Daddy’s Pencil Case

My dad asked me to make him a leather case to hold a carpenter’s pencil and a six inch scale that he could clip onto his belt when out in his workshop. Then, he’d always have a pencil and scale handy and not have to worry about either falling out of his shirt pocket.

It’s not perfect… hand stitched by a half blind woman, not exactly square, but he’s happy with it and that’s all that matters. He’ll be 84 years old on October 23rd.

I snapped photos along the way. The leather used was 3 layers of veg-tanned cowhide, with a belt clip sandwiched between two layers cut from a leftover Tandy checkbook cover kit. The pocket is also veg-tanned tooling leather, but softer and lighter weight, maybe only 3 oz, don’t remember as it’s been awhile since I’ve done any leatherwork.

Yeah, just rooted through my leather box and used what was on hand.

Dying was an afterthought, so I took a paint brush with liquid dye down inside after he changed his mind from natural to brown. I didn’t have anything to finish it with so I just rubbed it down with leather conditioner and popped it into the mail.

This little project was good for me as it broke my mask making obsession. Half the country thinks it’s a hoax that will magically vanish on election day anyways. They say I’m scared, call me a sheep… I don’t care. Some wouldn’t shake their shoes out for scorpions or socially distance from a rattlesnake (little lessons learned in west Texas) so I don’t expect them to understand the difference between scared and just being aware.

Take care of you and yours… thanks for reading!

DecoArt TOPCOAT Review

A picture is worth a thousand words… it is NOT supposed to dry to a crackle finish, so pour at your own risk.

Since I carefully followed the directions, I expected what the label promised. Here’s a direct quote, reading right off the back of the bottle: “Create a high end finish with this one-step pouring topcoat. Dries to a lacquer-like, high gloss finish. Ideal for canvases, wood panels, or other flat art surfaces.”

It did NOT crackle on the wooden crosses, but I was having problems getting it to flow evenly over the layered surfaces with all those side edges, too. I only bought two bottles, didn’t want to waste it, so I used a cheap disposable paint brush to help coat the sides and played with it so much that my brush strokes were retained, even after it dried. That’s okay… I will try pouring this stuff on simple shapes, like square or round wooden panels.

The third test was just a curiosity experiment. I dredged a little piece of scrap paper (cut from a acrylic pour on watercolor paper) through a thin layer of TOPCOAT that was left on my drip tray after pouring the excess back into the bottle, pretty much just to wet it with a thin layer of glaze without trying to smooth it or anything. It dried retaining the initial texture of application,, but did not crackle.

Is there anyway to thin this stuff?

I feel like it went on too thick… that one or two thinner layers would have much better results, would flow easier, and may even result in a smoother surface finish. As for the ruined canvas, I’m debating if I should try to fix it, maybe pour on another layer, or just let it go… call it Halloween Art, as if the crackles were intentional.

Hey, at least it wasn’t my best work. Here’s what “Crone’s Pass” looked like BEFORE pouring on that DecoArt TOPCOAT acrylic finish.

Maybe the clear glitter (sprinkled lightly over the surface here and there when the paint was wet 4 months ago, hard to see it in the photo) encouraged it to crackle? Does the brand/tightness of the canvas make a difference?

Can it be thinned? If so, with what? Did I purchase old stock? Maybe it’s not supposed to be that thick. Why did Blick ship it wrapped in what looked like food storage plastic wrap? Why wasn’t there some kind of seal under the lid?

Has anyone had any good experiences with pouring this stuff on canvas?