Success Through a Time Honored Relationship!

hermann oak and SLC

The relationship between Springfield Leather and Hermann Oak actually started many years before SLC even existed. Back in the day, when Kevin was playing in the band and tooling leather for extra money, Hermann Oak and any number of other veg leathers were available to buy at various leather stores. Kevin says that, “I may have fallen off the turnip truck, but I didn’t land on my head, and it didn’t take me long to realize that I could do better work using Hermann Oak Leather for my leather projects.”

Years passed, and the leather world has changed a lot. Tanneries have come and gone…mostly gone. But Hermann Oak has remained for the past 139 years, and for good reason. Kevin believes that it’s because they make the best tooling leather on the planet. So immediately after Kevin started SLC, he arranged a meeting with Shep Hermann and the Hermann Oak management team. 

Kevin and Shep shared two common interests: 

1. They wanted to do everything in their power to make their leathercraft customers successful.  

2. They both loved leather, and they cared about the industry.

Kevin and Shep strongly believed that by using Hermann Oak tooling leather, it would enable many leather crafters to improve their skills and produce more professional products, leading to better sales and profits and give people potential to grow the small businesses that so many were trying to start.

One of Kevin’s strategies was to provide leather to customers in any size piece that they wanted, and not require the customer to purchase a full side (unheard of back then).

To achieve this Kevin reached out to Shep to become a distributor of Hermann Oak Leather.

Strangely enough, to the utter amazement of Kevin, Shep agreed!!! That was the beginning of a beautiful partnership that has lasted over 20 years. Through the years, Hermann Oak Leather and SLC have worked together closely to develop leathers that mainly benefit the customers of both companies, thereby bringing success to both companies along the way. And the relationship has grown even stronger through the years.

What this means moving forward! 

As a result, SLC has agreed to steadily bring in and stock the complete line of Hermann Oak leathers. This would make SLC the ONLY distributor to carry the ENTIRE LINE of Hermann Oak Leathers in the U.S.! Both SLC and Hermann Oak agree that the benefits to professional and part time leathercraft customers will be tremendous! 

Now customers will be able to buy many Hermann Oak leathers in affordable quantities.  There will of course be certain leathers that SLC cannot cut, but there will be many that can be cut, allowing the customer to save money, and at the same time use premium leather that was previously out of reach cost wise.

Ask Kevin- How Many Rabbits?

Another customer question for Kevin!

I plan on making my grandfather a pair of rabbit fur mittens. I was wondering if the rabbit hides you sell are real and if they are the same color as wild rabbit? Also I’m not sure how many hides I’ll need for this job. I know how to do this, but any advice you can offer is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Here’s what Kevin had to say:

Hello Aaron,

Our rabbit hides are indeed real, and we have ones called “natural” which are the color of a rabbit in the wild.                

Keep in mind that the actual skin of the rabbit is very thin, and not tough at all.  It might be difficult to make a durable pair of mittens from it.  You might have to make the mittens out of cowhide that are lined with rabbit…. In any case, you’d need no more than 4 at the most.

Thanks,

Kevin

Leatherworking with Phil at Finley Farms

SLC and Mr. Phil Hedlund are teaming up! We met Phil awhile back and decided to help supply some of the materials needed for his upcoming leatherwork class at the Ozark Mill Finley Farms.

In this class, on December 20th at 6:30pm, Leatherworker Phil Hedlund will take you through the steps of crafting a leather key chain from a natural leather. He will introduce you to the basic tools you need to begin your leatherworking craft and explain the characteristics of working with different types of leather. Conquer your tools with ease with the guidance of Phil Hedlund and go home with a customized accessory or a thoughtful gift for someone special this holiday season!

SLC and Phil are also working together to create a new YouTube video series. This series will highlight the creation of high-end leather products and how they are built by Phil himself! We’re very excited to work with Phil and have some fun while sharing the experience with all of you! Be sure to signup soon for his class- spots are limited and selling fast! You can sign up by clicking HERE!

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! 

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!!!

Another Class with Denny Lowe

Denny is such a gracious teacher and this time, he’s helping our office staff train to understand customer concerns with a bit of practical application. Today’s lesson was in tooling a passport cover – here are a few images from the class! 


Denny teaches by showing first and supervising later. He’s allowing for students to make mistakes happy accidents. It’s the best way to learn a craft


Students tape the back of their projects to minimize stretching

They trace the pattern onto their leather diligently. 


Now they’re ready to begin carving and stamping

Of course, everyone works at their own pace. 

Eventually they’ll end up with something like this. 


Thanks for checking out this simple gallery. If you’d like to get some actual instruction, check out a few posts on our blog, check out our YouTube channel or grab a kit or pattern at our store. Denny has created the patterns for a number of more advanced projects including this popular shoulder holster pattern and he designed many of our CarveRite Craftaids

Until next time! 

Getting Started with Denny

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. 

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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


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What You’ll Need: 


The Process

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 

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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. 

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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. 

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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 

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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. 😉 

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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…

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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! 

New Things Above

Well folks, things are always changing at SLC! We are upgrading some of our storage space with a new roof! We’ll also be moseying on over next door to store even more products very soon. 

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Of course, getting things ready for the roofers caused us to move some things around and you’ll be seeing the fruits of that labor very shortly. With all of the purchasing Kevin and Rusty do, there is bound to be more than a few things that slip through the cracks. But that just means that we have even more new products just waiting to be made available for purchase. 

The roof isn’t the only thing getting more secure. You may have also noticed that our website is now fully secure as well! With that increase in security, you should also see improved load times during your visits, If you are experiencing performance and cosmetics issues on our website, please clear your cache! 

In the mean time, we’re still rotating staff around here and there trying to find the perfect fit of personnel new and old, but that’s an update for another day. 

Until then, we’ll see you around the internet. Happy days!  

Kevin & His Craft Deerskins


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. 

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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!

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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.