Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Dye-ing to get it started!

I’m chomping at the bit to start binding one of the more artisiticly involved journals I’ve got on order. Mainly because it involves me using thread that I’ve dyed myself. I picked up a multi set of jacquard fabric dyes for natural fabrics. Right now I’m working on the kinks in the dye but so far it looks as though it will be nice. The dye is very very thick, not what I was expecting. I need tolook up more on how to use it but I’m testing it right now. I’ve got 2 colors going a black and a celery green.


Well, I’m pretty excited! I’ve been featured here:

It’s a pretty big deal to me, I love being featured on site I love and I love the moleskinerie, it’s a great site with are and info on moleskines. To have my work featured on here is pretty exciting. It’s funny that I’ve been making these moleskine knockoffs for YEARS and finally people are taking notice. I guess the absence of the spine sewing makes them more desirable? They sew up fast and look good so I’m not complaining. I’ve gotten a load of requests over the last several days, I’m assuming it’s because of this link to my auction. A lot of people are making their way to my website and blog through eBay.

It's quite fantastic!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Shaving Leather

The pics will show you how to shave, pare, or skive leather with a paint scraper. I use a Red Devil paint scraper with a metal body and a slide out mechanism for the razor blade. I get my razor blade from Home Depot by the 100 count box. It’s cheaper that way and the blades are less flexible than the single edge blades you can get at the drug store. You’ll need a paint scraper and something smooth to work on- I used a plexi sheet. Glass would work best, as I scratched and gouged my plexi. DON’T use your expensive self-healing cutting mat… Bad things happened to mine.

Hold your piece of leather down on the plexi with one hand and hold the scraper int eh other. Hold the scraper at about a 45 degree angle.

Now push gently on the scraper, while holding down on the leather.

If you’ve gothe right angle and pressure you’ll feel the blade catch and it will start to scrape up bits of leather. Depending on the leather you’ll get different results. I’m using a soft but fairly stiff cowhide here.

I found that short shallow strokes followed by longer gentle strokes got the best production for me and made the process faster.

You see the pile of shavings? Keep that out of the way. If those parings get under your work you’ll end up with a hole in the leather and it won’t be pretty.

Work slow and patiently other wise you’ll misjudge how much thickness you have left and cut right through the leather.

Here’s what I ended up with:

I’m able to use this method successfully on thin leather pieces and leather pieces less wide than my blade. I also found that I was able to use it on corners to successfully thin those down for a turn in. Some leathers worked better than other- thick stiff leathers withstood the razor better than soft leathers. All my cowhides worked especially well and I was able to shave them down to the mere-est surface of the skin. They also showed the least amount of stretching. Heavy weight deer hide worked pretty well too. Soft and smooth sheep hide faired the least well of all the hides tried. THOUGH the thin straps I use for bookmarks did well. Anything with texture lost that in the process.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Leather Paring

I’ve been doing a little research into leather paring. For those of you not into using leather in your books it’s the term for shaving down leather so that it’s not as bulky in some areas, like for turn ins and around the spine. I became interested in it because I was making leather place marks for my moleskine knockoffs. When I used a full leather piece along the spine it left a large lump that sometimes was more noticeable than I wanted it to be, it also made adding the hollow back more difficult. So I started thinning the leather with a flat exacto. My blade was too thin so it snapped. Then I tried a click-knife with some success. I was able to thin down the leather quite thin but not enough. I wanted the leather under the hollow back paper-thin.

Using the click knife and the exacto led me directly to my toolbox and a somewhat unusual tool- my paint scraper. You know one of those tools 100 different companies put out for a couple of bucks used for scraping paint off the windows when you over paint? Yeah, one of those. Mine is old and filled with acrylic paint and old printers ink (A required tool for my printmaking course back in college- used it for scraping ink off the tables.) I put in a fresh blade and started to scrape away with the same motion I used with scraping the paint. Thin slivers and dust scraped off the back of the leather, Different pressures resulted in different cuts- some very bad.

I’ve gotten it now to the point where I can shave the bookmarks down to a paper thin edge that is barely noticeable on the spine and tapers up to full thick ness in about an inch.

I’ll post some pics and details later,but I noticed several key points- don’t do it on your expensive cutting mat- very bad things happen. Scrape on a sheet of plexi or better yet glass, and make sure it’s clean a small [piece of dried glue or leather shavings results in tears and cuts through the surface. Some leathers perform better than others- sheepskin didn’t perform so well but cowhide was great. Deer did well too. This technique dulls the blade very quickly, I went through a 5 pack in my trials.

More thoughts and pictures when I don’t have to go to work.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Steady now, steaaddddyyy!

Well, personal issues abounded the last few weeks, but they are evened out now and I can get out of my rut. I had car issues today that interfered with my doing anything of much use. That being said, my car is now fixed and quite happy, amazing what a new battery can do!

I moved my studio fromone room to the next, out of necessity but also out of want. I needed to reorganize and the old rooms seemed somewhat stale to me, and I'm glad to move my things into a new room. It forced me to go through my things and think about what I have and better yet how I use it. Those few thoguths were quite telling. I have hoarded art supplies for sometime now and quite frankly I have a lot of thigns I tell myself I'll use but never do. My art as of late has focused on keep my art journal and bookbinding. That's about it. I've given up much of my painting, I've not touched acrylics other than to distress leather. Sad but true.

I'm pretty happy with it all though. I'm happy witht he new set up and that already i've made a few books in here. Pretty impressive.

I loaded up a few journals to eBay and hopefully they will sell.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Printer Woes

GARGHHH! my beloved printer is having a rough time of it. I use it for so much. Laser printers are a big save on cash, especially if you find a cheap one. I have to recomend my Okidata 810e to anyone loking for a cheap laser printer. eBay is full of toner and print drums for it and it's all pretty reasonably priced especially whenyou consider the alternative of paying $30 a pop for an inkjet cartridge. I paid next to nothing for my toner.

It's been great, but the drum is going bad and it's time for me to either buy a new drum or upgrade to a newer laser printer. I've put in a bid for a drum on eBay and hopefully it will solve the woes of my printer. I love the damn thing and it would be a shame to lose it now. We bought it used almost 5 years ago and my computers capabilities havefinally caught up with the printers abilities.

Hopefully I will now be able to print on cover stock because right now my printer is turning everything a nice shade of creamy gray! (expect an ebay auction on a couple of journals that my prionter turned the paper gray.)

back to binding.