Welcome to Lonesome Tree Designs.
Well, it started 41 years ago when a friend of my mom gave her 5000 leather key chains in the shape of Texas along with many other scraps for me to play with. Mom was running a craft store where she taught braiding and painting and sold craft supplies. There's a lot of artist in my family going back to my Great Great Great Grand Father Michael Walsh that was a shoemaker in England, then my Great Grand Father was an artist that worked for McCalls Patterns where he hand drew all the patterns for McCalls, he also hand painted Christmas Cards and a well known painter of oil paints on canvas William Foster. My mother that ran the craft store Carol McLean was quite the artist herself and a collector of antiques as well. Mom is still around to tell me what I've done wrong with my work.
So, I can actually say I've been dealing with leather for 41 years. After high school I was off to the US Army then in the Texas National Guard. After my service I went into law enforcement. I continued tooling around with leather throughout my law enforcement career building holsters and such. Then when I was still in my late 20's I came down with a rash on my legs that wouldn't go away. After many test it was determined that I had severe poor circulation in my legs which turned into open sores. In 2000 I left law enforcement due to my health. In 2001, I opened my leather supply store called Tree's Leather and Supply. I only stayed open a couple of years due to Tropical Storm Allison flooding my shop.
Since then I have continued creating leather goods till just a few years ago when one of my customers called and asked if I could fix a mans knife that went through a house fire. I spoke to the owner of the knife and it was a Sheffield Bowie knife that had been in his family for many years dating back to the civil war. I cleaned up the soot and replaced the stag handles and even built him a new gentleman's bowie sheath just like the one used in the civil war. He was very happy with it and I was hooked on knives. Of course I started out buying blanks and adding the handles but soon discovered creating my own, cutting, grinding and shaping them, then taking them to be heat treated. Now I have my own oven for heat treating and a forge for forging. I also stabilize my wood, antlers and bone for the handles and sell the extra to other knife makers. Most of my knives are made from stock removal of flat bar stock cut using my band saw or water jet cut.