Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Information About Making Good Leather Work Surfaces

11.  Work surfaces

     All leather crafts people require a good work surface.  These can be made of many things, and there are quite a number of fairly expensive types available at leather crafts supply stores.  My favorite work surface ever is a p[iece of nylon board which was retrieved from a dumpster by a buddy of mine.  It is two inches thick and bionic.  I have used it to pound on for years and years and it is a marvelous tool.  It is about two feet by three feet, and if it had not been salvaged wold have cost over 100 dollars.  It was free for me, it had a piece sticking out that my friend wanted, so I trimmed it off with a table saw and made off with the rest.  What a deal.  A lot of leathersmits use wood as a a surface, and a large tree trunk or 6" sdlab of trunk is good, but you always want to punch down into the grain not across it.  Wood tears up very fast too.  Most work boards should be softer then the metal of your tools, thatys their purpose actually.  You don't want to mar your tools edge, hole punches and the like, by poounding through the leather into something hard.  A lot of people use polished marble slabs or granite slabs when they are tooling leather with stamping or cutting tools and tyhats because tyhose tools never punch THROUGH the leather.  When stamping you always wety the leather thorughly (Case it) and then use a hard flat surface to stamp your design.  Otherwise you want wood, or hard plastic to punch into.

     The exception to the above is when setting rivets or other fasteners which are struck forcefully, then you want a polished or at least smooth metal surface, like a metal plate, or even a nice flat anvil surface.  There is a tool which many leather people use called a steel shoe last or Dragon Last, and it is handy for setting rivets inside cases, and snaps too.  It can be turned several different ways to preesent different surfaces, and was developed for the shoe making industry, though it has application when making bags too.

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