Fantasy Crafting Workshop, Part 3

Fantasy Crafting Workshop, Part 3

Visit Site I’ve been almost too busy to blog, and when I get some alone-time I’ve been looking into crafts-oriented tools instead of writing. I don’t know exactly why I’m on this crafting-kick; it might be my sister’s enthusiasm for Craftster, with the accompanying realization that people who make real stuff are rad. I’m also finding non-computer activities to be a more relaxing than, say, the latest video game–currently, I’m playing the newest Brothers in Arms, and I can only play it in spurts before I get tired of getting my butt kicked. A darker theory to explain my sudden interest in crafting suggests that World of Warcraft has imprinted me via their in-game professions system…damn you, Blizzard!

Visit SiteAnyway, the latest craft to catch my eye has been leatherworking. I stumbled upon an article on making a custom wet-formed leather case for a Palm Pilot while researching custom binders for the Printable CEO. Apparently, you can take a piece of leather, wet it, and then stretch it to shape over a wooden mold. With enough poking and prodding, you can get the leather to form-fit whatever it is you’re making a case for. The writeup is excellent, but the illustrations are terrible; this holster (right) from Milt Sparks Gunleather shows the results a lot better. You can see the shape of the gun in sharp relief…sweet! This not only looks cool, but it helps hold the gun firmly in place.

Visit SiteI followed the link to Tandy Leather, which I think may be the motherlode of all horrible camp crafts projects. I sent for their catalog anyway; it’s filled with awesome tools like punches, awls, and circular carving knifes. There’s a hand-powered leather sewing machine that would look right at home in my fantasy crafting workshop, right next to the kydex rivet press and the Etch-o-Matic.

And then there’s Tandy’s Ultimate Leatherworking Kit (shown above). For $799, you get you $1500 worth of punches, awls, knives, hammers, cutting boards, embossers, and other mysterious tools along with a few books to get you started.

EmbossSo you can emboss stuff using a machine, for when you’re making belts I suppose! The machine kind of looks like a pasta press; strips of leather roll through it under some shaped dies. Looks neat.

TypePunch letters of the alphabet! When was the last time you did the typography for a piece of leather? Maybe I will order a set and restamp new luggage tags–the initials on my current ones are very crooked. Bah!

CarveAnd if you’re handy with a knife, you can carve leather using patterns. These are examples made from some kind of plastic template, sized specifically for making billfolds; there are more examples and photos available at the Tandy leather site, and some of them look pretty cool.

I bet this is just the kind of thing that you’d put in your wedding registry back in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s day. Screw the stemware! Get us the Al Stohlman custom leather punches instead!


  1. Joan 19 years ago

    There used to be a wholesale leather district in Boston (check it out). Did you know eyelets and grommits have names like large and small Klondike. Where do you suppose that came from?
    Also Venetian Carnival Masks are also made from streched leather.

  2. Bridget 19 years ago

    I remember watching a couple open their wedding presents at the end of their very big day. After the last box was opened, and the last card read, hubby said “…and not even one cordless screwdriver…” So true – all the things had been either “girlie”, or “for the house”… nothing “guy-zie”.

    Yeah, I know… it’s all about moulding the leather… yeah… but you said “registry”… :)