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Author Topic: Inside the Shop series  (Read 1207 times)

luke213(adamsholsters)

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Inside the Shop series
« on: July 07, 2016, 07:51:30 PM »
So guys I've decided to do some little blog posts about various things, not really on any timetable of sorts but it's things I think some of you guys would find interesting. Since I hadn't done an Adams Holsters Blog post in several years(I had to check the date, it had been a long time). I decided this would be a good jumping off point to get it back with some updates. At some point in 2013 I started just posting to facebook with updates, along with here and stopped doing the blog.

So yesterday inspiration struck, along with having a fight with a natural holster. So I wrote this up as the first in the series and I'll write more as I think of things that fit into this. I'm going to just link the start I had planned to copy the whole post over to here but then I got fancy and started laying out images. And I figured since they are somewhat important to the post better you view it on my site with the formatting then here.

Quote
Inside the Shop - Natural Holsters

So this is the first post of this sort, and I thought guys are always curious about things in the shop and how things work. I’ve had allot of guys want to come in the shop and see how things are built and it’s sort of like watching the show “how it’s made” but allot slower and by hand rather than some amazing mechanical wonder.

So Natural holsters, the arch nemesis of virtually every holster maker that I know. Likely the same in saddle makers, and all other leather crafts. Very likely the same also when dealing with natural wood finishes as well. The reason is that every single defect, mark or anything else will show in the finished holster. Did the cow get a bug bite when it was still a calf? Did she get too close to the barbed wire fence? Did someone with a slightly unclean hand touch the leather at the tannery or in your shop? All of that will or can show up in the finished holster.

Read the whole thing here: http://adamsholsters.com/blog/

Hope you guys enjoy a little look into the shop at least on this topic, and those that do woodwork and the like I mentioned in the first bits your welcome to chime in if you have the same issues with fully natural non-finished wood products. I really do expect it's the same in several fields.

Take care!

Luke
MichiganI am the owner/proprietor of www.adamsholsters.com Custom holsters made for you. To contact me please use E-mail rather than Private Messages, luke@adamsholsters.com

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    coelacanth

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    Re: Inside the Shop series
    « Reply #1 on: July 07, 2016, 09:46:48 PM »
    Good stuff.   :thumbup1   For what its worth, other than the finished appearance there is no functional difference between the first holster pictured and the second.  Correct?   :hmm    Living in Phoenix will acquaint you pretty quickly with stained and discolored leather goods as it is nearly impossible to avoid perspiring on things here for about six months or so out of the year.  Frankly, given that situation, I wouldn't blink an eye at receiving that first holster from you as long as you still stood behind it in terms of fit and construction. 
    Arizona"A dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness.  Bad manners.  Lack of consideration for others in minor matters.  A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than is a riot."
                          Robert A. Heinlein ,   Friday

    luke213(adamsholsters)

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    Re: Inside the Shop series
    « Reply #2 on: July 07, 2016, 10:01:20 PM »
    They are virtually identical and just as good as one another functionally. Really some guys say that scars are stronger but I'm not sure. And with the size of that scar and depth I wouldn't worry about it at all. Since it wasn't visible until I went ahead with oil and then gave me that;)

    It's really a minor thing, but I always try to build the absolute best rigs I can, and doing that means getting as close to perfect as I can get. Granted I don't always hit the mark but I do shoot for it every time;)

    And at the end of the day I don't loose much on the rigs that are blemished like that since often guys don't mind. So I sell them at a slight discount and move on. Or I dye them black and sell them as normal rigs if it's not visible on the finished rig.

    But you never know who will care so I always shoot for the best I can build;)

    Luke
    MichiganI am the owner/proprietor of www.adamsholsters.com Custom holsters made for you. To contact me please use E-mail rather than Private Messages, luke@adamsholsters.com

    coelacanth

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    Re: Inside the Shop series
    « Reply #3 on: July 07, 2016, 10:53:37 PM »
     :thumbup1
    Arizona"A dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness.  Bad manners.  Lack of consideration for others in minor matters.  A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than is a riot."
                          Robert A. Heinlein ,   Friday

    ksuguy

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    Re: Inside the Shop series
    « Reply #4 on: July 07, 2016, 10:59:12 PM »
    I always liked the dark brown color better anyway.   
    Kansas

    booksmart

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    Re: Inside the Shop series
    « Reply #5 on: July 09, 2016, 10:25:29 PM »
    I actually like the scars. Gives it even more character (plus, I wouldn't be as self-conscious about scratching it myself ;-) ).

    tokugawa

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    Re: Inside the Shop series
    « Reply #6 on: July 11, 2016, 12:39:33 AM »
    As a professional woodworker- I hate stain.  I do it, customers want it, but a clear finish is much easier to work with. Any defect will pick up stain differently than the rest of the wood,, and getting a stain even, then getting a topcoat, is a PIA.  Then there are compatibility issues, and adhesion issues, and getting the color spot on to match, and on and on.  I would much rather get the very best material , cut as carefully as I can to minimize defect, and finish clear. 

     Now bear in mind this is small custom shop production I am talking about. A furniture factory will have an extensive finish schedule designed to cover defect and make every piece look exactly the same-  bleach the wood first, apply a filler, apply a stain, apply a glaze, apply special toners and then a topcoat.  The problem with this is it puts a lot of distance between the tree and the eye.  Contrast that approach with a hand rubbed oil finish on a fine walnut gunstock, or a clear shellac or lacquer on a handmade guitar, you can see a mile into the wood with sort of approach- all the character is still there.
     One woodworker I used to know, when a customer complained about some tiny pin knot, replied, "if you wanted formica, you should have let me know".  Brash, but perhaps accurate.
     I would never complain about some small marks in the leather. Now an inch long 1/16" tear, yes I would- that would be an indication the maker did not defect out very well.

     The nature of handcraft has changed over the years as well- people want to be connected to the craft, to the handmade nature of things. The time was, a perfect high gloss ,dead smooth ,jet black piano finish was considered to be the apogee of the finishers art. It was , and is, the highest level, hardest finish to do-by hand. Problem is, we can now produce acres of this sort of finish on plastic laminate and glue it down anywhere. People are used to it, so it has lost the status it once had.  Now people want to be reassured the product is really handcrafted, for example, a Nakashima piece will be perfectly made, but have all the natural defect in the wood used as a ornament, an expression of the natural origin of the piece. Even some of the high end guitar makers are going this way, using woods that years ago would have been rejected out of hand as not suitable due to grain and color variations, etc.
     OK, enough art babbling!

    booksmart

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    Re: Inside the Shop series
    « Reply #7 on: July 11, 2016, 09:10:20 AM »

    luke213(adamsholsters)

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    Re: Inside the Shop series
    « Reply #8 on: July 11, 2016, 11:12:03 AM »
    As a professional woodworker- I hate stain.  I do it, customers want it, but a clear finish is much easier to work with. Any defect will pick up stain differently than the rest of the wood,, and getting a stain even, then getting a topcoat, is a PIA.  Then there are compatibility issues, and adhesion issues, and getting the color spot on to match, and on and on.  I would much rather get the very best material , cut as carefully as I can to minimize defect, and finish clear. 

     Now bear in mind this is small custom shop production I am talking about. A furniture factory will have an extensive finish schedule designed to cover defect and make every piece look exactly the same-  bleach the wood first, apply a filler, apply a stain, apply a glaze, apply special toners and then a topcoat.  The problem with this is it puts a lot of distance between the tree and the eye.  Contrast that approach with a hand rubbed oil finish on a fine walnut gunstock, or a clear shellac or lacquer on a handmade guitar, you can see a mile into the wood with sort of approach- all the character is still there.
     One woodworker I used to know, when a customer complained about some tiny pin knot, replied, "if you wanted formica, you should have let me know".  Brash, but perhaps accurate.
     I would never complain about some small marks in the leather. Now an inch long 1/16" tear, yes I would- that would be an indication the maker did not defect out very well.

     The nature of handcraft has changed over the years as well- people want to be connected to the craft, to the handmade nature of things. The time was, a perfect high gloss ,dead smooth ,jet black piano finish was considered to be the apogee of the finishers art. It was , and is, the highest level, hardest finish to do-by hand. Problem is, we can now produce acres of this sort of finish on plastic laminate and glue it down anywhere. People are used to it, so it has lost the status it once had.  Now people want to be reassured the product is really handcrafted, for example, a Nakashima piece will be perfectly made, but have all the natural defect in the wood used as a ornament, an expression of the natural origin of the piece. Even some of the high end guitar makers are going this way, using woods that years ago would have been rejected out of hand as not suitable due to grain and color variations, etc.
     OK, enough art babbling!

    That is super interesting thank you so much for typing that out, because I've got very limited experience with wood especially finish work of any sort. I've done some DIY things, refinished a few firearm related things over the years but generally not gotten a full view of how it all works and comes together. At least not nearly as much as leather over the years.

    It sounds like it's very similar but different. So in my case if the leather could stay flat and not be finished we'd be in the same boat. Since looking over the front and rear of the leather flat without moisture or oil, it can look perfect. No visible scars or issues which is the point where you lay the pattern and cut it out. Then once you go to wet molding, your getting the pieces evenly wet once it's stitched. At this point sometimes you can see something start to show in the case of scars and things. But not always since water is different than oil and clear coat so sometimes it still looks even. Then a dry cycle, then in the case of the way I do natural a good coat of rubbed in oil. That is often where things show up, because like you mentioned with wood some of the defects and issues absorb at different rates. Or it can be as simple as the hide is slightly more dense in one place than the other for whatever reason. And all of a sudden the perfect clean hide looks well sort of terrible;) Now sometimes it's better than others, that example I used in the article actually looked sort of cool when finished out. But some aren't as cool as others;) Some just look drab and less appealing to the eye. The trouble is that it's really very difficult to figure out what will turn out cool, and what will just be less appealing.

    I'd draw the example that sometimes two colors in an exotic rig just look awesome together, sometimes they clash. Often times I'm picking the colors but not always, sometimes the customer will give me "darker browns" and then I've gotta go through the hides and find some that work well together. But the easy way out, and sometimes the only way to keep them from clashing is mixing a color say brown, with black for the other hide. Since black typically goes with anything for the most part.

    I guess at the end of the day since while I'm a small company, the risk is the issue. I don't mind risk, but when risk directly equates to less money in my pocket that can quickly turn into a "not being able to pay bills" issue rather than just an irritation;) I've only got so many hours in a day to build holsters and if I spent the day on a rig only to end up rebuilding I've lost the time as well as materials, and that's a tough pill to swallow at least for my size of shop where every dollar counts at the end of the day.

    On the look though, I know some guys that go out of their way to mention that defects can and will occur in holsters. More to avoid the complaints from customers when they get something with an issue. Not functional issues just aesthetics. And I actually do agree with the opinion that sometimes things that are a little different in the look much like what BookSmart posted above with pottery is more interesting than a plain piece that's perfectly clean. I've found over the years that my goal is always perfect, if it goes down the rabbit hole somewhere in production and turns into something cool then so be it. But I haven't found much time to pursue that as I have building clean gear. And not everything I build will be perfectly clean, some rigs turn out better than others. The right pick on the hide, the right pressure on the press, hands aren't hurting as much as normal get a little more pressure on the hand tools when doing the molding. A little more steady hands and cleaner lines etc. The whole process is pretty much hand work, so there are a million places to make mistakes, but like anything less mistakes makes it easier, and the finished results better.

    I guess I'd draw the broad analogy between holsters and life, along with most times you build something. The smaller number and severity of mistakes the better the outcome;) So in holsters the less mistakes and the smaller mistakes overall leads to a better holster. In life the same principle applies, and while sometimes you can see beauty in the life led by the cow or person, some people will see things differently;) So if there is a way to do rigs that have more "character" than others, I'm not sure there is a way to sell them in the traditional sense or the way I do it.

    For guys interested in something that is different like that, might have a scar etc, mention it on the order. Can't guarantee I'll have time when the order comes up to do something unique, so you may just get a clean normal rig. But if time lines up and I don't have a million people asking I'll try to make something unique, or if something shows up in finishing etc I'll just run with it. We'll see how it works out together;)

    Luke
    MichiganI am the owner/proprietor of www.adamsholsters.com Custom holsters made for you. To contact me please use E-mail rather than Private Messages, luke@adamsholsters.com

    tokugawa

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    Re: Inside the Shop series
    « Reply #9 on: July 11, 2016, 01:54:42 PM »


     This is a beautiful bowl.  The repair does enhance it.
     I have a few friends who use Japanese style wood fired kilns, they run 7 days. 24 hours a day to fuel it- takes about 12 cords. Every once in a while I attend the kiln opening- it is a hoot to have the first look at what comes out- and no one can be sure what it will look like, they do their best in making the piece and setting it in the kiln, then it is out of their hands.
     I have taken a defect in wood, solidified it with epoxy, carved the epoxy to texture it, then gold leafed over the top and finished it.  It can look really interesting and pretty, if it has a good shape.

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