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!!!
We’ve told you before that Denny teaches short classes on Friday mornings for the members of our staff that don’t get to make cool leather products daily. A few weeks ago, he taught some members of our marketing and e-commerce team how to make their first stamped projects. Today, we present to you this simple craft that Denny was able to teach several rambunctious ladies in about 45 minutes.
The craft in question are coasters made with just a few simple stamps and pre-cut circles. The student pictured went off-book and used a tap-off pattern, which you can read all about in this blog post.
What You’ll Need:
- 4″ Rounder or a leather circle of any kind
- We used two patterned stamps: a basket weave and a geometric pattern
- We used two different camouflage border stamps: the C432 and the D434
- Mallet – we recommend a polymer mallet
- Granite/Marble Slab
- Ball Point Stylus or something to make a light impression
- Wing Divider/Compass
- Ruler or Straight Edged Tool
- Spray Bottle of Water or a way to lightly wet your leather
This project is simple! You can have your first stamped coaster complete in a matter of minutes.
Step 1 – Wet the Leather
How much water to use is just one of those things you have to try out for yourself, but less is more in the beginning. We recommend using a spray bottle to get even and light coverage. Try a little water, wait a few minutes and see if the leather is soft enough to make an easy impression – if you have scrap leather of a similar weight, it should work well for testing.
Step 2 – Set the stage
Use winged dividers or a compass to create a line around the perimeter of the circle. Make this circle go in as far as you’d like – we stuck to about 1/4″.
Then, place your ruler in the center of the circle. Use your ball point stylus to make a light impression down the center of the circle from one end of your newly marked circle to about ¾ of the way down. If you end up taking the line all the way to the end, it shouldn’t make a big difference as it’ll be covered up in subsequent steps.
Step 3 – Stamp away
Grab a patterned stamping tool of your choice and start somewhere near the center of your circle taking care to align your tool with the center line. Use this tool repeatedly to obtain the desired pattern. Test this out on a scrap piece of leather if you have one! It’ll help you get the alignment right and help you with things like a basket weave tool which requires rotation.
Denny is breaking the rules here and starting near the edge, but he’s an expert and knows how far to keep it away from the edge. You are free to try this method too, we just don’t recommend it for your first time.
Repeat your stamping steps and lean your tool to the side when you get near edges to get a faded effect. You want to leave some space between the ends of your stamping and the line you made with your winged divider in step two. This will allow your border tool to make clean impressions that won’t cover all of your awesome stamping work.
Here is one of Denny’s coasters. Notice how the faded-out the edges of his design allowed the border stamp to come in seamlessly.
It doesn’t totally ruin it if you go to close to the edge but it looks a lot cleaner to fade the edges out.
Step 4 – Decorate that borderline
Here’s one a class member made. Inconsistent spacing and running over the original stamped design because it was brought all the way to the edge.
Take your camouflage or border stamping tool and line it up with the guide you created in step two with the winged divider. Repeat the pattern along the edge until it’s complete. You may want to practice how you will line these stamps up as that can get a little messy too – check out the image above to see what we mean.
Step 5 – Have fun with it!
You can leave the coasters as they are and allow the environment to have its way with your work or you can color/seal it. We didn’t do the coloring and sealing in the class, but that doesn’t mean we can’t tell you how. 😉
We recommend using dye or antique paste if you’re going for a uniform and classic look. For those of you who want a bit more color and design, we recommend using some paint like Angelus acrylic paint.
You can use any finisher you prefer, but we recommend Master’s Quick Shine – it has a glossy, long-lasting finish that dries quickly and won’t bulk up your project.
Step 6 – Bask your own glory
For you are done! It may not look perfect, but it was made by you and we’re sure there are plenty of cups that would be honored to rest upon your coaster, even if it looks like this…
We hope you enjoyed that simple little lesson. We sure did! We love learning at SLC and there is always something new to pick up. If you have any tips, tricks or suggestions to add, feel free to let us know! Did you try this project? Please do show us here on Tumblr or share it with us on Facebook and/or Instagram. Until next time!
Stories have been a part of SLC since the beginning. Heck, we even named our blog after one of Kevin’s favorite pass times. Today, we bring you a story that’s full of passion, determination, and ingenuity with results so miraculous, there’s no way it could have ever happened. Join us for a narrative about a man named Kevin, his arrows, and an absurd amount of deer.
Hey, Kevin! What’s up with all these holes in the deerskins? The skins are pretty nice, but how’d the scratches, holes, and tears get in there?
Kevin was hoping to keep this a secret, but since you asked- he’s decided to share the story, an absurdly fictitious and completely untrue story. A very embarrassing tale of a man who really wanted to try his hand at bow hunting one deer season. You see, Kevin is normally a rifle hunter. But this time he wanted to really get down to basic hunting roots. For we all know the hunter with a bow is the real hunter.
For years, Kevin has relied on his tried and true 30-06 to help him get the best buck around. But, as we said, this year he wanted to try the bow approach.
Let’s all get in the scene- it’s early morning right at day break. The air is crisp and there’s just enough chill to remind you winter is coming. Which is also why we hear so much bleating from does and grunts from those prize-sized bucks. Kevin has selected his favorite blind, at the tip top of the highest peak overlooking a large hay field below.
Kevin’s been patiently waiting for his buck to show himself. It’s getting to be lunch time and he’s hoping the deer can’t hear his stomach growling over the slight rustle of leaves slowly falling to the ground.
He decides it’s time to go in for a quick warm up with his wife’s tasty chili, but then he sees it. He sees the culmination of all deer, the granddaddy of them all, the prize he’s been waiting for all morning: the 37 point buck he’s eyed all fall is right at the end of the hill. About 35 yards away.
Rats! He thinks to himself. He knows if he is going to drop this deer with an arrow he has to be closer.
As we know, Kevin is a somewhat crafty man and never lacking in ingenuity. He has a brilliant(?)…flash! He’s brought way too many arrows with him. There’s a large sinkhole not far from the base of the hill.
Perfect for a punji pit! What’s that you ask? Stay tuned and you’ll see.
Kevin scrabbles down the hill without a sound, and surveys the sinkhole.
Then he begins his task of creating a large punji pit with all his arrows… well all but one. He starts crafting the pit by sticking the arrows, pointy part up towards the sky, in the bottom of the pit. He finishes and looks over to check on his prize buck, who’s still lazily grazing in the afternoon sun.
Kevin takes his one arrow left over and lines up his shot. He’s not aiming for the buck though, he’s aiming behind it. He’s hoping to startle this big guy into the pit.
He takes one long steady breath and holds it as he sends his arrow flying through the fall air. It lands perfectly just behind Mr. Big Buck. As it lands Kevin notices something he didn’t before. He’d been too focused on the buck to see the huge herd of deer in the cedar trees.
All the deer begin running towards Kevin, and his gigantic punji sinkhole. Before he can count the deer they all begin falling into the pit.
When it’s all said and done, Kevin has to drag over 200 deer out of the woods, skin them, and process the skins. What a mess! Needless to say the skins have holes, drag marks, scars, and rough areas on the grain side of the skins…but the flesh sides turned out pretty darned good!
The details: These special purchase deerskins come in a variety of pleasing natural colors (gold, smoke, and saddle tan). The skins are pretty nice, but many have scratches, holes, and tears. But with a deeply discounted price we know you can forgive us for their less than perfect condition.
We call this craft grade, and it means it’s perfect for all you visionaries out there. You can make many items which you want to have a soft feel. Think pull-string satchels, moccasins (these won’t hold up for longtime wear, but will be very comfy), festival clothing, gloves, and wallets just to name a few.
Be sure to keep up with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest for more stories and peeks into the worldful world of leather! You can also buy from us any time at our website, SpringfieldLeather.com.
There are lots of ways to customize your leather with color! Some of the most popular ways to do it are painting, dyeing, and antique pasting. Of course, we’ve talked about paint, dye, and other coloring methods on the blog before but they’re not quite like this. Here, we’re bringing together just about every stitch of information on dyes, paints, stains and pastes that we have on the web!
Dye is a popular and permanent way to transform your leather. It is fairly easy to apply and gives a rich and even color to leather of your choosing. We have a wide array of leather dye available on our website. There is standard, low VOC dye, then there’s oil dye (Denny’s favorite) that can be mixed or thinned with oil to condition your leather while you color, there’s also suede/rough out dye that is ideal for the textured and porous surface of suedes and leather splits, and, finally, water-based dye that is safe for kids to use and not flammable.
Note: Denny has tried using oil dye on suede and it went over terribly.
The important thing to note about dye is that it will always make the material you started with darker. You cannot use dye in a vibrant color like green and expect it to lift the overall brightness of your piece. It will add some darkness while changing the hue. Dye is a permanent, so you want to be very careful and confident when you use it. Dye is also buildable if you thin it. Once dye is on, you can’t lighten or lift the dye as it does penetrate the fibers of your leather. However, if you’re worried that your project turned out too dark, let it dry before you chuck it in the bin! It will lighten some as it dries.
Learn more about using dye with Rusty and Kevin below!
Stains and Antique Paste
Stains and antique pastes are a favorite among toolers like Denny. Antique paste and stains allow you to add depth and color to your project without drastically changing the look of your leather…unless you want to. Antique pastes and stains tend to be earth tones and reds. The color change for stains and antiques is considered permanent as the stain will penetrate the fiber of the leather. It is oftentimes used in conjunction with resist to lessen the intensity of the color and allow for easy wipe off. It is ideal for embossed and tooled leathers, but can be used on smooth surfaces just the same. The main difference between the two is the consistency, though you will also get different color results. Stains are liquids while antique pastes are, well…paste! The color of these are somewhat buildable. The longer you allow antique paste to sit and dry on your surface before you wipe it, the richer the color you get.
Learn more about antique paste in these videos
The best paint for leather is acrylic paint. Acrylic paint comes in the widest array of colors we have available and features different finishes as well. Paint can be long-lasting but is not considered permanent like dye or stains. Paint generally will sit on the surface of your leather, but if applied correctly and given time to dry properly it can last for years to come without cracking or peeling. Paint is a popular way to transform the color of sneakers, but it is also a way to add vibrant designs to projects of any kind. In short, the best way to ensure you get the most out of your paint is to use thin coats that are allowed to completely dry between applications. Paint can be removed after it is applied, especially when wet, but that removal may prove difficult if you let it dry as it is acrylic paint.
Watch the video below for even more useful information about using paint with Rusty!
As you can see, there are a lot of ways to change your leather after you get it home and experimentation is key. Be sure to keep your scrap leather in times like these! If you’d like to see the videos above and maybe a few we didn’t include here, be sure to check out our Dye, Stain, Paint playlist and subscribe to our YouTube page to see new videos. If you have a specific question about paint, dye, stains or antique paste, be sure to search the blog for any of those terms, check out our Ask Kevin questions or ask your own here. Until next time!
The ability to serve a global audience is something that we take pride in, so we’ve changed the way we serve our customers from afar.
We are still taking international orders big and small, but we want your experience to be custom, just like you!
To ensure that you get the best service available, we ask that you place your orders by email or over the phone with one of our representatives to make sure that you’re getting the best shipping rates and you’re not ordering something that we can’t mail to your country.
We have a toll free number that won’t run up your phone bill and an online form for you to fill out if the phone just isn’t your speed.
You’ll corresponding with people like Monique, a member of our customer service team. Our team will help you find the items that you’re looking for and find the lowest shipping rate available for you.
Here are some things you need to know for international orders.
There are a few ways to contact us
You can place your international order using our online form, or by sending an email to email@example.com or call us toll-free at +18006688518.
There may be things we can’t mail to you
We don’t have a definitive list of these things as they vary by country. Here are a few things that are commonly not allowed:
- Flammables – flammable chemicals generally cannot be mailed internationally. Many shipments are sent via airplane, where chemicals are not allowed on board.
- If you’re not sure if the chemical you’re looking for is flammable, check the product listing or check out our catalog. There is a digital version available.
- Exotic Leathers – this one varies quite a bit by country, but exotic animals include reptiles (snakes, alligators, etc.), kangaroos (including lace), ostrich, elephant, warthog, camel, giraffe and other specialty leathers.
- Most countries have restrictions on animals that are not farmed there. For example: kangaroo would not be considered an exotic leather in Australia, but is considered exotic for nearly ever other country.
If you are interested in any items like these, be sure to check your country’s postal service guidelines. If, for some reason, we ship an item to you that is not allowed in your country, that package will likely not be returned to us and we will be unable to issue a refund.
We must declare the full price of the items you are ordering
Some countries apply a tax, tariff, or customs/duties fee to packages that are shipped into the country. The cost of those fees are the responsibility of the recipient of a package (you) and are often based on the value of the package. We must declare the full value of the package as dictated by the invoice included or we could face serious legal consequences. That means we cannot declare your shipment as a gift. We cannot estimate the cost of any of these fees for you. We encourage you to look into your country’s postal service guidelines for more information on additional fees for receiving international packages.
Payments are primarily processed through PayPal
PayPal is the simplest and most secure way for us to process payments from customers. We will always send a full itemized quote before sending an invoice (or payment request) via PayPal. Of course, there are always exceptions. If you have questions, be sure to mention that in your email or over the phone.
Shipments are primarily sent through DHL
Most of our international shipments are shipped via DHL as they offer good rates and allow more detailed tracking information. Other services often don’t offer tracking outside of the US and make it harder for us to help you with your order once it reaches your country. If, for some reason, DHL is not a good option for you, please be sure to mention that in your email or over the phone.
If you’re in a rush, pick up the phone
If you need your order submitted as quickly as possible, give us a call instead of ordering through our online form. Email correspondence takes time, especially when you consider time differences and availability. Your ordering process will go much more quickly over the phone. Be sure to give us a call between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. CST Monday – Friday (take note that phone lines may not be available on Wednesdays until 9:30 a.m.).
This statement does not mean that ordering over the phone will cause your items to be shipped faster – only that placing your order will be quicker.
Please note that nearly everyone in our office only speaks English, so if you know that you will have trouble communicating in English over the phone, email is a better option for you.
Ordering more might save you money in the long run
Shipping internationally is expensive because vehicles have to travel very long distances. So, whether you order $50 worth of merchandise or $5 worth of merchandise, your shipping fee will cost more than the domestic average. If you are ordering less than $20 worth of merchandise, there is a strong chance that the shipping fees will cost more than the items you are ordering. You may consider waiting to order more items at one time to cut down on shipping costs.
If you have additional questions, be sure ask them! You can either ask your questions while you’re placing your order or you can contact us here. We have answers to more general questions like buying leather by the square foot, leather types and much more on our Frequently Asked Questions page.
The mail order and gathering departments are bustling segments of SLC that are so busy, they need three supervisors. Meet Cori, one of those awesome supervisors, order coordination master, training virtuoso and keeper of BIN locations!
Cori started with SLC by applying for a marketing job. Though she didn’t get hired for that gig, she seemed a great fit for our hardware gathering department. Two years went by and she’s doing much more than that now.
In addition to coordinating orders by separating and organizing them, managing back orders, getting locations for stock items and adjusting orders, she’s also “…responsible for training our new gatherers to use Netsuite, gather orders efficiently and accurately, and also incorporate our company’s culture and personality.”
With all of that on her plate, she still manages to keep up and even solve problems for the department.
“My challenge is definitely getting problem items on orders taken care of and intercepted fast enough. It’s something that’s always a challenge and we’re really working hard to create a faster flow,” she said.
While that part may be tough, she loves the challenge and attributes her ease of mind to her coworkers. She said, “My favorite part is definitely the culture here and the people that I work with.”
While she is well-versed in Springfield Leather products, she isn’t much of a crafter these days. When asked if she does leathercraft, she said,
“I am inspired by it and I used to feel like I was pretty crafty but coming into a work environment with people that are much craftier than I am, I wasn’t even at a level close. I think it’s inspiring and I love seeing what other people can make.”
Instead, she focuses her attention on another kind of art. “I’m a musician and I go home and write music. That’s my side of the brain that I feel more confident in.”
Cori plays the cello and provides some vocals for her band Kill Crows.
Cori says that the band is in the finishing stages of an album. Their music is a mix of folk, country, gospel and punk rock. “It’s definitely a hybrid crazy combination but it’s pretty rockin.” We could say the same about Cori and her job. It’s a big mix of responsibilities, but she rocks it!
If you’d like to do business with Cori, just place an order with SLC! More than likely, she’ll have a hand in getting it to you.
SLC is a unique place to work. Our small group of team members work diligently at a job (or three) around the clock to serve customers on a variety of platforms.
One of those team members is Cameron Stacy, our resident laser engraver, master of the leather dies and
custom stamp extraordinaire! Cameron has been part of the SLC team for nearly five years and, like many employees, it took him a bit of time to find his place.
His connection to the leather company began at a local Culver’s where he worked for several years. When SLC owner Kevin, Rusty and the gang came in, Cameron took their orders.
“I knew their orders and that Kevin preferred a raspberry sundae…or something like that.” He had a roommate who was leaving SLC for Portland and decided to apply. “I came in before a shift and as I was filling out an application, Kevin saw me. I went to work at Culver’s right after. They came [into Culver’s] that day and I took their orders.”
A week later, Cameron was working in the shop clicking leather shapes, making belts and wallets.
Around the same time Kevin purchased a laser engraver for the shop. Initially, they had Clayton, who now heads the Research and Development department, operating the machine. Clayton interjects, “Fun fact: I ran the laser first! I wasn’t very good at it.”
With his superior Adobe skills, after six months, Cameron began running the laser full time. Later on, he began ordering custom stamps for customers and ordering all of our leather dies. He adds, “[Our custom stamps] are really nice because they’re a really good price. They’re magnesium and run [much cheaper] than most stamps you’ll find.”
He says that the job is pretty easy now and his biggest challenge is, “juggling everything…coming up with new ways to operate the laser and keep it clean.”
Otherwise, he just struggles a bit in the morning. “I’m not a morning person. I prefer to be called after 10:30.” Of course, we open at 9 am, just don’t tell him we told you! 😉
In his free time, Cameron plays the guitar in his band Justice Adams Band and makes holsters. It seems kismet that he should appear on our holster kit, doesn’t it? The sample happened to be just his size.
Contact Cameron by phone at 800-668-8518 or email to learn more about leather, glass, wood and/or plastic engraving, custom stamps and more! Learn more about all of SLC Production offerings by clicking here.