Scott Begin (70334.376@COMPUSERVE.COM)
Fri, 15 May 1992 23:41:52 EDT
It sounds like we have yet another scouter hooked on Leatherworking. Don't
feel bad, I saw many others (scouts and scouters alike) get bitten during my
two years as a Handicraft Instructor at Camp Rota Kiwan.
Although the BSA supply catalog is a good place to get started, if you want
to "get serious," you need to go directly to the source. Tandy Leather
Company supplies the BSA with their leatherworking supplies, and you can get
all items in the BSA catalog from Tandy. They have about 200 stores accross
the USA (and more outside the US).
Unfortunately, I don't have my Tandy catalog handy...it's somewhere at my
parent's place (although I could have it after this weekend). However they
do run regular ads in Boys_Life and Scouting magazine (see p.43 of the
May-June 1992 Scouting or p. 69 of the May 1992 BL). They don't have any
telephone numbers, but the address they give is Tandy Leather Company;
P. O. Box 2934; Fort Worth, TX 76113. I believe they will charge you $2 for
a catalog, but it is refunded on your first purchase. All orders are
handled by the local stores (I've usually received orders within a week when
paying with a Credit Card). The catalog list all store locations. The
stores will also offer classes (there is a study at home course as well),
and possibly could be pursuaded to do demo's for scout groups.
Now as far as getting stamps made: About 2 years ago, Tandy introduced
Custom Made stamps. To get a stamp about the size of the Scouting Emblem
Stamp (about 1"), you submitted your artwork and about $20-$25. Last year,
I know that with a big enough order (on the order of outfitting a Camp
HandiCraft area for the summer), they gave you a free custom made stamp,
although I don't know if this was a special offer for camps only. I suspect
that once you make one design, you can get multiple stamps made for little
more. Camp Rota Kiwan had one made that showed a Scout Sign.
A word of caution about using the custom made stamps. They are not as
sturdy as the regular issue stamps Tandy has. They also require a
significant ammount of pressure to get a good impression. This mean either
get the biggest leatherworking maul you can find (if you can afford it),
one of Tandy's Hefty Handles (far superior to the things they include with
the Scout Stamps), and a workbench which can withstand some pounding, or invest
the money in one of their imprinting machines (about $150). If you intend
to get serious, and can afford it, the second way is the best. All it takes
is one stamping done with their imprinting machine and you'll want it.
What you may be thinking of by making your own stamps for a Merit Badge
probably stems from the old Leatherwork Merit Badge Phamplet (prior to
1983/84 revision). In there, they showed how to make your own stamp tools
from nails (which could be used to stamp patterns and designs into leather,
rather than just stamping an emblem on the leather). I will admit that the
phamplet at that time had kind of a "do it yourself" writing to it that
seemed out of the 1950's. Tandy helped revise the Leatherwork Merit Badge
Phamplet and I think they did a wonderful job.
The only other comment on custom made stamps is that the Handicraft Director
I worked under (and current HD at Rota-Kiwan) Dick Paxson had some stamps
custom made in 1985. They came as a sheet of metal (I don't remember which
kind) 6"x9" and was made for about $75 (maybe more). He then had to cut them
apart and get some handles made for them (with help of a machinist). Once
handles were made, it probably wasn't any cheaper than what Tandy charges to
make a stamp. I have no idea where he went to get those made (although if it
was important enough, I could ask).
If you haven't figured out, this can get to be an expensive hobby (all told,
my tool inventory is probably worth $500-$1000, and I consider myself to be
equipped to the level of an advanced beginner or intemediate leatherworker.
This is not to say that you can't turn out some nice things with $25 in
supplies and equipment, but you can do some nice things easier and quicker
with more equpment. The investment in tools and supplies is well worth it
when someone complements you on your belt, billfold, or checkbook.
Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with Tandy Leather other than as a
Yours in Scouting,
Scott A. Begin Assistant Scoutmaster
70334.376@Compuserve.com Philmont Staff Association
Oak Forest, IL Alpha Phi Omega, Epsilon Beta Chapter
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City