Sunday, March 3, 2013

Scharf-Fix-er upper

   What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than learning how to shave leather? Thanks to the loan of a slightly wonky but totally usable scharf-fix (a la Paper Dragon Books + the generous Gavin Dovey) I am learning how to shave leather for books. This piece of machinery is basically a razor blade plane that mounts to a countertop. You basically just pull the leather through from left to right across a roller and blade, adjusting the height and angle of the blade to get a thinner shave. So far the Schar-fix is proving to be more than a little difficult to master, but I am determined to tame the little shrew. 

The basic idea is to mark (in pen) a one inch turn in across the top and bottom of a piece of hide, and then shave that down to 4 mm. Then gradually you level off/bevel/smooth the area between the turn in and the rest of the hide so it's a smooth transition. Once that's smoothed out you return to the edge and shave it down even further, to around 3mm, which is easier said than done.
I'm practicing on some beautifully colored strips and more or less chomping at the bit to do a full leather binding. I just learned how to do leather corners (more on that once I try it first hand and snap some photos) so expect some information on that soon. In the meantime the shavings make a beautiful mess of colorful leather dust which I am desperately trying to think of a use for. Maybe I'll start a flocking project...

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