Earlier this year I sold the first bow I ever owned to my friend, Thorun. I wasn't shooting with it anymore, she wanted something to shoot with... so it all worked out! I sold her the bow, the case and a stringer for a decent price. But as any true salesman will tell you, it's all about the add-ons. So I offered to make her a custom leather bracer as well. Five months later (never said salesmen were prompt), this is what I came up with!
This bracer was a bit different from the others, I used a thinner grade of leather for this one, and it had an interesting effect. The tooling required almost no effort at all, and it left some very nice impressions. It is a big more wiggly than the typical stiff bracers I'm used to, but I think this also means there is less chance, as time goes on, of the leather drying out and cracking. Plus it has a really nice texture.
I went through the usual steps for cutting out the bracer and rounded off the edges. After wetting the leather (as always), I cut the holes out for the lacing, beveled the edges, then took a stitching groover and created a line running about an inch and a half around the edge of the bracer.
Taking one of my stamps and a mallet (not a hammer, too heavy), I placed the leather on an anvil and gave the stamp two whacks just beside the groove I cut. This was more than enough to leave an impression. I traced the line with the stamp to create a very nice border effect. Then I grooved out another line along the edge of the stamping. Voila! Instant fancy border!
I wanted to try something a little new for this bracer. After speaking with Thorun, I decided to put her name in Norse runes on it. The website I used to translate her Norse name into runes can be found here.
I traced the runes onto a piece of paper, then traced it onto the bracer using the empty pen method. Taking the swivel knife to the smaller rune lines was a bit tricky, but the bevelled stamp I used really made it pop. I gave it a coating of water sealer and tied it up using leather lace.
|For those keeping count, the TH is one letter.|
Overall, I was happy with the result. In the future if I put script on a bracer, I'll use a larger font (I did use a pretty big font already) to give me some wiggle room with the knife and stamp, and some of the lines are a tad uneven. But I really like the border effect and I'm quite proud to give my friend something unique she can shoot with for years. The fact that she's giving me a little cash doesn't hurt either!