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The Army, for reasons known only to the Army, buys these dreadful green notebooks en masse.  They’re fine notebooks, stout and perfect-sized to stuff in a cargo pocket, but they’re also a hideous lime green.

This is a little better.

The design on the front is, of course the rank insignia for a U.S. Army Staff Sergeant (E6).  Not terribly inspiring, but neither was the news that I won’t be able to accept a promotion this FY, so I can carry this for at least another year without modification.

The exterior is a lightweight vegetable-tanned cowhide, tooled, moisturized again (using coconut oil) and then dyed with Eco-Flo Briar Brown (which doesn’t seem to be sold any longer).  The lining is black pigskin, glued and then sewn together with beeswax thread.  I used the densest wheel on my overstitch wheel, which was probably a mistake; 7 holes per inch all of the way around made for almost three hours of stitching.  (On the plus side, I’ll be developing callouses about where I need them to play guitar, too.)

Again, not terribly inspiring, but it works.  I wasn’t feeling terribly creative.  Fortunately, I only slipped a few places.  Long, sweeping curves (for the chevrons) are not one of my strengths.  Keeping your swivel knife super sharp helps enormously.

It’s a pretty rich brown, followed up with a few coats of Eco-Flo Super Shene. The vague dark brown hints are from using a sponge that turned out not to be entirely clean, after all, but it works.  I used a French Edge Skiving Tool to bevel the edges, and then finished with gum tragacanth and a wood slicker tool. The skiving tool was also used on the underside of the main leather piece to carve two thin channels as creases for the book’s spine.

Anyway, it’s a notebook cover.  It looks pretty sharp.  I’m pleased.

Lessons learned

Measure, cut, and glue the lining pieces in place before punching the 300 million holes around the edge.  I ended up punching some of the those holes three times as I did it before tooling, then after gluing the liner, and then again after gluing the sleeve for the book binding to go into.  It would have been faster and neater to do it just once.

Measure a little more generously. The notebook just fits about perfectly; it was supposed to be a little oversized.  Does the leather shrink after it dries from casing?  No idea.

I may doing up some more unit crests for some friends, and I took pics of some of my tool upgrades, too.  Watch this space.