Improvising Your Own Leatherwork Tools and Caring For Them

November 16, 2017

Arts & Entertainment

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Tools used for leatherwork can be improvised and produced by students using the locally available materials in our environment. Existing tools that have been discarded in the environment can somehow be manipulated to produce tools that can be very useful in undertaking a task in any of the processes in leatherwork. This article discusses some simple methods that can be learned in improvising simple tools in leatherwork.

1. Making An Awl

Tools and Materials needed:
1. Pointed Nail
2. File
3. Sandpaper
4. Hand drill
5. A piece of wood
6. Clamp
7. Hacksaw

Process:
1. Place the pointed nail in a clamp to maintain it in position.
2. File it with a hand file to a suitable thickness.
3. Smooth the surface of the nail with sandpaper.
4. Shape the piece of wood into a handle with a chisel or any suitable device.
5. Fix the handle in the clamp and drill a hole at the centre.
6. Chip off the head of the nail and fix it into the drilled hole in the handle with the help of P.V.A. glue.
7. Leave it in the clamp to dry.
8. Remove the awl produced.

2. Making A Mallet

Tools and Materials needed:
1. A block of wood
2. Chisels
3. Gouges
4. Mallet
5. Sandpaper

Process:
1. Draw the shape of the mallet on a paper.
2. Trace the design on the surface of the block of wood.
3. Block out the design by the use of a chisel.
4. Chip off the negative areas of the block by carving.
5. Sand the surface with sandpaper to give it a smooth finish.
6. The improvised mallet is ready to use.

3. Making A Stamping Tool

Tools and Materials needed:
1. A nail with a big head
2. Hacksaw
3. File
4. Sandpaper
5. Clamp

Process:
1. File the surface of the nail head to make it flat.
2. Draw the design of the stamp on the flat surface using a permanent marker.
3. Cut out the design along the drawn outlines with a hacksaw.
4. File along the cut out design to shape it well.
5. Sand the work to a smooth finish.
6. The stamping tool is ready for use.

Leatherwork tools need to be cared for properly and maintained well. This will prolong their lifespan and reduce the likelihood of them being damaged. It will also facilitate their usage and workability. Moreover, when leatherwork tools are cared and maintained, it will save the leather craftsman from spending on the purchase of these same tools. This section describes some of the ways to care and maintain leather tools.

• Sharpening-
All cutting and piercing tools used in leatherwork should be periodically sharpened to prevent them from being blunt. The cutting edges need to be in good shape always to improve their workability.

• Re-Facing Mallet Head-
Sometimes the heads of mallets have to be re-faced or replaced for them to function effectively. These mallets may have received several bruises causing the head to either split. They have to be replaced immediately to avoid them from hurting the leather craftsman and others who may be present in the studio.

• Oiling Metal Parts of Tools-
Metal tools are liable to rust or corrosion. Therefore when not in use, they have to be oiled and wiped with a clean rag to avoid corrosion. Also, metal tools and tools with metallic parts should be kept free from water and other liquors since they trigger rusting and corrosion.

• Dressing Punch Tools-
Punch tools that meet stubborn or hard surfaces and therefore bend or tilt should be dressed or straightened so that they can work well.

• Washing-
Containers, bowls, and spoons for mixing dyes, adhesives and other solvents have to be thoroughly washed to free them of the stains of these liquors. Also, gloves and aprons should also be washed to keep them tidy and neat.