The pictures you see here were done using a technique I call “intricate leather surface modeling.” No swivel knives or stamping tools are ever used, and all work is 100% detail driven.
Only three tools were used to do these pictures: two modeling tools, one of them 1/64" wide and one of them 1/32" wide for detail forming, and a stylus for tracing and background texture.
These tools are handmade from spring steel wire and shaped and reshaped until they do exactly what I need them to do.
As important as the tools are for forming very small details, the leather must also possess certain qualities that will allow it to not only accept these details but also retain their shape regardless of their complexity.
The photos you see here were done on Weaver Select tooling leather.
I was recently introduced to this leather at a leather show where I was able to play around with a piece of it. Not only is this leather free of any blemishes, it seems to be somewhat stiffer and close-grained, which allows me to form much smaller and more exact details than I ever could with softer leather where those details would either just rise back up or run the risk of being overworked.
It also takes Hi-Liter and antique finish better than other leathers I’ve tried.
All in all, I’m extremely satisfied with my results, and I am eager to see how much more this leather will let me accomplish.