Monday, 27 February 2012

Pictures - Leather Carving

So, I finally got around to taking pictures of both my completed project from my leather carving class. I also did some dyeing work over the weekend on my Ealdormere populace badge. Here's the pictures:

First,the finished luggage tag we made for the carving class. As mentioned I'm not entirely happy with it but it was a good learning project:

Next we have my Ealdormere populace badge, which I did up spontaneously just to work on my carving skills. It's a modified version of the graphic that can be found on the Ealdormere site at:

I'll keep working on it since its a design that I can use for pouches and such. I tried a bit of a more advanced technique on the red wolf to get a bit of a funky pattern to it, thought it looked kind of neat instead of just having it solid red. Helps show off some of the detail too.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Leather Carving Class - Day 5

This is the last class of the 5 day leather carving class. Today we focussed on dying leather.

The teacher walked us through the different types of dyes available (who knew all the stuff I have is the wrong stuff for the projects I was doing?).

So we used some of the water based dye to paint the background of our project and then applied the clear coat on top to help protect it. Project looks pretty good if you ignore my mistakes on the carving.

I didn't have time to paint any of my other projects so will have to do that next.

Short summary of the dyes for future reference:

1) Fiebings is a chemical dye (can't remember the exact term). Hard to wash up, but goes much deeper into the leather. Can't be mixed to make new colours and needs some extra work to finish. Also needs to be sealed properly or it will rub off. Best used with a dauber.

Fiebings also makes a paste dye that works really well for an antique effect. Use sheep skin or a rag to apply and then buff using a sheepskin.

2) Highlighter is a dye that you use to emphasize your carving. Rub it on the whole project and then lightly wipe it off. It will wipe of the surface, but will stay inside the lowered edges of your carving and"highlight it" Can use a foam brush to apply.

3) Acrylic dyes are kind of like acrylic paint, except they dry flexible. Generally used for small accent colours rather than painting an entire project. Paint brush to apply.

4) Water based dyes are the Zeli's brand product. They can be combined to make other colours and are more easily cleaned since they are water based. Can also be mixed with water to thin it so that the colour is less opaque for specific effects. Best applied using a brush or foam brush. Don't use the dauber.

So that's it for my class. I think I picked up a lot of basic technique that I can apply to my SCA projects.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Carving Project

So, heading into my last leather carving class I thought I would work a bit on a project of my own, so I can bring it in and get some tips from my instructor on how to improve it.

I printed out the Ealdormere populace badge, and used it as a pattern. The badge is essentially a wolf head over a trillium. I figure this is something I should learn how to do since it's a useful design to apply to various leather pieces.

Tomorrow I'll dye it if I have time, so the red and white colours show up, but for now here's how it looks:

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Leather Carving Class - Day 4

Well, class last night was a bit disappointing, but that's probably more because we didn't really learn anything new. Basically we just worked on applying the same techniques we had learned previously to the two other pieces of the project.

It also doesn't help that I'm totally not happy with the results, especially on the strap. I know its supposed to be a project we are using to learn the techniques, but after 4-5 2 hour classes spent working on the thing, you'd hope it would turn out as something you actually like. :) I guess that's the danger of working on this kind of thing. You can't just hit the undo button if you mess it up.

Taking an objective look, our teacher did tell us he selected a very challenging project because he wanted something that would use ALL of the tools. What that means is there is a lot more tooling on this than would normally be the case. I'm also finding that because its so small (especially the strap) and the pattern is so tight and intricate, my un-artistic hands are having a hard time making the cuts and edges look clean.

I suspect that when I'm doing period projects, the patterns will likely be somewhat simpler, so it will hopefully look cleaner. I also suspect I'll just need to keep practicing, especially with the swivel knife and beveler. Fortunately, with all the armour I'll be making in the coming months, there will be lots of opportunity to add some flourishes to Avelyn's pieces. :)

Next week is our last class. We'll be dying the various carved pieces we worked on, and then assembling the luggage tag.

I still don't have any pictures of my project, but if you want to see the pattern we are using, this is the example we're trying to replicate (at least this is the main piece. There's also a front panel with a window for the address, plus the strap):

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Avelyn's Armour - Update

We decided to go to an A&S day this weekend, and I took the opportunity to get started on some new leg armour for Avelyn. We had seen how some of the Harrowgate folks have done their knee and shin protection, so we are going to try that approach.

Of course, when I went down to the leather stash to find some leather for the project, I discovered I didn't have enough of it left for the pieces I was going to make. This of course meant a road trip to Zeli's was in order. After spending way too much money, we were supplied, and made our way to the A&S day. I also picked up some of the items from my list of equipment (see an earlier post), so it was a good pit stop.

We were only at the A&S day for a short time, but I was able to trace out the paper pattern for the shin pieces and fit them to Avelyn. After some adjustments and another paper pattern we were good to go. Once we got home, I cut out the first piece, which looks like it will work.

Now I just have to figure out how the strap them on, because she needs to be able to put them on and take them off herself, so buckles aren't ideal. Avelyn suggested a hook and eye system, but I'm concerned the hooks will constantly be popping undone. We also have to figure out how best to attach the shins to the knees.

I will also have to cut some strips of armour grade leather and wax harden them to use as splints. I can then rivet them to the shin-guards to give her some extra protection without a huge amount of weight added.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Leather Carving Class - Day 3

Another good class today! We were working mainly with the pear shader and the beveler today.

So, we actually are pretty far ahead of the normal schedule for the class, either because we're picking up on things quickly or at least not getting confused. By the end of this class, we had completely finished carving the back piece of our luggage tag that we are making. And, even better, mine actually looks like its supposed to. I

The teacher showed us how to walk the pear shader to "shade" and area by compressing the leather. It essentially pushes the area down so the leather looks darker. You have to "walk" it so that you have a smooth line, rather than a bunch of oval shaped depressed areas. We then used the beveler to put perspective into the  image so that some elements look like they are in front of others.

I think that's all we were supposed to get done, but we were so far ahead we also applied the background tool to the image, which really made the image pop off the leather. We also put in some artistic cuts so that when we do the dyeing it adds some different character to the colour. All that's left to do is dyeing the leather, which we do on the last day.

It's funny, because over the course of the class we all kept commenting about how all of our projects looked like a mess and we couldn't really see what it was supposed to look like. Then, all of a sudden, once we started beveling and using the background tool the image just jumped out. It's really neat, and just shows that you can't tell how its going to turn out until you put the final touches in.

'll try to take a picture and post it this weekend of the project so far.

For homework, we have to trace out the patterns for the front of the tag, and the strap. Next class we will do all the carving for those two pieces so that all we have left is dying and assembly.

**(Note to self for future reference, bevel on the outside of the line to make the object look like its in the front, inside the line to drop the object to the background).

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Preparing for my leatherworking class

So today is my third leatherworking class. Heading into the class, we were supposed to practice our swivel knife skills, plus practice with some of our new stamping tools that we are going to start using tonight. However, to be able to do this I had to get a few things and start setting up my work area a bit better.

So, last night I cleaned off my work table (it was covered in scraps of leather, notebooks and miscellaneous other junk) and finally setup my marble slab for stamping. I also bought some dollar store plastic bowls and jugs so I can keep my water and carving solution down there.

Fortunately, I have lots of scrap leather from when I was making Avelyn's kidney belt for her armour, so away I went casing the leather and playing with my stamping and carving tools.

I can totally see how they will add a lot of character and dimension to the projects, so I'm looking forward to tonight so I can see how they will work.

I'll do my usual post-class updated tomorrow, so stay tuned.