July 8, 2007

Lucky Seven

Ranking right near the top of my "Things to Try Someday" list is the timeless art of leather carving, so I was excited to find an instruction booklet from the Craftool Co. of Los Angeles, California at an estate sale a while back. The book is entitled Lucky Seven, copyright 1959, and features wallet designs by seven "professional western craftsmen", along with basic instructions and an overview of the various tools and stamps available for purchase. The booklet is quite cleverly illustrated with a herd of helpful little elves to guide the would be carver in his crafty endeavor.

Leathercraft was extremely popular in the 1950s and 60s, with every Boy and Girl Scout worth his or her salt turning out at least one laced wallet or stamped keychain. Dozens of instruction and pattern books devoted to the subject were published during this time, many of which were authored by Al Stohlman, whose books and line of leatherworking tools are still on the market. Some of his designs appear in Lucky Seven.

My favorite illustration is this "Doodle Page", where the elves demonstrate the proper techniques for using some of the more common tools. (Click to enlarge.)

My dream is to one day create a masterpiece as magnificent as the one sported by this old fart at the zoo a few months ago.


jungle dream pagoda said...

Elveish banter(which is ofcourse different than Elvis banter)!
Its no secret I love tooled leather,but oddly I have never had a yin to create it myself.I much prefer to collect the vintage stuff!
Best tooled leather piece I ever passed up? Well,its on my list of "I still regret having not packratted it".A tooled leather bowling ball bag! I do NOT know what the heck I was thinking! I probably passed on it,after having one of the hubs "honey lets scale down" talks.

Stephen said...

When I was a younger man I was all about carving leather. My mom for some reason happened to know every old leather worker in the tri-county area. Unfortunately for me, I was always too shy to really ask a lot of questions.