Sunday, December 9, 2018

Map, Aberron

Another fun homebrew map!  As these are becoming more and more common I figured I'd lay out some of the process.  The client usually provides a copy of their map, usually from one of the free cartography websites or photos of a handdrawn map.  From that I build a draft (sort of like a blueprint for the leather map).  Occasionally I'm able to hand draw my own version of the map as part of the drafting process but that takes several hours so I'm not able to do it all the time.

The client and I go back and forth over the draft a few times to fix any errors, fine-tune image placement, mark special locations, etc.  The draft itself isn't all that much to look at since it's just meant to inform how the map will be carved.
Once the draft is approve it gets transferred onto the leather and, after it's been cased, I get to carving.  That's a lengthy process I've gone into in older posts so I won't do the step-by-step here.
Once it's carved I do the staining (more arcane craftsmenship) and when that's all cured it gets stitched down to some 1/4" MDF to keep it flat and sturdy.  The whole process could probably be done in 3-4 days at the absolute fastest but since I'm usually juggling multiple orders most maps ship within 1-2 weeks of purchase.


  1. I have noticed a difference between the draft and the finished product, it says Drakar on the draft, but Drakan on the product?

    1. You're right. I used to use ink transfers to apply the draft to the leather and often made the text too fuzzy to read when I was carving. I'd pull up the draft on my phone to double-check the text but in this particular case that wasn't enough to stop me from making a "typo." The text is essentially the last thing that gets carved so by that point it was too late to scrap the whole thing and start over from scratch, especially since it was the middle of a crazy busy time of year.
      A few weeks after I made this map I received a laser cutter I'd purchased a few years ago. Now I'm able to mark, or even engrave, the text directly onto the leather without going through the whole ink transfer process. Among other things, that's removed the opportunity for typos on any future maps.


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