CUSTOM GOODS INQUIRY
So you're interested in having something made? Good, that's why I do what I do. I'll fully outline my process here and try to make it as transparent as possible. Please take the time to read through it all to make sure this is what you want. At the bottom will be a form for you to fill out, this is the easiest way to get a direct response from me and get you slotted in.
Step 1: Inquiry.
Inquire via the form at the bottom to receive a quote and confirmation directly from me that I have read & responded to your project inquiry. In our correspondence we will discuss the details of your project, the price and the current time-frame I plan to have your project completed by. The quicker we get through this step the faster I can get you slotted in. Please don't skimp on the details, my service revolves around custom work, making your project personal is important. Details to keep in mind when filling out the form are the design(s) you want incorporated, stain color preferences, thread color and any personalization such as initials, names, etc. Feel free to include pictures and examples of what you may want during this phase, sometimes its easier to explain with pictures than words. Some of my items can be altered in size and design slightly but I've spent hours and hours developing the templates I use for the pieces I produce.
Step 2: Confirmation
After you have received my quote and have decided to move forward with your project; I will need you to confirm with me via email that you are ready to do so. At this time payment will be accepted, at least a 50% deposit is required to have you slotted in and project started. At this time its set in stone, no refunds will be given. I will place you into my books, this is a physical book I keep of all past, present, and future projects listed with client name, contact info, project description, & projected ship date. I do enjoy sharing the process with the client so if you'd periodically like updates, please let me know your preferred method of receiving pictures (email or text).
Step 3: Project Build
Your item is made in a series of steps; they're all important and require my full attention. Most items will take about a week to make. Here is a quick summary of the process:
Design, Cutting, Carving & Tooling
I'll begin by drawing out your design by hand, usually digitally but sometimes I'll revert back to paper and pencil on smaller items and designs with lettering. You can usually expect me to send you a 'proof' of this step to confirm you are happy with the design. Next I will cut all the leather required for your item from the best quality veg-tan hides I can source. While I use top of the line leather, there may be some slight imperfections. Bug-bites, range scars, brands, etc may show up on your piece (unless requested otherwise). I try not to waste leather as I consider it a precious commodity and I believe those imperfections can truly add character to a piece but if you're worried about the appearance I'll make sure any flaws are absent. Once we both agree on the layout and design I will begin the carving & tooling process; which is in my opinion the most important step and often the most time consuming.
Paint & Stain
At this point your item is then painted/stained based on our discussion about the design. I use lots of different color stains both premade and personally made to achieve the best coloring for the design. Full color painting is also an option but greatly extends the wait period.
Skiving, Gluing, & Stitching
This is also a very important step that is usually the most under-valued and over looked in the process. This is where your piece really starts to come together and starts to resemble the finished project. Every piece is carefully skived to remove any "bulk" that comes with stitching. After thats complete I'll glue everything into place, this is often a multi-step process to insure everything fits together as it should. Then every hole is punched for the stitching. The stitching is the backbone of an "heirloom" piece, 99% of my work will be saddle stitched by hand. My attention is placed more so on the strength of the thread and stitches than the aesthetics.
Slicking & Finishing Touches
This step is intended to give your piece a finished look and feel as well as to help edge lock the leather for longevity. While your edges will come glued and finished I don't edgekote or 'glass' my edges unless requested and I feel it will improve the overall design of the piece. I will often go back over everything and re-touch any tooling or detail that needs to be fine-tuned. At this point I'll oil and seal it, then it's ready to go. You'll almost always receive several detailed photos of the piece once complete.
Step 4: Payment & Shipment
As your item nears completion you will in most likeliness have been receiving regular photo updates of the process and will have been sent photos of the near finished or finished product. When you have confirmed that you are happy with the work, this is when payment will be completed if needed. I generally use Paypal for payment processing. I'm also always open to bartering, especially with other 'makers' and people who share the same passions as myself. Once payment has been received I will ship your piece to you, it'll be packed to protect the finish of the item then shipped USPS, tracking will be sent to you once available. I will provide expedited shipping upon request, expedited shipping is completely at the customers expense.
Step 5: Receiving & Leather Maintenance:
Please keep in mind; like a baseball glove, true leather needs to be broken in. This will take time and regular use of your piece. Often the first thing you will notice when first receiving your piece that it is quite stiff; with regular use it will begin to break in within a matter of weeks of regular use. Natural darkening of your piece is standard; skin oil, moisture, and daily wear begin to set into your piece you will notice the leather should darken. Don't be discouraged if it begins to look a little different from when you first received it. I highly suggest keeping your leather as dry as possible and away from complete submersion in water. Structurally speaking, the leather itself will generally be fine with getting wet, but the shape and coloring of your piece may disfigure & fade quicker if it is often exposed to constant wetting. Wetting leather can speed up the darkening process but may shorten the durability of the leather.It is okay to every once in a while to go over your piece with a little oil to keep it shiny, and the coloring popping. I suggest lightly padding it with olive oil or palm oil. There are many vegetable based oils that will work just fine, and remember just a tiny dab goes a long way.