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Carlos Border Stamping an How To

Discussion in 'Sheaths & Such' started by Horsewright, Jun 8, 2018.

  1. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    Been asked a couple of three times for this tutorial over the years. Finally got the pics done to write er up.

    The Carlos Border, Running W or Meander Stamp is all basically the same thing. Different names I guess. Its used often in western applications. I will use it on sheaths, holsters, rifle scabbards, martingales, belts, leggings etc. You can get several different stamps. The concepts I will show you here work on the other stamps too, really its just figuring out the spacing.

    I almost always use the small Carlos border stamp. It just seems to fit my projects. The only time I will use the large is when I'm doing a rifle scabbard or a martingale.

    Here's our tools.

    [​IMG]

    We'll be working today on a pancake sheath and this one already has its stiching grooves laid out. The piece of scrap leather on the left is one of the most important things. I've kept that one for years.

    So we're gonna lay out a channel for our Carlos stamp to be in. The channel is very important and actually becomes the top and bottom of the pattern. Here I'm marking the outside line of the channel. At the top of the sheath I want the space between the crease and the channel line to be about equidistant. It looks better this way. I will continue that spacing around the inside of the stitching groove.

    [​IMG]

    So now the outside line of the channel has been laid out and then cut with your swivel knife. After cutting with the knife I like to use my pokey tool and open that cut up all the way around. I will do this several times throughout the process.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here is one of the most important things for being able to do this stamp well. Thats consistent width of your channel. This piece of scrap that I made lives in the tool chest, middle big drawer, down from the top. I always know where it is. Practice on a piece of scrap until you get the channel width that looks right to you. Then KEEP it so you can repeat it again, and again and again. The width of this channel is what determines what your Carlos border will look like.

    [​IMG]

    Opening that first cut, the outside of the channel with your pokey tool helps keep the dividers in place as you are marking the second line of the channel. Make sure you keep your prongs of your dividers even. Ya get the marking side forward or back as your marking and your channel won't be consistent. Consistent size of your channel is paramount to this stamp being successful.

    [​IMG]

    So then you are gonna use your swivel knife to cut the second line of the channel and then open it up with your pokey tool. When doing your swivel knife cuts strive for evenness of depth all the way around. Rule of thumb is about half the depth of your leather. I also like to go back and cut the corners from the other side. For instance if I start a corner going one way, I will come back and open it up from the other direction with just the tip of the corner of the swivel knife. Makes the corner more uniform. Once you have the channel opened up with your pokey tool, I use a small flower center to mark all the corners. The Carlos border stamp doesn't go around corners very well and so I break it up by starting and stopping the pattern.

    [​IMG]

    After the flower center in the corners i will use this arrowhead stamp (heck I don't even know what this stamp is called) as a transition from the flower center to the main stamping. I will stamp this in both directions away from the flower center. Pay particular attention to spacing and centering of this stamp. Keep it even from side to side from the flower center and also the tip centered in the channel.

    [​IMG]

    When I was taught how to do this stamp by a master saddle maker he showed me how to mark each individual stamp with the dividers first. I did this like twice. It was extremely time consuming. Course he makes $7,000 saddles so he's working on a different canvas. What you are looking for is the wing or prong of the stamp to be about half way. Half way down from the first stamp and half way in. You'll see what I mean shortly. Its important to get that foot of the stamp into your channel straight and even. Thats why opening the cut up with the pokey tool is so important. It really makes this easier. A lot!

    [​IMG]

    I always go from right to left but thats what is comfortable for me. Doesn't really matter which way ya go. So now you alternate the stamp. First one on the bottom, second one on the top and so on. See how the bottom wing or prong is half way into the space created by the first stamp and half way down in the same space. This is what you are trying to accomplish with this deal. Consistency is what makes it look good. Pay particular attention to keeping your stamp even and straight in that upper and lower channel. Also pay attention to not rock the stamp forward or back when stamping. Keep it even and flat and with a consistent depth.

    [​IMG]

    Now just keep motoring on alternating your stamps and striving, striving, striving for consistency.

    [​IMG]

    And more till you are done. Pay particular attention to going around curves as the spacing will change a hair. Keep it to a hair or two to keep it looking good.

    [​IMG]

    Ok got er done. You will notice that our top and bottom feet of the stamp have left marks in our channel grooves? We're gonna use our pokey tool to remove those.

    [​IMG]

    I'll make two passes on both sides of the channel. This removes the foot imprint in the groove making your pattern just look more finished.

    [​IMG]

    So the right side of the channel on the right has been done here to show you the difference. I go all the way around both sides of the entire channel twice.

    [​IMG]

    Ok thats pretty much it for the stamping. I do have a couple of finishing tricks though. So on wet molding a sheath I try to do most of it on the back. But I do have to do a little on the front. You are gonna squish your pattern some. Pokey tool to the rescue again! It makes a difference.

    [​IMG]

    Open those channel grooves back up with your pokey tool and it kinda rehabs the squished part. I'll go around the whole pattern again not just the squished part.

    [​IMG]

    When oiling I will do an extra light coat. The temptation is to get down in all the indentations and scrub in that oil. Don't. This pattern will stay blotchy for a very long time if you do. Eventually it will even up as the oil sets but I'm talking months not hours. Don't do it. Always when oiling use a light coat and lighter still on Carlos border stamping.

    [​IMG]

    I will always highlight/antique a Carlos border stamp using the technique and materials described here.

    www.bladeforums.com/threads/antiquing-highlighting-the-horsewright-way.1554236/

    Well thats about it. Hope this little tutorial was of help to ya. As always questions and comments are welcome.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2018
  2. Wild Bill 1

    Wild Bill 1 Gold Member Gold Member

    79
    Aug 7, 2013
    Thanks again Dave ,these are so dam helpful. WB
     
  3. MaverickFZX750

    MaverickFZX750

    45
    Oct 8, 2014
    Thank you Dave! Very interesting and helpful. I need to try the grooving channels like you do, on my next projects. Sometimes I use this border stamp too. But i always use the swivel knife to cut the channels after tracing and some kind of bevelers instead pokey tool to remove the foot imprints.
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    Last edited: Jun 8, 2018
    Macan and Bradenk1987 like this.
  4. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    You are welcome WB @Wild Bill 1. Glad they are helpful.

    Good deal @MaverickFZX750! Excellent work. Years ago I used a push beveller. But I found that it would also compress the stamping some. So started using the red pokey tool. Also can be used after wet molding and the beveller can't. Nice work.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2018
    MaverickFZX750 likes this.
  5. Ebbtide

    Ebbtide

    Aug 20, 1999
    I love learning.

    I've been doing all the bottoms first and then all the tops.
    Now I know why my curves don't look as good as Dave's.
     
  6. duramax

    duramax KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 29, 2012
    This is pretty awesome, thanks for sharing this. I’ve looking into buying some stamps to practice with. So this will help a bunch
     
  7. MaverickFZX750

    MaverickFZX750

    45
    Oct 8, 2014
    Yep! Agree with you. Thanks!
     
  8. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    Ya bet!
     
  9. joe sangster

    joe sangster

    217
    Jul 5, 2003
    Dave , thanks for the great tutorial . Do you recommend a source for a quality San Carlos stamp ? Excuse my amateur ignorance , but what is a pokey ?
    Thanks again,
    Joe Sangster
     
  10. darkmatter35

    darkmatter35

    360
    Aug 21, 2011
    Thanks Dave,
    That's the best step by step I've seen. I'll check out the Barry King stamps. I
    think they call it smooth serpentine hourglass. Im guessing size 1or 2. Do you know what BK size to use for sheaths?
    John
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2018
  11. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    Your welcome @joe sangster. My pokey tool is a spoon modeler from Tandy. One end has a spoon and the other end is a rounded point. Barry King makes some of the best stamps out there. All the wife will use for her flower carving. He calls it a smooth hour glass serpentine and it looks like #1 would be closest to what I use. They are in his border section on his website. Mine isn't marked and I don't know where it came from.

    Thanks John glad ya like er. @darkmatter35 I'd probably go with the #1.
     
  12. joe sangster

    joe sangster

    217
    Jul 5, 2003
    Thanks , Dave ! Love your work & tutorials .
    Joe Sangster
     
    Horsewright likes this.
  13. lanternnate

    lanternnate

    229
    Nov 5, 2016
    Love these tutorial threads. It’s great to understand what some of these different craft tools actually do. I would look at that shape tool and have no idea what the end product is supposed to be when using it. Honestly even at the pic with just a couple stamps done I still didn’t get what it was going to be. Then on the next pic with more lined up with each other was the “oh that’s awesome” moment. Huge help in trying decide which tools to collect. Add in the full walkthrough on how to really put it to use beginning to end and you have just pure greatness.
     
    Horsewright likes this.
  14. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    Thanks Joe @joe sangster. Thanks @lanternate glad it was helpful.
     
  15. rtmind

    rtmind

    89
    Mar 8, 2013
    Thanks, Dave. The bit with the pokey tool and the half and half were the last pieces I needed. Pictures speak volumes. Can't tell you how much leather I have wasted trying to figure this out using dividers to space things out.
     
    Horsewright likes this.
  16. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    Good deal glad that helped @rtmind
     
  17. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    Couple items I just did.

    First the yoke with brand on this pair of batwing chaps.

    [​IMG]

    Then using a larger stamp I did this rifle scabbard. Sometimes, if space allows, I will do a regular camo type border inside the Carlos border. Kind of really sets it off I think.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Macan likes this.
  18. Sonnydaze

    Sonnydaze Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 6, 2009
    Geez, Dave, you are so Darned good that it doesn't even surprise me anymore.
    Great tutorial...not that I work with leather, but just the fact that you are willing to share your super-secrets with the folks here on a regular basis.
    Don
     
  19. Macan

    Macan

    282
    Apr 7, 2014
    Love this!
     
  20. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    Well shucks Don, I'm blushing over here. Thanks. Ya know some years back a good part of all this was in danger of dying out because of a secretive attitude. I've seen saddlemakers cover their workbench with a blanket when a visitor came to the shop. Fortunately we are in the midst of a renaissance in hand made items, particularly in the western horsemanship/buckaroo world. A main reason for this resurgence is the attitude of most makers now that there are no secrets. There aren't. Thanks again for the kind words Don @Sonnydaze and @Macan Take a minute and explore the TCAA website.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2018 at 10:38 AM

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