Tools and Equipment 1. in my workroom
Now, let’s look at the tools and equipment you need to do leather crafts.
I will focus on what I use in my workroom, and I will compare it with the tools and equipment of Firenze Leather School.
The above tools are a set of tools Firenze Leather School provides to students.
It is very simple.
1) Tina (from Germany), which is used to cut the leather, 2) cutting ruler and 3) Stecca, which is used when folding, 4) awl and 5) glue, 6) hammer for leather craft only which is used to tap the leather so that it can be attached weel after bonding, and 7) glue bottle. There is a small brush inside the glue bottle so you can apply it.
I was surprised at first because it was so simple and didn’t provide a graduated ruler.
The reason they didn’t provide a graduated ruler is because they wanted to let us know that crafting is possible with only symmetric pattern. The essence of Italian production method seems to be this symmetrical pattern method. I will explain it more detail later.
Leather School didn’t provide a graduated ruler, but it would be quite difficult to work in Korea.
I use some graduated rulers in Korea now.
I use basic 30cm ruler and 1 meter ruler, and sometimes use transparent ruler that I can immediately see and draw at regular intervals.
There curved ruler are also useful for working. Especially the left round ruler is useful when you want to make a corner round.
I thought there would be no this kind of rulers in Firenze Leather School, so I prepared it.
If you are planning to study at Firenze Leather School, it would be good to prepare graduated ruler or transparent ruler.
The second one I was surprise ‘How do I work without this?’ at the Leather School was this paperweight.
Paperweight is to fix the paper pattern because it can be shaken when you draw it on the leather with an awl. I calmed down the embarrassment in Italian class which had no paperweight by thinking that it is a consideration to let us produce by practice of technique without being attached to tools.
But it would be little bit hard to work without paperweight for us.
For your reference, paperweight is expensive and there are many pretty ones. So I would like to have a good one if I get a change later. What I have now is too rough.
The above photo is a tray of tools I often use in Korea. Wheels on the tray make me to move easily.
Then, let’s take a look at each of the miscellaneous tools I’m using.
First, there are various pens. I use a variety of pens ranging from fine pens to broad pens, oil pens, sharp pens and colored ballpoint pens to suit my own situation. I’m little bit different from Teacher Mao (teacher at Firenze Leather School) who uses black ballpoint pen only.
Small ruler is needed to see small numbers right away.
Here, the third think I was surprise at Firenze was that there was no divider. We always use it when we draw marking circles or making stitching mark for hand stitching in Korea. So I asked to teacher ‘how can I make a round pattern?’, then teacher answered to draw with something of similar size.
It was an Italian style answer.
The photo is something similar to the Stecca used in the school, and the middle one is a Teflon stick and right one is a folder.
If you have Stecca, you don’t need this, but when we’re doing leather craft, we naturally buy these duplicate tools. Actually I didn’t use the folder in the photo yet.
The wooden bar on the left is Slicker, which is used for a similar purpose to Stecca, and it is a tool widely used in Japan which is also used for the section finish.
This is a tool called Creaser which is used in Japan to draw marking lines or decorating lines when hand stitching.
I learned the crafts by focusing on machine stitching and folding in Italy, but I also use these Japanese tools as needed when I work in Korea.
By the way, why there are two same things? It has the same function, but the left one was purchased impulsively when I went to Japan. I bought it because it says that the line can be drawn more beautifully, but I don’t use it well now.
There are people who collect scissors as well as knives.
The small scissors on the right side is called ripper and it is used to cut the thread.
The fourth thing I was surprised at Firenze was to cut all the thread with big scissor on the left side without this ripper.
I think I had a lot of surprises about tools at Firenze.
As I organized these tools, I think that the tool is only a tool and the carpenter should not blame tools.
Unlike the hammers at Firenze Leather School, My workroom uses a variety of different hammers according to its usage.
The leftmost is very heavy and has a lot of force when tapping, so it is used when punching or attaching zipper stopper. Especially since it is made of urethane material, it is favored because it has fewer scratches on metal parts.
The red hammer is relatively light and is used for sophisticated griffing works when hand stitching.
I bought the next hammer in Fireze since it was cheaper than Korea. I bought it for crafting with two people, but I just keep it. I don’t know how many times I use it in a year.
The last hammer is smaller than I usually use. I bought it to use to make small goods such as purse, but it would be enough with only a big hammer. It is very expensive, but I don’t regret buying it because it is beautiful.
There are many people who collect hammers, too.
Teachers in Leather School may laugh if they see so many hammers.
There are pliers.
From the left to right, it is a common plier, next plier to hold and press leather called Paraflui, nipper to remove the zipper teeth, and another Paraflui. (I will not explain why there is one more Paraflui.)
Is not there a sense of unity since the handle is wrapped with a red tape?
All of these are the famous Vergez Blanchard products.
In Italy, people use a brush when bonding, but in Japan, they put and apply glue with Hera like the above photo. I use it when I need to apply glue exquisitely.
There is a small Hera for small areas, and the larger Hera can be used for larger areas.
Blue one is little softer than white one.
Next one is an awl.
It looks like the same, but the length, thickness and shape are slightly different.
From the left to right, it is a round circular awl that doesn’t remain deep crack when drawing patterns on the leather, and the rest of awls are lozenge awls with lozenge shape which is easy to make needle hole on the leather when hand stitching. Each is slightly different in length and shape.
The fifth thing I was surprised at the Leather School was that there was no lozenge awls.
So teacher Mao praised and liked this lozenge awl, especially the one made by Verger Blanchard.
As I posted this article, there are a few more awls in my workroom. The movie Basic Instinct of Sharon Stone is poped up in my head.
These are needles for hand stitching. Unlike regular needles, the tip is rounded.
The left one is №4 of company John James and the right one is №7 of company System.
People finished the thread by hand at Firenze Leather School. The needle used at that time was personally owned by teacher Mao, not for school. And the shape was just a normal needle for fabric. This was the sixth thing I was surprised.
Perhaps Firenze Leather School is aiming to build up skills in limited environment and situations rather than using various tools.
Next one is a cork plate that is used when making hole on the leather with lozenge awl.
Of course, there were no cork plate and lozenge awl in Leather School.
It would be better to have little bit thick plate to make a hole
These are the edge coats I’m using.
I used the one made by company Fenice in Leather School, and I still use it in Korea since it is good to apply and has good workability and coloring.
Edge coat is largely divided into acrylic class and urethane class. Urethane is good for chrome leather and acrylic is good for vegetable. Note that the Fenice is belonging to urethane class.
Unlike the edge coat, there is also a Japanese dyeing solution that finishes the leather section by dyeing.
These are punches that make round angle.
The seventh thing I was surprised at the Leather School was that there was no sandpaper.
Sandpaper is used to clean the cross section of the leather, to remove the differences of adhesion and to smooth the edge coat. I think they don’t need sandpaper since these works are less needed in Italian style, which is mainly focus on the folding. Nevertheless, they used a machine rather than a hand for polishing works.
The sandpaper in the above photo is 3M’s sponge sandpaper, a little l soft sandpaper used for nail art, and block sandpaper made in Japan. I will explain how to use the tool and its pros and cons in detail in another chapter.
It is a polishing machine in Leather School. There’s a lot of dust and noise.
The above equipment greatly reduced the amount of time it takes to apply edge coat. That is why I wanted to have the best among equipment in school.
It is similar to the equipment used by the shoe shiners in Korea. They are called as something in the world. I have forgotten it since it is hard to say.
For your reference, a small electric tool called “Dremel” can also be used for polishing.
In addition to these tools, there are a 1) Tokonole that is used to cover the back of the leather, 2) woodworking glue that is used to finish the thread, an 3) eraser that is used to erase glue on the leather, a 4) tape measure that is used to measure the length of the strap, etc., 5) tweezers and 6) metal chopstick that is used to apply the edge coat.
Are you a little embarrassed to see polishing tools that is used for nail art and metal chopsticks for edge coat?
Any tool suitable for use can be used in the leather crafts.
Next is a leather thickness gauge that is essential for skiving.
There is even bigger one. I feel sad that I couldn’t buy it in Firenze.
It is quite expensive in Korea.
In this corner, there are fonts, gold and silver foils, various punchings and griffs.
That was about the tools.
I will explain about the equipment.
There is not much equipment in my workroom.
There is not enough space in my small workroom. But there are more various equipment than Firenze Leather School. I will introduce this in the next chapter.
This is a stamp machine.
It’s a product called Kingsley (from USA). It was originally intended to stamp letter on paper. But it fits well with leather too. Above all, the fonts are nice.
It is traded at a fairly high price in the Auction even if it is used on and not sold these days.
For your reference, you need a voltage transformer to use it Korea since it is a USA product.
This equipment is a creaser used for drawing decorating line.
The name of this is famous for its use in work by company H and company L in France.
The front tip can be replaced with various tips, but the price of one tip is very expensive.
I used to wonder why it is so expensive.
But if you use it, you will be satisfied.
This is a white board (it is called since its white color) which is spread on the bottom for punching.
There is marble beneath it to absorb more impact and noise.
This is a stitching machine I use in my workroom.
It is a Japanses product called JUKI, and I like both stitch and its performance. I bought it about KRW 3,500,000.
Just as there are Korean cars, Japanese cars and German cars in the car industry, there are Korean, Japanese and German machines in the craft industry. The costs go up to KRW 1,000,000 for Korean, KRW 3,000,000 for Japanese, and KRW 7,000,000 ~ KRW 10 million for German machines.
But, the performance or work outcomes are not entirely proportional to the costs. I think it is a 70:20:10 ratio. That is, 70% are similar in Korean, Japanese and German machines. You may think easily that Japanese machines can perform the 20% which Korean product can’t do, and German machines can perform the 10% which Japanese product can’t do. Anyway, I want to buy German machines if I have enough money. I think it is like a car.
This is a partial skiving machine.
It is made by company Nippy in Japan. I also like it.
There is also an absorber. In a small workroom, it is not essential to have. I thought that there were a lot of students in the workroom, so I installed it for KRW 600,000. But now, the sound is very noisy, so I sometimes turn it on carefully.
There are various threads.
There are not so many threads yet since my workroom is for both small private workrplace and workroom. And I don’t like display all the threads that I don’t usually use.
I like to use ivory or white-oriented thread rather than using various thread colors. I prefer those since stitching looks obvious.
This is Pony which holds the leather when hand stitching.
If there is anything missing, I will add and edit again. There are so many things here and there, so I sometimes don’t know where the tools I use are.
As I’m writing this article, I can see that there were seven or eight times I was surprised at Firenze Leather School.
As I organized the tools, I just giggled alone with the memories in Firenze.
I will show my workroom briefly.
To handle leather and do some crafts, certain amount of space to put tools and equipment is needed. Cutting table to cut the leather, workbench to do craft, storage for storing leather and auxiliary materials and storage to keep completed works are also needed.
For me, I focused on the private workplace rather than the big workroom where many people could work from the beginning. So I decided to open small workroom underground of the house. It was somewhat burden for me to pay expensive rent in the situation which I’m not skilled yet.
So I decorated my workroom very cheaply.
In the spring of 2020, I will move to a town called Yongsan Huam-dong, to build a new office building of BAEL Leather School. I will invest more at that time. Please keep your interest.
Now, you can look at the photos with before and after construction my workroom.
Is it completely different? I’d been thinking a lot how to get the maximum effect at minimal costs. When the construction was completed, many friends told me that it is fine to work and clean.
Whenever I open the door of my workroom, I feel the flutter and happiness that I felt when I created this space.