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Leather Quality and Properties - Page 50

post #736 of 1235
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH View Post

Doesn't need waterproofing, imo. Just condition once in a while. I would use Lexol neatsfoot personally.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apollotrader View Post

Thank you Patrick, would you mind expanding? My experience is that, the only thing that can go bad is water/liquid stains? No?

Lexol NF (the same product that PB mentioned) is an homogenized version of Neatsfoot oil. It will waterproof your leather fairly well while at the same time feeding and nourishing the leather. It won't darken the leather significantly if you don't get over-zealous when applying it.

And the obvious...don't take your case with you when you go swimming. smile.gif
post #737 of 1235

^^^ All, thanks.

post #738 of 1235
Quote:
Originally Posted by chogall View Post

Way too complex of a discussion for Styleforum,

But there is an underlying perspective here that applies across the board. A perspective that is near and dear to my heart, at least.

Without getting into real detail...despite having good quality grinders and sanding wheels at my disposal, I do prefer to sharpen knives with a sequence of Washita and Arkansas oil stones. I know that there are other types of stones--some oil and some water--and that many even prefer belt sanders for sharpening knives. But for me I prefer to slow down. I like feeling the steel on the stone. I like hearing the difference in sound as the angle of the blade is adjusted.

And I can sharpen a knife so that it is "scary sharp"--no brag, fact. I have to be able to for the work I do.

Part and parcel of the way most professional craftsmen...as opposed to dabblers and backbench-garage hobbyists...approach their work is to immerse themselves in the processes. When you do, it often occurs, even without you being fully aware of it, that you lose the almost obsessive focus on self that possesses most of us in today's world. Lose your self-absorption. In fact, that's one of the attractions of being a professional. And in the process, with self out of the way, suddenly you find yourself open to other inputs--the sound of the metal, the feel of the blade in the hand, the way subtle, heretofore unnoticed muscle tensions affect the work; and to other influences--perhaps that "creative consciousness" I spoke of.

Speed kills...quality. From our most intimate activities in daily life to our most critical public enterprises our society can never have enough speed, enough easy, enough expedience. I sometimes think that this is the easy way to "lose yourself"--the quick and easy and convenient way--go so fast that you can never slow down enough to notice where "you" are.

Who wants to pay for a truly hand welted, bespoke shoe? Who wants to spend the years learning to make such a shoe? Who wants to go to all that effort and work to actually understand what goes into a shoe? Just go out and buy a pair. And if...by virtue of popularity, or brand name or some superficial glitter striking the eye...a certain socially acceptable "glamour" (not in the magical sense) comes along with it, all the better.

Who would want to go to all that trouble to sharpen a knife...especially by hand...or even to learn how, when a utility knife is $2.98 and a pack of disposable blades $1.75? And, in some sense...at least to me...using a belt sander to sharpen a blade is not, philosophically, significantly different.

It's all about speed, you see, convenience and disposability. When the professional immerses himself in detail, in process, he puts aside self-absorption but he doesn't really loose himself. When we pursue speed and ignore that rich tapestry of experience that is in front of us, our experiences, our judgements, even perhaps our lives become just as disposable as the utility knife blades.

When a professional craftsman chooses to sharpen a knife with stones rather than resort to belt sanders or a disposable blade, it's because he knows that when you sharpen a blade you're really sharpening your own senses.Your sensibilities. Your ability to sense more and more subtlety. And that translates into every subsequent process that you engage in regardless how seemingly disconnected it may be.

Even writing a piece such as this, for good or ill, is influenced by the time and insights, patience and perspectives, understanding and judgment, that develops as the blade is honed. More than the blade is sharpened.

That's part and parcel of the attraction of making shoes by hand in the 21st century. Of choosing to make shoes rather than make money. For me, it's been worth more than all the income I might have given up over the years and, again for me at least, I doubt I will never get enough.

--
Edited by DWFII - 11/2/13 at 10:02am
post #739 of 1235
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by chogall View Post

Way too complex of a discussion for Styleforum,
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
But there is an underlying perspective here that applies across the board. A perspective that is near and dear to my heart, at least.

Without getting into real detail...despite having good quality grinders and sanding wheels at my disposal, I do prefer to sharpen knives with a sequence of Washita and Arkansas oil stones. I know that there are other types of stones--some oil and some water--and that many even prefer belt sanders for sharpening knives. But for me I prefer to slow down. I like feeling the steel on the stone. I like hearing the difference in sound as the angle of the blade is adjusted.

And I can sharpen a knife so that it is "scary sharp"--no brag, fact. I have to be able to for the work I do.

Part and parcel of the way most professional craftsmen...as opposed to dabblers and backbench-garage hobbyists...approach their work is to immerse themselves in the processes. When you do, it often occurs, even without you being fully aware of it, that you lose the almost obsessive focus on self that possesses most of us in today's world. Lose your self-absorption. In fact, that's one of the attractions of being a professional. And in the process, with self out of the way, suddenly you find yourself open to other inputs--the sound of the metal, the feel of the blade in the hand, the way subtle, heretofore unnoticed muscle tensions affect the work; and to other influences--perhaps that "creative consciousness" I spoke of.

Speed kills...quality. From our most intimate activities in daily life to our most critical public enterprises our society can never have enough speed, enough easy, enough expedience. I sometimes think that this is the easy way to "lose yourself"--the quick and easy and convenient way--go so fast that you can never slow down enough to notice where "you" are.

Who wants to pay for a truly hand welted, bespoke shoe? Who wants to spend the years learning to make such a shoe? Who wants to go to all that effort and work to actually understand what goes into a shoe? Just go out and buy a pair. And if...by virtue of popularity, or brand name or some superficial glitter striking the eye...a certain socially acceptable "glamour" (not in the magical sense) comes along with it, all the better.

Who would want to go to all that trouble to sharpen a knife...especially by hand...or even to learn how, when a utility knife is $2.98 and a pack of disposable blades $1.75? And, in some sense...at least to me...using a belt sander to sharpen a blade is not, philosophically, significantly different.

It's all about speed, you see, convenience and disposability. When the professional immerses himself in detail, in process, he puts aside self-absorption but he doesn't really loose himself. When we pursue speed and ignore that rich tapestry of experience that is in front of us, our experiences, our judgements, even perhaps our lives become just as disposable as the utility knife blades.

When a professional craftsman chooses to sharpen a knife with stones rather than resort to belt sanders or a disposable blade, it's because he knows that when you sharpen a blade you're really sharpening your own senses.Your sensibilities. Your ability to sense more and more subtlety. And that translates into every subsequent process that you engage in regardless how seemingly disconnected it may be.

Even writing a piece such as this, for good or ill, is influenced by the time and insights, patience and perspectives, understanding and judgment, that develops as the blade is honed. More than the blade is sharpened.

That's part and parcel of the attraction of making shoes by hand in the 21st century. Of choosing to make shoes rather than make money. For me, it's been worth more than all the income I might have given up over the years and, again for me at least, I doubt I will never get enough.
--

Very interesting post, but you discount the amateur craftsman/hobbyist or in Japan what we call the otaku (Japanese sense not pop culture sense) too readily. A hobbyist can afford the time to attain perfection, whereas for a professional there are always economic considerations. A skilled hobbyist for example will be much more likely to turn out a piece of wooden furniture that is unique, and beautifully crafted than all but the most skilled (and expensive) professional. The amateur is much more able to focus on perfection. No one is paying for their time, there is no time pressure, and as you say speed kills. You state that you are in it to "make shoes" not "money", but economic constraints must be a consideration. I am not saying that this necessarily holds for your craft, perhaps it takes you X amount of time to make a pair of shoes that you are 100% satisfied with, and you charge for your time accordingly, but that does not mean an amateur couldn't produce a piece of equal quality.


Your comments about sharpening I think highlight the point, I think an amateur craftsman is much more likely to want, and create, "scary sharp" edges, a professional will sharpen to the required sharpness, anything beyond that is not required, and is a waste of time/money.

PS I sharpen my knives with naka to and a shiage to (medium/fine natural wetstone) that I bought at the local hardware store for about $10 as a set. The shiage to is probably not much more than about 6000 grit because I can get a reasonable slurry off it, but just a small amount of patience will give a very very sharp edge. I almost never use the naka to.
Edited by Fang66 - 11/2/13 at 11:12am
post #740 of 1235
..
post #741 of 1235
Fang

First you need to go back and read posts # 682, 696 and 707. None of this is in a vacuum.

Second while your remarks have a certain attraction they ignore one critical point...it's also a choice...with all the attendant ramifications...whether to pursue something professionally or not.

I host a forum devoted to bespoke shoemaking that has been on the 'net for over 15 years. I've seen and spoken to the professionals and the amateurs alike. My take-away from those conversations, from the years I've been in this Trade, even from my conversations on SF, is that there is a very, very different perspective coming from those two groups.

I'm not saying the hobbyist can't experience some or even all of what I ascribe to the professional. But when you choose to do something part time; when you choose to do something primarily in your spare time; how do you find the time, the integrity (as in grit, strength, determination, etc.) to really commit?!

A choice to only do it part time is, in itself a failure to commit, on some level.

I can hear the howls of outrage now. But what prevents anyone from committing to something body and soul, heart and mind, full time? Whatever it is....financial commitments, self-confidence, advanced age, whatever...we all face those same obstacle...even professionals. I may have been born to be a shoemaker but I wasn't born as a shoemaker. Sometimes the magnitude of those obstacles are even greater for the committed professional than for the person hovering at the margins. Yet somehow, for some reason, some people do throw themselves and their futures, fates, and families "over the cliff," as who should say.

And again, making that one initial choice is the single factor that most determines what choices will be subsequently available. It's the beginning of a very specific decision tree where making one choice eliminates the possibility of others.

Again, I'm not saying it can't be done by the amateur...it can. I know some fine basement craftsmen, But my post above wasn't so much about skills, per se, as it was about the evolution of the craftsman. Beyond a certain point, you have to be fully, unequivocally committed. That evolution is an evolution in the way you think, as much as anything else. Certainly more that the way you do...although it is hard to imagine a scenario where an evolution in the way you think, wouldn't influence the way you do.

When thinking about my amateur friends...esp. the ones that I believe are on the verge of doing professional quality work...I always have to shake my head and wonder how much better ...and how much less conflicted....they would be if they just gave themselves up entirely to the work.

Yet when I first meet most of those amateurs...on the forum I host, for example...the first thing I am always struck by is the unwillingness purchase, much less learn to use, tools that were specifically intended for the job in hand. Instead of learning to "hole" a piece of leather with an awl, such folks inevitability gravitate towards a drill press. And get very defensive when told, even gently, that the proper tool is an awl. Utility knives instead of clicking knives.

There's a lack of commitment there.

--
Edited by DWFII - 11/2/13 at 11:52am
post #742 of 1235
One other thing...there are cultural differences between East and West.

I've always admired the Japanese ability to recognize and value excellence.

Some say this kind of mind-set arises out of the structure and nuance of the language. I don't know, but I do know that there is an old saying...and it applies to most contemporary Western cultures...one that I've certainly found true, although it is, by no means, universal .

"Americans know the cost of everything and the value of nothing."
post #743 of 1235

I have seen plenty of claims about being able to make a knife "scary sharp" - only it turns out that it is an edge so thin that it folds or chips in any practical use.  This claim is often made by puffed up dabblers who talk a bigger game than they walk. For the most part, they have little concept of blade or edge geometry. I don't know of any bladesmiths who rely on grinders to sharpen their knives.  Given the amount of work they have put into making the knife in the first place, they generally aren't looking for a quick and easy answer for this final and crucial step.

 

Those who take the time to learn how to sharpen their knives on stones are generally on the right track.  And the ones who do it well (professional or hobbyist) rarely feel the need to boast about it.

 

Fang - I agree completely - discounting the amateur craftsman is a very narrow view indeed.  You don't need to go back and read anything - you've got it spot on.  If you're interested in seeing some of the steps in creating a large field knife from start to finish, have a look at this old thread here:

 

http://www.styleforum.net/t/336653/the-making-of-a-custom-forged-knife-start-to-finish

 

Deer season is fast approaching.  As usual, I'll carry one of my own hunting knives as well one made by another maker.  There's no better way of learning that doing - getting real world feedback on what works well (and why) and what could be improved upon.


Edited by RogerP - 11/2/13 at 12:07pm
post #744 of 1235
Can we return to relevant leather talk again?
confused.gif
post #745 of 1235
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

You didn't answer my question at the beginning of the last page...?

Ok, so back to business:

How do tanneries go about creating the textures of a country grain or hatch grain? Are there compromises in durability or quality associated with this forced texture on the leather?
post #746 of 1235
Quote:
Originally Posted by JubeiSpiegel View Post

Ok, so back to business:

How do tanneries go about creating the textures of a country grain or hatch grain? Are there compromises in durability or quality associated with this forced texture on the leather?

I'm not familiar with every specific process but sometimes it's as simple as folding and refolding. Creating those creases. Sometimes it's a "print"

In general, there is no problem with the leather but often the texturing is fugitive. Look at the toe and heel of shoes made with hatch or country grain. Usually the 'grain" will be pulled out.
post #747 of 1235
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

Fang

First you need to go back and read posts # 682, 696 and 707. None of this is in a vacuum.

Second while your remarks have a certain attraction they ignore one critical point...it's also a choice...with all the attendant ramifications...whether to pursue something professionally or not.

I host a forum devoted to bespoke shoemaking that has been on the 'net for over 15 years. I've seen and spoken to the professionals and the amateurs alike. My take-away from those conversations, from the years I've been in this Trade, even from my conversations on SF, is that there is a very, very different perspective coming from those two groups.

I'm not saying the hobbyist can't experience some or even all of what I ascribe to the professional. But when you choose to do something part time; when you choose to do something primarily in your spare time; how do you find the time, the integrity (as in grit, strength, determination, etc.) to really commit?!

A choice to only do it part time is, in itself a failure to commit, on some level.

I can hear the howls of outrage now. But what prevents anyone from committing to something body and soul, heart and mind, full time? Whatever it is....financial commitments, self-confidence, advanced age, whatever...we all face those same obstacle...even professionals. I may have been born to be a shoemaker but I wasn't born as a shoemaker. Sometimes the magnitude of those obstacles are even greater for the committed professional than for the person hovering at the margins. Yet somehow, for some reason, some people do throw themselves and their futures, fates, and families "over the cliff," as who should say.

And again, making that one initial choice is the single factor that most determines what choices will be subsequently available. It's the beginning of a very specific decision tree where making one choice eliminates the possibility of others.

Again, I'm not saying it can't be done by the amateur...it can. I know some fine basement craftsmen, But my post above wasn't so much about skills, per se, as it was about the evolution of the craftsman. Beyond a certain point, you have to be fully, unequivocally committed. That evolution is an evolution in the way you think, as much as anything else. Certainly more that the way you do...although it is hard to imagine a scenario where an evolution in the way you think, wouldn't influence the way you do.

When thinking about my amateur friends...esp. the ones that I believe are on the verge of doing professional quality work...I always have to shake my head and wonder how much better ...and how much less conflicted....they would be if they just gave themselves up entirely to the work.

Yet when I first meet most of those amateurs...on the forum I host, for example...the first thing I am always struck by is the unwillingness purchase, much less learn to use, tools that were specifically intended for the job in hand. Instead of learning to "hole" a piece of leather with an awl, such folks inevitability gravitate towards a drill press. And get very defensive when told, even gently, that the proper tool is an awl. Utility knives instead of clicking knives.

There's a lack of commitment there.

--

Great post, DW. This should be mandatory reading for every student. Thank you for your work, we all benefit from your knowledge.

Roger P, with all due respect, the majority (90%) of your comments are ad hominem attacks. If you are going to address the subject of the money/time invested versus product out, do so, but all you are saying is that DW is full of himself. Well-so what? He is excellent at what he does, deeply cares about it, and cares enough to spend time to tell people about it.

You fault DW for spending so much time on his shoes...in essence, you fault him for pursuing his passion. His passion, his persistence, his blood sweat and tears are what provide this site with so much valuable knowledge. As just one example, I don't think anyone knew about shoe gemming before DW schooled me on the subject almost a year ago. What I'm getting at is that comments you have made are faulting DW for creating value. Your "shut up, old man" comments to DW only serve to distract the reader of this thread from the actual discussion. By leveling comments like that at DW, you are seeking to discredit DW solely because he might be an older man who is a bit cantankerous (not saying DW is), but you are not meeting him on the same ground. If you are going to argue, that's great, but quit trying to detract from what DW is saying and stick to the substance.
post #748 of 1235
That is RogerP's modus operandi
post #749 of 1235
Quote:
Originally Posted by JermynStreet View Post


Great post, DW. This should be mandatory reading for every student. Thank you for your work, we all benefit from your knowledge.

Roger P, with all due respect, the majority (90%) of your comments are ad hominem attacks. If you are going to address the subject of the money/time invested versus product out, do so, but all you are saying is that DW is full of himself. Well-so what? He is excellent at what he does, deeply cares about it, and cares enough to spend time to tell people about it.

You fault DW for spending so much time on his shoes...in essence, you fault him for pursuing his passion. His passion, his persistence, his blood sweat and tears are what provide this site with so much valuable knowledge. As just one example, I don't think anyone knew about shoe gemming before DW schooled me on the subject almost a year ago. What I'm getting at is that comments you have made are faulting DW for creating value. Your "shut up, old man" comments to DW only serve to distract the reader of this thread from the actual discussion. By leveling comments like that at DW, you are seeking to discredit DW solely because he might be an older man who is a bit cantankerous (not saying DW is), but you are not meeting him on the same ground. If you are going to argue, that's great, but quit trying to detract from what DW is saying and stick to the substance.

 

Fang's post was great, IMO.  Should be required reading for one person in particular.

 

90% of my direct comments to DW might well be ad hominem, attacks, but you conveniently ignore that 100% of his direct comments to me are the same.  It's why I mentioned way back when that I find direct exchanges with him to be a waste of time.  If you are in fact saying that 90% of my posts on SF are ad hominem attacks, then you have surely grasped the hand of your fearless leader and taken a vaulting leap off the cliff of reality.  I hope you're not saying that, but it's your call either way. My participation here is broad based, and I get along quite well with most of the other kids.

 

Please point out where I have faulted DW for 'spending so much time on his shoes' - I'd be really keen to see where you imagined that to have been said.

 

As for distractions, I'll just point out what should be obvious: No-one has forced him to read any of my posts, and no-one has forced him to respond to any of my posts.

 

And I had no issue sticking to substance when calling into question his gospel that 'You can make shoes or you can make money, but you can't do both.'  I still haven't seen anyone endorse that peach.  Though a few have made efforts to re-craft it as something that makes a little sense.

 

Have a nice day.

 

jerrybrowne - that is an entirely reasonable request.  For my part, I am more than happy to comply.


Edited by RogerP - 11/3/13 at 3:46am
post #750 of 1235

Please, gentlemen, let's have a bit of calm on this excellent site. More of the leather and less of the lather. 

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