On the Edge: The Necessary Fundamentals: click to enlarge

On the Edge: The Necessary Fundamentals

On-line registration is now closed. Please register for workshops at the Leather Crafters & Saddlers Journal Booth at the trade show.

On the Edge: The Necessary Fundamentals

Paul Zalesak

Thursday, March 1, 8 am - 5 pm

Prescott Room - Precscott Resort & Conference Center

Skill Level: All skill levels welcome!

The proper maintenance of your cutting tools is crucial for any leather worker, and in this workshop you will delve into the fundamental principals and techniques of properly and consistently sharpening and maintaining all your leather cutting tools.

Why fight with dull, uncooperative tools when it is quick and easy to improve your quality of life? Not only do sharp tools make your work easier, but they also make your finished product look better. Why fight it when you can fix it?

Paul is uniquely qualified to teach this subject in that he did leatherwork for more than 30 years before he started making knives. Therefore he is thoroughly familiar with the special requirements of this industry.

Bob Park affirms that, “It is important to spend as much time learning to sharpen your tools as it is to do your leather craft projects. All the emphasis has been on buying tools to do the job but we leave out how to keep your cutting tools ready to work. While we teach the importance of constructing, tooling, and stamping projects – how to sharpen is equally as important. The sharpening class that Paul teaches should be required learning for every leathercrafter at all skill levels.”

Paul will cover different types of sharpening media and various proven methods while you spend time sharpening some of your own tools with his guidance and direction. We will also spend some time on swivel knife technique that will help you advance your carving style, as well as improve your ability, performance, and endurance. You will learn how to utilize a proven method of swivel knife exercises, and learn tips and tricks that Paul has learned through the years to elevate your leather work to a higher level. The price of the workshop includes a copy of Paul’s “On the Edge” book, which is a compilation of 11 articles as featured in the Leather Crafters & Saddlers Journal.Adhesive provided by Renia USA.

Materials to Bring: Swivel knife, plus 3-5 other leather cutting tools (round knife, skiver, pocket knife, draw gauge blade, trim knife, splitter blade, etc.), your favorite sharpening media (diamond hones, water stones), Tandy® keen edge sharpening fixture (or other fixture for your swivel knife blade), a 2”x 4” wooden block the length of your sharpening media (to make a riser block), strop, wipe rags and scrap leather for practice. If you are lacking any of the above, don’t worry – extras will be available for you to work with. No need to buy any new tools beforehand – this class will help you make better choices.

Paul Zalesak, founding president of Leather Wranglers, Inc., began tooling leather in 1974 in El Paso, Texas, under the tutelage of Jim Resley. A leather artist, knife maker, and expert in metallurgy, Paul also loves to teach basic swivel knife use and sharpening techniques. He is vice president of the International Internet Leathercrafters’ Guild, and is a member of the New Mexico Roadrunner Leather Artisans’ Guild, the Colorado Saddle Makers Association and the Lone Star Leather Crafters Guild.