I cleaned up the spare room downstairs to make it into useful space, and moved the work table and much of my gear into it.  It’s getting a little chilly to work out in the garage.

My workspace as of early November 2012: Where the magic happens. Also the slips, bad cuts, spills, moderate drinking, and occasional cursing.

Not like I’m any tidier in here than in the garage, mind you, but the lighting is definitely better with an overhead light, a window, the desk lamp, and my new $10 flex-neck LED light from IKEA.

It’s super bright and a little harsh, but excellent for putting light where I need it, and that’s the main thing.  I hate IKEA, but it was worth the trip to get a lamp.

A store I really really like, on the other hand, is Harbor Freight.  I picked up a carpenter square, some magnets, a magnifying glass, and a bunch of other odds and ends there last week.  Sweet.  Among the sweetest, this charming 1/2 ton arbor press, on sale for about $35.

What’s an arbor press for?  I’m not really sure.  But it’s basically a drill press sort of deal–without the drill.  It’s awesome for applying great pressure with great precision on small objects: rivets, snaps, stamps, and other things of that nature, for example.  I’m going to see about perhaps getting the ram, which is just a big square bar of steel, machined so it will hold the hole punches and tools for doing the snaps, etc. perfectly aligned, but even just providing the force while I hold it in place is a huge boon.  With practice, it makes for much more consistent and much straighter snaps and rivets.

Perhaps even more useful to me:

These were like $1.50 apiece.  They will be enormously helpful when I take my show on the road, but even just keeping things organized in my workroom is massively helpful.  Prior to this, I’d been keeping the various types of rivets/snaps/etc. in empty Altoids tins.

Not pictured: fine grain sandpaper, a cheap soldering/pyrography tool, and some other stuff I’ve forgotten.  Much of it has already been used.  Like I’ve said before, you can do leather work for pretty cheap to start, but there are an awful lot of nice-to-haves.  Fortunately, nothing (so far) that requires a massive investment.  The most expensive thing has been buying leather; not much way around that, though buying on sale helps enormously.