Saturday, December 31, 2011

Holiday work

I'm currently on a holiday break from my day job, and even though I should be relaxing it's hard for me to sit still. This was a good time for me to not work on commissions and instead do some of the things I haven't had a chance to work on. As a result, there are a few projects to share. First up is a belt buckle that came about during all the welding a couple weeks ago:
Next is a lacing fid, which is used for knotwork/edge lacing/plaiting. They're great for loosening and/or tightening knots, braids, etc. This one has been ground down from half of a 15mm ratcheting wrench that I found on the street:
 It's a little stubby, but very satisfying to hold. As to be expected, there can't be creation without some destruction, and my knuckle was on the receiving end of a little of that this morning.
It was while I was finishing up some edge filing on the spines of my Spyderco pocket knives:

And last but not least - totes! I've had an industrial sewing machine (Juki DDL-555-4) for a while now, and even though I sew all my leather projects by hand there have been some other things I've wanted to make that could be done on a sewing machine. This machine is a beast, and kind of intimidating, and as a result I haven't made much time to sit down and get some practice. Till now. The Juki, myself and some canvas sat down for a few days to get better acquainted and, once we were all on speaking terms, I made myself some sturdy canvas tote bags. The olive green ones are a little more burly, as the webbing goes all the way around the bottom, and I intend to cart my groceries in them. The tan/drab ones aren't quite as tough, but should be just fine for grabbing a few things at the store:

Monday, December 26, 2011

The last few weeks have been pretty busy, despite not having a ton of Xmas orders. I've been doing a little welding, and though I definitely need some more practice I've managed to make a couple of serviceable creations. Up first is a front bike rack for the Hipster Incinerator:

It didn't need to be pretty, but I did want something to hold the heaviest item that comes with me when biking - the U-lock. The welds are disgusting but they'll support my weight, and as long as it can hold the lock then I'm happy.
Up next is a bottle tree that I made for my mother's Xmas gift. Because, let's face it, when your mom wants a bottle tree, you make her a bottle tree. Most of the examples I saw online were pretty boring, and usually consisted of a straight post then a few straight "branches" coming out at angles (side note - why do most bottle trees only use blue bottles?) I thought it would be more fun and interesting to make something a little more tree-like and spooky:
Arts and Drafts recently celebrated the holidays with our annual white elephant gift exchange, which is always a great time and usually involves a lot of scheming, plotting and thieving. For one of my contributions I made a plain leather Moleskine cover, which is not dyed or sealed in any way. This prevents any oils or dyes from bleeding into the notebook and also allows for the leather to get darker with use. There are some fantastic examples of these kinds of leather covers out there, and many allow the elastic band to be utilized, but I thought that design element could be improved. Without naming names or pointing a finger, the examples I saw had the elastic wrapping around the notebook cover, continuing into the leather cover for an inch or so, exiting a small hole, turning around then wrapping around the outside of the wrapped notebook. This creates excess bulk and also means that there's only a small amount of leather between a stitch line and the exit hole, which is a weak spot and a point of possible failure. For my version I have the elastic exit right at the edge of the leather cover, which avoids having to create a weak spot, is much simpler and negates the excess bulk of having the elastic doubled up inside:

This is just a prototype and I'll probably refine this a bit more on a later version, but for now it's functional.
And finally, this is a project that's been waiting to happen for a while, but I was only able to get to it in the time between Thanksgiving and Xmas. The cabinet maker who made the top for my work bench has a really large pistol that needed a holster, so I made him one. It's set up for either belt or shoulder strap carry, and here it is:

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Battle Clutch!

Just finished this scaly Battle Clutch. There are 12 card slots, two large pockets for cash or receipts, plenty of room in the middle for a cellphone, cigarettes, etc., and sturdy brass zipper will ensure years of use. The interior pockets are veg-tanned leather that's been dyed a subtle mix of green and purple, and the exterior is a mix of deer-tanned cowhide and doe kidskin. Available.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Sneak peek

A couple of sneak peeks of projects-in-progress. Check back soon for more photos once they are complete.