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Now, Introducing our featured customer this month – David Hauser from Dragonthorn Leatherworks!
Name: C. David Hauser
Address: 349 Leisure Acres Lane, Boone, NC 28607
Company Name: Dragonthorn Leatherworks
How did you first get started in leather crafting? As a child I visited a high end jewelry
store with my Dad for a watch repair. Bored silly I started wandering around and saw a
display case with sheath knives. My eye caught one particular sheath that had the most
amazing burnished edges. I pulled my Dad over to see it and he suggested that I learn
how to do it. Now, this was back in like 1965 with no internet available…. I went home,
found an old leather jacket my Dad said I could use, found moms sewing needles and
thread and made my first sheath. Needless to say it looked pretty bad. Many years later I
ran a knife shop and had many customers requesting custom sheaths for their knives. I
somehow convinced the owner to let me do leatherwork on the side and he finally
bought the shop a Tippmann Boss and away we went. The sheaths turned out pretty
well and were a big hit at the shop. Move forward another 15 years and here we are…
What are some of your stories on leather crafting? Wow, so many… If I had to pick
one it would be after moving into our house in Boone, North Carolina. I was cleaning up the garage
and noticed a blanket covering something under the stairs. The stairs up to my shop
have a really deep recess under them so you really cannot see what may be stored
under them. I got down on my belly and drug this stupid heavy blanket wrapped
something out, lifted off the old dusty blanket and to my surprise I discovered that I now
owned a 1910 Singer 29-4 leather patch stitcher! Many may not know about this
machine but it is like the original leather sewing machine. The interesting thing about it is
that the presser foot rotates 360 degrees. What a find. Have finally found all of the
manuals to rebuild it. Interestingly enough you can still get parts for them. Will be a nice
addition to my shop and most certainly a winter project.
What Tippmann Machine do you have? The Tippmann Boss
How long have you had your Tippmann BOSS? I’ve had my Boss for at least 10 years.
How did you decide to purchase this machine? Honestly, I got really tired of
hand stitching in the knife shop. I was really fortunate that a good leather shop was only
about an hour away and I had been eyeing the electric machines for some time. They
got in a Boss and I fell in love with it. I convinced the owner of the knife shop that I
worked in that I could make sheaths quicker with it and give the customers something to
gaze at while I worked. I mean really, here’s a machine that gives you a perfect stitch
and only lays a stitch down when you pull the handle. Fast or slow, it’s your call… one
stitch at a time. Have since bought an electric for long stitch runs but the Boss is my
daily “go to.”
Do you recommend any accessories? Most certainly. Everyone should at least have
the Wooden Cobbler Bench that’s made for the Boss and the Flatbed Attachment to
start. Since the initial purchase of the Boss, I have also gotten the LED light, various pressor feet (that I’ve modified), multiple bobbins and needles, got to have lots of needles…
Any tips or tricks you recommend for this machine? Be very very patient! It
takes time to learn how to use the Boss properly. I have added a 3/4 “ split key ring to the
thread guide to ensure the thread does not get caught up wrapped around something it
shouldn’t. Make absolutely sure you keep it oiled but just as important is to not oil it too
much. Always clean any excess oil off of the presser foot shaft, presser foot, needle, etc.
Especially when stitching vegetable tanned leather. While stitching make sure you keep
a steady rhythm and always make sure that your upstroke is strong and complete.
Before starting a stitch on an actual project always do a set of practice stitches using the
same leather and same number of layers of the same leather. Other than that practice,
What do you enjoy most about leather crafting? I like the design and engineering
aspects as much as the construction itself. Many of the projects we have completed
folks say couldn’t be done. We really love the customer feedback after they have
received the finished product. It’s really nice to hear the words, perfect, just what I
wanted, bespoke, a true craftsman… makes you feel that you’re doing something
special. As we only do one off custom leatherwork we do consider ourselves true artists
and high end craftsmen.
What else should we know about your leather crafting experience? I’ve been
messing with leather since I was 9 years old. Professionally it’s been about 15
years. The only way to get really good at it is to keep working at it, know that
from time to time you are going to screw something up and sometimes you can
fix it, sometimes you can’t and have to do it all over again. If you’re going to do it
professionally , it’s probably best to get good at one particular thing (sheaths,
holsters, belts, etc.) We have not taken that advice and specialize in nothing but
high end custom projects of about anything. However, with pure custom work
comes high end cost. We consider every project pretty much a one off. A
customer may want an item they have seen on our website but we always end up
modifying it in some manner.
What is your favorite item that you have made with your machine? That’s a bit
of a tough one. I think it would have to be the PCS line we manufacture (PCS
stands for Personal Carry System). Basically, take everything out of your pockets
(if you’re a guy) and let us make a leather PCS that carries it all. There is a lot of
talk right now about EDC (every day carry). The original EDC was pockets. We
take your stuff and package it into high end leather pockets for pockets…
Now for some fun questions:
What is your favorite dessert? Not enough room here but I’d say peach cobbler
What is your favorite song? Stevie Ray Vaughn’s acoustic version of “Life by the drop”
If you could choose where to live, would it be the beach or the mountains? Definitely the
mountains. I live in the North Carolina mountains in Boone, NC, it’s my little slice of
Do you have any other hobbies? Love blues guitar, messing with my 2004 VW R32 and
driving it on curvy mountain roads of course.
Thanks for joining us for this newsletter.