I spent a bit of time in France in 2009 learning from a professional leatherworker/saddlemaker in Saumur. Jean Luc Parisot is a great craftsman and a generous friend who works for the French military furnishing a variety of leather goods for their horse program. He does work for the world famous Cadre Noir in Saumur as well. He taught me many things, one of which I’ve begun using recently. Using a tool called an edge iron, beeswax is softened, then caked onto the edge of the leather. The edge iron is then heated with a small propane torch and the wax is melted into the edges with this specially shaped tool. I have two edge irons, one made in England and this one that I had specially made by a machinist in order to accommodate the thicker leathers we have in the western saddlery trade. This process seals off the edges and helps prevent them from fuzzing back up over time and use. It also gives the edge a burnished look and color that is attractive. This is another example of spending a bit more time to ensure that my work has that blend of function and art that is important to all work of high quality.
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