Monday, January 29, 2018

Testimonial: Guitar Strap, Ontario

I received this message about the last guitar strap I shipped.  Just made my morning!

"My wife just gave me the guitar strap you made (The Hip, hockey stick, SRV, etc). I think it's probably the nicest thing I own. You did an outstanding job and I just wanted to thank you."

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Martingale Collar, Ky-oosh

I've just been waiting for an order like this one to come in so I could finish up the last bits on the pattern.  The collar I'd made for Max a couple years ago was a good start but had a "small" flaw in that the screw holding everything together proved weaker than a half-husky's enthusiasm.  This time there's no screws at all, just laminated leather that outta stand up to just about anything.  And it's always a good project when I get to mix together some more "Federation Blue".  There's a big, poofy fluffer in Ontario who's going to be pretty styling by the end of the week!  Meanwhile the martingale collars now have a dedicated listing on the shop!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Giant Scroll Tube

I've been selling a fair few of these map cases lately, mostly for things other than maps.  I think it's great that the pattern's proven so flexible.  I'm not entirely sure what this one was meant to carry (didn't ask) but apparently it's 4" wide and 19" long.  Makes for a pretty big tube and a weird frankenbox to ship it in.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Now adding: Leather Journals!

I made four or five prototypes of different books and journals last year in order to land on this pattern for production.  I'm really very happy with it.  I've been using the first of these journals (brown one with the armadillo) for my notes in our current campaign and it's been working pretty great.  We recently hosted my parents while they visited from San Antonio.  The blue journal is one my Mother and I built together and it came out super well!  That particular one's not for sale (because it's back home in San Antonio by now) but the journals themselves are finally up on the shop.  Looking forward to making more over the course of the year.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Dice Cups, Star Wars

Seems like these went on my To Do list a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.  I'm pretty happy with how they've turned out (especially the blue background) and they've been added as production lines on the shop.  You'll find the Light side cup here and the Dark side cup here.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Dice Cup, Groomsman

Had to rush this one out the door since it needed to be in WI about 8 days after I got the order.  I got a message from the client a day before when the wedding was scheduled and it arrived just in time!  I have other pics but the body has the recipient's name and "Best of Luck" carved in it.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Refit and repaired

I'm working through a backlog in the aftermath of the holidays but still needed to get some mainentance done on my work spaces.  Most of it's just minor shoring up of this or that but I've managed to squeeze another toolbox over my bench and printed some new magnet hooks for the pegboard.  This should help me keep from having 1/2 the bench covered in random hardware at any given time.  No promises though...

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!