Matt S

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  1. This is something I'm quite interested in too. My primary interest would be in making cutting templates, jigs and fixtures from acrylic, hardboard or plywood plus marking/engraving leather as an alternative to embossing/debossing. This would be especially useful for those situations where buying an embossing plate wouldn't be economically viable, or too big for my little embossing presses to handle. Any device I've seen within my budget is too small to take a piece of leather that doesn't need a lot of cutting down so I might as well cut it with a manual knife or a press knife. I've looked at Razorlab, probably make an order in the new year for templates that I can't buy press knives for, as they would be too big to fit in my cutting press. Their materials charges are pretty reasonable but of course the cutting charge is added to this, which varies with the job. I'll report back with my experiences. In the mean time I've just bought a large-format printer and will soon be experimenting with how heavy a card it can print on. I think it'll be handy for prototyping designs before I have press knives or templates made. Even if it can only print on normal paper I will paste it onto foamboard, which I have found makes an adequate marking template but is too easily damaged to use as a cutting template.
  2. Threading the needle

    Harness makers used to use a specific black sticky wax which was used only on the top few inches of thread, which would grab on very well, no piercing needed. This is in the context of hand rolled linen threads, which have beautiful long tapers on the ends. Once the needles were locked on the whole thread, including the bit with sticky wax, was rubbed heavily with a more slippery wax, like beeswax or coad. I tried this out a few times just for the experience but for the things I do (which don't include tugs or traces) it was overkill and far too laborious.
  3. $40 of glue? Blimey I get a litre of mind-bendingly good leather-specific contact cement for £8.40 including 20% tax. Not often that stuff's cheaper here on the right-hand-side of the pond! I have no direct experience of that style of glue pot. I use the TS Boy glue pots, which are pretty widely available. Smallest size is about £10 over here and holds enough glue for at least 3 SQFT of coverage, which is plenty enough for me to do a batch of a dozen dog leads or belts. They're not completely gas-proof so glue does eventually dry out in the pot but they seal well and it does take quite some time (days to weeks) for it to set solid (faster in the hot weather). Even if it does go thick I follow advice I was given an oldboy and set the pot turned on its back when it's not in use, so there's plenty of space inside to pour solvent if/when it dries out. Give it a few swirls round and leave it a few hours and it's back to normal. Brushes live in a mayonnaise jar full of solvent when not in use.
  4. Colt 1911 only has 7 round per magazine. 3x7=21, which isn't many of you're counting on it saving your life one day. For comparison a Glock 17, standard for those bobbies who carry a pistol, has 17 rounds per magazine and they carry at least one spare. They're not going to war either and usually only fire a few rounds in the very rare event that they fire their pistol at somebody.
  5. max stitch length not correct

    No, the maximum height it reaches above the needle plate -- like your photo but upwards rather than sidewards. It's tricky to get a steel rule or depth mic in there, so I do something like this: However I use a piece of steel that's the right thickness -- a piece of shimstock, a stanley knife blade, a cheap steel rule, etc. -- laid flat on the needle plate next to the feed dog. Doesn't need to be accurate to a thou, just feel flush with the steel shim to the fingertips. It is my experience that if the dog rises much more than 0.5mm above the needle plate there is a reducing effect on stitch length. On my machine it's a simple adjustment of 2 screws (once the cylinder bed end cap and cover is removed). Yours is likely to be similar.
  6. max stitch length not correct

    @seikostewHow high is your feed-dog? I've found that if the feed-dog is much more than 0.5mm proud of the needle-plate at its zenith (just before needle BDC) it tends to shorten the stitch length... somehow... I know it's not the issue here but be aware that with eliptical-motion needle like this that stitch length reduces with increasing material thickness. For this reason I always check stitch length (forward and back) with a piece of paper or card. For your application I think that this won't be a major problem, as most of the sewing you will do is flat.
  7. Briefcase using Sedgwick

    Beautiful bag, @scrapyarddog. If I may ask, how heavy is it?
  8. Edge Creasing

    I've got a slack handful of old creasers. Mostly intended for saddlery and harness work I think, though I don't do that sort of thing. (Well, not for horses...) Some are fixed and others screw creasers. About half are shoulder creasers, and they get used more than twice as much as the hand creasers. They can be used cold but the effect isn't very pronounced unless you case the leather, and then it only works on veg tanned leather. I prefer to use them hot, as this produces a deeper, crisper, more permanent impression and is much faster than doing it cold. Normally I do each crease line twice -- once lightly and a little slow, in order to establish the line accurately. Then I rewarm the creaser a couple seconds and do the line again, deeper and with more downwards force. Takes under a minute to crease a belt made of bridle leather this way, and it's permanent.
  9. Hi David, Have you tried reducing your bobbin tension? This would be my next course of action if adjusting the top tension didn't get what I wanted. Just a quarter or eighth of a turn anticlockwise at first. Then sew a few inches of scrap leather similar to what you'll be sewing "for real" and take a look. You may have to tweak your top tension a little again at this point to get it right. If that doesn't work, back the bottom tension off a little more and try again. You may be able to find a "happy medium" which tensions TKT20 and TKT40 thread are tensioned properly but there's an equal chance that you'll have to tweak the bottom tension a little each time you change thread size. Next action, if that doesn't solve it, would be to go up one needle size, as JLS says. Yes some brands of thread behave differently, and even some colours within the same brand. Black is notorious for being awkward as it is sometimes made by redyeing brighter colours, which can leave it... crunchier? Harder? Stiffer? Don't know what the right word is but essentially it is more reluctant to bend, which means it can cause problems in some machines, especially when forming a loop. I've got a few king spools of black nylon that's been sitting at the back of my thread shelf now, while I have never had a problem with Coats Nylbond in any colour. (It might help that I only buy it from sources that I know have a fast turnover -- nylon thread is apparently freshware. Saving a few quid buying "bargain" old stock or random-brand thread is often a false economy.) Somac makes good thread and it looks like they only started making Somabond 2 years ago so I wouldn't think it's a thread problem per se in your case.
  10. Tandy's New Clicker Press

    Thanks for the info. I was excited about the idea of a swing-arm press for under 1k. I should have known better than a useful tool at a decent price from Tandy. I've not had much luck getting a price, or any response, from Noya. Nor have I found any resellers. There is one recently come up second-hand on eBay UK but the seller wants £1400, which is almost the full price of a Lucris and a little more than a Cowboy. I've seen full sized, good condition "real" clicker presses go for far less money. One day I'll have enough space and access to get one of those. In the mean time I'll continue with my £60 bearing press.
  11. I don't know for certain if latex glues like we might use in leatherwork use natural latex or a similar synthetic substance. I'd be curious to find out. However I do know that it doesn't take a lot of latex for an allergic person to have a reaction so I'd rather not take that risk.
  12. One minor point, Renia Aquilim 315 is neoprene based rather than latex. I can get latex glues pretty cheaply but use Renia 315 in preference in case any of my products come into contact with people you who are allergic to latex.
  13. Tandy's New Clicker Press

    Anyone got a link to the product? My Googlefu seems weak this morning. $950 for a manual clicker press isn't too bad, considering the price of a Weaver, Lucris or Noya. Assuming it's not one of those tiny ones with two pillars like this:,searchweb201602_2_10152_10151_10065_10344_10130_10068_10324_10547_10342_10325_10546_10343_10340_10548_10341_315_10545_10696_10084_531_10083_10618_10307_10059_100031_10103_10624_10623_10622_10621_10620,searchweb201603_51,ppcSwitch_5&algo_expid=c0c7fc0a-494c-4ea8-8e8f-3808fce5ae9e-29&algo_pvid=c0c7fc0a-494c-4ea8-8e8f-3808fce5ae9e&priceBeautifyAB=0
  14. I haven't seen that video before. I'll leave the conspiracy musings where they are (can't pick up a turd by the clean end). It's not exactly a new idea. It's been shown several times on this forum. Some older machines used to come with a 2-speed balance wheel, like the Singer 45k. Sure swapping a large motor pulley onto a machine'll work but there's a good few reasons it isn't ideal. In no particular order: (1) Balance/hand wheels are designed for the hand to manipulate quickly, easily and safely, 40 hours a week. They have rounded, smooth edges raised enough that fingers, sleeves and bracelets are kept well away from the belt groove. No motor pulley I've met has any of these features. In fact it wouldn't be possible to use a pulley as a hand wheel with belt guards in place, which are mandatory in the workplace in many jurisdictions. See also the spoke design of most larger motor pulleys, which are designed to minimise mass and material, but would act as very effective finger tanglers. (2) Balance/hand wheels act to balance the rotational speed of the machine through each stitch cycle. They do this by acting as a flywheel -- having weight around the rim, which stores rotational energy when there is an easy part of the cycle (e.g. thread take-up) and expends it into the machine during a hard part of the cycle (e.g. needle penetration). This balances out the load on the motor. The more weight the wheel has the more energy is stored. Motor pulleys are built to be as lightweight as possible, which will result in a less smooth load on the motor through each stitch cycle. How this affects a modern, cheap servo motor I'm not sure. Maybe it'll cope but I doubt it'll do it any good. (3) Much more difficult to attach a needle synchroniser/position sensor. Very handy gadget that more people ought to use, especially if their machine is a tool of their trade. (4) It's an unsupported (by the manufacturer's warranty) solution/modification. If you get into a crash with out-of-spec wheels on your car your insurance company's probably not going to write you a check and there may be criminal charges involved. A Ford dealership wouldn't put different wheels on your new car than it's specced for, and neither would a Consew dealer put a wheel on your machine that it's not specced for. Sewing machines are a far lower risk proposition than cars but the same principle applies, especially when you're selling and servicing them for a living. (5) It's also not exactly slow slow -- he's only getting about a 3:1 reduction from the motor to the machine. With a 40mm pulley on the motor, a 3:1 reducer (even a £30 home-made one) and the 80mm factory hand-wheel on his machine he could achieve a 6:1 reduction if he really wanted. That's slow. He'd need a 240mm (nearly 10") diameter wheel on his machine to get this same reduction ratio with a 40mm pulley on his motor, or a 300mm (12") wheel with a 50mm (2") pulley. I've seen pictures of a Singer 111 with a 12" pulley added onto its wheel but it looked professionally modified ($£$£$£). Better just to stick all those reducer pulley gubbins under the table where thread, scissors, pens, fingers and your coffee cup aren't going to be under threat. Now I'm no tech and I'm no dealer. Just a user that does most of his own stunts. My experience is mostly sewing leather, which is a lot tougher than a similar thickness of canvas, and I suspect that the chap who filmed that video hasn't got much experience of doing so. If it works for him, that's great. Not my cuppa tea though. Not something I'd recommend very quickly to others. And very probably not a conspiracy by sewing machine salesmen.
  15. Blimey who made that table, a boy scout with a blunt pocket knife and a bottle of Red Bull?