leather shapes leather shapes



Pyrography — continued

Making your own points is simple:- Tools you will find useful are small pliers, wire cutters, a small screwdriver and a sharpening stone for polishing the points. Switch off first, and, before removing the old point, make sure you allow the terminals to cool. If you are impatient you could dip them in water. Snip off a length of wire about 1¼" (32mm) long, using only special nickel-chromium wire. Wear safety spectacles and direct the cut piece safely away from you. Form the wire into a U shape. Fit into the terminals — not under the screw-heads but between the nuts and terminal struts, then tighten. Squeeze the end with the pliers to the shape you want. The tip should be compacted with the power switched as the metal will be softer, and the job is finished.

Tools required

Cool the terminals

Snip off a length of wire

Fit U shape into terminals

Squeeze to required shape

Shaping and polishing stone

Compacting the end with pliers

You’ve sorted out your machine and the various burning points you are initially likely to need so let’s get on with it. First, you need to set up your work area. Make sure that the place you are working in is well lit and that there is nothing close by that can burn. You do not want to burn anything except the leather you are working on! Make sure that the light source is in front so as not to cast a shadow onto your working area. You really need to be able to see what you are doing! You don't need a lot of space on which to work, an area of about 3' wide by 2' deep is sufficient. Make sure you put something on your work-surface to protect it from being burnt by the hot iron. I'd recommend a piece of formica or masonite for this purpose. These materials resist heat well, and although they can scorch from the heat, they do a very good job of protecting the surface on which they are placed.

Using patterns:- Patterns or templates are not a necessary part of burning, but they make things a lot easier. If you are good at drawing you can make your own. But keep the subject simple, something that can be rendered with lines and some shading. If you cannot draw you can trace over some picture or design that you have found and would like to burn onto leather. But keep the subject simple while you are learning.

You can buy patterns of various kinds. Useful sources are Tandy Leather or The Identity Store for ‘Craftaid’ templates. These clear templates with their raised ridges allow you to faithfully reproduce patterns as they were originally drawn by the artist. They have a vast range of subject matter including lettering and numbers. Simply dampen the surface of your leather, place the template ridge-side down on it and apply pressure, either by pressing, or tapping gently with a mallet, and the pattern is impressed into the surface. Naturally you let the leather dry before proceeding with any burning.

Kinds of tips:- There are four tips that I would recommend for use in burning. A knife tip, which has a point, two sides, and a knife edge. This tip can be used in many ways. A pointed, cone tip is used for very fine lines and some shading. A rounded tip is used for bold lines and dark shading. Finally a flat tip, which looks like a small trowel, and can be used for many things. You can make fine lines with the pointed end, you can darken the line by adjusting the tool angle, or you can do shading by using the flat portion. The use of the tips will be discussed in more detail later.



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leather shapes leather shapes