It’s Finally Happened…

It’s finally happened… Kevin has passed the torch on to the next generation. On December 19, 2018 Kevin announced that he’s stepping aside and named Rusty Darnell President and Commander in Chief of Springfield Leather Company!

And no… it’s not because Rusty is his favorite. There are actually a great number of reasons why Rusty Darnell is more than qualified to tackle the undoubtedly daunting task of running a company as unique, diverse, and continually growing as Springfield Leather! Having known Kevin for 25 years and being married to Kevin’s daughter Lindsey, he’s no stranger to this business. In case you’ve been living under a rock and didn’t know this, Rusty has actually been an employee of Springfield Leather Company since 2008 and has worked in just about every department within the company.

During his tenure, Rusty has accumulated plenty of leather and leather processing knowledge. He’s taught himself how to make holsters, wallets, and cases, how to hand stitch, and he’s learned nearly everything there is to know about sewing machines. He’s even made shoes! He’s practiced and mastered the uses of dyes, stains, and finishes, as well as their various application techniques. Saying that Rusty has a vast amount of product knowledge, is actually an understatement. He understands the tanning process almost as well as the tanneries themselves. Like Kevin, he has also established strong relationships with our vendors, and he’s learned hands-on (from the best) how to communicate with them.

The leather/leather processing knowledge Rusty has accrued and the way he is able to articulate how Springfield Leather Company operates is extremely beneficial when it comes to making deals and buying leather! He’s been an integral part of getting many of the fantastic (and less than fantastic) leather deals we’ve been able to offer you. He’s also got a thing for machines… leather processing machines, to be specific. Rusty Darnell has introduced many different facets to our business over the years. The biggest thing yet is the ability to split sides of leather. Purchasing industrial machinery, such as a large leather splitting machine, was never something Springfield Leather had ever considered. Now here we are, splitting leather sides like we know what we’re doing, because thanks to Rusty, we actually do!

Rusty does what it takes to get the job done and is trying to steer us into the modern age. From laser engraving to automated packaging machines, from hot-foil stamping to CNC machinery, from increasing our in-house production to private label production to sourcing custom hardware and tools; Rusty has worked hard, alongside Kevin to bring us to a point that we are pretty much self-sufficient, and there’s even more to come!

It should also be said that it turns out Rusty does pretty well in front of a camera! He’s become a familiar face with leather crafters from all over by sharing his knowledge in our educational videos, alongside Kevin. So to sum it up, Springfield Leather Company now has a new, very well qualified, fearless leader. Congratulations Rusty.

WHAT’S KEVIN DOING? Many of you might be wondering what Kevin plans on doing with himself, now that he’s loosened his grip of the wheel. He’s still the OWNER of Springfield Leather Company. His role will be more along the lines of owner/consultant. But did you know that he is an actual rock hound? It’s true! He loves rocks! He’s been collecting rocks since he was a kid back in Iowa! He’s so knowledgeable, he can look at an unpolished rock and tell you what kind of stone it is. He (along with several other employees) go to Tuscon every year to buy rocks, beads, stones, specimens, etc. It’s actually pretty incredible to think of Kevin, who we all know for his leather knowledge and leather work, as the guy who can tell you the difference between agate and jasper, or if something is quartz or carnelian. He used to do some hand slicing and polishing back in the day, now he has a bunch of machines/saws that cut/slice and polish stones! A couple of those machines are BEASTS! They’re huge and make a ton of racket when he’s running them, but the folks on the Retail Showroom floor don’t seem to mind a single bit!

In all honesty, Kevin will keep doing what he’s always been doing… He’ll continue to help by utilizing his mind-blowing super power! He has the unique ability to make something much more difficult than it actually has to be. He’s had this gift for some time, but he’s spent the last few years really perfecting it!  He’ll still come in every day; make leather bundles, help folks, answer his emails, answer the phone, talk to vendors, play with his giant rock machines, play the guitar, lace some wallets, play with his rocks some more, buy leather, sell leather, make ostrich packs, roll leather, buy some more leather. The only difference is that he might go home a little early some days, maybe spend some afternoons doing things he enjoys…like buying leather and rolling leather and selling leather… 

#SirLoinSelfie

Sir Loin’s time with us at SLC started back in September 2018. Rusty and Kevin had just bought a large amount of stuff (“stuff” includes everything from fine leathers, to tables with cow horn legs, to essential hardware— and everything in between), and Sir Loin was part of that stuff!

As we sifted through the new inventory we came across the magnificence which soon came to be known as: Sir Loin.

Since his arrival Sir Loin has been a social media rock star. He even got his name from a Facebook Post- beating out even some of the most pun-filled options like: Beau Vine, Rawhide, and Tiny.

On Tuesday, November 6th, 2018 at 9:02am Sir Loin was knighted with his name tag adornment and remains a mainstay in the SLC showroom to date.

Since Sir Loin is such a celebrity, we decided to have some more fun with him. Introducing the Sir Loin Selfie! Each time you visit our showroom you can enter to win a $10 gift card by doing the following four fun steps:

1)Take a selfie with Sir Loin.

2)Post said selfie on Facebook.

3)Use hashtag #SirLoinSelfie

4)Tag Springfield Leather Company in your post.

That’s all! Once we reach 20 entries we will select a winner at random once a month. So, come see us and get yourself entered!

Some of the SLC staff got in on the fun too.

Honeycomb Bag

A while back, we shared some images from a customer, Jason, who used our pre-cut hexagon shapes to make one buzzin’ bag! While we don’t know all of his secrets, we’ve done our best to give you some tips and tools to make a similar bag on your own. 

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The original bag was a gift for Jason’s wife. Here are some of the things he used and a few we recommend trying to put your spin on this project. 


What he definitely used: 

Jason left some very enthusiastic and detailed reviews on the hexagon shape and dye listings, so be sure to read those for some tips from the man himself. 

Additional things you’ll need: 

  • Bag Feet – we think his were gold, but any color will do! 
  • Rivets and setter – we think he used black or gunmetal rivets
  • Thread & needle – we think he used brown awl
  • Stamp or stencil for bee decoration

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So, we don’t know exactly how he made it but we asked for help from one of our pros, Clayton, who makes bag prototypes for us all the time! 

Color Your Shapes

Use the dye and stains of your choice to transform your shapes! It looks like Jason used a bit of stain or antique paste on some of the yellow pieces for a more rustic look. Add the finish of your choice or leave them natural – no matter what you do, give them time to dry before moving on. 

Make the Bag Panels

This bag looks completely hand-stitched and Jason used a cross stitch to make it happen. You’ll need a needle and thread to pull it off. We recommend using a brown waxed thread to do the job! 

Cut the Panels 

The original design features some hexagons that are cut. Once you have the pieces assembled, you’ll have to make the panels into rectangles or whatever shape you’re going for. 

Construct the Bag 

It looks like he used brown veg tan for the minor panels and the bottom of the bag. You could buy some that is already dyed or you could dye it yourself! It looks like he reinforced the sides of the bag with the leftover yellow parts of the hexagon shapes – so waste-no-more! You could use a machine or hand stitch the bag together. It looks like he took his time to stitch the whole thing by hand – a true labor of love. 

Add the Straps and Bag Feet

Use brown veg tan for straps. He made two straps and used black or gunmetal rivets to attach them to the large panels of the bag. Use the bag feet of your choice. Clayton usually saves the bag feet for last and give the bag a bit of time to settle into its new shape. 

Make the Tag

The tag is likely the simplest part of this bag. He used one of the hexagon shapes which was dyed yellow and created a beautiful bee shape. You could stamp or stencil this one – we’re not sure how he went about it. He finished it off with what appears to be the slightest bit of antique paste. You’ll want to add some resist to the shape before following this step. 

Make it Your Own

We are confident that we missed some steps and got some things wrong. Plus, we’re sure there are some things you might like to do differently. However, using this simplified line of thinking provided, we believe you have the power to make something very similar to Jason’s design on your own! Did you give it a try? We would love for you share it with us here or on any of our social media platforms! 


Our customer, Jason, didn’t have any social media he wanted to plug, but he had a wonderful time making this beautiful bag. His wife took some beautiful photos of this bag, which you can see more of here. Until next time! 

I have a project to recover padded bar stools and would like your opinion of using the Kangaroo skin. I use the lace to make my braided leather accessories because it is soft and durable. Before I buy a whole skin, I would appreciate your professional opinion if the Kangaroo skin is a good choice.

The kangaroo would probably work pretty well, depending on the tannage of the hide itself.  A hide tanned for lace might be a bit crisp, depending on the style of the bar stool.  A softer tannage, like for boots, would work just great, but it would be expensive. Good choice tho.  I think I’d probably gravitate toward upholstery cow just because of the cost.

Finish Strong – A Quick Guide to Leather Finishes

There are lots of ways you can choose to seal the deal on your leather project, but it can be tough figuring out the best one for you. Sometimes you need to make sure your project won’t get scratched, while other times call for flexibility to come to the forefront. We’re going to give you the highs and lows of some of the most common ways to seal a leather project. 

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Keep in mind that while things like antique paste can be considered finishes, this article focuses on products that will seal your work! 


Resist

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These finishes aren’t true finishes, but we included them here because of their regular association. Resists work well as intermediary coats when coloring leather. They work especially well with antique stains. Like the name suggests, it will resist color put on top of it, meaning stains that are applied won’t penetrate the leather as well. However, no amount of resist will completely prevent color from adhering to a project. 

Polyurethane Based Finishes 

Polyurethane finishes are a fine choice for those who put protection above all else. While we don’t carry finishes made from polyurethane, they are popular among those that require hardness and stiffness for their projects. These finishes can vary in thickness and therefore, vary in hardness, but they are the best bet for ensuring that your projects will weather the storm of rough use. 

Wax and Shine Finishes 

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Wax finishes are a great solution for those who want a high-shine finish that will seal their color work and retain pliability. These wax finishes won’t protect your work from rough/heavy handling like polyurethane, but they will give your work a luster you can count on and protect your paint/dye. Spray finishes like Master’s Quick Shine are consistent and efficient ways to cover your work. Standard waxes take a bit more elbow grease, but can finish off your work with different degrees of luster that are more easily manipulated. 

Acrylic Finishes

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Acrylic finishes are an SLC favorite. They offer immense protection with a moderate amount of stiffness. In a venn diagram of finishes, acrylic finishes would likely be in the middle. They are buildable (in thin layers) and won’t stiffen projects a great deal. They are somewhat resistant to abrasions and, of course, they’ll seal your color work wonderfully. 


No matter which finish you choose, you want to make sure that you’re getting the best deal! Be sure to check out the finishes section of our website. If you have more questions about finishes, use the Inbox button above or visit the Ask the Pros page on our website where Kevin or one of our awesome team members will send you email with an answer just for you. Until next time! 

Quick Announcement!

Hey folks! We just wanted to let you all know that we will be closed Tuesday, December 25th and Tuesday, January 1st! 

We will operate as usual around that time though. 

Thanks for making 2018 an excellent year! May 2019 be even greater. 

An Exciting Announcement!

As you know, we love working together with our longstanding Hermann Oak and Kevin has a message regarding our latest collaborative effort in this open letter shared on Kevin’s Storytime!


When great companies work together, great things happen!!! And they happen for their customers as well. Those things are known as win-win situations, and the main beneficiary of these win-win situations is always the customer. The benefit to the companies comes later as it flows from happy customers to innovative companies.  It’s well known that “Customer First” has been the long-standing policy of great companies like Springfield Leather Company and Hermann Oak Leather.

Having said that, leathercrafters across the board have long-desired a HERMANN OAK DOUBLE SHOULDER.  And SLC and Hermann Oak feel that this would be a tremendous addition to the leather industry in this country for manufacturers, hobbyists, belt makers and all sorts of other leathercrafters.  But confronting the production problems that came along with creating this seemingly simple cut of leather were far more daunting than the average person would realize. It would require a small book to explain them!  

So…recently, Hermann Oak and SLC have teamed up, and worked together extensively to try to solve these difficulties.  And, (amazingly enough) we feel that between us, we think we have it whipped!!! Another benefit of this production has been realized. Not only will we have a Hermann Oak double shoulder, but we’ll also have a double culatta!!!  Initial research has shown that using double shoulders and double culattas can result in AS MUCH AS 40% YIELD INCREASES FOR VARIOUS END USERS!

With all of these things having been said, production samples are in hand!  Testing is in place. Grading and pricing are being discussed. We’re very excited to have a part in bringing this wonderful new product to our customers! And certainly want to express our gratitude and thanks to Hermann Oak for being willing to not only change the way that they think, but for taking the time and effort required to make this colossal project a success.  

MORE NEWS SOON!!!