Introduction: Pull Yourself Up (By Your Boot Straps)

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To get anywhere in this world you're going to have to walk more than a mile in your own shoes... and if you intend to make something of your life, you're going to need some boot straps to pull yourself up by. I've had my current pair of Doc Marten boots for about 6 years now, and there is still plenty of life left in them. However, one of the straps wore out, and it was time for an upgrade. It is difficult to get them on and get going without them.

What you will need in order to follow in my footsteps for this project:

1. Some scraps of vegetable tan leather (aka veg tan or tooling leather) 4-5 oz weight.

2. Dyes and finish I used, Eco-Flo Gel Antique Tan and Eco-Flo Super Shene.

3. Rivets

Tools I used:

1. Full Spectrum Laser H-Series (5th gen) 20X12 CO2 desktop laser
2 . Skiver

3. Economy Rotary Leather Punch

4. Hand Riveter Set

5. Adobe Illustrator

6. Retina Engrave (part of the FSL laser)

Step 1: Laser Time!

I created my desired outline and text "Pull Yourself Up" in Adobe Illustrator. When I was happy with what I had, I "printed" the design to the FLS H-Series laser via Retina Engrave.

Once that was loaded up and everything was in place I first engraved the leather with my daily reminder "Pull Yourself Up". As you can see from the photo it ended up with a little black soot on the leather due to the smoke and burning. You can get around this by putting some masking tape over the leather before etching. Then any smoke and soot will land on the tape so you can just peel it off. However, as you can also see in the pictures, with a little water you can clean it off.

Once you have engraved the text now it's time to jump over to the cut tab and cut the vector lines out. Again,, I used 50% speed and 100% power. I wanted to make sure I got all the way through the leather as this was the first time I cut leather on this laser. It did just fine with these settings.

Step 2: Make 'Em Pretty

After rinsing the straps off I could have stopped here and just put them on the boots, but I wanted to give it a nice tan finish and a protective coat of super sheen. I did this by rubbing on the Tan Antique Gel. Once that dried, I did a coat of super sheen.

Step 3: Get a Good Fit

Not wanting to use big rivets, I used a skiver tool to reduce the thickness of the leather at the ends of the strap. As you can see in the picture, you can see I took about half the leather off the back side. I also wanted to have enough room to put a small washer on the inside to have a little more strength for the rivet to hold onto, as I was concerned it might just pull through the leather.

Step 4: Finish It Up

I found where I wanted to straps to sit on the boot, and then I used the rotary punch tool to punch a hole in the boot just larger than the rivet size. Then I slid the rivet through one side of the strap, through the boot, the other side of the strap and finally, I put a small washer on the back side. With my hand rivet setter, I squeezed the grip and locked it all in place.

Now the boots are ready to pull back on with a nice reminder every morning to "Pull Yourself Up." I really like how well these turned out. I Like the detail it adds to the boots, even if I am going to be the only person that sees them. A nice touch of form and function.

I hope this entertained, inspired, and motivated you. You can accomplish what you set your mind to, sometimes you just need to think a little outside the box. For me, it's time to hit the road and get back to work.

Full Spectrum Laser Contest 2016

Participated in the
Full Spectrum Laser Contest 2016