If you’re a fan of tabletop games, you’ve probably run into the same problem we did, in that some games have lots of fiddly bits that take up valuable table space. This is usually solved with small storage containers (may I recommend Altoids tins?) or something, but what do you do with all the cards in some games? Settlers of Catan: Cities and Knights has 12 piles of cards, and by the first roll of the dice they end up looking like this: Read more »
Now that the holiday season is past and the activity level around here has mellowed a bit, I may actually get a project or two in the works, along with the one I’ve already started on.
Currently in progress is a new card sorter bin-thingy. If you’re into tabletop games, you’ll get the point of this. Many of the Euro-style tabletop/board games out the past few years come with several piles of cards for the game. These all take up table space, and sometimes it’s nice to be able to get them out of the way, so I built a handy cardboard contraption to give each pile a standing rest and divider. This is neat and all, but it would look so much better in leather, so…
For my Wife, I have another sort of sorter to do: she’s crafty as well, and has need of a knitting needle case. I’m thinking a tube arrangement, something like the dice tube I did a while back.
I’ve also been working on a business card case for myself (I currently just carry a wad around in my laptop bag, not so presentable…) that’s been giving me minor fits on the design.
To help with all of this, the Wife gifted me with a new head knife and wing divider for the holiday, so I have new tools to play with – always a good incentive to get down to the lab, don’tcha know :)
This new project combines elements from two previous projects, the Cleaver Scabbard and the first Belt Knife Sheath. This is for a dagger, so I have sewn up both sides and used a welt to thicken the dimensions, but like the regular knife sheath, the scabbard covers almost all of the knife and the welt functions as a clip to hold he dagger in place. Here’s the glamor shot:
Now, I’ve had this dagger since sometime in high school, and that was far enough back that I’m not telling you the year. (Ye Gods, I’ve gotten old…) Anyway, I’ve rebuilt that sheath three times now – had to sew the original back together twice after the knife cut through the stitches, and then I built an almost-exact replica of the original a couple years ago. The Mark II sheath is on the left below. I’ve never been happy with it; it is restrictive and makes it difficult to draw the knife.
Several years ago at an SCA event I promised a buddy a sword hanger (otherwise known as a Frog for some ungodly reason), and worked up most of it while sitting around at that event.
Well, years go by and we’d stopped eventing due to numerous issues and I’d kinda forgotten about the project. Lo and behold we’re going to an event next weekend, and I remembered my promise. So, to make good on it I dug through the traveling tool kit today to finish it up. All I had left myself to do was the top loop and two of the securing belts, so it didn’t take too long.
For those that haven’t seen something like this before, the three securing belts wrap around the sword’s scabbard and hold it to the bottom portion. The wearer’s belt goes through the top loop above the silver ring, and the whole thing hangs on the wearer’s left side so that he may draw the blade with his right hand. That silver ring allows the sword to swing freely without the frog bunching up.
Hey wait! I swear I’m not dead yet!
Okay, you couldn’t really tell considering how I somehow neglected to post anything for an entire year.
Well, better late than never, right? Right? Okay, here are a few things I worked on in 2011, in no particular order:
My daughter’s school held a fundraising auction, and I donated these. Apparently, they were the highest-bid item on the list. :)
Not one of my best works, but not bad for my first prototype of a formed-leather project. For this, I soaked the leather in water and then pinned it over a wooden form I had made approximating the shape of the multi-tool I always carry. Several months of daily wear has smoothed it out a bit and it actually looks better now.
The prototype that never got finished. I got this far on it and realized that I had made a mistake in the knotwork. (Gah!) It’s also the last piece of that particular black leather I had, and I don’t think it will hold up well to having the stitches ripped and a replacement carving sewn back on, so I’m waiting to replenish my supplies before I get on with this one. I never did figure out how I was going to strap it to my forearm either…
This was the Girlfriend’s Xmas present for 2010. She was forever forgetting where she had emptied her pockets after coming home, so I made a memorable place for her. You can’t tell from the photo, but the area around the rose is a deep blue, while the outer ring is a forest green. This project proved how invaluable a stitching horse can be.
Upcoming projects, if I ever manage to get around to them:
Sword frog, a cover for my new e-book reader, a harness for my own sword (shoulder-style)…
I got a little distracted while building this, so I’ll put the whole thing up in one post instead of making you wait for it. Here’s a couple shots of the completed build, then I’ll break it down into components after the jump.
3/4″ plywood – I found that my local Home Depot carries several grades of plywood in 23″x23″ squares at a reasonable price. The downside is that these are usually prone to having more knots than the fine-grade full sheets. One of these was enough to complete the seat, arms and the lateral supports for the legs.
2″x2″ square stock – if you aren’t familiar with wood sizes, you’ll discover that they always exaggerate the dimensions by 1/4″ in each direction, which means a 2″x2″ is really only 1-1/2″x1-1/2″ – but that’s all you really needed anyway. Usually comes in 10-foot lengths which is plenty. My original plan called for the longitudinal leg braces to be the same material as the legs, but I messed up a couple of cuts and went with some pine out of my scrap bins.
- a good hinge (Al used a piano hinge; I was going to use a door hinge until I realized I didn’t have room to mount it so I went with a cabinet “T” hinge – it wobbles just a touch),
- several lag bolts with nuts and washers from 1-1/2″ to 3″,
- a box of 2″ wood screws,
- a 1″ welded D-ring, (I just had to replace my original due to stretch)
- a pair of compression springs
- some mild steel, about 12″. (Home Depot only sells 3-foot lengths)
- a small bit of steel strapping,
- a handful of 1″ screws to mount the Footman’s loops and the saw teeth.
- 3 Footman’s loops and the Conway buckle (purchased at my local leather supply store.)
- Lastly, there will be a bottle of wood glue and about 30″ of strap leather cut to 7/8″.
If any of you have ever done any leather sewing, you know that a stitching pony is an invaluable tool. After you start making things larger than a billfold or some of the more complicated projects, you realize that you could really do well with a larger stitching pony – a stitching horse.
When it comes to full-size stitching horses, I have seen reference to three different types, two of which are built much like a child’s rocking horse in that they offer a full seat and have 4 legs under them. The first has a belt that travels through one of the clamp jaws to attach to the other at about the halfway point, leaving you some 8-12″ of jaw depth to work with.
The second type, called a Saddler’s Horse, has a complicated mechanism underneath the seat to close the jaws, giving you a much greater depth in the jaw. Saddle-making requires that greater depth, whereas the rest of us can get by pretty well with the harness-maker’s horse.
The third type is used mostly in the U.K. and Europe and is called a Clam. It is basically just a really big set of tweezers that rest on the floor and you hold them closed with your knees while you stitch. The arms of the clam are shaped in such a way that their resting position closes the jaw so you have to pull the jaws apart to insert the workpiece. This model offers the benefit of requiring far less space and you can adjust it to your own preference very easily. It requires a stool for you to sit on, however.
In his book The Art of Hand Sewing Leather, Al Stohlman includes the complete plans for what he calls his “Quarter Horse”, a stitching horse that rests upon any available chair and only has a pair of front legs. It is a variant of the harness-maker’s horse that has the strap going through the jaw arm for tension.
I’ve done a lot of research on this, and it has been very difficult finding someone willing to sell one of these, so I’ve decided to build it myself. Over the next couple of posts, I’ll be documenting the construction of a 4-legged variant of Al’s “Quarter Horse”.
As some of you know, I have played various pen-and-paper RPGs since I was about 9 years old, and as such have had many different methods for storing the required dice. Now that I have all these tools and supposed skills, I thought I would do something nice in the way of a new dice case.
Now, for most geeky gamers, the classic method of dice storage is a Crown Royal bag – it’s a good size for dice, it’s garishly purple (and therefore easy to spot among the clutter) and it gives you that extra bit of cred as a younger gamer to have something that was associated at one time with alcohol of a better variety than PBR or Ranier. Myself, I’ve had things like fishing-reel cases and random belt pouches, and my last one was a suede pencil-case I picked up at a bookstore. I like the style of the pencil-case the best I think, since it also leaves room for a couple pencils and other such that a floppy bag doesn’t. It would also give me a chance to practice up on another method of stitching: the Butt Stitch.
Once again, I go to my Al Stohlman’s Guide to Sewing Leather where he outlines the basics of this difficult stitch – and of course he makes it look a lot easier than it is. The idea is that you take two pieces of leather and line the edges up. You then stab (using a curved awl) through the top side out the edge of piece A, then in the edge and out the top side of piece B. Picture it as a pair of phone books: you stab through the front cover and come out in the N-section, then into the N-section of the next book and out the front cover. Here’s a picture:
As some of you know, I pay the bills around here by being an IT guy during the day. Sometimes, this requires me to take things apart, like laptops. Laptop manufacturers don’t always want you to be able to take them apart, however, so they use some oddball screws or very tiny screws to keep out the amateurs.
I recently decided to invest in some better miniature screwdrivers, and found a set with a single handle and interchangeable blades that takes up a very small amount of room in my backpack kit. The case, however, is an uninspiring plastic jobbie with a blown-plastic insert. The lid is kinda thin, and I get the feeling it will get cracked before long.
I smell a new project! Read more »
Because sometimes, red velvet just doesn’t say it right.
Real simple project, just cut out two shapes and stitch them together. The only tricky part was to keep breathing while trimming down the bunny fur for the cuff – cut bunny fur floats, and that shit gets everywhere.
The cuff is two 5″ tall strips of rabbit fur cut from two different hides to get a good quality section with no blemishes. Sew them at the sides so it forms a circle, then stuff the circle into the stocking until the top edges line up. (Fur should be touching the inside of the leather). For best results, tack the fur in place in about 4 places to make sure you’ve got it centered and not bunched up.
Now stitch the tops together (I used a simple running loop stitch), then turn the fur out and down, and viola: fur-cuffed stocking.