(last edited on April 29, 2014 at 1:28 am)
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!
Anyway, 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.
I 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.
Punch 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!
And 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!