Across Leather Studio

Welcome to Across Leather Studio. What are the processes, procedures, materials used and why…. are just some of curiosities.. you may have. How do I go about getting a custom made, custom tooled, custom dyed leather dog collar for your most loyal being on the planet? Reading this means you are on your way  to share your thoughts about your pets character or how you want it to compliment him/her and you but not to over power the pets beauty or handsomeness. Maybe a theme your thinking about ie your favorite pattern, color, team, floating hearts, dragonflies, roses, daisiues, wild roses and on and on….. I mix my own colors. Do you have story to share within the artwork on the collar. These sentences are not to lock your mind into an idea but to set it free. My goal is to bring your wildest dreams and visions to life on leather. Here’s how they look after having just the liner glued in.

Shown is a hound type collar. At it's widest point is 2.75" and tapers down to 1". Commonly used with some of the fastest running dogs

Deciding on a collars shape and function is at the head of the list when planning to create a collar for your pet. This style would be considered a hound collar that many use with Saluki’s, Greyhounds, Whippets, Lurcher’s, and on.. Reason being they’re able to take off with such inertia and one flick their of their head  and off the collar goes.

With that being said, I hand cut two strips of leathers. The outer leather I utilize between 12 – 14 oz. saddle skirting leather. It goes through 10 more processes than standard vegetable tanned leather. For the inner leather is 3 – 4 or 5 – 6 oz. vegetable tanned leather. I skive(to make thinner) the buckle end to half it’s thickness and some. I also skive the tongue end(where the holes are) to half it’s thickness and some. Then I grab an assortment of sanding tools to perfect the bevel I’ve created. Why do I do this. For comfort of your pet. If both ends were left in full thicknesses it would total three complete thicknesses. Unsightly, uncool and uncomfortable. I then skive the 5 – 6 oz liner piece similar to the outer and glue together with Barge shoe glue. They call it the “Nail less glue”. After fully glued I usually incorporate tapered ends, like 2″ down to 1 1/2″, why you ask? One for comfort of your pet, I think it adds a little style to the piece.

Before all of the above I’ll find out from you a couple critical things 1) Neck size with two finger rule for comfort or a judgement call on the smaller ones. 2) Lots of folks tend to get a wider collar when the option is there. So I’ll ask you to simulate as to where the new wider collar will sit and will it effect the neck size being it may sit lower or higher on your pets neck.

With our creative theme at hand I make a template on vellum or plastic film and 24 hours prior I pass the collar through my water filled sink for several seconds or you see the bubbles start to dissipate and put into plastic bag almost all the way closed.. This process is called “casing the leather” . It helps with getting the water to the core, fibers swell then when it’s ready you’ll obtain crisper cuts, better shading from the correct amount of moisture still in the leather. It took me years to perfect but there are days I am like a kindergartner knowing when to start.

Before I put the template on the collar I’ll measure for the holes and depending on the buckle type cutting the slot for the buckle pin or not using a center bar buckle. Then ultimately finding top dead center. I look at the collar in four quadrants. Top dead center, left, right and buckle area. I say that for if you’re looking at the collar from directly above you’ll see the main view. From either side could be something completely different.

Placing the tracing film or not because some things I freehand cutting the designs into the leather.

Custom tooled leather wallet with scrolls, a swivel knife with ceramic blade also in this picture accompanied by two stamping tools and a knife.

Swivel knife with ceramic blade on the left.

After all of the pattern has been transferred the swivel knife is used to cut the lines into the leather and is where it all begins for the tooling to follow.

Whippet leather collar shown. 2 1/2" widse and 14" neck size.

Starting with two (2) hand cutstrips of leather. European single bend outer leather and a premium goatskin interior leather.


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