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Wild Rose

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Everything posted by Wild Rose

  1. As many if not most know who visit here, my first "love" is the American Frontier West of the 1800's - while guns, knives, and other sharp things and their leather gear is top of my list, I also do other types of frontier gear such as the following pipe bag and breastplate and thought ya'll might enjoy the look see........................there are a couple of WIP hawk heads included though While this is not an exact copy of any single existing pipe bag, it is based on/inspired by three original So. Cheyenne bags of the mid-1840's. Size of this early period pipe bag is 31" long including the fringe and 6" wide. The beads are early style pound beads and the bag body is made from brain/smoke tan deer hide that has been stained with red ocher and then the whole piece was aged to give it that used but not abused look. Included in one image is a beaded pipe tamper. Such bags began being made in the 1830's and became very popular by the 1860's and later. The haired fringe on the bag is buffalo and that on the tamper is from me own head The breast plate is made of bone hair pipe and is representative of those made and used post 1870, when the bone hair pipes first became widely available.
  2. Howdy Greg - to make a recommendation on leather as well as finish it will help to know what type and weight of your rifle. Most slings are made of regular veg tan leather, latigo is fine but not necessary for outdoor gear. For my advice on general care of leather see here - it may answer some questions: http://www.wrtcleath...eathercare.html
  3. Here are the sources for supplies and tools and also some on-line tutorials that I have written and recommend... Aging leather http://www.wrtcleath...eather-zurl.jpg How-to do the baseball stitch http://www.wrtcleath.../_baseball.html How-to do the saddle stitch http://www.wrtcleath...therstitch.html Making your own Stitch Pony http://www.wrtcleath...stitchpony.html Making a Mexican Loop style sheath http://www.wrtcleath...p/_mexloop.html Below are suppliers: Veg/Bark Tan Leather: Wickett & Craig - www.wickett-craig.com I order the 8/10 oz Tooling-Holster or 10/12 oz Skirting and have it split to 8/9 oz - they will split it to whatever size you like if need be...they also carry drum dyed sides in several colors for those who prefer them RJF Leather - http://rjfleather.com/content/index.php Very nice double shoulders and sides - these are old style pit tanned hides from Portugal and are VERy nice and reasonable Dyes, all types of leather including some exotics, hardware, etc.: Leather Unltd - http://www.leatherun...re/dye/dye.html Siegel of Ca - www.siegelofca.com Leather Factory/Tandy Linen Thread - 5 cord left or right hand twist is a good all purpose thread: Campbell- Bosworth: http://campbell-bosw...?keywords=linen - I have not used the less expensive Hungarian thread myself so cannot offer an opinion whereas I have used the Barbour's for close to 50 years.. Tools: Cheap but OK: Leather Factory/Tandy - the Craftsman brand Tools: Better - Osborne and other better quality tools: Campbell- Bosworth: http://campbell-bosw...?keywords=linen Tools: Best: Jeremiah Watt - www.ranch2arena.com Expensive but worth it - made by a master saddle maker and a heck of a nice guy! Gomph-Hackbarth Leather Tools 10754 N. Martineau Road Elfrida, AZ 85610 520-642-3891 Hackbarthtools@hotmail.com Robert Beard: http://robertbeardtools.com/index.html Gore Tool Route 1 Box 306-B Caddo Mills,Texas 75135-9801 800-859-8338 McMillen Leather Tool Company 864 Four Waters Drive Sunrise Beach, MO 65079 573-374-7880 Barry King http://www.barrykingtools.com/ Bob Douglas - lots of old/refurbished tools as well as new Phone: 1-307-737-2222 I can recommend all of the above having used them for several years (some several decades) - There are many other suppliers including Hidecrafters. Montana Leather, Oregon Leather, and others including some suppliers on EBay - as always with any unfamiliar suppliers it's caveat emptor.....
  4. I will be glad to help support such a sub-forum in anyway I can.
  5. Thanks and glad ya'll enjoyed the look....... Bob - That's a "medicine bottle" used by the Rocky Mtn Trappers to carry their scent lure in - the scent lure was made from the beaver's musk glands with other aditves. In this case it's a small wooden container (bored out willow limb) with a rawhide wrap Jim P - I dye bone with Fiebings leather dye generally..........I prefer getting raw bone and processing it myself. Rather than boil and use bleach or such things as TSP (which tend to make the bone brittle) I take the raw bone and cut it so the marrow is exposed, then just cover it in a pan of water. I then cook it down slowly until no water is left. After it's cool I remove any marrow that's left and then hand wash well in hot soapy water and then rinse well in clear water. This "cooks" the fatty marrow into the bone making for a less brittle bone that's also closer to the way original bones was used/handled up.
  6. Just in time for Christmas - this one was styled after daggers made along the American Frontier from the late 1700's through the late 1800's. The 7 1/2" blade of 1084 steel was hand forged by the late Gib Guignard of Cactus Forge. The grip is white tail deer leg bone with a rawhide wrap and linen thread overwrap at three places, a brass double guard, and some brass tacks for decoration. The sheath has a bark tan leather core, deer rawhide cover and alum tawed sheepskin cuff and belt loop. Sheath decoration includes two weeping heart inlays (a common deco motif of the period), glass pound beads, hand cut wrought iron tacks, and tin cone tinklers with horse hair tufts. There is a simple leather whang retention strap decorated with a tin cone, brass, and glass beads. Hope ya'll enjoy - this is one of my favorites and it all came together "smoothly" - many others do not................
  7. IIRC this particular piece was wrapped with rattan and/or rafia?? Anyway you can contact Tai via email through his website and he'll be glad to give you advice/info. As noted he has used many different materials for wrapping including those mentioned above as well as hemp cord. He also uses pinon rosin but more recently has bee using various types of shellac. The method as noted is a series of Turk's Head knots.
  8. Rich Slaughter started a thread in remembrance of Gib elsewhere and he's been on my mind all week since it's his birthday this week and I was working on a piece using one of his blades. Here's a few CactusRose (the name for our collaborations) pieces with blades by Mr. Gib - who is sorely missed for his friendship as well as his talents.. one of these days I'll get them all posted on my site - so far there are 39 CactusRose pieces........ I have just a few more blades of Gib's left (some knife, a couple of hawks, and two for warclubs, and will be slowly but surely finishing them up) - I have two built that are waiting for sheaths, one which is a VERY special piece that Gib made especially for my birthday the January before he passed on and will stay with me.................I'll take a pic later and post it for your enjoyment..... Anybody else that has pics of pieces by Gib, whether CactusForge or CactusRose please post them...........
  9. Haven't been around to post for a while - too many things keeping me busy, but I just finished this one Wild Goo 28 and am tickled pink so.......... Here's 1840's era SW Belduque style knife (I say style since original belduques were generally integrals, although the iron tang and bolster(s) were often forge welded to the steel blade rather than being formed in one piece –steel was expensive back when). The 8 3/8" blade was handforged by mi compadre Tai Goo with file work on the spine by me. The grip is has a pewter bolster and the wood is crotch grain hickory "repaired" with a deer rawhide wrap and decorated with some simple incise carving and brass tacks. Although hickory is not native to the SW it is a wood that would have been available after the opening of the Santa Fe Trade between the US and Mexico in 1821. The beaded sheath is in a southern Plains style and the decoration is based on three originals. The core is heat hardened bark tan leather with a braintan cover. The blue, white, and amber 8/0 pound beads are typical colors used during the early period as is the larger size. Other decoration consists of beaded fringe with tin cones and buffalo hair tufts. Everything was then aged to give it that used but not abused look....... Enough of explanation here are the pics..............
  10. And another link to lots of originals to go along with Bob's.........plus the variation in pipe hawks, spontoons, and spike hawks alone will give you lots of ideas...... http://furtradetomahawks.tripod.com/
  11. Culpepper and Co http://www.knifehandles.com/stag-horn-and-bone prices start at around $18.00, they have rounds, tapers, srag crowns and carvers in either amber (dyed) or natural......good people to dela with.
  12. Thanks all and glad you enjoyed it. Alan - Been too busy too post much these days still playing catch-up from last year as well as doing some other things to keep the coyotes from the door........ Jake - I use the bleach and gun cold blue method. Anyway here are the basics: (this is an AGGRESSIVE etch): 1) Sand to around a 180-220 grit dependent on how deeply etched you want 2) Blue first with Birchwood Casey's Super Blue (not their Perma Blue) and while still wet rub it smooth with 4/0 steel wool or a scrub pad. Most any kind of cold blue solution will work - the blue acts as an accelerant. 3) Immediately immerse it in straight chlorine bleach for about 2-15 minutes (the less time the less aggressive the etch). It looks like a rusted nightmare when first taken from the bleach bath. Wash it in hot water with soap and baking soda to kill the action - a scrub brush helps. I then sand with a fine Scotchbrite pad or 320 emory paper to get the color/look I want - if you want it to stay real dark use steel wool. You can re-do as often as you want to get teh look you want. If I want to make it look smoothed/worn as if cared for after the aging I'll buff with a fairly aggressive compund and then re-do the blue/bleach but only long enough to get the darkening effect. When doing it on a finished knife here's how I do them (I usually age before assembly but sometimes...) - make a vertical dip tank out poly pipe of the right diameter. File a couple of notches in the top edge to hold the guard steady. Fill up with bleach leaving enough room for the blade to displace the liquid without overflowing - if need be top off the bleach up to the bottom of the guard. The nice thing is this is pretty controllable by watching your time. Bleach alone will work but can take several hours dependent on how "aged" you want it to be. Not over done - ie without the aging pits this is good tough finish for any using knife. Once finished I off the used bleach - it will work a second time but is weaker and takes longer and is harder to control. If you need any one on one help you can always call. Best advice is go slow and test on a piece of the same steel - each piece of steel, even of the same batch is different or maybe it's how I hold my tongue The fumes can be nasty so use plenty of ventilation and a good mask with a chlorine filter. Otehr methods I've used to etch are: boiling in vinegar, diluted muriatic acid, salt and hydrogen peroxide. This method works good on any of the 10XX series and 5160, had trouble with 52100. Also take a look through the knives and hawks on my site to see the different looks you can get with it. Rather than dipping you can also age only certain areas by applying the blue only to the areas you want. Then soak an old towel or rag in bleach and wrap it so that it touches those areas with some overlap. The method overall is very versatile and is worth experimenting with. Here are some variations possible: This is an example of the towel/rag method
  13. The following is a series of images and explanations on some of the materials and methods I use for building a smoak axe aka pipe tomahawk. The late 18th/early 19th century English style head was forged for me by Stuart Willis of www.swillis.forge.com. This is the second head I've had made by Stuart and I can only say they are top drawer – both heads have fit the Dunlap made handles with little fitting - just a 4.5 lb leather maul to smack it into place. The forged head is made in the classic wrapped method with welded in bit and separate turned and brazed on bowl. Materials are 1018 mild steel for the wrap and 1060 HC steel for the bit. Stuart did all the work on this one including the file work and the turnings on the bowl. For those who would like to know more about how such heads are made take a look at this link: www.wrtcleather.com/1-ckd/hawks/hawks.html I received the head in polished, like new condition from Stuart and aged it before deciding to do this thread so therefore don't have a picture of it in the as received state. The idea behind this piece is that of a fine quality eastern gunsmith made pipe hawk circa 1790 that later went west and had western Indian style deco added to the existing piece circa the 1830's. The first image shows all of the parts I planned on using – as normal I wound up changing the plan somewhat as I went along: 1) In the background is brain tanned buckskin hide, pieces of which will be used as the base for the beadwork to come. 2) The handle is a fine curly maple pre-drilled blank from Dunlap Woodcrafts in Virginia. While I have made many of my own stems from scratch in the past drilling the hole is always a bit of a nightmare so these days I normally use one of these. For those who don't like to be "limited" by the pre-form shape of these, but want one drilled, R.E. Davis and Company sells a pre-drilled square blank that's also a dandy. Both companies have websites, although Dunlap does not list the stems on theirs so give them a call if interested. 3) Above the handle is a piece of horsetail that will get decorated and be used as a drop also called a banner. 4) On the right behind the stem is a piece of deer rawhide which will cover the grip area. 5) Just below the rawhide is a section of whitetail deer leg bone that will become the mouthpiece. 6) To the left of the head are the two parts for the brass end cap and the wooden clean out plug – in this case the idea for the plug is that it is to be a replacement for the original maker's plug. 7) The rest of the items are copper wire for wrapping the handle, brass tacks, glass pound beads (often erroneously called pony beads), brass hawk bells, gull feathers, and tinned iron cones. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ In the next two images I have mounted the bone mouthpiece, scraped the wood to its final finish as was common to the period rather than sanding, , stained the wood with Aqua Fortis, and applied several coats of my own home made period type of real boiled linseed oil and resin varnish. Once done I added some preliminary aging i.e. some scratches, dents, and dings. I add these AFTER the finish is applied since that's how they would occur in normal use. In this case I also added some at this point to represent usage before it was decorated ala the western Indians. The finish along with the scratches, dents, and dings was then rubbed back with fine washed river sand on a piece of dampened leather to smooth and round off the "sharp" edges plus to show some wear on the finish, adding another preliminary layer of aging. This rubbing back also burnishes/polishes the wood to a degree as would happen with use. I say preliminary aging since once the piece is completed I do the final aging which evens it all out and ages it as it would be when used over time. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Original pipe hawks generally used a buckskin gasket to make a good seal between the head and the handle. On this one I used a piece of braintan since it has good compression and it was handy. I've found the easiest way for me to add the gasket is to use a long, somewhat tapered piece as shown in the following image. Before setting the head I saturate the leather with the same varnish as I use on the handle – I have not done so yet in this picture. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ An overall view with the head set and the extra buckskin trimmed away. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ In this pic the rawhide grip has been added and carved and the buckskin backing for the beadwork is in place. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ An overall view with the beadwork completed, three sizes of tacks added in a spiral pattern, and the brass end cap with cleanout plug installed. The beadwork nor the tacks have been aged at this point. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Here's a closeup of the head, some of the beadwork on the handle, the cleanout plug with beadwork, and the brass end cap. The end cap is made from two pieces – the wrap which is form fitted to the handle and then soldered to the egg shaped cap. The center hole is for the cleanout plug and the cap is screwed in place. The cap and beadwork have been aged. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Here's answers to some questions I've been asked regarding this build: Depends on several factors but I have used regular leather dye – when doing carving on the rawhide I put the hair/smooth side out so I start by dying the flesh side right after tempering the rawhide when using leather dye. Tempering = soaking the rawhide until completely saturated then laying it out flat on a smooth water proof surface and letting the extra water evaporate off. After the rawhide is attached and carved I dye the outside. I also use natural dyes such as walnut hull, coffee, logwood, etc. When using these I soak the rawhide in them to temper and dye all in one. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ They are both attached with a few spots of glue to hold them in place while stitching - real heated hide glue for the traditionalists, for the non-traditionalist white glue for the buckskin and super glue for the rawhide. The ends are butted together and sewn using the so-called baseball stitch (which can be documented long before the game) or the whip stitch. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ The beads are sewn on. For the first two rows on the outer edges I use the return or spot/appliqué stitch as shown below. The beads used on this piece are French Old Time colors from Crazy Crow in size 8/0 pound beads and size 10/0 seed beads. Nominally with size 8/0 there are 8 beads per inch and with 10/0 10 beads per inch. For thread one can use Traditional: real sinew, cotton thread, linen thread, or silk thread which is the best for strength Non-Traditional: Cotton wrapped poly button thread, nylon carpet thread, Nymo bead thread, or split Imitation sinew. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ The upper stitch is the spot or appliqué stitch – the beads are strung on one thread and a second thread and needle tack them down every two or three beads. The second stitch is the return stitch – go through four beads, back through the leather, and forward again through only two of the four beads, then pick up four more, etc. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ For the center rows I just wrap a whole row of beads on at once and go back through the first two or three beads and then tack down to the leather. Continue on. For more info on beading see: http://www.nativetec...d/glasbead.html ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ I trim the shank of each tack to length and pre-drill the hole with an an undersized bit to prevent splitting. For those interested in pre-1870, solid brass,square shank tacks the only current supplier I am aware of is www.thetrunkshoppe.com These are VERY nice but two caveats – they aren't cheap and they are soft so one must be careful with them when setting them. The tack used on this piece are the less expensive and more available steel shank, solid brass head tacks from Crazy Crow. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Here's a close up of the two pieces – if you look close at the left side on tip of the wrap you can see the soldered scarf joint. I've also butt jointed the tip and then soldered it together. The cap is then soldered to the ring to make the finished cap. Some original caps have an over hang and others are filed flush with the wrap. With a die setup one could make the cap out of one piece. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Here is the finished piece with some closeup shots. Some of the changes made from my original plan: 1) Rather than copper wrapping the handle next to the beaded sections I used 3/8" headed tacks. 2) I used ermine tails and buffalo hair tufts with tin cones on the drop rather than feathers. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Wish I could have gotten a better picture of the wood – there is an original pipe hawk handle that I have often tried to emulate the color and this time I came REAL close……….. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ For anyone interested in doing a pipe hawk I can highly recommend the following book available from TOTW "Instructions & Hints for Assembling Pipe Tomahawks" by G. & A. Gutchess http://www.trackofth...tNum=BOOK-IHAPT
  14. I'm betting potassium permanganate which is used in water and fish tanks and is an oxidizer - I've used it on wood as a stain but never used it on brass. For more copper and brass patina formulas see here: http://www.sciencecompany.com/patinas/patinaformulas.htm
  15. Yep - try Tried and True Oil finish or IMO even better is there Oil Varnish - http://www.triedandtruewoodfinish.com/. This is REAL boiled linseed oil - by real I mean it actually is boiled aka heat polymerized. The hardware store variety is NOT heat polymerized - it only contains magnesium based dryers as well as some other chemical junk. I gave up on the hardware variety years and years ago, and only use real heat polymerized linseed oil - as Mike noted some of the artists linseed oil (often called stand oils on the artist sites) also will work well. You can also take raw artist grade linseed or flax seed oil (same thing as linseed) from the health food stores and heat polymerize it yourself - it doesn't even need to "boil" - heat to 180-200°F ( I use an old crock pot - no open elements to catch fire) and let simmer for a half hour to an hour - you need GOOD ventilation - outside is usually best. Put it on in VERY thin coats (Like Allen said a little goes a long way) and let each coat dry thoroughly, sunlight and moving air help the drying time - this is true for most hardening oils, too thick of a coat and it will take forever to dry. Done right it takes no more than 24 hours max for each coat. If you're oil is too thick or just to thin use air thickened real gum turpentine also available from artists supply houses - a 50/50 mix for the first couple of coats and then a few full strength coats - when done right it gives a beautiful and tough finish that is easily touched up on non-exotic hardwoods such as maple, ash, walnut (both Euro and American), and osage. Look at the hawk handles and wooden handles on my site for what the finish looks like.............FWIW: the T & T oil is not real expensive (cheaper than most of the artist grade) and goes a long ways and I'm betting you'll like it. For an even tougher finish use a thin coat of shellac or two first then the linseed oil - the combo works very well for outdoor using gear. For more info on traditional boiled linseed oil do a search on the ALR forum - http://americanlongrifles.org/forum/index.php - some of the best info available on the subject has been posted there by those who've studied the subject in great depth. Here's an article on the subject which inludes making your own boiled linseed oil http://www.muzzleblasts.com/archives/vol5no2/articles/mbo52-1.shtml
  16. Nicely Done Bob! two tgumbs up......... Leather dye works the best of anything I've ever used - just soak it in it until you get it as dark as you want - I use Fiebings Spirit Dye - light to medium brown.....
  17. As to originals weight alone isn't and cannot be the deciding figure since many originals weigh more than a pound. For instance late 18th Century English Pipe Hawks and the later western Plains pipe hawks often weigh 2-2.5 pounds. Style and/or shape of the head along with the eye type are what IMO the distinction really is and even then there can be cross over in the eye type - i.e. tomahawks/pipehawk with wedge heads rather than slip on heads........... than you have terms to add to the confusion such as war axe (i.e. Upper Missouri War Axe) and the early smoak axe.....
  18. No need to go to Sweden - re-read my first post and in addition.......... 1) Based on the descriptions and on the Brisa site, shaft leather is nothing more nor less than regular veg-tanned cowhide that has been double or triple plated aka pressed to compact the fibers whihc makes the leather stiffer - in metal working terms it's been work hardened. FWIW - it's not a big mystery for those of us who have been doing this for beaucoup years - shaft leather is just a different name for the same product. Wickett & Craig will do the plating for you a hide at a time....... 2) My own recommendation is to follow the cuir bouilli method - it will make veg-tan as hard as you want - at higher drying heats it in fact changes leather at the molecular level so that it stays hard even when wet. It's basically the same method used by hundreds of professional tactical holster makers, amongst others, to stiffen their leather so that it will hold it's shape in rough conditions and one I've used now for over 40 years when I want leather hard. IMO the plusses of cuir bouilli are that there's no need for extra expense (IIRC though W & C double plates for free) or to have more than one type of leather on hand. And you DO NOT have to work it wet like you do with extra plated steel. Working leather wet has it's own set of problems and IMO once you understand and practice the cuir bouilli method you'll find it works, works well, and does not have the problems that working wet does - some of the wet leather problems are: it marks easily and those marks can be difficult to remove or camouflage, it's messy, and the leather stretches more than when dry and at times in ways you don't want it to stretch. As to half-tan, it's an incompletely veg tanned hide - the middle third or os is rawhide, that's why it shrinks upon drying........... FWIW - this tactical sheath made for an LEO was made and then processed via the cuir bouilli method. It's as stiff as you would ever want leather to be:
  19. It is most likely regular veg tan that has been more heavily plated (and most likely waxed) which compacts the leather - the same process is done for shoe soles and IIRC you can get sole leather bends from Tandy - I'm betting it's the same type leather used for pulp cups/valves aka leather pump shaft washers. On the other hand you can order double or triple plated leather from Wickett and Craig www.wickett-craig.com - you'll need to give them a call but they can set you up......... A note though - hard plated leather is MUCH harder to work with (I've built SCA armour from sole bends and had to use a bandsaw to cut it). On the other hand there are methods to get stiff leather without the hassle - you can harden your leather using the time honored cuir bouilli method which is discussed here - http://knifenetwork....ead.php?t=10270 it's the method used to make older bayonet sheaths, sword sheaths, and many other products... The only commercial source I've seen for half-tan is Brisa (https://www.brisa.fi...dex&cPath=93_66) in Europe - the price is steep and by using the cuir bouilli method you'll get the same effect using standard grade leather......... Brisa also sells pressed leather which I'd bet is the shaft leather by another name.
  20. The best advice given - speaking as an ex accountant........ As for protecting your personal property - being a corporation or an LLC is not always as safe or as good as you might think (in many circumstances "they" can come after your personal property even if a corp or LLC, despite what even the pros advise) - all depends on several factors.........again talk to a CPA or other tax pro in your state........when this kind of question pops up on forums and I often cringe at some of the advice given .......talk to the guys in the know for your state and circumstances, things change and it is based on state to state as wll as the Fed - when working as an accountant I did 3-4 months of continuing education just to keep up with the changes in the laws, both fed and state........
  21. Yes it is an option - it also makes THE best black leather "dye". Vinegar/iron = ferric acetate I find that I get more "depth" to the grain when using AF rather than the vinegar/iron mix so prefer it for that reason........
  22. Springfield Leather - they have a website - call Kevin and the folks there, they will cut leather to the size needed, but remember it costs a whole lot more per sq ft when cut
  23. Howdy Jerry - With the crystals I start with a 3:1 mix of distilled water and the crystals - have gone to a 5:1 mix for a different look. I add iron when using the Wahkon Bay pre-mix since I find it to be too hot - just add bits of iron until it quits dissolving it. WB is in fact a mix of nitric, muriatic, and iron - the muriatic may be making it hotter. I've also added some muriatic to the crystal mix - I "seem" to get a bit more reds depending on the wood, but adding muriatic also means using a bit more heat for a longer period to make sure it off gases the muriatic. For a neutralizer I like lye or potash, my neighbor is a furniture refinisher and gets liquid potash by the gallon. While maple is the most common wood to use AF on I have also used it on: English oak, curly Black Walnut, and Osage. On the oak and walnut I used a 10: 1 dilute mix, so it wouldn't over darken, yet it brought out the grain. Final color will depend on the piece of wood - you can also add tannin to the maple to darken the soft layers - STRONG black tea, walnut hulls, oak bark or galls, sumac leaves, etc. are all good sources of tannin. Sugar Maple - a bit of glare but......: English Oak: Black Walnut - a bit too much glare - much better in life....... Osage - really popped the grain and "dulled" the orange....... While I do use dyes sometimes to tweak a color, mostly I just use AF since IMO there is nothing like it especially on maple for making the grain "pop", especially when finished with a traitional real boiled linseed oil based varnish, whihc is the finish used on all of the above. You can make the varnish yourself or get the Tried and True Oil varnish and add bit of white lead (I make my own by putting lead in contact with vinegar until it "sugars" up). Get or make some aerated real turpentine and use to thin the varnish for the first few coats. If you want a bit harder varnish add some more rezin - either heat it the oil and add the rezin or dissolve it in the turpentine and then add to the mix.
  24. hmmmm I'm with Alan never heard or seen such a thing but then again with nitric I never use steel wool as the reaction is generally too fast. As for neutralizing - with nitric based AF it is required since nitric doesn't have the high volatility that acetic does (acetic is usually vinegar based) - potash, lye, ammonia, or baking soda are all used for netralizing.... On the other hand these days I just buy Ferric nitrate crystals (aka nitric acid + iron aka aqua fortis) from the The Science Company or Wahkon Bay AF (with the WB AF I do add more iron since it is generally fairly "hot" for my tastes............
  25. For the best American tanned leather either Wickett & Craig (www.wickett-craig.com) or Herman Oak Leather (various vendors). For smaller sizes (you pay a premium price though) Springfield Leather offers cut pieces (Springfiled is also a dealer for H/Oak IIRC) While good leather can be had from other suppliers such as Tandy it is hit or miss and most of it is imported. Like anything else in life you get what you pay for and once you use GOOD leather wou will inderstand the difference and why the pros almost exclusively use one of the first two.........
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