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R0000055Well, sometime about a year ago I decided I wanted to pick up a new skill in leatherwork. I bought some books, looked around the internet and after a bit of research landed on the art of whip-making. It may sound a bit odd, but hey it’s also a bit interesting. Kind of a dying art really. Way back in the day when cattle ranching was the way of the West there were all types of specialty trades in existence, one of them included the whipmaker. Before I go any further I should explain that whips in the West were never intended to hurt the cattle. In fact hurting any cow on a ranch or in the range would be considered good reason for expulsion from all work duties.R0000060

In fact the whip was created to be cracked, a sound made when the the loop created on the whip when flicked by the wrist exceeds the speed of sound as it travels down the length of the whip itself. Here’s a quick little reference from Scientific American . Kind of like a mini sonic boom. This noise would be used to startle the cattle and help herd them in the direction the Cowboys needed them to go.R0000065

Well, now as things began to change for most in the West – cattle herding and whip use began to die down quite a bit. They are still used today, but only a fraction of a percent of what it used to be. It’s quite hard to find good information on whip making – the traditional way, beyond a book by Ron Edwards called How to Make a Whip. And one more source, the youtube videos by an Australian whipmaker named Bernie – you can find it here. To make a short story even shorter, I read the book and am following the youtube videos…and it ain’t easy!

R0000066The base of my whip is called the belly and in this case I am using several things to beef it up. The handle is actually a steel tent stake. One of those big ones that look like a huge nail. This gives the handle some weight and keeps it stiff. The insides of the whip are several layers of cowhide wrapped around thin strands of lace. I used a waxed thread to help hold the first layer in place. Then I started the plaiting. I may have two or three plaited bellies in the interior of my whip to build up girth and slowly increase the length. Since this is my first…it will undoubtedly look like a frankenstein inspired whip, but it’s a learning experience and my next one will prove to be better.R0000077I cut the lace from a side of cowhide using a australian strand cutter and going in circles around the hide. Then I ran the strand through a lace cutter to get the width down to 6mm. The lace needs to taper all the way to the end so using one of the tools shown above I crept the razor closer with each pass and narrowed down to 3mm at the tip.R0000067

Then I pulled the lace through a beveler on each side to cut a 45 degree angle into the lace. This helps it lay smoother when plaiting. I have made more mistakes so far on this whip than I can keep track of with all my fingers and toes, but it doesn’t bother me. It’s a fun experience and I am sure that even if my whip ends up looking like a bloated pregnant boa constrictor…it’ll probably still crack just fine – and my next one will be even better! Have a great Thanks Giving meal to all my U.S. readers out there!R0000076

leather-belt-simple_080__0007Well, almost a year after I first introduced them, then got overwhelmed by the holidays and put them on hold… belts are back! Super minimal, built with snaps so you can swap out the buckle in the future. Hand-cut, dyed, stamped, oiled, waxed, buffed and assembled right here in the workshop. Of course each one uses the finest Full-Grain Leather in the U.S. All custom cut to your specific size. Here’s more.leather-belt-simple_080__0013leather-belt-simple_080__0023leather-belt-simple_080__0026leather-belt-simple_080__0078

Holiday shopping for guys ain’t easy. That’s why I put together this shortlist of some very popular items you might consider. If you have any questions, please feel free to write me, I am glad to help.thin-bifold-leather-wallet-western-brown-0119_PersonalizedFirst here’s a classic option for a guy looking to get into minimal leather wallets, but still want the functionality of a traditional bifold. Of course you can also personalize any purchase from the shop. leather-passport-wallet-minimal-slim-bifold-040_0069If a guy is already set on his wallet, he may not have one for travelin’ yonder. Consider this slim Passport Wallet as a good all around option for the traveling dude. mens-leather-toiletry-kit-dopp-kit-travel-case_200_0040For gatherin’ up his goods – this here Toiletry Kit is built for a lifetime of use. Spacious enough for pretty much anything a guy will carry. It’s a thoughtful alternative to a wallet.

handmade-leather-wallet-minimal-thin-wallet_0089mens-leather-wallet-minimal-bifold_brown-0049These two wallets above are very popular and safe options for those guys looking to slim things up. They work great as front pocket wallets. The Minimal Slim and The Men’s Thin Wallet.leather-notebook-case-with-pen-minimal-slim-022_0014A mini notebook and steel pen, perfect for those with big ideas that need a place to put them.

leather-dog-collar_0004leather-dog-leash_0008For those men with a dog, a medium to small sized one for the collar – and any size for the leash. These are well-built and sturdy. You can personalize them as well.

Mens-leather-messenger-bag-shoulder-bag_210_0003leather-briefcase-satchel-bag-mens-leather-bag_215_0002 As the saying goes – go big or go home. Here are some very rugged leather bags – a Messenger Bag and his brother the Briefcase. Both with adjustable shoulder straps and entirely riveted together for maximum strength and a lifetime of use.

handmade-leather-wallet-minimal-thin-wallet_brown_BRANDED-0089 Don’t forget – all items in the shop can easily be personalized with your name or initials. It’s a great idea if giving a gift. Most guys prefer the last name or just initials.

Well there you have it, a very small sampling of some very goods ideas of what to buy for a guy this Holiday from my shop. Keep in mind that everything in the shop is made one by one per order here in the U.S. in my own workshop. I use only the finest Full-Grain Vegetable-Tanned leather available in the U.S. Everything I make is built for a lifetime of use. This season all U.S. customers will enjoy free shipping, and international orders get a huge 50% discounted shipping rate. Good luck, and make sure to get your orders in early this year!


As September fades back and the rest of the country prepares for the cool and refreshing fall winds… down here in the Desert Southwest we are just arriving at the beginning of our summer. It’s hot as hell right now, and there’s nothing better than eating outside on a handmade picnic table where at least the breeze can catch you.


The yard has been a bit, um, a bit too dainty with this tiny blue petite folding table to act as our only source of outdoor comfort, so let’s dive on in to a simple picnic table build first featured on Popular Mechanics website, link here. I will be following the plans pretty closely, except for making the table and benches a bit longer. Let’s get on down to it.


First off here’s all the hardware you will need: 12 of 3/8 carriage bolts, 12  of 3/8 nuts for the carriage blots, 24 washers for the carriage bolts, 6 of 3/8 lag screws and 6 washers for the lag screws. Then get a box of 3.5 inch exterior screws. There’s a number of different head types – I chose the phillips since that’s what I’m used to, though I am sure there is a reason they developed the star shaped head – maybe I will be lucky enough to find out why in a few minutes!


For reference this is a carriage bolt.


This is a lag screw.


And this is a deck/exterior screw.


For the wood I chose douglas fir or yellow pine. I think the 2x4s are yellow pine. Just get some cheap stuff that isn’t all warped. I spent a good 30 minutes checking out all my pieces and digging through the pile at Home Depot before I got a decent selection.

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A long while back when I first began makin leather goods, I took a look into how to properly set a person’s name into the piece. By creating an original design with a small customization like that, makes it a keeper for life.  Now there are two ways I like doing this best. One implies using a hard cold steel hammer and punching those letters deep into the hide. The other is heating a branding iron up to searing strength and singing the leather, darkening it. Branding leather leaves a nice contrast in the piece, visible to the horizon.


This month I am practically giving away the stamping option for $2. On October 12th the price goes up, so if yer lookin to buy a personalized gift before the rush, well…you’d better hurry it on up. Shop here.


RoadTripCA_20101113_0151Late in the afternoon the fog rolled in, and with it came the chill of the sea. RoadTripCA_20101113_0157Wrapping its way around rock and wave, the mist captured and made vanish, everything in its wake.RoadTripCA_20101113_0153Just beyond the dunes the weather began to retreat. A damp, dark earth left behind.RoadTripCA_20101114_0166All that was left was the sea and a few rocks battling their way through it.