#MakersGonnaMake couldn't be a more true hashtag for the industry that I am in.
*Stands Up* "Hi, my name is Michael and I am a "Maker."
I am a person who seeks ways to produce a product from raw materials. I am a person whose mind is constantly searching for the "next" thing to make; "next" being a relative term. I am a person who is always in pursuit of the best materials and tools to use for each and every one of my products and goods.
Truth be told, my first set of leather working tools came from the Salvation Army by happenchance. I had only just begun working with leather (mainly reclaimed belts turning them into cuff bracelets) when I happened upon a curious plastic tackle box. To my surprise upon closer inspection, I saw that the items in the box were leather tools! They comprised of a leather carving knife, some awls, some stamping and embossing tools, an old letter set, an edge beveler and some other tools I have since forgotten. Needless to say, I grabbed that box, held it tight to my chest and ran to the counter to pay for it as if I had found gold...to me...I had.
Fast forward to today, I have since bought MANY tools and pieces of equipment that have become essential parts to my business that I use on a daily basis. The following is not an exhaustive list of all the tools I use, but highlight some of the essential tools or pieces of equipment that I tend to use most often.
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Consew 206RB-5 Industrial Sewing Machine - this is the workhouse of my operation. Now some people might "bawk" and say using a sewing machine is a cop-out, but seasoned professionals will tell you that using an industrial sewing machine is an art in and of itself. Trust me...it's a life saver!
The Original Strap Cutter - this tool is essential for cutting huge hides down into manageable straps. Cut a straight edge on your leather piece and rip down strips for your projects.
Exacto Knife Set - I'd be lost without my Exacto Knife. If there is a product I use EVERYDAY, it's this. Make sure to get replacement blades as cutting leather will dull them pretty fast.
Edge Beveler - one thing when cutting leather is making sure your edges are nice. A key tool in getting that done is through the use of an edge beveler. The thrift store tackle box I found had one in it. It's be a great tool to have on hand.
Fiebings Saddle Soap - I use saddle soap when I finish my edges. Fiebings is the bomb-dot-com.
3M Assorted Sand Paper (100-220 grit) - Sand paper is always good to have. I use varying grades from 100 grit up to 400 grit to get my edge-work super smooth. After some shaping and sanding, I use Feibings Saddle Soap to help smooth the edges of the piece I am working on.
Straight Edge Tools (Rulers or Yardsticks)- while this isn't a super fancy tool, having a straight edge or yard stick is essential to getting your leather squared off.
Again, these aren't all the tools in my "tool box," but they are some of the tools I use everyday. While tools don't make us, they definitely make it easier when we want to create something.
Happy "making" ya'll!!!