Monday, February 10, 2014

Inside job

With no chance to work on my workshop, I can still work in it.  Sadly, the roof leaks something awful, which means I have to push all the big equipment (lawn mower, rusty band saw, etc.) out of the way of the drips, substantially cutting into my workable space.

Also, in a rat-killing frenzy a few years back, I pulled out all of the homemade shelving the previous owner had installed.  The shelves were hideously ugly, and even worse, had many cracks and crevices perfect for storing rat droppings and old walnut shells, but now all I have is a poorly-made (but not by me this time!) work "bench top" and the ribs of the walls on which to hang things.  I put up a couple of pegboards, which are a little bit handy, but not by much.  Mostly, stuff is stacked or lays on the floor -- not conducive to getting any work done. 

Last night, however, I made a quick mental check of materials, and realized that I could bang out a quick version of a tool I've been needing for quite some time:  A leather stitching pony.

A stitching pony is a third hand for leather workers.  It is basically two long pieces of wood to make a clamp, vertically attached to one long piece of wood as a base.  One of the vertical pieces is attached by a hinge, and the other is just screwed into place.  A bolt with a wingnut runs through the two vertical pieces, and leather is glued to the ends, making a soft clamp for holding pieces of leather while you sew them together.

Here's a picture of mine:

Admittedly, not my best work.  I used one long 2x4 piece of redwood, because though I knew I had two good pieces of 1x4, it turns out I really don't know what I know (now THAT would blow Don Rumsfeld's mind).  I ripped a 16" piece with my rusty bandsaw, and attached the pieces to the base with screws lying around in the shop.

Attaching the piece to the hinge was a bit trickier because, of course, I didn't have screws short enough to not poke through the other side.  This here:

 is my solution.  I cut the ends off the screws with my rusty Dremel tool.

Next, I realized that I didn't have a bolt the right size, so I took a trip to the local hardware store, after all, for 5/16" bolts, wingnuts and a 5/16" drill bit.  I was going to do at least one thing right.  I picked 1.5" bolts, so that I wouldn't have a bunch of extra bolt hanging out the side.

At home, I put it all together, and glued leather pieces to the jaws.  After glueing the leather, then placing an example piece in the clamp, I realized I'd bought bolts too short.  So much for doing one thing right.  One more trip...

Thus, the 20% markup on my projects.


Hippo said...

Still can't work out how you use the clamp! Perhaps I need some photos of you using it.

Please remind me never to ask you to do any job requiring a bit of planning and forethought!

Josh said...

I'll get you some pictures, Hippo. It wasn't a job that required a huge amount of detail -- it's just a big wood clamp. For your projects, I'll mark up 40%.

Bud said...

Josh, we are not gnostics, fartherest thing from it. We work with the knowledge we have, not with the knowledge we wish we had.

Hippo said...

If you could guarantee only a 40% overrun I'd hire you like a shot! The contractor who started the restaurant build, a three month job he said, overran by a year and then went bust!

I spent the day today restoring three of my old dining chairs (you may have caught glimpses of them in pictures on my blog. Like me, they were getting old and creaky and the two with arms, an arm each fell off so I gently dismantled them all, drilled the dowel pins out, wittled new dowel pins and then glued them all back together. I started not really having a clue what I was doing and finished with fully functional chairs again, I was really pleased. It was a real nice way to spend a Sunday!

I have also thought of a use for your stitching pony. The seams of Marcia's sofa cover have come apart. I tried to sew it back together again but made a hash of it because I could not hold the seams together as I stitched. With your pony, the job will be easy so thanks for explaining it to me, even an old dog like me loves learning useful new tricks!

Josh said...

Hey, Dad -- Don Rumsfeld sure has had quite the influence on our philosophical lives, hasn't he?

Hippo, I'm sorry to hear about the contractor. I did see the chairs, which are much nicer than I'd be able to throw together.

I'm also happy to hear that I helped out, if just a bit, by showing you a stitching pony. Good luck!