Author Topic: Leatherwork  (Read 2079 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

nutmeg

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 37
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 33
  • Likes Given: 27
Leatherwork
« on: March 14, 2017, 06:06:08 AM »

I recently took up leatherwork, as well as photography (in an attempt to take better photos of my sewn goods, as I'd like to transform my hobby in an actual business in the near future). I've made a few items for my own personal use:











If anyone has experience in taking quality product photos, and is willing to share some knowledge, I'd love to discuss it. I'm currently having issues taking good images of a pack made from black cordura, as I can't seem to get the details of the pack to contrast properly.

Gear Dynamics

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 905
    • View Profile
    • Gear Dynamics
  • Liked: 247
  • Likes Given: 242
Re: Leatherwork
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2017, 03:58:11 PM »
Black is always hard to photograph nicely. My recommendations below (in general)...and I'm not a professional by any means!

- Always try and use natural light or at least mimic that with the proper temp of LEDs. A cloudy day is best, if you shoot outside.
- Use a matte white background, it'll be the easiest to work with when editing.
- Use a photoshop program to adjust lighting/contrast. All I use is elements. I don't need anything super fancy, and don't have time to learn it anyway.
- To get white backgrounds, there is a bit of magic, but it's not to complicated. The key is havinging a good pictures to work with from the start

My 2 cents.

nutmeg

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 37
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 33
  • Likes Given: 27
Re: Leatherwork
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2017, 07:12:36 AM »
Black is always hard to photograph nicely. My recommendations below (in general)...and I'm not a professional by any means!

- Always try and use natural light or at least mimic that with the proper temp of LEDs. A cloudy day is best, if you shoot outside.
- Use a matte white background, it'll be the easiest to work with when editing.
- Use a photoshop program to adjust lighting/contrast. All I use is elements. I don't need anything super fancy, and don't have time to learn it anyway.
- To get white backgrounds, there is a bit of magic, but it's not to complicated. The key is havinging a good pictures to work with from the start

My 2 cents.

Thanks for the info. I'm using a single 5000k full spectrum CFL bulb, in a homemade diffuser (not sure if that's the correct term for this device, but that's what it does...). I'm gonna try and get some shots outdoors when the weather breaks, and see how that comes out.

It was suggested by another source that I should try using multiple light sources, with one focus solely on the background. This should help develop better contrast with the object against the background.

I think I'm gonna take some pictures of my setup when I get home, and start a separate thread dedicated to the discussion of product photography.

StonePhotoGear

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 103
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 15
  • Likes Given: 9
Re: Leatherwork
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2017, 12:58:20 AM »
My life before embarking into the sewing world was in the commecial and editorial photography world here in LA. Lighting source of all sorts/types. I'm partial to constant source lighting, personally.

Black is one of the EASIEST colors to photograph, actually. It just takes a little know-how to get it right. First off, I would recommend understanding exposure. This means using a grey card, this helps 1. neutralize your color balance for the light source you are using(so colors come out as they look to the eye) 2. zero your exposure

What I would recommend:

1. LARGE light source. As big of a diffuser as possible. If you can build a PVC pipe frame and stretch some thin white ripstop to keep it lightweight, this works great. Can be designed to break down for storage as well this way.
2. Top light, with "bounce cards" to fill in shadows and lower the apparent contast(shadow density)
3. Set your white balance in the camera to match what type of source you are using(the grey card can help set a "custom" white balance if your camera will allow for that. This helps zero the starting file out before you even do any post-production work to fine-tune)
4. Buy a roll of butcher paper. If you have a camera store nearby, check and see if they sell a 4ft roll of white background paper. Savage is one of the bigger names out there for this. Not cheap, but it works great and is thicker than butcher paper.

Don't go crazy boosting constrast, etc. Do as much of the work in-camera, not in the computer.

Just my $.02

-Dan

nutmeg

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 37
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 33
  • Likes Given: 27
Re: Leatherwork
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2017, 06:21:52 AM »
A couple photos of my latest leather work. First is a field notes cover, with my logo on one side, and an engraving of the streets of downtown Pittsburgh (my home city) on the other.







The other is another wallet. Black on tan this time.











TangoDelta

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 48
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 8
  • Likes Given: 4
Re: Leatherwork
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2017, 10:01:41 AM »
That looks great! I find it difficult to get my stitching straight on leatherwork, looks like no issue for you at all!
No gods or kings, only man.

nutmeg

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 37
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 33
  • Likes Given: 27
Re: Leatherwork
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2017, 10:16:03 AM »
That looks great! I find it difficult to get my stitching straight on leatherwork, looks like no issue for you at all!

Thanks! I'd love to take credit for the straightness of the stitching, but I think most of the credit for this goes to the fact that I laser cut the holes. It's beautiful, every hole is the same size, the same distance from it's neighbors, and is perfectly offset from the edge.

Another big thing I found out was that making sure you keep the same order and position in your saddle stitching is critical. Always start each stitch from the same side, and always thread the second needle through in the same position with respect to the first thread (above/below). A "misplaced" stitch (thread below when it should be above...) causes the stitch to stand out against the rest, and really ruins a line.

TangoDelta

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 48
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 8
  • Likes Given: 4
Re: Leatherwork
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2017, 10:27:50 AM »
Excellent pointers, thanks! I really like your work, looking forward to seeing more!
No gods or kings, only man.

nutmeg

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 37
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 33
  • Likes Given: 27
Re: Leatherwork
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2017, 10:01:00 AM »
A few more items that I've made (had plenty of time with the forum being down...  ;D)

Pen Pouch:







Business card holder:





Custom Business card holder I made for the owner of a local construction company:





Field Notes Cover, with business card pockets:







nutmeg

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 37
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 33
  • Likes Given: 27
Re: Leatherwork
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2017, 08:34:31 AM »
A couple photos of some of my more recent leatherwork:

I had a request from a friend to make a double pocket version of my flat card wallet.



This also gave me a good opportunity to show how the patina develops on the Horween leather. These wallets are made from the same hide, and it demonstrates the patina that has developed over 1 months of daily use:



Another Flat Card Wallet made in more patriotic colors:




And something new: One of a few new designs I recently cut, and the first to be sewn up. It's a Valet Tray Pouch. It folds into a pouch to carry your items while you're en route, and becomes a valet tray to give them a nice home when you arrive. This is my favorite item so far, and really enjoyed making it. It's also by far the largest item I have hand sewn, and I had to rig up a special clamp to hold the components together while working on it:













A close-up of the engraving:



And here's the special clamp I had to rig up for this piece:


Gear Dynamics

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 905
    • View Profile
    • Gear Dynamics
  • Liked: 247
  • Likes Given: 242
Re: Leatherwork
« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2017, 11:41:35 AM »
Very cool. Nice looking work!

essal

  • Global Moderator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 485
    • View Profile
    • Nora Tactical
  • Liked: 81
  • Likes Given: 43
Re: Leatherwork
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2017, 01:36:30 PM »
How long does it take you to hand stitch a card holder? The stuff looks great! How does the laser cut holes feel compared to a "naturally" punched hole? Any weird smell or stiffness to it?

The thing I kinda miss with Cordura fabrics is the patina. Leather and waxed cotton get such as distinct look to it when it's used, it looks awesome.
Nora Tactical
Product Technician - Norrøna

nutmeg

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 37
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 33
  • Likes Given: 27
Re: Leatherwork
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2017, 03:07:33 PM »
Very cool. Nice looking work!

Thanks!

How long does it take you to hand stitch a card holder? The stuff looks great! How does the laser cut holes feel compared to a "naturally" punched hole? Any weird smell or stiffness to it?

The thing I kinda miss with Cordura fabrics is the patina. Leather and waxed cotton get such as distinct look to it when it's used, it looks awesome.

Thanks! It takes me about 70 minutes to do the three lines of stitching on the flat card wallets. There is less resistance than a punched hole, simple due to the fact that it's actually removing the material in that area, instead of simple splitting it like a pricking iron does. No smell after an hour or so, and no real noticeable change in stiffness after cutting. The only reall problem the laser presents is in finishing the edges: it takes quite a bit more sanding to remove the charring from the edges than I would have to do if I cut it by blade. But it's a small price to pay for the precision if gives me.

Yeah, I love the way the leather is aging. I haven't had a chance to work with waxed cotton/canvas yet, but I really want to try my hand at making a few packs from waxed canvas/leather.

StonePhotoGear

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 103
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 15
  • Likes Given: 9
Re: Leatherwork
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2017, 06:08:42 PM »
Are you hand sanding the edges, or are you using a bench grinder with sanding drums?

A friend of mine does leather work as a side hobby, and he has been eyeing the addition of a laser to increase his expediency with patterning (he is selling occasionally, and personally monogrammed pieces seem to command the highest prices/profit). Other than various hides of material and spools of various threads, his tooling has cost less than $300 to set up with a bench vise and soft jaws (self made). I'm constantly enamored by his handiwork, not to mention the simplicity of his working process compared to mine with 4 sewing machines, tables, etc :o

He has found that buffing the edges with a polished wooden wheel on a bench grinder greatly speeds up his finishing time.

nutmeg

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 37
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 33
  • Likes Given: 27
Re: Leatherwork
« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2017, 02:58:51 PM »
Are you hand sanding the edges, or are you using a bench grinder with sanding drums?

A friend of mine does leather work as a side hobby, and he has been eyeing the addition of a laser to increase his expediency with patterning (he is selling occasionally, and personally monogrammed pieces seem to command the highest prices/profit). Other than various hides of material and spools of various threads, his tooling has cost less than $300 to set up with a bench vise and soft jaws (self made). I'm constantly enamored by his handiwork, not to mention the simplicity of his working process compared to mine with 4 sewing machines, tables, etc :o

He has found that buffing the edges with a polished wooden wheel on a bench grinder greatly speeds up his finishing time.

I'm sanding the edges by hand, but using an attachment for my hanging rotary tool to do the actual burnishing (I made a polished wooden burnishing disk).

It is nice that it doesn't require a huge amount of equipment. I think I have 3-4 times as much invested in hides as I do the actual tools for leatherwork.