tools

Studio Cleaning Day and Other Random Musings

It's been a very busy week out here.  I kept the studio going as much as I could, but after a week plus of general chaos it needed a little help.  Okay, a lot of help.

Originally, this post was going to be about patterns.  Then I kept taking pictures and writing the post in my head while I was cleaning and realized that this post wasn't really about patterns.  So now it's a cleaning and/or organizing post, but without the all-important 'before' picture and a lot of rambling.  That's okay, though...I'm sure you can construct a fairly accurate "before" image from this, this, and this,

I was going to just organize the patterns a bit and then work on commissions, but...I had to tidy up before I could do that, and things snowballed.  The patterns did get done first...

Then I organized the box that holds glue, extra tools, extra dye, anything that I don't want to walk across the room to get from the closet but isn't important enough to have a home on the top of the desk.


That didn't take a lot of effort, but it's worth mentioning just for the assortment of glues that I have collected. In reality, I only use the Eco-Flo, Super Glue Gel (blue cap just in front of Eco-Flo), and Jewelry Metal Glue.  I really like the JMG (by Aleene), but it stinks to high heavens and I wish glue manufacturers would just do away with the tubes. I can't even remember when I bought the Fast Grab Tacky Glue.

I don't have a before photo of the next area I tackled, but the plastic Dixie cups that I used to hold in progress stuff had gotten really out of hand.  In fact, by not taking a before picture, I spared you the pain of seeing it.  See? Forgetfulness isn't always a bad thing.

I had one cup crammed full of old Traditional scale strap goods that needed to be torn down for salvage. The hardware was the only thing worth keeping on most of it, but I did have some white leather stashed in there! Woohoo!


The rest of the cups were a hodge podge of unfinished projects, left over bits of leather (dyed and undyed), and who knows what.


There's an unfinished harness, a side saddle, a couple of bridles, and unfinished western saddles in that mess.  The bridles were torn down for hardware, but the saddles and harness have been stashed away just in case.Which really means that I'm procrastinating about throwing them away, because I can almost guarantee that I won't touch them until the next time I clean.



Look! My first and only rope halter resurfaced.  I had intended it for the Chips Quarter Horse, but...it didn't fit right.  The new draft horse looks pretty spiffy in it, if only I could get it to tie!


I found some sketches for western tooling patterns, too.  Someday I'll do something with them...if I remember where they've been stashed.

Oh!

Are these not the cutest little containers you've ever seen?!


The cutting mat below them is measured out in inches, to give you an idea of size.  I found mine by the dozen at Dollar Tree, in with the other plasticware.  They're "snack cups" but I have no idea what kind of snack you could stash in them.  Not a whole lot of room for that sort of thing, and they are definitely not air tight.  The lids keep me from stashing random stuff in them and make stacking a breeze.  Plus - no worries about things flying everywhere if I tip one over!

I will have a post about the patterns and some updated pictures of commissions soon, I promise! Random studio musings will have to suffice for today.


I Think I'm In Love

This stuff was recommended to me highly.  I was curious, so when I happened across it at Michaels a few weeks ago I picked it up.  I didn't have time or a project to try it on at the time, but I tested it today.

I don't think I will EVER go back to sticky wax for boots.  This stuff is just as easy to find as sticky wax, and yeah, it's not reusable and you will have to reapply eventually, but the headaches it saves are SO worth it.  I threw some of it on the sport medicine boots I made this morning, and my eyes got big when I actually started tacking up.  It's amazing! The little tabs just stuck and I didn't have to worry about them popping off or anything.  Definitely worth the $4 or $5 a bottle, and I'll be using this stuff as often as possible.

Oh, here are the boots! They sit SO well with the Tack-It glue.


I've got a few other things I love, too, like my craft knives.  I use a small snap-blade knife for skiving and a regular exacto for everything else.  I can't imagine living without them.  The body of the snap-blade knife is old old old, from Walmart.  They no longer sell these knives or the blades, but you can pick them up near the paint/wall paper supplies at stores like Lowes and Home Depot.  I think the Exacto brand has one too, but I found the home improvement stores to be far less expensive than buying the name brand knife or blades at a craft store.

It's far easier to make your own buckles and most of your own bits when working in Stablemate scale.  I use 26g, 28g, and 32g wire.  26g is reserved for bits, western saddle rigging, or reinforcing various parts, like the swells and horn of a western saddle.  I also used it for stirrups, but less so now. 28g wire is often used for buckles or smaller D and O rings and as tongues for buckles made out of 26g wire.  32g is used to create the mouthpiece on bits (which is why I also have copper; it looks spiffy on western bits), and fixed buckles.  It's too thin to do anything else with, really.  Also in the photo is a spool of nylon upholstery & home decor thread.  It's thicker than the usual cotton stuff.  I use it in raise nose and brow bands, since wire can sometimes poke through the lower lining.  It can be very useful on english saddles, as you'll see when the english saddle tutorial is finished!
Back: 26g.  L to R middle: 28g, 32g silver, 32g copper. Front: upholstery thread. 

I only use two pairs of pliers, and one kind of snip.  I do have two pairs of the snips, though.  The tips get worn down and pitted eventually, so the worn pair is retired and used on rough stuff like straight pins.
If I could find a smaller tip on the round and needle nose pliers, I'd love it.  I haven't seen any at Hobby Lobby or Michaels, so I should probably do a little hunting online.  What I have works, though.


So, there's another look at the stuff I use.  Questions and comments, especially suggestions for walk-throughs and tutorials, are always welcome! 

Don't forget, everyone, 19 more days to enter the raffle! Every post is another entry into the raffle.