Tools and Tooling

I promised to put up an example of some more refined tooling. Here is my finished plaquette (in a slightly blurry photograph):

The design is pretty much dictated for the assignment and is meant to demonstrate specific techniques. The border and top panel illustrate blind tooling with lines and dots. The second panel has three circles to demonstrate blind and gold tooling with a gouge, as well as an onlay with a gilt edge. For the white circles, I used alum tawed goat skin. This proved to be significantly more difficult to do than tanned skin, as the tawed skin gets spongy when pasted out. As a result, the gilding around the edge is not as flat (making the gold less reflective) than it would be had other leather been used for the onlay. The third panel down illustrates blind and gold tooling and onlay work as well. These diamond shapes are actually made with two impressions – the tool is an equilateral triangle that can be turned and doubled up. The central diamond is entirely an onlay with gilding. The two on either side just have onlays in the central part of the shape. The fourth panel from the top has a curvilinear line made with an Ascona tool and has alum tawed skin laid into the impression. The final panel demonstrates gold tooling through repetion of lines and a small square tool.

In the week following Standards, Jeff Peachey came to do his workshop again. As a second year, my main focus during the workshop was to modify a Stanley No. 151 spokeshave for leather paring.

This was not an easy procedure, and I’m very glad that Jeff was there to keep me from completely ruining mine. Peachey has a rather extensive essay about spokeshaves that includes a bit of a history lesson, instructions for the modifications, and links to other articles on the topic. Well worth the read.

During the workshop, I also had time to make a much larger English-style paring knife from an A2 steel blank. I am quite pleased with the result.

The handle is made from water buffalo horn that is mounted with brass screws and epoxy. I also made a horse butt sheath for it.

Finally, I’d like to point to an article that I recently wrote for Archival Products News about a scrapbook rehousing project. During my summer as a Lennox Foundation intern at Iowa State University, I went on a tour of the Archival and University Products facilities. I had a really great experience there, so when Janice Comer asked me to contribute something, I was happy to do so. You can read that article (in PDF form) here.

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I’m still working on my post about German paper bindings. Soon to come…

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