Monday, September 17, 2012

Working Working Working

We accomplished things this weekend! Lots of things! Not quite as many as we put on the to-do list, but we knew it was optimistic to start with. Let me try to sum up:

Living Room Maintenance

Started out Saturday morning with a bit of cleanup and organization in the dining room. Not as thorough a job as it could use, but I found significant square footage of floor. Meanwhile, Robin cleaned up the front entry, and found even more floor out there. Wow!

I swapped a couple bins around, so now it's easier to get the lid on and off the dog food container, which was being difficult due to weight on the dog food container.

I was hoping to get a big bundle of copper-colored heavy garment leather onto a shelf, but that would have required more time and effort than I wanted to spend on the job. I did get several rolls of leather into the carts, which helped free up floor space.

Frogs and Sword Hangers

I think it was after CodCon that I bought some hardware to make larger belt frogs - 4" inner diameter rings and 3-1/2" dees. (Some people want to carry large-diameter things - like padded boffer swords). Friday night I looked at my existing frog patterns and adapted them the bigger hardware, and then on Sunday cut out a half-dozen. I also cut out some brown frogs to use the smaller rings I've had for a while. Here's a picture of the smaller rings:

IIRC the "loops" are 1-1/8". I've made frogs using the flat brass rings and loops before, and have had the other style ring and loop for, literally, years, without figuring out what to do with them. Finally I realized that the easy solution is to put them on the same frog back as the flat rings. Duh.

For a while now I've been wanting to make sword hangers to go with the frogs - something to hold a sword so it doesn't just hang straight up and down in the frog. Yesterday I finally declared that we'd gathered sufficient Round Tuits, summoned Robin to act as a fitting dummy, and we came up with a design. As usual, figuring out how to make the first one is the hard part, making some more will be simple.


The first batch of tails arrived Saturday, along with two coyote faces to put on pouches. The dogs were very very interested. They were good, though, and only smelled - no tasting. But we still don't trust them, furry bits will be kept in Rubbermaid or the big yellow road case.

In this batch I got a silver fox tail, which is almost black with a white tip; a coyote tail, which is kinda tannish, as coyotes are; and two raccoon tails. The fox tail looks like it could use a little grooming to smooth the fur out a bit.

One coyote face is ready to go, the other has one of the ears folded funny, but Ron thinks we can carefully re-shape it (due to cartilage in the ears they're much stiffer, even tanned, than the rest of the skin).


No progress on the soft pouches I cut out last weekend, but Ron waxed a whole bunch of hard pouches we'd molded, and a beer gut that was ordered to replace the one I made a few months ago (and which was stolen).

While Ron was working on waking the new hard pouches/bags, with Robin's help I disassembled the old beer gut bag I decided to re-build a while back. We cut all the stitching and lacing, taking it completely to pieces. Then Ron re-waxed the front and back to take care of some scratches and dings.

The old flap was looking faded and meh, so I'm going to replace it. I'm also going to put on new shoulder straps - the originals were sewn directly to the body, the new ones will be attached to dees; and the dees will be attached to the body with the dee holder piece I use elsewhere and that I have a die to cut (which I didn't have when I made the beer gut).

Originally the flap buckled shut, which worked, but the tab piece and the piece holding the buckle didn't look good for various reasons. Not sure if the new flap will fasten with an antler peg, held on some way to hide the old stitching holes, or if it will buckle again, with new parts sewn so as to hide the old.

Yeah, this is pretty much a complete re-build of the beer gut - I'm only using the original molded front piece, and the back. But it's enough work to mold the front that I think a re-build is worth the effort.

Sporran Hangers

Ron made sporran hangers: loops that go on a belt with swivel snaps to hold a sporran hanging below a belt. Turns out I was supposed to order more swivel snaps but hadn't, so we only made a few sets. Oops.

I also want to make some short straps with dees on each end, so someone can use one of our belt loops without dees on the back as a sporran. And going forward I'm going to start putting dees on a couple/few more of our larger pouch styles. It's inexpensive and fairly simple to do, and I think it will increase sales to people looking for sporrans.

Belts and Dogs

Cut a bunch of belt strips yesterday that we need to get hardware on.

Elrond has learned that when I'm cutting big pieces of leather on the floor I don't want him walking on the leather. Not that he understands claw scuffs, but he mostly stays off the leather.

For Pippin, however, the process of cutting a straight edge on a half-cow and cutting strips for belts is new. He was pretty good overall, but two or three times he flopped down and snuggled up to me . . . on the leather. At least that doesn't scuff it up.

My faithful little black-and-white shadow apparently likes to nap on the linoleum, just outside the doorway to the dining room, instead of on the carpet in the dining room, even though just inside the doorway is usually free for dogs.

Odds and Ends

Ron made a bunch more beeswax pucks. He also emptied out the presto pot we melt paraffin in by ladelling the melted wax into several disposable aluminum loaf pans; and cleaned out what's best described as a hairball (several years accumulation of dust and pet hair), and cleaned more grunge off of the solidified wax loaves.

FYI: Do not mold beeswax in aluminum, it'll turn the beeswax green. Learned that the hard way a couple years ago. Fortunately re-melting and I think some scraping off of discolored wax solved that oops.

Tonight I need to work on a case for carrying a Masonic ceremonial sword, which needs to be re-stitched and have a new handle installed. I'd ordered a "leather handle" from one supplier, but it's actually leather wrapped and stitched around a plastic handle. And the handle is the kind of stitching where you pull and it unzips. No, so not. So tonight I'm just going to make one from scratch. I understand the process in theory, just haven't done it.

Still no word from Not-Responda-Con. At this point I'm kinda morbidly amused by the situation - it isn't hurting me; and maybe they have all the dealers they want, but it's not a good way to run things.

Maneki Neko Con, OTOH, is talking to vendors, promoting things on Facebook, yadda yadda.

1 comment:

  1. If I knew where my sword was, I could show you a solution Ron came up with years ago to hang a sword other than straight down. In this case the hanger and the scabbard are integrated into a single unit with the hanger a folded strip of leather (if I recall correctly).

    Alas, the sword - as well as my brown belt and some other related bits - seem to have gotten well hidden during one of the moves (possibly dating back to the 1997-1998 first move to San Diego - but I think I've seen it more recently) and have yet to come out of hiding.

    On the other hand, my good dice seem to have disappeared since we moved from Oceanside, and a couple of things that were only ever in this house have gone astray, so I cannot discount the impact of wandering black holes/trolls/similar explanations for things not being where they should.