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The weekend’s almost here, and if you’re looking to kill the last few hours of the work week, we recommend this short piece by Ryan Bush: it’s a look at the folks who own and operate a small leather goods manufacturing business in Portland, Oregon. From the filmmaker’s description: “It’s wonderful to see a company that thrives in the ‘small batch’ business model, and I hope they continue to make good things for a long time coming. The process of making something as simple as a belt can remind us of the roots of what this country was founded on: creativity, entrepreneurship, and craftsmanship.”

An Exploration in Craft, Featuring: Tanner Goods [Vimeo]
Tanner Goods [Company Site]


I love my son. Why he chose the single most expensive position in sports on the planet to specialize in, I will never know. If you asked him why he chose to be a hockey goalie he’d probably spout some drivel about the adrenaline rush he gets when facing a hard rubber puck coming at him at 120 mph. Personally I think anyone who wants to play hockey goalie is nuts.

In case you’ve never felt a hockey puck before, it’s not a sponge — 120-mph moving puck can do real damage if it hits you. That’s why having good functional equipment is paramount. Playing hockey in its own right is an expensive sport, but playing hockey goalie can bankrupt you if you let it. So when my son’s leg pad recently needed a repair I decided rather than dropping $1200 for new pads, I’d suck it up and do some sewing.

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My mother tells me that when I was a kid, I showed some interest in leathercraft after making a few things at summer camp. So she used to take me to a local shop where we’d buy little kits. I remember carrying a wallet for a number of years that I’d made myself. By “made,” I mean I sewed some pre-cut leather together with thick cord and stamped my name in it with some pre-made leather stamps. Not so long ago, I saw some much more detailed and kick-ass leatherwork crafted by a friend who’s into costuming, and it got me thinking how nice it’d be to be able to make custom cases for some of my equipment and so on.

So my question: What are the best tools and learning resources for someone who wants to get into serious leathercraft?

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Tandy Leather Factory has the best deal right now on their own tool, the Craftool High-Tech Leather Splitter, for $149.99.

Looking around for a cheap way of splitting leather, that is, reducing the thickness of a piece of leather, I found that the Craftool splitter is the cheapest option out there compared to the professional leather splitters that run in the $550-$1000 range. While it likely isn’t useful for a professional leather crafter, it seems like it should work for the occasional leather job within the 4-3/4″ width allowed by the splitter. No mention is made of the maximum thickness, however, nor have I found much about how well it performs.

Craftool High-Tech Leather Splitter [tandyleatherfactory.com]


That photo above isn’t astroturf. It’s a black leather shag rug. Really. And if you’re one of the 400 people who own one you should report immediately for taste adjustment be aware that importer Chandra Rugs (of Adairsville, Georgia) would like you to call them to return the rug for a full refund. According to the CSPC they don’t meet federal flammability standards and “pos[e] fire and burn hazards to customers.”

Thankfully no one has reported any injuries to date. Check the link below for a full list of rugs and to see the full list of affected rugs with photos. Don’t miss the orange/beige. It’s my favorite.

Leather Shag Rugs Recalled Due To Fire Hazard [CSPC]