Leather Stamp for my wallet

leather

#1

Finally got around to trying to stamp my wallet. It turned out ok, but I definitely need more clamping power. I used 2 basic hand squeeze clamps and some wood to try and even out the pressure. It didn’t press very deeply despite me squeezing the clamps as hard as I could. The pressure was also relatively uneven as the feet are much lighter than the top part of the design. I ordered a vise for next time. I may try and restamp this one. The stamp fits into the groove ok, but I’m worried about messing up a finished product. I also ordered some antiquing gel from tandy, so I may just use that to try and darken it up some.

Ok…so waht about the laser part. Oh yeah. I used proofgrade clear acrylic for the stamp. I first engraved at proofgrade settings (deep engrave) and decided it wasn’t deep enough. I then did the same settings but 2 passes and it came out about what I was aiming for. The left one is the final stamp in both pictures. You can see the big difference in engrave depth in the side picture.

Any fellow leather workers let me know what you think. Should I try and re-emboss it or is that a disaster waiting to happen?


Antique gel on embossed leather
#2

I think it looks great like that, but i haven’t gotten into leather stamping yet.
Is it supposed to be deeper?


#3

Not sure how deep is considered normal. I think the deeper parts may be ok, but the feet are pretty shallow. But really I’m just being picky.


#4

Well I don’t know–I think it looks pretty fantastic as is, but I’m not a leather worker. Do you have an equivalent piece of scrap leather that you can experiment with?


#5

You could try cutting your stamp out of a harder material, There was a cookie stamp on here a while back made out of Corian. It’s been quite a while since I have done any leather working but that might be worth a shot.


#6

Nice job! It looks like it turned out great to me. You just wanted it deeper?
Have you tried F-style clamps with the board like you mentioned? I know you can put a lot more pressure on something by hand than the hand squeeze ones. Harbor freight has some 6" ones for $3 that are actually really good tools. (I know, those two things don’t normally belong in the same sentence.)


#7

I had to re-read this to make sure I was reading that right. Like you say, HF and good, much less really good, don’t ever appear in the same sentence!


#8

I’m no expert but I find the acrylic to be a good choice for a stamp. The letters in my stamp are holding up nicely.

Since you are stamping a finished product it might be more difficult as you don’t want to mess it up. Generally though wetting the leather makes a big difference. Use a sponge or paper towel to wet the leather. Let the water get absorbed but not dripping wet. Then clamp it for twenty minutes.

Two problems here with the finished leather. It may be treated so that it repels water. Also the water might discolor the dye leaving a mottled look.

Restamping runs the risk of a double outline. I would do a test on another piece to see how well it works before committing to the finished item.


#9

I don’t know, but for durability I think Delrin or lino is the go to for stamping. For a one-off application acrylic is fine.

Get as big a vise as your work area will accommodate. My 6" HF special is a meat eating tool I have have abused with a 3’ cheater pipe and my full 175 lbs leaning on it. When the occasion arises that you need to put a serious hurt on something you won’t regret having a tool to do it with.
For production stamping a hydraulic press would be preferable.

I have four of those clamps mentioned, and can attest to their quality. The lower jaw has a screw handle to tighten as far as your grip strength will allow.
Stay away from their ‘quick clamps’, I can destroy those with about 3/4 of my grip strength. Even the quality of a good quick clamp can’t match those $4 HF screw F clamps for power.


#10

I wish I would have read that about 2 weeks earlier. I just picked up a bunch of the quick clamps from HF instead of the screw clamps. Oh well.


#11

I’m not doing high volume but using acrylic with one of these works well:

https://www.lowes.com/pd/IRWIN-QUICK-GRIP-2-in-Clamp/50214637

I’ve embossed about a half dozen pieces so far and am getting good depth with no visible wear on the acrylic.

I think wetting the leather makes the biggest difference. You don’t need a ten ton press to make an impression.


#12

Does that not leave a mark on the leather when you wet it like that? Or are you wetting the whole thing where it will be cut?


#13

Probably best to not have one, honestly. But, I do, so…

I find that 4 tons of pressure gives me the best impression, but utterly destroys any stamp I’ve created. 2 tons gives me a strong read, and a few uses before breaking the stamp.

That was with 3d printed stamps, though. I haven’t had a chance to try delrin or linoleum yet, nor even acrylic. Looking forward to something surviving the process!

I’ll second the water thing. That makes a huge difference (both good and bad – too much water, it becomes rigid after drying). I have a sort of spray bottle that creates an even mist, in predictable quantities.

I spray the piece after cutting, immediately before stamping.


#14

I totally agree about the HF quick clamps…I just break them every time I use some. ha


#15

I haven’t had an issue with it so far but I’m not doing a solid color dye so I might be missing it.

This is what the above piece looked like after dying:

The compressed leather didn’t take the dye the same way as the rest of the piece but that isn’t surprising.

Since then I have been stamping after doing the dye and often it comes out darker. Again, it works for me. I’ll have to add an after picture as an edit. Typing on the computer, picture on the phone. :wink:

I haven’t seen any discoloration from the water itself. After it dries the leather should return to its natural color. Of course finished leather or suede will behave differently.

Oh, I’m also stamping while the leather is still damp to the touch after the dye process. I’m sure I’m doing it all wrong but it works for me. :smiley:


#16

Yep…that’s an f-style clamp. Works for many applications.


#17

Top right dyed after emboss, other two embossed after dye.


#18

They work, it’s just that instinct directs me to take it to the limit when squeezing the handle. Just don’t push them too far and you will get service from them.


#19

Well they’re all gorgeous but Discourse is having an issue with me and my likes today, so…:+1:


#20

Do you have a link to this item?

I’m happy to buy HF for tools that I’m not likely to use regularly or am just trying out. If it becomes a regular, I tend to jump past consumer to prosumer grade tools that last.