Category: Arts & Entertainment

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

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

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

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.


Areas of Enterprise in Leatherwork

November 16, 2017

Arts & Entertainment

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Leatherwork as a field of the visual arts has numerous viable enterprises. These enterprises offer several career opportunities to many people in the Ghanaian community. Students of leatherwork with their practical expertise can set up their own small-scale industries to cater for themselves and their families and more importantly even employ other persons. These areas of enterprises in leatherwork do not require huge capital for one to establish an enterprise. In fact, an individual can start the business right from his house with a small table and some few hand tools and materials. Let us use this unit to highlight some of these areas of enterprises in leatherwork.

Some of the areas of enterprises in leatherwork are:
1. Tanning
2. Upholstering
3. Designing and making leather items
4. Trading leather items

1. Tanning-

This area of enterprise deals with the production of leather as a material. It is responsible for the processing of hides and skins into leather. The leather artist can set up his own tannery as an enterprise where he would operate. Setting up a tannery though quite demanding, generates a lot of income. The artist should think seriously about the location, capital and labor force since these factors will largely affect the success or failure of his tannery enterprise.

2. Upholstering-

This sector of leatherwork concerns itself with the production of suitable furnishes for homes, offices, and more especially automobiles. It is a very wide area that provides several job avenues for leather craftsmen. They produce furniture, foot and arm rests, table mats, car seating, floral vases for decoration etc. With careful planning, this enterprise booms a lot of income for the leather craftsman.

3. Designing And Making Of Leather Items-

This area of enterprise deals with the production of products in leather. It embraces its designing as well as actual productions of the items. This duo-enterprise is a big income generating venture. The leather craftsman may even choose to operate in one of them for each of them promises financial prosperity.

The advancement in technology has opened a new form of designing of products in leather on the computer using art software programs such as CorelDraw, Adobe Photoshop, Rhino, etc. A leather craftsman who is skilled in the use of any of these programs can make a living from it. Before products such as bags, shoes, slippers, furniture and others are produced, the preliminary designs are made by experts in this area of enterprise. The actual producers of these products also earn a lot of income. There are even specialties in the production of these items such as shoe producers, bag producers, furniture producers, belt producers etc.

4. Trading In Leather Items-

This aspect of leatherwork offers employment to several people whether or not they know much about leatherwork. They trade or offer leather products for sale. Most of the leather traders sell the leather items locally, especially in ‘hot’ or thriving market centers in the country whilst others export the leather products outside the country to earn foreign currencies.

To be effective in this enterprise, the trader in leatherwork has to be versed in costing, pricing, and marketing. He should be able to know which leather products to sell, where to sell them, how to sell them and when to sell them. Armed with this knowledge, he is set on the road to success in this enterprise.


Reasons for Decorating and Finishing Leather Items

November 16, 2017

Arts & Entertainment

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Decoration is the means or process through which the appearance of an artwork is enhanced or made more attractive. The decoration of articles and works in leatherwork has several benefits or importance both to producers, customers and the product itself. Finishing is the treatment given to products to change, improve or develop their appearance or behavioral characteristics. This treatment improves the hand and makes the products very attractive. It is the final methods and processes of preparing the leather for use, of polishing, buffing or otherwise after the completion of the leather artifact. Some of the reasons for decorating and finishing leather products are discussed in this article.

1. To enhance the value of the leather products- Decorating leather items aid in increasing their aesthetic appeal and makes them more attractive.

2. To attract high price- Decoration of leather helps in adding market value to the product. It raises its price and worth. This makes the leather craftsman earn a lot of income.

3. To meet standards for export- Well decorated products helps such works to meet exportation standards. They can be exported to other countries to earn foreign exchange.

4. To show respect for the customer- Well decorated items in leather makes the client feel respected and honored when he comes to the shop to purchase the item. While poorly decorated leather items ridicules or demeans its buyers, well decorated leather items boosts their respect.

5. It helps the leather craftsman to have a sustained market- A leather craftsman whose leather crafts are well decorated continues to enjoy a prolonged market. Also, the leather craftsman gets a large pool of clients to work with due to his well decorated leather items.

There are several reasons for finishing products in leather. Some of these reasons are outlined below.

1. To make the works durable or permanent- When leather works are finished properly, it makes them stand the test of time and prolongs the duration for their usage.

2. To protect works against weather, wear and tear- Finished leather products are well protected against the harsh weather condition as well as wearing out and tearing. It helps the works to be resistant to harmful external attack such as water spillage etc.

3. To act as a means of restoring leather-Designed products in leather that are well finished have an improved usable and functioning condition. That is, they have good workability and perform better than unfinished leather items.

4. To prevent mold from growing on leather items- Finished leather pieces resist strongly, the growth of mold, mildew, decaying and fungi attack.

5. To make them attractive- Leather products that are well finished attract customers and clients. The purchase rate or markets of such products are usually very high.

6. To add value- Finished leather products have an added value on them. This includes an added pricing, attraction and market value to the product.

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