Thursday, January 4, 2018

Guitar Strap, Ontario

This order kept running into unavoidable delays but I think it was all worth it in the end.  The client, a native of Vancouver, was purchasing it as a gift for their partner who's originally from Ontario.  We went through several versions of the design, scaling and selecting all the elements so that they could fit and be recognizable.  Then I filled the space between with decorative carving and backgrounding. 

When we finished the drafting (back in November) I was hoping I could get it in the mail fast enough to get their current location, France, in time for the holidays.  I was out of the weight of veg tan I would normally use for a guitar strap though and thought I might be able to use a nice cut off a lighter side.  I spent a couple days carving that cut before realizing that the lighter leather just couldn't hold the carving.  There were parts of the bargrounding falling off and the beveling didn't have any definition and it was just generally not up to standards.  I wound up tossing it and starting over from scratch again.

I'd already ordered a new side before this order had come in but it usually takes 2 weeks for supplies to arrive.  At that time of year it could easily be 3 weeks so I was well on to other orders before the shipment arrived.  The new cut cased late in the month and I spent a long Christmas Eve Eve getting all the carving and tinting done in one go.

I was banging around the studio pretty late into the evening but fortunately I have a pretty understanding "pupervisor".
After spending the preceding ~7 weeks or so working around the clock I took the last week of the year off.  I reckon I'd pretty well earned it but that meant the guitar strap sat on the work bench for a week.  Once I was able to get back to it it just took a couple of days to apply the over coat, stitch in the lining and make the finishing touches.

I'm glad we waited for the right leather.  The carving looks pretty spiffy and all the staining turned out as well as I could hope.  The goatskin lining is pretty excellent and latigo still works really well for the adjustable strap.  All in all it's a pretty nice guitar strap!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Catching up in the New Year

Whew!  That was a whirlwind of a holiday season.  I've got two months of blurbs to retro-actively write but, in my defense, I was averaging ~70 hour work weeks for much of the season.  There were some very interesting orders in there that I'm looking forward to turning into posts.

Overall 2017 was a pretty great year, at least professionally.  I'm still crunching numbers but the numbers I would want to go up are all going up.  For the next couple of weeks I'm figuring out the best ways to continue that progress and "manage my success" in a way that doesn't result in a 3 week backlog.  To that end I'm making some changes to the D&D coins, both to improve the consistency and speed they can be produced, as well as adding a few new listings during January.  Unfortunately I had to retire the DM Toolbox listing since it just takes too long to produce the way I've been doing it.  I have some ideas on how to improve the design and the speed so hopefully by Fall I can introduce a new-and-improved version of the Toolbox.

Carving cowskins doesn't have much in common with soothsaying but it's looking like 2018's going to be an even better year for Foster Leathercraft!