Moving Day

Posted in Tips & Tricks on February 2nd, 2020 by The Cyberwolfe

On the infinitesimal chance someone was looking for this site and couldn’t find it today, my apologies – I moved to a new host. Things are settled down now, so welcome back.

Return of the pictures and how time marches on

Posted in General on January 13th, 2018 by The Cyberwolfe

The Wife pointed out to me that the pictures in a number of the earliest posts had somehow disappeared. Going back through from the admin side and editing those posts allowed me to recover what appears to have been minor corruption.

In doing so, however, I ran into a great example of how leather ages. Back in May 2008 I made my Pirate-themed needle case and left the project un-dyed. Here we are (most of) ten years later, and you can see how the leather has darkened.

The original photo:

Ten years ago

…and ten years after:

Pirate Needle Case

This hasn’t darkened as much as it could have in that time, since it generally stays inside my tool bag and doesn’t get a lot of sun exposure.

The big take-away here is that I built that ten freaking years ago.


Project Bowling Bag: Completed!

Posted in Projects on December 24th, 2017 by The Cyberwolfe

There’s a completed pic at the end of the Part III post, but a vast portion of my viewership insisted that there needs to be a definitive Part IV. Arguing doesn’t end well for me usually, so here you are :)

The Bag, Complete and in all its glory

Project: Bowling Bag Part III – The Stitchening

Posted in Projects on December 17th, 2017 by The Cyberwolfe

The sewing wasn’t really a big deal on this project, the gluing in place, however, was a royal pain in the ass. I’m working in the apartment workshop since it’s winter out (meaning cold and damp), so I needed a glue that wouldn’t gas out the whole apartment. I went with Tandy’s EcoWeld water-based contact adhesive, and I wasn’t really thrilled with the results. I ended up having to glue most of the seam together twice on each side before I got it stuck together well enough for sewing.

Remember that welt I was talking about in the last post? I took two lengths of light leather, dyed black, and then folded them in half lengthwise to get a pair of 3/8″ strips with a fold on one edge. To prepare for sewing, I then sanded about 1/4″ in from the edge so that the last 1/8″ on the folded side was un-sanded. I sanded the last 1/4″ of the edge around the perimeter of the facings, and also skived down those edges a bit to reduce the seam thickness.

Now with the edges all roughed up, I could begin gluing.

Here’s the obligatory leather bondage shot:

Stitching - Bondage

Read more »

Project: Bowling Ball Bag part II

Posted in Projects on November 21st, 2017 by The Cyberwolfe

This has been a boundaries-pushing project for me. I’ve spent hours going back-and-forth in my head about how to assemble it. The original plans call for lacing it together with a running stitch, but that always feels like cheating to me because it’s so easy – I mean, they went that route because this was supposed to be an easy kit, ya know? They even have all the holes marked on the pattern so it will line up.

I could do edge lacing, probably in a double-loop style but that’s never been my gig either – I don’t like the way the edges feel, and the couple of projects I’ve done that way weren’t as durable.

Since the pattern has all of those holes laid out I even considered riveting it for about 3 whole minutes. The nickel finish would certainly be flashy, and would go well with the Hot Rod styling, but again it comes down to being just too easy, and I want to be better than that.

So I’ll sew it. This is of course not an end to the options available, because now I must decide if I sew it normally, or inside-out and inverted. A test piece seemed to be in my future…

20-Sewing opts  21-Sewing opts inside

While a straight-forward edge seam as seen on the right side of the first pic wouldn’t be bad, I don’t think I like the way the edge would go all the way around the bag. Sewing it inside-out and inverting it, however, looks to be a better choice. If you look closely at it, you can see the stitches peeking out in the center of that seam. Can’t have that, now, can we?  Read more »

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)