I've had these clevises in my leather kit for at least a year with the intention of making one of these bracelets. This one ended up being a bit small for me, but turned out really well otherwise. I'll refine the design and rephotograph tomorrow..

I've been playing with leather braids today. What do you think? Over the last few weeks, I've been trying to catch up on a variety of projects that need my attention lately, but I've been neglecting my creative needs.
I want to build a new collar of my own making for @meetmancha, but my leather working skills are feeling pretty rusty. This is a welcome re-introduction to working with such a versatile material.
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It only seems fit­ting after com­mem­o­rat­ing the vicious  cost of war that I should leave Ottawa with a lit­tle nod to a sym­bol of peace. Over the (ahem) tail end of last week, I had the great for­tune to take a course at the Ottawa City Wood­shop with the Min­i­mal­ist Wood­work­er, Vic Tes­salin (Shame­less plug, buy his new book here!).  The course focused on the essen­tial basics of wood­work­ing right from the the­o­ry side of wood­work­ing (there’s a sur­pris­ing amount of detail to be learned here) to the cut­ting my first-ever dove tail joints and the mak­ing of a small wood­en box.

Vic’s knowl­edge, expe­ri­ence and pas­sion for wood­work­ing made the course engag­ing and extreme­ly infor­ma­tive. On the third day, after learn­ing some the­o­ry and see­ing the skills demon­strat­ed, the class pro­ceed­ed to saw, chis­el and (in my case) hack away at some small pre-cut pieces of pine.   Coached along by Vic and some addi­tion­al help from Mike from the Wood­shop we pro­ceed­ed to con­struct our box­es.

I’m real­ly pleased with the result, and to add anoth­er skill to my inven­to­ry.  I’ve been doing pret­ty rudi­men­ta­ry car­pen­try for years, but prop­er join­ery is some­thing that fas­ci­nates me.   The most beau­ti­ful part of this is that aside from a cou­ple of elec­tric saw cuts to get all of our mate­ri­als ready (en mass), this whole project was done with hand tools.   As I read and watch more tuto­ri­als I’m steadi­ly real­iz­ing that hand tools are an far sight faster when you’re build­ing cus­tom pieces.   The ten­den­cy to pull out a table saw, skill saw, or sander to build sim­ple stuff is huge, and espe­cial­ly for begin­ners, they’re far less intim­i­dat­ing than some­thing like a hand plane..  Which real­ly is counter-intu­itive..

Let me tell you though, mak­ing shav­ings with a hand plane is OH-so sat­is­fy­ing..   Sooooo much sat­is­fy…

Made a dovetailed box at the Ottawa City Woodshop. This is the final product, and I'm super pleased with how it turned out.

Made a dove­tailed box at the Ottawa City Wood­shop. This is the final prod­uct, and I’m super pleased with how it turned out.

Seri­ous­ly, if you’re in, near or trav­el­ling past Ottawa any time soon, go take a course.. These guys are awe­some!

But wait, there’s more..

So, I’ve got to con­fess.   While I’ve been on a bit of a min­i­mal­ism kick late­ly, I’ve been find­ing myself going a lit­tle stir-crazy with­out hav­ing tools to make, build and cre­ate..   I’m wait­ing on some of my stuff to arrive from Cal­gary, and that will help, but I couldn’t help myself any longer, so I tracked down Zelikovitz Leathers in Ottawa, and bought some basic sup­plies to do a bit of leather work. I tried to get stuff  that I didn’t already have, and now I’ll have a pret­ty well round­ed kit when the rest gets here.  It’s also worth men­tion­ing that the ladies at the shop were incred­i­bly help­ful and very friend­ly and I’ll def­i­nite­ly be back when I’m through town again. I did find leather prices quite a bit more expen­sive than my favourite shop in Cal­gary (Buck­skin Leather) but their selec­tion of equip­ment and tools was awe­some..

I’ve want­ed to build myself a wal­let for a while, and nev­er quite got around to doing it, so after the wood­shop course was done last night, I stayed up a bit late and built one..  I’m super-pleased with the result of this one too.   My stitch­ing is a bit askew at the cor­ner, but over­all it seems to hold my cards real­ly well, and I’m super pleased with the Zelikovitz brand Mid­night Blue leather dye.  It’s water based, and super-easy to clean up for a slop­py mak­er like this guy!

A day of Creativity, new wallet and my first-ever dovetailed box.

A day of Cre­ativ­i­ty, new wal­let and my first-ever dove­tailed box.

I even made a sheath for the stitch­ing chis­el that I picked up Zelikovitz; these are an in-house brand and super sharp!

(Sor­ry about the colour on this pho­to, I’m try­ing to get this post pub­lished and well, the colour cor­rec­tion depart­ment is on hol­i­day..)

Made a sheath for my perforating chisel.

Made a sheath for my per­fo­rat­ing chis­el.