June 25, 2010

Out of the Shop II- The Straps

On June 18, I described the two paddles that I recently made in my wood shop. I also have made two leather straps with wood handles. The techniques used are similar to the wooden handed strap I described in a post on March 4.

My earlier strap featured a rather thick piece of leather (just under 1/4 inch thick) that was 2-1/2 inches wide. At the time I purchased that leather, I also purchased another piece that was 2 inches wide and thinner (under 3/16 inch thick). The smaller piece was considerably more flexible. My intententions were to explore making some kind of tawse.

The tawse is known as coming from Scotland where schools used them for discipline. It seems to be best known for its use on the palms of a naughty student. The student would hold their palm outstretched with their other hand underneath it for support. The teacher would then apply the tawse vertically onto the palm. Usually the position of the hands would be reversed and another application given. It is my understanding that the tawse was also used on naughty student's bottoms as well.

One of the more famous tawses of the time was the 'Lochgelly'. There are even Yahoo Groups dedicated to the Lochgelly Tawse. One of the characteristics of the tawse is the two or three tails or fingers. The tawses were 20 to 26 inches in length, made out of rather stout leather with the handle end tapered to fit the hand. There were usually two or three fingers cut to a length of about 11 to 13 inches in length. The outer ends of the fingers were cut to a 45 degree angle and there was some detail work in the leather parallel to the edges. More information is readily available through searches on the web and there are a number of tawses available for sale.

I decided to make a sort of hybrid tawse, using a wood handle. For the tawse strap, I reduced a piece of red oak down to 1/2 inch thick. I then used the band saw to cut the slot in the wood. I was unable to get the results I wanted and it was necessary to use a file to widen the slot to the desired width. Also, at only 1/2 inch thick, I fear the part that holds the leather may be somewhat weak. As a result, I decided to make future handles 5/8 inch thick.

After cutting the slot, I cut the rest of the stock into the shape of the handle, 8 inches long and 2 inches wide, and rounded the edges with my 3/16 inch round-over router bit. The handle was given three treatments of stain then finished with my usual clear finish.

A piece of leather 13-1/2 inches long was cut to form the stap. I cut the piece down the middle to form two fingers that were 11-1/2 inches long. The leather receeds into the handle 1-1/2 inches leaving 12 inches of leather extending from the handle. I trimmed the ends of the fingers at a 45 degree angle so that the length is about 1/4 inch. I then ran my beveling tool around all the edges, burnished them and finally applied black dye. I ran a scribe mark about 1/8 inch around the edges as is traditional, although I found this is not as easy as it sounds. Next time I will try a method that can give me more control.

The two fingers of the tawse can produce quite a stinging blow. The fingers sometimes do not track along with each other and the result is that these fingers leave their own individual 'kiss'. I can also attest that their affect on a naughty boy's palms is equally effective.

In addition to the tawse strap, I also wanted to make a similar one but without cutting the leather into fingers. This strap is very similar to the tawse-strap except the handle is 5/8 inch thick as described above. This has turned out to be the ideal thickness for the leather. The finished strap is very similar to the wooden handled strap from the March 4 posting, except that the leather is slightly shorter and much more flexible. I have included a picture of the strap unassembled which reveals the construction. The thicker strap (March 4 version) has characteristics of a paddle and the recent strap is similar to a wide belt.

Cora now has a large variety of implements at her beck and call when she finds it necessary to administer a dose of discipline to her naughty charges. She delights in using a variety of them during a discipline session.
Her Favorite?: ALL of them!


HerKnee said...

Once again, very nice work!

Ron said...

Ken and Cora,

Ouch! Hurts So Good as Mellencamp sings.

Thanks, nice work and nice implements.

Regards and love,