Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Backwards & Forwards

Stayed home yesterday, somewhat pooped, somewhat (im)moral support for Ron's follow-up appointment with the surgeon (healing normally, staples out). I did a little work on lacing up pouches, sent some things out to the dining room that didn't need to be taking up horizontal surface space in the living room, but that's about it - recovery from being tired.

After Ron's appointment we did run out to the Tandy Leather Factory store, so I could replace the 3/32" drive punch that made a bold leap for freedom on Sunday. It succeeded in the quest for freedom in so far as remaining hidden. I'm not sure if it's going to turn up now that I've bought replacements, or if it's going to wait until I start using one (yes, I bought more than one, as well as of the other size I use most often).

I brought the rocket pocket to show off. It was admired.

Of course I can't go without shopping, even though all I intended to buy were the punches. I found some upholstery leather in a magenta/dark Barbie pink, which I tried to tease Ron by saying I was going to buy. It seemed to be a fairly good-sized piece (I didn't unroll it completely), way too much for me. Had it been a small piece, like a couple-three square feet, I might have grabbed it. I found some nice brown double shoulders with grain and character, along the lines of harness leather, but even at wholesale price they were too rich for my blood - half again as much as the most expensive leather I regularly buy. Sadly, as it was callling to me.

OTOH, I did find a bunch of nice pebbled black heavy upholstery in the bin of odds and ends. I grabbed most of the larger pieces I could find, with gussets for pockets in mind. Even the smaller pieces would have been useful, had I been in need of more black. I'm guessing it was leftovers from some sort of manufacturing that doesn't use smaller pieces.

Finally, last night I ordered myself a "safety ruler". (Google image search results showing various types) I first used one of these in one of my Graphic Arts classes at Harper, and have been meaning to get one since. Some brands are all aluminum, some have steel edges to cut against. Ron and I discussed it, and I decided to get one with a steel edge, as I could potentially ding up an aluminum edge even with a rotary cutter. Ones with steel edges are more pricey than the all-aluminum versions, but should last forever.

Part of what reminded me I wanted a safety ruler was the plan to use some of the soft leather I have (and bought yesterday) for gussets. When I make gussets out of thicker harness/latigo I cut strips with a nifty "strap cutter" gadget, then split them down in thickness. But the strap cutter doesn't work on soft leather. When cutting with a rotary cutter I usually use a steel square with 9" and 12" arms, but it isn't long enough for gussets, and our big framing square is a bit unwieldly; on top of which, there's some flex in both squares. I have a 24" long steel ruler, but it's thin/flexible, and narrow. Flex is bad because leather can shift while you're cutting, narrow leaves you less to hold onto, and thin means it's easier to let the rotary cutter ride up on the ruler and get your fingers. I've never had more than a scare with the rotary cutter using either square or the metal ruler, but...

Anyway, the safety rulers are typically 3-4" wide, and have a hand guard. The one I got has a nice flat bottom with a non-skid surface, so leather shouldn't be slipping under it. At 28" long it's long enough for gussets, but not too long (the next common increment seems to be 40"). If I like it, I may see what brands are available in the 12-18" size range.

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