Any tips you've been taught that made a huge difference?

Sometimes when we learn, an experienced teacher lets us know something that sticks. Like how to do x, or how to try y. In leatherworking, have you been taught anything that immediately changed how you approached a technique, and has stuck with you ever since?

For me, it was having the proper board under punch tools when punching. Having a soft surface, like a cutting board or poundo board, absorbs the shock from hitting the punch, while also protecting the blades. Games changer, and I’ve done it ever since.

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I’m right there with you Dan! A proper working surface is very important. The one thing that was told to me and it has helped out a lot was this. Paper pattern save a lot of time and money. Build it first from paper or cardboard, even foam board from Michaels (same thickness + - ) I was introduce to the arbor press some time ago and I bought one. I will make this my new tool for the shop. I am hoping to use it for another of embossing and punching into leather, also for setting snaps and rivets :thinking: Thanks for reading my post. By for now :smile:

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Paper Patterns is a great one - I find myself iterating a lot, seeing how one design looks then tweaking it a bit, trying that out, and revising it again. Making “prototypes” from paper or other materials is so great, and even can make the process go way faster.

For example we might make 3-4 prototypes in the time we’d spend carefully crafting one out of leather. Giving us more time to make an amazing finished piece.

I do this a fair amount of the time, though also just run through leather scraps a lot too :smile: This is a good reminder to me to do some more paper patterning first. Thanks

Yes Dan! I find myself using a foam bound from the box stores it’s about the same oz. as leather. Many people buy it to make armorer for cos play with it. It’s much cheaper and it doesn’t hurt so bad if you make a mistake :joy:

Creative solutions :slight_smile: always the best!

Learning to properly case leather in preparation for stamping/tooling. There is a process that takes time. Up to 24 hours sometimes to allow the leather to fully absorb the moisture into its fibers and create a surface that you can sink a stamp into and leave a deep, well defined impression in the leather. I hated tooling leather until I learned how to prepare it the right way.

Hello Josh! :wave: Yes I agree with you. Casing leather is a very important part of tooling leather; tooling, Swivel knife cutting for your design. as well as skiving. As I prepare my leather for casing with water, I also include a little baby shampoo (J&J) and a little Listerine. This mixture makes it easier (in my opinion) to tool, kill a few nasty germs an smells better too :flushed: I also found some LARGE zip lock bags to put my leather in and continue to use until I’m finished tooling. Bye for now :wave:

Preparation seems to be as key here as having quality stamps. Some quality leathers can also help tremendously in taking a nice impression

Yeah, preparation is absolutely key to stamping. You can spend every dime you have to buy the nicest rarest, most expensive set of stamping tools ever created but if you haven’t prepared your leather by casing it properly, those expensive stamps won’t do you any good.

One thing I have put into practice is making sure to have a piece of scrap leather between my project and the cutting board when I am punching holes with my stitching irons, especially if the hide side of the leather would make contact with the cutting board. Otherwise, imperfections in the cutting board (previously punch hole outlines) can end up marring your project.

In God’s Grace,

Pastor Bob

“While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” - Romans 5:8

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Agreed. I do the same thing.

While watching a DG Saddlery video, he was showing pointers when using a border stamp. He suggested to start stamping on one corner, then move to the opposite corner and continue stamping from both towards the middle. This way you won’t end up with uneven spacing at one of the corners, but can even it out somewhere in the middle so one’s eye is not drawn to it easily.

I have done the same with stitching holes punched by hand. This way I can get a crisp 90 degree corner and, if necessary, can sneak in a single stitch hole between two others somewhere in the middle. In the past, I would end up with a hole on either side of the actual corner stitch and with the groove line already made, it would be visible since the stitching would cut the corner diagonally.

It’s hard to put in words, but does that make sense??

In God’s Grace,

Pastor Bob

“While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” - Romans 5:8

That definitely makes sense - our eyes are usually drawn to fixed points, so if those look crisp there’s less to visually question, also making it easier to vary just a bit the more forgiving groove line.

Something I would have probably had to learn by making a bunch of mistakes, awesome tip, thanks

Punching out stitchlines from two points on a project and blending them at a mid-point - out of sight if possible - is something I picked up early, but it never once occurred to me to do the same with stamping. I ruined project after project by screwing up a stamping pattern. I eventually gave up tooling leather completely.

I just rewatched Chuck Dorsett’s Leather Casing video on YT yesterday for a refresher on how to do it properly. I would like to try tooling… or at the very least, stamping, again.

I have some holiday projects I would really like to get started on and to do them right will require tooling and stamping along with dying, painting, and more.

I have watched a lot of Chuck’s YT videos. They are very good. I have also watched several of Don Gonzalez’s (DG Saddlery). Some are a little long, but he will generally unearth a couple of nuggets and tricks of the trade as he goes through them. Worth checking out. DG is where I picked up about the stamping (border and basket weave).

In God’s Grace,

Pastor Bob

“While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” - Romans 5:8

I need to watch more of D.G’s videos. I have only watched 2 or 3 all the way through. Chuck has a Wednesday live stream that I try to catch each week. They are always entertaining and every once in a while there is an Ah-ha moment where someone in chat or Chuck himself drops a handy piece of advice.