Project: The Bowling Ball Bag

Posted in Projects on September 30th, 2017 by The Cyberwolfe

Way back in 2000, my buddy’s office bowling team was a guy short, so they invited me to join them. Seemed like a decent way to get out of the house at least one night a week, so why not? We had some yucks and I came out the other end of it with my own bowling ball.

Mr. Sniffy is interested in the backpack

Mr. Sniffy is interested in the backpack

It spends most of it’s life in the closet now, contained in a ratty old backpack because I’ve always been too cheap to buy a proper carry bag for it. after making that lovely purse for the wife, however, I started getting… ideas. Read more »

She kept calling it ‘The Batbelt’…

Posted in Projects on March 28th, 2017 by The Cyberwolfe

…so I made it official.

The Batbelt

To everyone who has ever struggled to get a picture of a reflective surface without appearing in the picture, I feel ya.

Fiebing’s USMC Black dye mixed with Lexol leather conditioner for the color, then rubbed and saddle-soaped to get rid of the leftovers. Followed that up with Fiebing’s Leather Balm with Atom wax (handily it comes in a black variant), and finished with a couple coats of Acrylic Resolene (again from Fiebing’s).

Here’s a shot carved but not colored:

Batbelt - just carved

The toughest part of doing the arrowhead weave is getting your starting angle correct, followed closely by trying NOT to cramp your thumb from the vise-like clenching as you struggle to maintain that angle.

The belt blank for this belt and the two previous are all from Weaver Leather Supply. Very nice leather, it tools easily and they run it through an edger before shipping, so the final finish goes pretty slick.

Dye Test: USMC Black

Posted in Tips & Tricks on February 27th, 2017 by The Cyberwolfe

I’ve been using Fiebing’s oil-based dyes for a while now, but wanted to give the USMC Black a try on a belt for myself, and maybe something for my brother who spent some time in the Marines in the future. The process between an oil-based and a spirit-based dye is different, and I didn’t have the best results on my first couple tries back when I first got going so I figured I should research methodology.

The guys over at Springfield put out a video specifically dealing with USMC Black, so I took notes and decided to do some experimentation on a piece of scrap doodling to test out the effectiveness of Fiebing’s Dye Prep and Lexol Leather Conditioner.

USMC Black Test

Top Left: straight dye on untreated, dry veg tan.

Bottom Left: Fiebing’s Dye-Prep and then dyed.

Top Right: Dye mixed with a few drops of Lexol conditioner on dry leather

Bottom Right: Dye-Prep, then dye with conditioner.

Click the picture to embiggen for better details.

Well, I can say for certain that dry leather and spirit dyes yield an inferior result, so no matter what, get it damp first. I didn’t think to do a test with just water-wet leather rather than the Dye-Prep, so I’m not sure how much of the result is due to the product vs. just being wet.

Adding a few drops of Lexol conditioner after using the Dye-Prep seems to be the best result.

‘Sabi Belt

Posted in Projects on February 7th, 2017 by The Cyberwolfe

See that wallet a few posts back? Well, the guy liked it so much he asked for a matching belt. My daughter had also requested a new belt, so I guessed the Universe was telling me to make belts.

Who am I to argue with the Universe?

Wasabi Belt

Black Belt

I got all insta-grammy with this pic. Lookit me bein’ all trendy-like.

A Public Service Announcement

Posted in Tips & Tricks on November 28th, 2016 by The Cyberwolfe

Just a quick reminder, folks: as tempting as it is to just grab that little jewelry anvil you have when you need a bit of weight on a wet-formed piece while it dries, DO NOT drop it straight onto the wet leather.

Steel stains

That there was supposed to be the belt keeper on a mahogany belt, but I forgot to put a piece of scrap under the anvil first. Luckily it wasn’t something important-and I can always hang onto it for my next black belt project.

This is the result of a chemical reaction between wet leather and iron, and it can’t be cleaned off. All you can do is dye the whole thing black.

You can do the same thing on purpose if you like – it’s called vinegaroon, and is made by dumping a handful of steel wool and/or old nails into a jar of vinegar, which you then leave to simmer in the sun for a few days or a couple weeks, depending on how impatient you are. The resultant tincture will dye leather indelibly black, guaranteed. It is not to be trifled with, however: this is not for brush-dyeing the background areas, as the mixture WILL bleed past your intentions. This is for dyeing the whole piece. There’s a very informative thread over at on the subject.

The More You Know(tm)


The ‘Sabi Wallet

Posted in Projects on November 9th, 2016 by The Cyberwolfe

One of the wife’s work buddies was kind enough to hang out with our cats last time we went camping (because Wasabi is a Ravenous Gorph who will eat all the food at once…), and he took a real liking to our youngest cat Wasabi Six-Toes (or ‘Sabi to some). When our illustrious cat-sitter recently lost his wallet, I got an idea.

Several outlets sell an odd money-clip that’s a wavy hook attached to a spring-tensioned rod. The hook pivots out from the rod, allowing you to tuck that rod into a pocket-type space and then hook the crease of a bill folded in half. Fold a piece of leather in half around said spring rod, sew it in place, and you have a handy money clip. Add a couple of pockets, and you have a decent minimalist wallet for carrying s few important cards and a hook for your cash.

The Sabi Wallet

Dress it up with a nice basket weave stamp pattern and some mahogany gel antique for color, and then top it all off with the Pawprint O’ Quality!

Pawprint O' Quality

Like I said, the cat’s name is Wasabi Six-Toes. He’s a polydactyl mutant, and that’s a pretty close approximation of his actual print.



Watchband and cuff

Posted in Projects on September 16th, 2016 by The Cyberwolfe

Just a quick project for myself, based on an idea I totally hijacked from something I saw on Pinterest from this guy’s page.

Pass-thru Cuff

The cuff is two layers of light leather sewn back-to-back, with holes in the top layer to allow the watch straps to pass between the two layers.

On the inside, you can see something new I tried on this one. You know how you get wrinkles on the inside piece if you sew the two layers together flat and then wrap them around something? On this one I pre-empted this by making my own wrinkles with a bone folder.

Pass-thru cuff interior

Looks kinda like alligator belly.

Belt Keyhook

Posted in Projects on August 29th, 2016 by The Cyberwolfe

I’ve seen a number of these lately, thought I’d make one for myself. I’ve been meaning to do something like it for years – walked around with a carabiner on my belt since like 1998.

Belt KeyHook

Only downside so far is this will probably hasten the demise of the driver’s seat upholstery in the car. Maybe I can sew a leather patch onto that…

Card box

Posted in Projects on July 7th, 2016 by The Cyberwolfe

Greyduck gifted me a copy of Batman Fluxx for my birthday this year, and I thought I’d build a travel case for it – mainly as a reason to flex some skills a bit, I’m out of practice on boxes.

Completed boxOpen box

This is the project I built the clamp in the previous post for, although for at least half the stitching I just had the pieces glued together around a piece of wood I cut and sanded to the correct dimensions of the box interior. Not my best sewing, and there’s a couple of miscellaneous mistakes in construction. It does, however, do the job nicely.

Fluxx is a fun game, if you like games that warp the rules as you play. Featuring art from the WB’s animated series, arguably the best run of any Batman cartoon.

Batman Fluxx Cards

Box Corners Clamp

Posted in Tips & Tricks on July 7th, 2016 by The Cyberwolfe

clamp and kitten

With bonus kitten!

If you’ve ever tried to sew a leather box, you know how much of a pain it can be to keep everything lined up. Nigel Armitage does a good tutorial video on the process and also shows his simple solution to holding everything together at a nice 90-degree angle.

After spending 30 minutes doing a piss-poor job of sewing the first two pieces of the latest project together, I decided I needed to build one for myself. Considering I have limited table surface in my apartment hobby shop, I decided to make it as an attachment for the stitching horse, kind of like a Hardy for an anvil.

I had a 12″ board lying around after a false-start of a shelving project, so I nudged Nigel’s idea a bit and just butted two pieces into a “roof” shape, then sandwiched a pair of off-cuts and beveled them to act as the stem. Two more off-cuts get a similar bevel and become clamp arms. $3 worth of hardware later, it’s a clamp!

Of course, this won’t allow you to do all the seams of a box – eventually, you end up building an inside form as you attach the 4th wall and bottom, but it makes the first couple seams that much easier.

ClampClamp front