People say it is possible to love archery too much, but I choose not to listen to those people. For they are villians.
One of the things I've been doing around my local group is constructing archery bracers for people! Now I'm not exactly an expert leatherworker, but I bought some tools, read a few books and began my journey into, as my friend Owen put it, crafting from the flesh of beasts!
Ok first step is to get some leather...
|Maybe not that fresh...|
Next step was cutting it into shape. I later realized measuring your subject's arm is a great place to start, but for this project I kinda winged it. The subject in question is a newer archer and friend of mine, Finndabhair. She's got one of those Pictish personas (if you couldn't guess by the name) and wanted something Celtic/Gaelic/Led Zeppelin-esque on her bracer. No problem, says I!
|I decided not to go for the Icarus|
I printed off the celtic symbol for infinity from the internet, after I sized it about how I wanted using Photoshop (set canvas size to 3 inches, for example). After wetting the leather a little under the tap, I took the picture and an empty ballpoint pen to the leather. Laying the paper on top and tracing over the lines with the pen left an impression into the soft, wet leather of the design I wanted! After the tracing was done, I took a swivel knife (dead handy tool) and traced over the indentations on the leather, being very mindful of the weaving pattern.
Next step was to take a stamp and give the inside of the design some texture. Keep in mind this was my first time to the rodeo, and I think I just used the most basic of stamps and didn't even bevel the edges of the knotting pattern. Ah well, live and learn. But I did do something that I thought would really make the device pop!
|Jimmy Page could not autograph it|
I took a bottle of leather waterproofing, a paintbrush and started very carefully painting the lines of the celtic knot. I gave it three coats, just to be safe, before getting the leather damp with a cloth and applying a dye. I was hoping that after I applied a layer of dark brown dye, the waterproofing would leave the knot an ordinary leather colour.
|Would ya look at that! My floor is a mess...|
I was very impressed with the how it turned out. I did have to wipe off some of the dye from the waterproofed section, but it beaded nicely off the knot. Just needed to dab it off with some paper towel and I was left with this nice golden celtic design on a leather bracer. The last thing I wanted to do was shape it, so I got the inside a bit damp and wrapped it around a wine bottle.
|Protect your wrist or hooch from bowstrings!|
I was very happy with the final product. The only complaint I had with it was it didn't fit my friend Finn perfectly, it was a little wide for her arm and the laces didn't keep it on that tight. She solved it by relacing it a different way and it seems to be performing quite well!
Since this was my first attempt, I gave it to her as a gift. There are a lot of other things I would have liked to go back and do to it, such as add some lines around the edges using a grooving tool, as well as rounding off the cut edges of the bracer using an edge beveler. But I look on this as my first real piece of leatherwork and a functional gift for a fellow archer.