Judy Larson's Baseball Skin Keychain, Hair Accessories, Zipper Pulls, Christmas Ornaments. Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill. A while back, I was super lucky to obtain two practice baseballs used by my son's favorite baseball team.
Baseball Skin Keychain
by Judy Larson
  • Category: Non-Jewelry Items
  • Technique(s): Cutting, Filing / Finishing, Drilling
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
A while back, I was super lucky to obtain two practice baseballs used by my son's favorite baseball team. I wanted to use one as a Christmas gift, but had no idea what to do with the other. After running across baseball necklaces, key chains, charms, etc., made from baseball seams on the internet, I decided to cut the leather off one of the baseballs to use in a keychain.
From the charms and necklaces I saw, I knew I wanted to do something different. I did not like how unprotected the leather was and that the seam stitching on some looked like it was ready to pull apart. Even though I sealed the stitching, you can see in the photo of the circles I cut that the stitching still was coming undone. The leather and stitching needed to be more protected and the edges covered if I wanted to make a keychain. So here is my version of a baseball skin keychain. With a few minor changes, this could be a necklace or a charm. Change the shape of the backplate-I used round for the shape of a baseball-and the leather insert for one from a different sport.

Materials

16 Gauge Square Half Hard .925 Sterling Silver Wire
H8-16SQH
  • Lesson Quantity: 6.00 inches
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1FT
  • Price: $5.89
  • Gold Club Price: $4.42
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22 Gauge Dead Soft Sterling Silver Sheet - 6 Inches
H8-22SM6
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1 Inch
  • Price: $25.89
  • Gold Club Price: $19.41
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24 Gauge Dead Soft Sterling Silver Sheet - 6 Inches
H8-24SM6
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 6 Inches
  • Price: $123.26
  • Gold Club Price: $92.44
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Tools

Blazer Big Shot Torch
TRCH-8000
  • TRCH-8000
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $89.95
  • Gold Club Price: $67.46
Out of Stock
Premium Steel Bench Block 2 1/2 X 2 1/2
G17-9
  • G17-9
  • Lesson Quantity: 2.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 2.00 each
  • Price: $15.97
  • Gold Club Price: $11.98
Out of Stock
Crosshatch / Stars Texturing Hammer
HAM-460.03
  • HAM-460.03
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $19.97
  • Gold Club Price: $14.98
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French Shears - Curved Shear with Spring
SHR-531.01
  • SHR-531.01
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $29.97
  • Gold Club Price: $22.48
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CHARCOAL BLOCK - HARD
SOL-482.00
  • SOL-482.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $14.95
  • Gold Club Price: $11.21
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Large Disc Cutter
DAP-410.10
  • DAP-410.10
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $55.95
  • Gold Club Price: $41.96
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Euro Tool Metal Hole Punch Pliers, 1.8 Millimeters
PLR-133.50
  • PLR-133.50
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $11.98
  • Gold Club Price: $8.98
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Instructions
Step 1:
Prepare the baseball leather
PLEASE READ THROUGH ALL THE DIRECTIONS BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Step 1: Use a Utility or X-Acto knife to slice down the middle and through the leather around the baseball on one of the leather sections, keeping as far from the stitching as possible.
Step 2: Peel the leather from the inner ball. It will stick, but be patient. Some of the leather can be cut away if needed. See Step 4.
Step 3: Cut down the middle and across the stitching on the other leather section.
Step 4: Trim some of the excess leather away, keeping the stitching centered in at least a 1" wide strip.
Step 5: Use a damp sponge to moisten the leather strips. This will help the leather relax so it can be flattened.
Step 6: Place the strips between two clean, dry paper towels. Place on a flat surface and stack books on top to flatten.
Step 7: Leave overnight. By the morning they will be mostly dry.
Step 8: Discard the paper towel. Leave the leather strips out for at least 4 hours to completely dry.
Step 9: Coat the stitching on the back side of the leather with Super Glue. This will not prevent fraying, but will keep it to a minimum.
Step 10: Let the glue dry for several hours.
Step 11: When the leather is dry, position it in a 13/16" disc cutter hole, finding a section of ball stitching that is pleasing. Punch out the baseball leather disc. Alternate method: Use a pen to draw a 13/16" circle on the back of the leather over a section of ball stitching that is pleasing. Cut the circle out with scissors.
Judy Larson's Baseball Skin Keychain - Prepare the baseball leather, Hair Accessories, Zipper Pulls, Christmas Ornaments, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, baseball keychain
Step 2:
Make the bezel:
Straighten a length of 16 gauge square wire. Wrap the 16 gauge square wire around a ¾" mandrel as many times as needed to make two rings for each keychain. Make sure that the wire does not twist while wrapping it around the mandrel. The wire has spring so will be a bit larger than the mandrel. That is OK. If a ¾" mandrel is not available, two wires a bit longer than 2¾" should be cut. When filing in Step 4, the finished wires should be exactly 2¾" long. Note: Two stacked rings equals the thickness of most baseball leather. The leather becomes compressed with use, so there can be a bit of room between the top of the bezel and the leather. A clear plastic circle could be slipped in to cover and protect the leather, if desired.
Step 3
If there are many rings to cut, use the Lindstrom cutter to cut the ring coil apart. Alternate Method 1: If only a few rings are needed, use flush cutters to cut the rings, making sure that both ends of the wire ring are flat flush cut. Alternate Method 2: Use a saw to cut the rings apart. If this is done, Step 4 can be skipped.
Step 4
The cut ends will not be perfectly flat. Open each ring. Tightly grasp one end of a ring between the jaw tips of a flat nose pliers. Make sure that only the part that needs to be filed off is above the outer edge of the pliers. File the wire end off to make it smooth and flat. Close the ring so there is no space between the two ends. Do not worry that the rings are not perfectly round. Also, do not worry if the square wire is not quite flat, so long as the ends match up. That will be taken care of later.
Step 5
Place the ring on a solder brick. Use a clean titanium pick to place a small amount of hard paste solder on the join inside (best option) or on top of the ring. Use the butane torch to evenly heat the ring, moving the torch around the outside of the ring until the solder flows through the join. Immediately remove the torch.
Step 6
A ring mandrel is not quite large enough to use to re-round the rings. Slide one ring at a time on a hoop mandrel-left photo, used for rounding rings for hoop earrings, or other conical tool. A krumkake forming tool is used here. Since the metal is annealed because of the soldering, it is soft enough to reform by pressing it down around the cone. Flip the ring over and repeat the process. The rings should be as round as you can make them but do not have to be perfect
Judy Larson's Baseball Skin Keychain - , Hair Accessories, Zipper Pulls, Christmas Ornaments, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, baseball keychain
Step 7
Flattening the rings with a rubber mallet will not flatten them as well as needed for soldering them together in a stack. Use this method. Place a ring in the center of a bench block. Place another bench block on top of the ring, catty (or kitty) corner. Doing this makes it easier to pick the top block up with the fingers of two hands. Pick the block up a half inch or so and evenly, forcefully and quickly push the top block down onto the ring. This should "square up" the ring wire. Flip the ring over and repeat the process if needed. Do this for all the rings.
Judy Larson's Baseball Skin Keychain - , Hair Accessories, Zipper Pulls, Christmas Ornaments, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, baseball keychain
Judy Larson's Baseball Skin Keychain - , Hair Accessories, Zipper Pulls, Christmas Ornaments, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, baseball keychain
Step 8
Set a 1" disc cutter punch on the 22 or 24 gauge sheet metal. Trace a line onto the sheet metal around the cutter using an ultra fine point Sharpie marker. Center one of the rings inside the circle and draw around it. Center a disk cutter punch one size smaller than the 11/16" punch (which will be used to cut the inner hole in the washer cover) inside that circle and trace around it. Clean both disc punch edges.
Step 9
Slide the sheet metal into the disc cutter base, centering the inner circle in the 11/16" opening. Remember to use cut lube on the cutting edges of the disc punch. Punch out the circle. Hint: Since this punched out circle will not be used in this project, use an Ultra fine point Sharpie marker to write the sheet metal gauge on it before storing it.
Step 10
Slide the sheet metal into the disc cutter base, centering the 11/16" hole in the 1" opening in the disc cutter base. Remember to use cut lube on the cutting edges of the disc punch. Punch out the circle.
Step 11
Cutting the washer out distorts the metal. Clean, aneal, pickle and dry the washer before flattening it as in Step 7.
Step 12:
Make the backplate:
Position the 1-3/8" stencil on the 20 or 22 gauge sheet metal. Use an ultra fine point sharpie marker to trace a circle on the sheet metal. Use French shears or other metal cutters to cut the disc out.
Step 13
Use one or two texturing hammers of choice to texture the disc. Do not over texture and thin the metal too much.
Judy Larson's Baseball Skin Keychain - , Hair Accessories, Zipper Pulls, Christmas Ornaments, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, baseball keychain
Judy Larson's Baseball Skin Keychain - , Hair Accessories, Zipper Pulls, Christmas Ornaments, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, baseball keychain
Step 14
Clean, aneal, pickle and dry the piece before flattening it as in Step 7. Clean and refine the edge of the circle, first with a file and then with the sandpaper, working from 320 grit up through 2000 grit..
Step 15:
Put it all together:
Using a clean titanium solder pick, apply medium solder past to one side of one ring. Center the ring, solder side down, on the washer. With a washer, there are two points of reference for centering the ring. Make sure the inner edge of the ring is equidistant all the way around from the inner edge of the washer. The outer edge of the ring should be equidistant all the way around from the outer edge of the washer. Press the ring down lightly to hold it in place.
Judy Larson's Baseball Skin Keychain - Put it all together:, Hair Accessories, Zipper Pulls, Christmas Ornaments, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, baseball keychain
Step 16
Use the butane torch to evenly heat the ring and washer, moving the torch around and over the ring until the solder flows. Immediately remove the torch. Pickle and dry the piece before moving on to the next step.Use French shears or other metal cutters to cut the excess washer away from the rings.
Judy Larson's Baseball Skin Keychain - , Hair Accessories, Zipper Pulls, Christmas Ornaments, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, b
Judy Larson's Baseball Skin Keychain - , Hair Accessories, Zipper Pulls, Christmas Ornaments, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, baseball keychain
Step 17
Use a file to clean up the sides, making the rings and washers even.
Judy Larson's Baseball Skin Keychain - , Hair Accessories, Zipper Pulls, Christmas Ornaments, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, baseball keychain
Step 18
Place the bezel, washer side down, on 320 grit sandpaper. Using two or three fingers to hold the ring down, use a figure 8 motion to sand. Repeat with 400, 600, 1200 and finally 2000 grit sandpaper.
Judy Larson's Baseball Skin Keychain - , Hair Accessories, Zipper Pulls, Christmas Ornaments, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, baseball keychain
Step 19
Clean and refine the bezel sides by sanding first with 320 grit sandpaper. Repeat with 400, 600, 1200 and finally 2000 grit sandpaper. Hint: Use an ultra fine point Sharpie marker to mark the washer to help know where to start and stop sanding. Remove it with an alcohol soaked pad.
Place the bezel, washer facing up, on a piece of 320 grit sandpaper. Using two or three fingers to hold the bezel down, use a figure 8 motion to sand the back perfectly flat. This may not take much as the rings were already flat.
Judy Larson's Baseball Skin Keychain - , Hair Accessories, Zipper Pulls, Christmas Ornaments, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, baseball keychain
Step 20
Use a Sharpie marker on the metal disc to mark where the hole will be for the key ring. If it is too close to the edge, wear and tear from the key ring and the weight of the keys could break the disc at that point. Use an auto center punch to make a divot on the mark. The divot will hold the drill bit in place to make it easier to start. Use a 3/16" or 13/64" drill bit for metal to drill the hole. Alternate Method: Use the 3/16" hole punch from the Metal Hole Punch Kit to punch the hole, no drill required. The divot will help center the punch in place before punching. The edges of the hole may need to be smoothed after it is cut. Roll sandpaper of differing grits into a tight tube to run through the hole.
Mark the back of the disc with a metal content stamp.
Judy Larson's Baseball Skin Keychain - , Hair Accessories, Zipper Pulls, Christmas Ornaments, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, baseball keychain
Judy Larson's Baseball Skin Keychain - , Hair Accessories, Zipper Pulls, Christmas Ornaments, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, baseball keychain
Step 21
Decide where to place the bezel. If it is placed off-center, letter and design punches can be used in that space.
Drilling and punching may have bent the disc a bit. Flatten if needed.
Judy Larson's Baseball Skin Keychain - , Hair Accessories, Zipper Pulls, Christmas Ornaments, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, baseball keychain
Step 22
Position the bezel on the disc. Use an ultra fine point Sharpie marker to draw a line around it. This will help in positioning the bezel after the paste solder is applied.
Judy Larson's Baseball Skin Keychain - , Hair Accessories, Zipper Pulls, Christmas Ornaments, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, baseball keychain
Step 23
Use a clean titanium solder pick to apply easy paste solder to the back of the bezel. Place it solder side down inside the drawn circle. Lightly press down on the bezel to hold it in place.
Judy Larson's Baseball Skin Keychain - , Hair Accessories, Zipper Pulls, Christmas Ornaments, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, baseball keychain
Step 24
Use the butane torch to evenly heat the disc and bezel, moving the torch around the entire piece, concentrating a bit more on the bezel because it is the thickest part. When the solder flows, immediately remove the torch.
Pickle the piece to remove fire scale.
Tumble the piece in steel shot to bring up a nice shine.
Leave the piece bright and shiny or use liver of sulfur to patina it. Buff with 0000 steel wool to bring out the dimension of your texturing.
Buffing with steel wool creates a satin finish on the metal. Tumbling for 30 minutes will bring back the shine.
Judy Larson's Baseball Skin Keychain - , Hair Accessories, Zipper Pulls, Christmas Ornaments, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, baseball keychain
Step 25
Use a toothpick to spread E-6000 in the bottom of the bezel.
Judy Larson's Baseball Skin Keychain - , Hair Accessories, Zipper Pulls, Christmas Ornaments, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, baseball keychain
Step 26
Folding the baseball stitching circle a bit, ease it into the bezel. If needed, use a toothpick, an awl or a small flat head screwdriver to tuck the edges in. Lightly press the leather into the glue. If desired, a clear plastic circle can be inserted over the leather to protect it.
Slide the key ring through the hole.
Judy Larson's Baseball Skin Keychain - , Hair Accessories, Zipper Pulls, Christmas Ornaments, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, baseball keychain
Judy Larson's Baseball Skin Keychain - , Hair Accessories, Zipper Pulls, Christmas Ornaments, Cutting, Cutting Tool, Cutters, Filing, Finishing, Drilling, Drill, baseball keychain