Braiding a Foundation Knot

I will expand on this posting later – just want to get the video out there quick.

If you are looking at this on Facebook, I do not think the videos shows up – so you will have to look at this post in the original blog:  

LeatherLearn Blog

Thanks to my friend Mark Sampson, my capcam works excelent so that you can see on the videos exactly what I see!

Come back often – I will have this instruction much more complete with all the do’s and dont’s of tying this knot.   Suggestions and feedback will be most welcome to j  at

Here is the basics:

Second part:

Please ask questions if anything is unclear!

Embossing with Plugs

One of the first steps in putting a second layer of leather on the plug. I lay the tracing film over the bottom plug layer and trace the outline – i.e. the size I want to cut the leather for the second layer. I also trace the lines that indicate the “valleys” between muscles, so that I can cut those into the plug.

The plug very much simulates the actual final carving as far as detail is concerned.

The next step is cutting out the plug:

…and then you glue the piece of leather onto the rest …

Let’s swap to the other arm where the glue has dried and here we start the sculpting proper:

Please leave a comment ….

Rope Effect

I have been playing around with a very effective border achieved in the following way:

Mark two parallel lines with a compass.   Cut them with a swivel knife.  Now use a lined sharp-tip beveler along one of the lines to make one row of indents and then turn the leather around to make the row of indents along the other cut line.  The smooth and checkered bevelers, with the same shape, does not have the same good effect, but try them by all means, you might like their effect more.

Uneven Brush Dying

Dying certain areas only can be even more eye-catching if the dying is done in such a way that the area is darker around the edge and lighter in the center.

Use of All-in-One

This photo shows the project with the dye completely dry – you will notice it is lighter than what it was in the little mini-movie.

This project is done with a very old piece of leather – at least thirty years old – it is an old tri-leg chair kit. The leather is already darkened by light, so I chose darker colors to color with. The dye is the new Eco-Flo Cranberry Red dye. It is water-based.

I start off with diluting the dye a lot with water and I just cover the whole area with a thin color. Then I use less diluted dye and only work around the edges, so that the area is dyed darker around the edge and lighter in the center.
REMEMBER: The dye causes the leather to be WET and therefor darker, so it is not immediately clear what the project will look like when the leather dries out. The dye will get lighter as it dries.

This little MINI MOVIE shows the final step with undiluted dye.

Use of All-in-OneThis photo shows a similar effect with Eco-Flo dark mahogany. Here the dye, and leather, is still wet and it does not look as though the transition from dark to light is going to be gradual enough. I will have to judge that only when the dye is completely dry.

X1 AppliedThe completed seat after I applied a coat of X1 dressing. The dye came out the way I wanted it, and I then applied X1 dressing to bring out the tooling in sharp definition.

I cannot help being a bit upset that this product is being take off the market. The new colored hi-liters does not have that same effect without coloring the leather. X1 only accentuates the tooling in a very non-obtrusive way.

Completed seatCompleted seatThe chair complete.

If you want to know where to get the legs, contact Dan at Logo’s Leather: Logo’s

Using Resist – for Antiqueing


I had this request: “I have been using block-out to keep my dye out of what I have stamped, but I can’t get it to resist. Please help me with my leather resist problem.”

Dyes and resistMy first answer would be that it could be that you are trying to use a spirit based dye over the resist and that will be less successful. On this scanned piece of leather I covered the bottom half of the leather with super sheen as a resist.

On the very left I used antique gel on the leather – it wiped off nice and clean off the resist.

In the center I used Eco-Flo water based dye and although it did not wipe off the resist so very completely, the result is still successful.

On the right I used a normal spirit based dye and the obvious result is awful. Now let us have a look at the intended use of a resist:
Purpose: A resist is used before you use an antique stain to make sure the antique finish/stain does not change the color of the leather, but only gets into the tool impressions so that it gets to the antique effect.

Products: Several products can be used as a resist: Neatlac, SuperSheen, SatinSheen, Blockout, RTC. As you can see, all these products are also classified as finishes, i.e. they are also used as finishes on veg-tan leather after dyes have been applied.

When to Resist: After tooling the project, you decide on a color for the project. This color change in the leather is achieved with dye. If you are also going to apply an antique stain to the project, and you do not want the antique gel / paste / liquid to change the overall color of the project, you need to apply a resist over the project first. Everyone recommends two layers of resist – and you must allow then to dry properly (I do overnight).

The Effect: When you now apply the antique stain, and wipe it off with a soft damp cloth, the stain will only remain in the tool impressions and you will be able to wipe it off the smooth parts of the leather. You will have to seal in the antique stain by putting a layer of finish over the stain.

Variations on Resist: You might choose to use the resist only on the tooled design and not on the background – a two tone effect. This will take some fancy brush work with a fine artist brush. It will mean that the antique stain will change the color of the leather on the unresisted areas, but on the tooled areas you will be able to wipe most of the stain off the leather.

Using Resist - BeforeThis first photo shows some variations: From top left clockwise: 1. The whole design and background was dyed with Eco-Flo Range Tan Dye and the left half of the quarter was resisted with Super Sheen. 2. In the top right the design only was resisted with Block Out. MINI-MOVIE 3. Bottom right the whole quarter was resisted with Block Out – bot design and background. 4. Bottom left the background was dyed brown with Eco-Flow Timber Brown [MINI-MOVIE] and the design was resisted with Super Sheen.

Using Resist - AfterAfter the first photo, Antique Gel Medium Brown was applied as seen in the little Minimovies (to follow in a day or two) and this is a photo of the results.

Problems with Resist: Resist is not very successful to keep dye away from leather, especially the spirit based (alcohol based) dyes. These dyes will penetrate through most resists.

Not Yet Tested: The new Eco-Flo dyes are all water based and might just work very well with the resist technique described above. Hopefully I can test these tomorrow and take some photos to enhance this blog entry! Keep an eye on this space!

Color & Finish 105 – Dye with a Brush

Oil based dye with a brush
For this mini tutorial, oil based dye is being applied with a brush. The same technique would be used with alcohol (spirit) based dyes. The background of an inverted carving is being dyed – the design is left natural.

Take note how the fully loaded brush is never set down right next to the edge of the area to be dyed – this is to prevent the dye from bleeding into the area that has to remain dye free. Because the black dye in this case is quite forgiving, mere application of the dye will ensure even coverage. So as the dye in the brush is used up, the brush is brought closer and closer to the edge of the design.

This little MINI MOVIE has no sound yet.

Color & Finish 104 – All-in-One

Use of All-in-One

All-in-One is a product sold by Tandy Leather Factory. It is both a dye and a finish all in one!

It works very well in situations where you want to dye a complete piece of leather. It also has a darkening effect in tool impressions. The finish is much like Super Sheen, a water based acrylic finish. There is therfore no fumes to sniff or worry about.

In the MINI MOVIE you will see how this product is applied and how the excess is wiped off. Take care to wipe off very lightly so that the All-in-One that is in the tool impressions, do not get wipes out of those depressons – you want it to dry there to have the eventual darker effect.

The photo below show the finshed piece of leather incorporated into a card holder.

(The back part of the card holder was done in the frog skin pattern shown else where in this blog and then it was colored with acrylic paint.)

Finished Card Holder