Wednesday, October 12, 2016

American flag

Lining out the tracing. I made the flag using correct flag ratios... too much maths for my feeble mind but I did it. 

Cutting 50 identical stars was quite challenging! 

I worked the flag in sections mainly because you have to keep the leather wet and it dries quickly. 

Done. I added quite a bit of shading to break it up and give it character and depth. The dye really brings it out. 

I'm not happy at all with how the dye turned out. Hopefully it will lighten up as it dries over the next day or two, but as is I consider it a fail. It's OK but not what I intended.  

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Thursday Releathered baseball.

This is my second attempt at recovering an old baseball. My first attempt was a fail because I tooled my son's name into it and the piece shrunk. You have to wet the leather in order to cut and tool. I got to the last ~30 stitches and the leather piece was obviously too small. This time I left it dry and didn't try to tool. But got to the very end (108 stitches if you're curious) and pricked my finger and got a drop of blood on it. Still. Turned out OK.
Blood stain. Once I finished I soaked it in water and then let it dry which sucked the leather down tight. I like this leather undyed and natural.  

But dyed it anyway.  Immediately after application. 

This is after it's dried. You can still see the blood stain. 


I've been biking every morning and keeping it fun. Which means I'm not using any electronical devices.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Friday bike and stuff

Got out before the sun and didn't ride Bacon Strip. Instead I headed up towards Golden Gate Canyon State Park which is about 5 miles from my house but climbs Twin Spruce, a solid 3 mile climb. It was 48 degrees starting out and I froze! Tried to stay near MAF but the grade and my gears didn't allow it.

 Last night I did a run session with 14 X 60m strides. It felt so good to run fast. These were on a soccer field as diagonals. The first ~5-6 felt awkward at just 5:00 pace but by the end 3:50-4:00 pace was feeling smooth.

9000ft up near Golden Gate Canyon State Park. This huge meadow is tucked right into the mountains. One of my favorite spots up here. 

My post workout food as of late. Greens, almonds, cashews, walnuts, avocado, salt and pepper. 

New bike stand/ clamp. Yep, bolted straight to my deck rail. The clamp comes off so I'll be able to take it inside.  

Obligatory saddle pic. I redyed it to a darker brown, less red 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Thursday ride in pictures

I titled this ride "Drawing Straws On A Boat" thinking about GZ. 

I like this shot. 

I'm so artsy. 

I love the symmetry of switchbacks. That's South Boulder Peak peaking through the trees. Notice how "rough" the dirt roads are around my house. 

Looking down Eldorado Canyon towards Wyoming. 

Obligatory saddle shot. 

More rough roads.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Wednesday run

     A couple of fellow old guys came up to run this morning. Bob, who I haven't seen since (I think) July of last year, and GZ. Great to hang out and laugh with these guys. We all grumbled climbing the first hill which is a slap in the face at altitude and on cold, old legs. I didn't wear anything electronical but we ran about 6.5 miles up Bacon Strip and around near the edge of Arapaho National Forest. Absolutely beautiful morning.

Monday, July 4, 2016

4th of July

 Super busy day. My Monday's always are as I write and send schedules but today we have a parade plus two parties to go to.
      I set my alarm for 3:00am in case I over slept and woke up before it went off. Lift only today as that's the most convenient workout and also the most useful IMO. I'm coming up soon on 45 and I'm very aware of the need to maintain muscle and stimulate a little more anabolic enzyme release. I just hit the big muscle groups today with 5 sets of descending reps (8/6/4/4/4) to near failure. Warmed up hitting the heavy punching bag.
     Have a safe and fun 4th!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Sunday Fartlek

I used to hate Fartleks, back when my running was ruled by my watch and HRM. Distance and time and pace told me how well the run went, which to a point is fine and good and certainly has it's place. But being capable of gauging your effort by feel and let go of the data is useful and I think one aspect of being a complete runner. Not necessarily a good runner, but more well rounded, which usually tends to lead to being better. And for some irony, below is what a graph of my fartlek looked like today. This is elevation and pace. Note: I'm not fit and "hard" is relative. I was blowing up after brief pushes to just 9:00 pace on some climbs. But I was pushing, which was the point. I'm not bummed or disappointed because I'm not fit and my fitness is a result of how hard I've worked on my running. If anything it motivates me. To quote Tool's Schism- "I know the pieces fit 'cause I watched them fall away" which I love because it fits for me here. I've been fit. I know I can be fit again. And I know how to get there. But like anything, on paper it's simple and knowing how is more difficult than the doing.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Saturday bike video

Am) Up at 3:00 itching to ride. My insomnia is directly linked to exercise. The more I do the less I sleep. Got out and on the bike before the sun was up into 50 degrees and rain. I used my altimeter today which is much preferred over my Garmin which is a completely incompetent device (3 hour battery life) with equally horrible software. My altimeter doesn't record elapsed time until after you stop the recording, but it does give you real time vertical accumulation, which is way cooler. I stayed in my neighborhood today and was never more than ~6 miles (as the crow flies) from home. 2250ft of climbing.

 And a brief video of where I fish often.

Friday, July 1, 2016


     Ya, it's been awhile since I've posted. We'll see where this goes, if it does.
     Am) Run 3 miles in ~31:00 or so at MAF. I flub my MAF either out of ignorance, arrogance, or a good sense of what works for me. Probably a combination of all three. I still use HR 140-150 which I used in my 20's when I was first told to train at MAF by Mike Pigg. He said, and I quote, "Just train at HR 140-150." So really it would be arrogant of me to NOT train at HR 140-150 as one could assume I think I know more than him if I didn't. Ya. Let's go with that. Seriously though I used PE and called it MAF even though my HR was in the high 150's today. And that's because I'm in poor shape. This was my second run in 3 months.

     Pm) Bike 55:00 with 2000ft of climbing. I have this distant niggle in the back of my brain put there by a guy in Australia who hired me to help me him with an attempt at Everesting. It's a challenge to ride 29,000 feet of vertical (up) in one session. No sleeping. Using only a single climb. Up and down until you reach 29,000 feet. The climb I scouted, er... I mean accidentally rode, tonight was 2.6 miles with 860 feet of up. By my abecedarian maths I figure a successful Everesting would be 34 laps at ~40:00 (optimistic) a lap which comes out to about 22 hours if I didn't quit or die. It's intriguing to me because it isn't a race and you get nothing for doing it except maybe a boil on your grundle (Google it but do NOT choose images. Seriously.) This sounds like a scheme GZ would try so it HAS to be sound.
     I don't think that hill works though. If you look at the fancy graph thingy that plots the incline of everyone who has done it, most of the little dots seem to be bunched around shorter, steeper grades. Which makes sense. That 40:00 per lap split is the killer. So you have to balance speed, so your not out there for a day, with your ability on steeper grades. Too steep and 10 hours in you'll be walking, which just so happens to be against the official rules. I like this climb though because it's a quaint, dirt road with very little traffic. After 10 hours I don't want to swerve into a truck. Or maybe I will?
     We'll see. It's a niggle right now and I feel I need something like that out there. Not a race. I have no interest in that right now.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Wing and feather handlebar wrap

This is a design that I have been thinking about for a while. It wouldn't have worked as well on a standard round bar so I bought these integrated carbon bars. They're perfect for the design and look elegant.   

I didn't get any pics of the tooling process. But I made a template by wrapping the bars in saran wrap and then wrapping over that with masking tape. Then I cut it off and pressed it flat to get the pattern. Then I cut the leather. Tooled it. Soaked it and sewed it on.   

While making my last bars I found that combining two pieces, with the seam at the shift/ brake levers, worked far better than trying to control a single long piece. The bend in the bars causes the seam to coil around the bars and you'll see in some of the next pics that I was able to control it a little better. So for the lower piece, that covers the drops, I decided to go with a feather to give it some texture.  

It all culminates at the end and I found with my fly rod cases that sewing a circle or cap onto the end of a tube is very tough to get right. This tiny little plug was more difficult than the entire bar. 20 stitches working with wet and soft leather and zero room to work with or for error. But gladly it turned out perfect. 

Internal cable routing and also the strap to attach the shifter/ brake lever was sort of a no brainer. I played with the idea of doing a split so I could remove them if needed but the strap doesn't really work like that. You have to slide it onto the bars. So I just sewed it under.   

Before the dye is applied the tooling looks washed out. You can also see the slack in the leather. That corrects itself somewhat as the leather dries and shrinks. If you get the dimensions correct the leather shrinks to the bars surprisingly tight.  

Dye is applied. Easily the most nerve wracking part. It's instantly permanent and initially looks like you're ruining it. Spread it fast and keep going over it until it evens out. You can see where spots take the dye more readily than others. 

You can see how small the end plug is. Delicate work. 

I won't be applying a finish or sealant. The whole reason I use leather is because I love the natural look and leather only gets better as it's used. So besides the dye this is raw veg tan and will only get better.    

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Mule deer skull saddle

Done but not dyed yet.  

Dyed black

I don't spend the big bucks (pun intended) on perfect leather so there tends to be slight imperfections either in color or texture. There are a couple of small blems on this one, you can see a wrinkle just above the head. I bought this half cow hide for $40.00 while a very fine piece, smaller than a half cow, could run upwards of $400.00. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Owl fly rod case

Pattern traced onto the leather and starting to cut and tool.  

Done tooling. Maybe 6 hours in at this point.  

Border is done. Stitch holes are awled and dye is applied. 

Not sure how many stitches there are, maybe 800 total. Each stitch is a struggle and I broke 5 needles on this run. You push the needle through the top and then have to torque it under the backside (blind) and push up from the bottom. 

Needle groove in my thumb and skin gone.  

The end caps are the most difficult by far. The fit is tight enough on the closure to leave it as is but I want to add a more secure closure. My idea is a length of black floating fly line that loops around the silver trout.