Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Learning Leathercraft with Jim Linnell – Lesson 5: Beveling Lines

Join us in this weekly series on tooling a floral wallet back with tips and tricks from award-winning leatherworker Jim Linnell!

Find the free pattern for this project on the Leathercraft Library at bit.ly/LearnWithLinnell



Materials Used In Lesson 5:


Mallet or Maul

4-5 oz Vegetable Tanned Leather


A few things learned from this video:

Every line you initially cut will need to be beveled, so this step can take a while.  Make sure you keep the moisture content right to get the best results with it.  If the leather is too wet, it may squish the leather rather than compress it and you may not get the nice dark brown color from beveling.  If it is too dry, you may not get enough depth or a crisp impression.

Beveling presses down one side of the line made with your swivel knife cuts to make the design look three dimensional.  Belevers come in a variety of sizes and textures, so it is handy to have a variety on hand.  Use the largest sized beveler that will effectively accomplish the task at hand, however also learn to recognize when you need to use a smaller beveler as well.

A big problem most people have with beveling is trying to guess which side of the line the impression goes on.  Typically you will want to bevel to the outside of the part of the pattern you want to stand out, however it is useful to refer to the photocarve to know where the beveling is supposed to go.

When using the tool, always have face of the tool facing you.  You need to be able to see the face of the tool to ensure good beveling.

Your goal is to bevel the depth of the cut in the leather, so make sure your beveling is deep enough for the best results.

For smooth beveling, only move the tool 1/3 or 1/4 of the tool width with each strike, overlapping each impression.  Have a tight grip on the tool is important for allowing it to recoil along the line, keeping the tool hovering just above the leather.  Do not hold it too tight, as pushing down creates hole; allow the tool to bounce along in a similar motion to a jack hammer.

A general rule of beveling is that you want to bevel the items that are closest to you.

Professional looking beveling should feather out, much like your swivel knife cuts and pear shading.  It should have its deepest towards the edge of the line, but eventually lighten and fade towards the end of cut.


Join us next week as we continue to tool the wallet back and learn technique tips for decorative tooling!