacement Blades
Most likely you have one of these already. If not, get one from your local hardware store-in this instance I don’t feel you need to spend $. What you do need (and this didn’t occur to me until earlier this year) is a stack of replacement blades. Because cutting suede or the softer leathers is going to be a pain.in.the.butt without a new blade, and might even ruin a piece. I found this out the hard way: a couple really raggedy edges and me ready to throw something when it occurred to me that my blade had been in there for a bit. Changed it and lo! it cut the leather like it was softened butter. So order them in bulk and change them out frequently (pro tip: mark the end that goes in first with a sharpie so you know whether or not you’ve used the other side!). Well worth the extra expense.
2. A Wood Slicker
I bought this one from Tandy’s (they don’t know who I am nor am I being compensated: I just really like this one) and didn’t use it til a couple months ago because I was buying really thin, kinda cheap leather (I wanted to see how the leather journals did and wowzer, they did really well). Recently I’ve begun buying higher quality leather as I expand my offerings and decided to give it another go. Night and day, guys, night and day. HUGE difference in the look of the finished piece. What I currently do is get the edge I’m burnishing wet and then run the slicker over it several times (or more). Once I’ve finished the piece I go back over it again with saddle soap and voila, you have a masterpiece.
3. Corner Rounders
So you probably won’t buy these at first. You’ll be busy stocking up on leather and other basic tools. But when you’ve progressed a bit, give these a go. They will absolutely revolutionize the way you do leatherworking (or at least they did for me). I could manually round corners but I was never very precise-these cut like a dream. I bought this one, again from Tandy’s (you will also need a mallet of some sort). Well worth the $$.
I hope your New Year is going well and treating you right! I’ve got lots of plans for Wordsremember and am really excited about revealing them in the upcoming months.
And as always, Art On.