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  1. #1
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    Advice needed fpr summer presentations!

    I have a question for you all-

    As most of you know, I am in a living history group called the Renaissance Scots Living History Association. Throughout the summer, we travel to all the Celtic festivals in the midwest region. Last summer, I started giving leatherwork demonstrations. It was my first summer, and I only did a few. This summer, I will be making a reproduction of this:



    Left is my design, and right is the original. I'll be using this project as an opportunity to give demonstrations on tooling, and to show the different kinds of leather- particularly the elk hide that I'm using on the back, and to teach about finishing techniques- dying and edge finishing.

    So my question is this- if you were to see one of my demos, what information would you be most interested in learning? History, techniques- anything you can think of that would be of value to people who know nothing about leather other than what it's made of! Any and all ideas are welcome.

    And there is one more thing. On my new FaceBook page, I posted a pictorial guide to the technique I use for edge burnishing:

    http://www.facebook.com/album.php?id...9454&aid=16175

    Any comments or critiques on this would be helpful, too.

    Thanks in advance!!
    "Two things are infinite- the universe, and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe." Albert Einstein.

  2. #2
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    hm

    I'm an absolute ignorant when it comes to leather working so what I would want to see is something clear, concise and step by step. Do you have experience with lesson planning? I think you mentioned your parents are educators. Plumb that resource. It might best be broken into a few different demos/lectures.

  3. #3
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    Well...First, since you travel, PLEASE let me know if you ever attend some festival that is "near" Oklahoma City!!

    To answer your question, I have NO understanding of leather working techniques/tricks of the trade, etc... History is cool too, but I (this is just me) can read about that all day. But seeing HOW someone works leather to accomplish the end product would be very exciting.

    Just my 2 cents.

  4. #4
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    I would be interested in some historical background. How were the hides prepared (briefly), and what tools were used to achieve the design during the Renaissance? One of my brothers did some leather work 45+ years ago, but he went to Tandy Leather, got a piece of prepared leather, and bought steel punches (is that the correct term) with various design elements tooled into them. Smack one end with a mallet, and you left an imprint of the design that was on the other end in the leather. What did they use to work a design into the leather, and from what materials were their tools made?

    I would have the same types of questions about the dying, burnishing, and any other finishing process. Aso, what part of society could afford to own a nicely worked piece of leather?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by xman View Post
    hm

    I'm an absolute ignorant when it comes to leather working so what I would want to see is something clear, concise and step by step. Do you have experience with lesson planning? I think you mentioned your parents are educators. Plumb that resource. It might best be broken into a few different demos/lectures.
    You're right- my parents are both career teachers. I have actually thought about asking to help me prepare lesson plans- that's my next step! My first was to find out what the completely ignorant person would want to know, see, and experience. Thanks for the advice so far, guys! Keep it coming!
    "Two things are infinite- the universe, and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe." Albert Einstein.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyle1 View Post
    I would be interested in some historical background. How were the hides prepared (briefly), and what tools were used to achieve the design during the Renaissance? One of my brothers did some leather work 45+ years ago, but he went to Tandy Leather, got a piece of prepared leather, and bought steel punches (is that the correct term) with various design elements tooled into them. Smack one end with a mallet, and you left an imprint of the design that was on the other end in the leather. What did they use to work a design into the leather, and from what materials were their tools made?

    I would have the same types of questions about the dying, burnishing, and any other finishing process. Aso, what part of society could afford to own a nicely worked piece of leather?
    I'll second that!

    Since you are a historical reenactment group. I would think the history and practice of leather working during the period you are representing is imperative. Then showing the much easier way that we get to do it today. Perhaps in a compare and contrast framework ie " During this period a person would have to kill a goat, skin it, treat the hide with salt for x number of days.... Today we get to go to the local Tandy shop and pick up a hide of x and not get our hands dirty" etc. And as Lyle said above, continue in the same way for the rest of the steps.

    That will be two cents please!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyle1 View Post
    I would be interested in some historical background. How were the hides prepared (briefly), and what tools were used to achieve the design during the Renaissance? One of my brothers did some leather work 45+ years ago, but he went to Tandy Leather, got a piece of prepared leather, and bought steel punches (is that the correct term) with various design elements tooled into them. Smack one end with a mallet, and you left an imprint of the design that was on the other end in the leather. What did they use to work a design into the leather, and from what materials were their tools made?

    I would have the same types of questions about the dying, burnishing, and any other finishing process. Aso, what part of society could afford to own a nicely worked piece of leather?
    So to answer your question, the techniques haven't changes much at all! The tools have changed some, but not the techniques. This piece is a great example of background stamping, for example:



    The lettering and floral pattern would be cut into the surface, just like today, and the background compressed around the cuts to bring them into relief. I made this piece based on that one as a matter of fact:



    Same technique! And then there's this pen case:



    Both pieces are Italian and date to the mid 1500's. This one was done with stamps, like what your brother did. Stamping has been done in leather since the Roman days, along with hand tooling. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Hand tooling allows for complete originality, but is very time consuming. Embossing (stamping) allows for mass production and is less expensive, but doesn't allow for the same customization!

    So is that kind of thing you'd be looking for?
    "Two things are infinite- the universe, and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe." Albert Einstein.

  8. #8
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    The pic isn't showing up for me, but I'll assume it is a sporran or targe. Either way, if I was attending I'd want to know how they did it in the past, as well as what inovations we have made today. What did they use for thread or leather? What are we using today? The difference in tooling techniques mentioned above is also a good idea.

    I've always figured folks back then had a lot of downtime during the winter and no internet, so they must have spent a lot of time on crafts. So relatively ornate wood, knitting, and leather goods probably were more common than you might think. Maybe metal pieces were rare, but the other stuff shouldn't have been too hard to obtain to jazz up, but of course are quick to degrade and get lost to time.

  9. #9
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    Nighthawk, I am not involved with historical reenacting, and know next to nothing about it, but I'm a fan of the written article or essay that can be printed and handed out. Perhaps a brief explanation of some sort along with sources and recommended books on the subject.

    I don't know that this would be the setting for lessons due to time constraints, but more the peaking of interest in leather working etc.

    And yes, I have written articles and essays, so don't bite my head off for suggesting something I have never done, you experts!
    I tried to ask my inner curmudgeon before posting, but he sprayed me with the garden hose…
    Yes, I have squirrels in my brain…

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jason10mm View Post
    The pic isn't showing up for me, but I'll assume it is a sporran or targe. Either way, if I was attending I'd want to know how they did it in the past, as well as what inovations we have made today. What did they use for thread or leather? What are we using today? The difference in tooling techniques mentioned above is also a good idea.

    I've always figured folks back then had a lot of downtime during the winter and no internet, so they must have spent a lot of time on crafts. So relatively ornate wood, knitting, and leather goods probably were more common than you might think. Maybe metal pieces were rare, but the other stuff shouldn't have been too hard to obtain to jazz up, but of course are quick to degrade and get lost to time.
    The thread thing- that's great!! Sinew and cotton thread, primarily. I actually do have both in my display! I just never really mentioned it much, unless I was showing someone how to stitch!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bugbear View Post
    Nighthawk, I am not involved with historical reenacting, and know next to nothing about it, but I'm a fan of the written article or essay that can be printed and handed out. Perhaps a brief explanation of some sort along with sources and recommended books on the subject.

    I don't know that this would be the setting for lessons due to time constraints, but more the peaking of interest in leather working etc.

    And yes, I have written articles and essays, so don't bite my head off for suggesting something I have never done, you experts!
    A flier... That's a good idea! I may have to work one of those out! Thanks for the thought, Ted!
    "Two things are infinite- the universe, and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe." Albert Einstein.

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