Leather Case Binding
We have very recently started working with leather, building on the standard case binding structure but adding headcaps (see close up shot). Headcap formation remains a constant source of aggravation in my day. I am ready for spring break.
Man it has been way too long. So much stuff has been happening around the bindery I am going to break up the last semester into a few different posts. First off in October we had the privilege of doing a knife making and sharpening workshop with Jeff Peachey and Jim Croft. We started by making our sharpening kits which consisted of lapping aluminum plates together to make them as flat as possible. Then you adhere a sheet of 3m micro finishing film to both sides of the two plates. We use a grit progression of 80,40,15 and 5 micron. We also made a horse butt strop to finish the polishing. Flattening the plates took most of the first day. Then we were each given a 1/4 inch hacksaw blade and turned loose on the grinders to clean up the blades and set the bevel, which needs to be ground to 13 degrees, the best angle for paring leather and lifting material. After making a couple lifting knives (the little ones with wood handles) I was feeling a little frustrated but I was getting a feel for the process. I decided to attempt a larger english paring knife next (the pointy one). Again its all about maintaining that 13 degrees and being patient. Jim Croft was so helpful at this point he showed me how to use a magnifying glass to tell when its time to move on to a finer grit. Its is tempting to move through the grits too fast and it can seem like a fine compromise however a blade with a mirror finish is like no other and patience is rewarded in sharpening. It took me most of the day to make the english style knife but I think it really helped me to nail down the process and I was feeling pretty confident. The last day I decided to test my patience and make a swiss style paring knife (the curved one). I got a blank but the bevel was set too steep so I took it to the belt grinder to set a 13 degree bevel. I was really nervous about the grinder cause a lot of things can go wrong and the motion to set a curved bevel seemed a bit unnatural to me. On the grinder and throughout the honing process the motion is sort of like drawing a smily face across the abrasive and rocking the blade at the same time. It took me almost two days and three tries but I think this is the sharpest knife I made. This was for sure one of the more difficult weeks at school for me but I feel much more confident in my sharpening skills. It really is a great feeling to work with tools that I made myself. Also getting to meet Jeff and Jim was great, they are so knowledgeable and willing to share what they know.