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Wafflebored Scores Again With Brilliant Tree-Ornament Project

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[Editor’s Note: Today we have a guest entry from the great DIYer Wafflebored, who’s going to tell us about his latest project. Enjoy! — PL]

By Wafflebored

When I stopped making jerseys, I knew I would need another project to fill the void.  I was interested in leatherwork, as I knew there would be applications for vintage sports equipment.  

A couple of years ago I made some little goalie blocker ornaments to send as Christmas gifts.  They were a quick, fun project, but it sparked my interest in maybe making something with a little more detail and quality.  I didn’t do anything last year, as I had a creative block and couldn’t come up with anything. But this year, as I practiced more with leather, I was able to come up with a new concept: a vintage goalie catching glove.

The first step, obviously, is to procure the leather. I use vegetable tanned leather, which is the standard leather used by hobbyists. Next, I cut the glove out from the leather, using a template I drew:

From there, I use an awl to mark out the details of the glove, like the separation between the sections and also the concentric stitching lines in the palm:

Next, I dampen the leather and use letter stamping sets to add detail.  I was inspired by the little logos and phrases seen on old hockey and baseball gloves, usually extolling the alleged virtues of that particular model:

Once all of the stamping is done, I dye the leather. I mostly use Eco-Flo leather dyes from Tandy Leathers — they’re water-based, so there are no fumes, which is good because I work indoors in a small room.

I dyed most of the ornaments in a classic tan shade, as shown above, although I also experimented with some team-colored versions.

Once the dye is dry, I use a rotary leather punch to create holes for the lacing:

The next step is to apply a clear finish to the front and back to seal the color:

At this point, I have the option of another step: antiquing the finish. There’s a gel-like product that you wipe onto the piece, and it fills the embossed areas with a darker color and enhances the detail. It can also darken the overall color if you apply it heavily. I made a number of these gloves with various levels of aging, ranging from a brand-new out-of-the-box look, all the way to gloves that look like they were used for years.  I usually aged the gloves to the point where the dye and finish enhanced some of the flaws in the leather. But this one already had a beautiful honey/amber look, so I decided not to antique it.

All those holes are going to need grommets. A key moment came when I found out you can buy tiny 1mm eyelets intended for making doll accessories. When I saw them, I knew they would be perfect for vintage sports equipment. I install them with a tool and mallet:

On the real gloves, eyelets were generally only installed around the perimeter of the glove, so I replicated this look.  But the first and last holes on the perimeter did not receive an eyelet, as they are only big enough for one pass of the waxed thread that I use for the lacing:

Speaking of the lacing: For this glove, I used a tan color to represent a new, unused glove. (For the aged gloves, I opted for dark-brown lacing that looks like it’s seen a lot of use.) I used a needle for the first and last holes, with a couple of passes to make sure the thread doesn’t unravel.

The finished product, with a loop of thread at the top-right corner for hanging as an ornament, has a satisfying blend of textures from the leather, metal eyelets, and waxed thread:

I made about 30 of them, also experimenting with different team colors for the dye and thread.  The color options are endless, but I mainly concentrated on my favorite 1970s NHL team colors:

I’m looking forward to improving my leatherworking skills and seeing what other vintage sports projects I can come up with!

———

Paul here. Is that sensational or what? Please join me in thanking Wafflebored for continuing to share his creativity with us — we’re lucky to have such a massive and generous-spirited talent in our midst.


 

Crime Dog Deserves Better (and so do the rest of us)

Newly elected Baseball Hall of Famer Fred McGriff got the usual treatment yesterday, by which I mean he posed in that embarrassing jersey that the Hall has been using for years. As longtime readers may recall, I ran a contest about six years ago to come up with a more dignified jersey for Hall inducteees, and the resulting designs are still way better than what the Hall is using. You can check out that post here.


Give the Gift of Uni Watch

With the holidays fast approaching, you can spread the gospel of athletics aesthetics and help support Uni Watch in the process by giving a gift subscription to my Premium content on Substack, or a gift sub to Uni Watch Plus — or both!

Think about it: Wouldn’t it be fun to have someone else in your life to talk about Uni Watch with? A gift subscription will help make that possible, plus it’ll provide some much-needed financial assistance to help keep Uni Watch afloat.

A few related notes:

  • If you want to give someone a Uni Watch membership card but don’t know what design they want, you can give them a membership gift voucher, which they can redeem whenever they like.
  • If you want to order one of our great Uni Watch baseball bats from the Pillbox Bat Co., the ordering deadline to ensure holiday delivery is tomorrow, Dec. 7.
  • You can see the rest of our Uni Watch merchandise offerings here.

My thanks, as always, for considering our products.


On a Serious Note

Word came down yesterday that police had found the body of Hamish Kilgour, drummer and co-founder of the pioneering New Zealand indie-rock band the Clean. His family had reported him missing last week, and fans like me had been fretting about him for several days. He was 65.

I didn’t know Hamish well, but I hung out with him a few times and was always impressed by what a gentle soul he was. As part of the Clean, he helped create a music scene that had a huge effect on me in the 1980s and ’90s — so huge that I traveled to New Zealand twice in the 1990s just to see bands, befriend musicians, and so on. The music produced by that scene continues to be among my very favorite art ever.

I realize most of you have never heard of Hamish Kilgour, but his death is a very big deal in the indie-rock world where much of my social life takes place. No official details about his death have been released, but I’m hearing that he had grown very depressed lately. If he was in pain, I’m glad for his sake that it’s over, but his death represents a huge loss. R.I.P.

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Comments (28)

    The ornaments are incredible. The idea is terrific, and the execution beyond words. Applause. Applause. Applause. Standing ovation.

    The HOF Jersey reminds me an old “5 millionth Hall of Fame Visitor” Pro Set football card I owned. Anyone else have it? I mean, you had 4,999,999 visitors to figure this out, and you hand number 5,000,000 this shirt:

    link

    Wafflebored, have you ever made leather straps for watches? I’ve purchased several because I like to change the look of my watches. I would enjoy trying to make some myself, but I’m curious the level of difficulty that would be considering I’ve never worked with leather.

    Yes, about 15 years ago when people were making interesting hand made leather straps for their Panerai watches. I never had a Panerai, but did make a couple for my dive watches. It’s not that hard, you just need to make sure your stitching is good so your watch doesn’t fall off and get smashed. Maybe I’ll make a sports themed one – thanks for the reminder!

    “they’re water-based, so there are no fumes, which is good because I work indoors in a small room.”

    – I do some of my best work indoors in a small room, but there are usually unfortunate fumes.

    Wafflebored, the catching glove work is amazing. I tip my hat to the patience and skill of doing all those small grommets. Fine detail work.

    Nice job once again, Wafflebored!

    As far as the BBHOF goes, you know who else deserves better? Lou freakin’ Whitaker! That he wasn’t even included on this year’s ballot is a crime in itself! What is it they have against Sweet Lou? They (and by “they” I mean a slightly different committee) put Alan Trammell in a few years back, but left out the other half of one of the greatest double-play combos of all time. It’s a damn shame.

    Wow, excellent craftsmanship by Waffleboard!!!

    Also, re: Hall of Fame jersey, not sure if it has been noted before, but it looks like they just took the Phillies cream jersey template, including the font, and used that.

    RIP Hamish Kilgour. I didn’t know his music, but I respect the influence he’s had on you, Paul, an so many others.

    I was honoured to receive one of these from Wafflebored (and really thrilled that he gave me the one in Habs colours!). Well done my man. These are magnificent!

    Wonderful what Wafflebored has shown us once again. This man is a genius. As for the HOF jersey, they should really try better. This looks like a prop from an elementary school musical. At least put a number on it: like 2022 in this case. Nice HOF logo on the sleeve to complement the hat. Make an effort.

    Who woulda thunk the half of Tandy/RadioShack to survive all these years later would be Tandy? Above and beyond as always, Sir Wafflebored!

    Hear me out. I think the Hall of Fame jersey has been bad for so long that…it’s good? It is a tradition that players are supposed to be in that jersey.

    Has there ever been jerseys that are so bad and so gaudy that they are legendary? The tequila sunrise Astros? The Flying V Canucks? The early 70s green and gold A’s jerseys? The scrambled eggs on the Pilots caps? The Steelers Batman jerseys? I remember reading stories of the players getting heckled by their opponents when the powder blue baseball uniforms came out.

    No, if you go into the Hall of Fame, you gotta pose with that jersey.

    I was fortunate enough to have received a Wafflebored. This guy has so much talent. I hope he’s rich from it.

    Wow! Great work Wafflebored!

    Let’s leave the HOF jersey the way it is. It’s clean, plain and simple. If there is a change there will most definitely be a sponsorship on the jersey and with today’s new uniform unveilings? No thanks.

    At least they gave The Crime Dog a hat with construction similar to what he wore when he played. I’ve always liked that look that allows the body of the hat itself to show its construction.

    link

    Leather is one of the most difficult materials to work with because it doesn’t leave much room for error. My wife used to make true-to-the-era apparel for a renaissance faire’s main cast (i.e. not the costume-y stuff the patrons wear). She once made a hunt dress for herself with punched leather elements and beadwork that literally took her months.

    While she’s not a huge sports fan, I sent her this piece and she and I are both in agreement that what Mr. W. Bored, Esq. did here is difficult, creative and very cool, especially with the tiny grommets and thread. Outstanding work, sir.

    Wafflebored – I am always thoroughly impressed with your projects!
    I’ve seen your blog, but do you have a website to view and purchase some of your great work?
    My brother-in-law is a former goalie and much of what you have shared on UW over the years would make wonderful gifts him.
    Thank you

    Paul, I know how much you have always despised the Hall of Famer jersey, but isn’t it essentially just the Phillies’ Sunday alternate? Are you feelings the same for that jersey?

    Not sure I’d consider it ‘very’ different.
    And be careful what you wish for. If there’s a new HOF jersey created it will come from the minds that brought us the players’ weekend and ASG jerseys.

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