February of 2016 I was offered a squiring by Sir Devon of Ayr which I accepted. Around the same time he had offered to another friend who also accepted. For this friend and myself, Sir Devon and I wanted to make nice dress belts for court and more functional belts for fighting. I haven’t had the chance to work on mine but here is documentation of the process of making the other.
My first step was to interview the recipient about what he would like. We discussed that he finds oak leaves and hedgehogs important to him and intends to incorporate them into his device when he gets that far. I also suggested an idea that I had had about putting a sequence of devices from any affiliations he has as sort of a unique “gate address” as it were. His affiliations would be the Middle Kingdom, Pentamere, Barony of Andelcrag, Canton of Three Hills, and, of course, his new knight, Sir Devon of Ayr. That is 5 affiliations plus two blank ones to fill in later (presumably for a Laurel and Pelican should he decide to go in those directions. The blank two could be for whatever he so chooses and I could add them later.
With that information I began the designing process which took some time. I submitted several renditions to him and had him choose the one he liked most.
I started with a fantastic quality, extra long Herman Oak 1.5″ strip.
Once I got the design tooled and the base red color stained, it was time to paint the design. I use Angelus leather paints (Amazon link). I have had very good luck with these paints. They dry flexible so are fantastic for leather since they don’t crack or flake off. They are designed for fixing scratches on shoe leather so they are very resistant to scratching off. They are also water-based so they are easy to clean up and they also mix well together so you can mix up whatever colors you want.
I used black antique gel from Tandy to highlight the hedgehogs and leaves. After that I ended up going back and highlighting the leaves with a lighter green so they didn’t seem like a black hole compared to the rest of the design. The antique really darkened them a lot.
I purchased a replica, period-accurate buckle and belt end and attached them with the included rivets. I then burnished the edges. As a final design step, I decided to gold leaf around the edges of each device. You can see the results of that in the final pictures below. I finished the belt with many layers of Resolene to protect the design and then a few layers of Carnauba Cream to give it a nice smell and buffed it to a shine. The finished product is below. He beamed when I gave it to him. I kept the final design and results hidden from him until the squiring ceremony and also whipped up a little linen bag for him to store it in and protect it.
Here is a fun little project I decided to attempt for my supervisor at work. He came in my department last week with his tie flapping around and laying backwards. I teased him that he needed a tie tack. This gentleman went alligator wrestling last summer and so I thought it would be a neat/fun project to attempt to make him a tie clip with alligator skin. So… I ordered the stuff and it came today. Here is my first attempt which I am actually pretty pleased. It took me about 2 hours to finish and about $10 in materials.
My first step was to collect the materials I would need. Needles and thread, a super sharp sewing awl, contact cement, some scrap leather to mount the thin alligator hide to, a knife, the alligator hide, and the tie clip.
I simply cut a piece of the scrap and alligator hide to the same size a little bit wider and longer than the tie clip and glued the two pieces together.
I then used the awl to punch the holes with the leather being held in my handy stitching horse.
Then I used the contact cement again to glue the tie clip to the back of the two pieces of leather and began sewing in a way that criss crossed back and forth across the tie clip to keep it secure.
After some black dye for the back side of the veg tan leather and some edge finishing by gently sanding the edges flat with my dremel and then burnishing the moistened edges with my edge burnisher to get them smooth… We have a really sharp looking alligator skin tie clip. ^_^ I think it turned out really well! I am excited to give it to him tomorrow.
Here are the final steps I took to make my gauntlets. So far we have patterned, cut, formed, stained and wax hardened the heavy leather. We then riveted and sewed the pieces together to form the gauntlets. The next steps are to add straps, add padding, and sew the gloves in.
I have to admit that I wasn’t happy with the orientation of the thumb pieces. I ended up drilling one of the rivets out and rotating the thumbs a bit to make the space between the thumb and fingers so a piece of rattan can be held more easily.
Anyway, what I did last night was start by adding a strap across the palm. I just used some scraps of flexible chrome tanned garment leather. We will see if it can hold up to the abuse. I simply cut a strip, drilled holes for the stitching, and used a blunt harness needle and some of the waxed, braided nylon thread to saddle stitch the strap to the glove on each side of the palm.
Before sewing the glove in, I cut some strips from the black 6mm yoga mat I have for padding. I duct taped it into the glove behind the palm, thumb, and fingers. I really love this yoga mat for padding. It is anti-microbial and excellent at absorbing force. I just ordered a mat off Amazon.com and it is going to last me for quite some time.
Next I sewed the gloves in. I really like how this part turned out. Initially I was concerned that the gaunlets were too floppy and didn’t stay in position. Sewing the gloves in really added stability to them and makes me much more comfortable in wearing them.
Really, I am quite satisfied with how they turned out. We will see how they perform on Monday’s practice. 🙂