Matt S

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About Matt S

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    Leatherworker

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    England
  1. Got a Pearson #6!!!! wee hooo!!!

    AIUI moly grease is molybdenum disulphide suspended in lithium grease so that should be fine -- 10x better than what was avilable in 18-ninety-whatever when these machines were designed! Purpose-made SM oil is nice and light (makes great honing oil!) and non-detergent so works well in most modernish sewing machines -- especially those with automatic oiling mechanisms. However its thinness, in my non-scientific and humble opinion, is a little too thin to be the best in the old, heavy machines. It'll certainly work but I wonder about its sticktivity in, say, the needle box galleries of a #6. The manual specifies No.3 IVI oil but as to what that is exactly I couldn't say. I think, honestly, just about anything non-drying and not too thick will work in a #6.
  2. College Sewing in the UK lists several different sizes and styles of 126x11 needles in stock. Price is pretty reasonable so I suspect it may be a NOS item. You could grab a bunch and even if their supply is not sustainable you'll give yourself (a) a reference for what the correct needle is like and (b) time to find a longer-term source of a suitable substitute needle. A 111 that can sew 1/2" sounds bloody useful!
  3. Got a Pearson #6!!!! wee hooo!!!

    Well she just read this over my shoulder so it looks like I'm going to have to! I agree, with one slight modification: oil goes on parts that are entirely or partly in contact with its mate most of the time, and parts that are intermittently in contact receive grease. The way I figure it those cams on the back of the #6's wheel won't hold oil except where the roller bearings happen to be at that moment -- needs something thicker to reduce the rate at which it drips out. I use bog standard lithium grease but just about anything ought to work. However where there's frequent or constant contact the oil will (mostly) be held in by surface tension. At least in my little mind.
  4. Got a Pearson #6!!!! wee hooo!!!

    Well she's obviously got some miles on her but looks intact. The only obvious part you might be missing is that wax pot, but that's not the end of the world. The handle looks like an improvised replacement but functional. If you've read the manual you'll realise there's not a great deal to adjust or time on a #6 -- most of it is fixed and what adjustments exist are primarily for compensating for wear over time. Apart from the obvious ones like shuttle tension and needle thread take-up (which does not work on the same principle as the common 111-type tension unit -- took me a while to get my little brain around that) off the top of my head there is only the needle assist slide, the gibs on the needle bar assembly and the tuning stud for the stitch length dial. (These may not be exactly what the manual calls em.) I found mine was a little sluggish and reluctant for the needle bar assembly to snap back towards me after completing each stitch, which meant that the stitch length didn't always tie up with the dial setting. I found that the slides were full of very old oil, which was making it drag. A couple hours' relaxing with a set of spanners, the girlfriend's toothbrush and a can of brake cleaner sorted out that problem. There's a knack to adjusting the gibs tight enough for minimal slop but loose enough to cycle without binding. As always with this sort of thing though my recommendation would be "if it ain't broke don't fix it". (Shame I rarely follow my own advice...) Beautiful as this piece of late Victorian engineering is, try to resist putting it anywhere the floor may be harmed by oil. Like all British engineering these things are thirsty brutes and have two modes: (1) If it's not leaking oil it's run dry so you'd better top up. (2) if it's leaking oil it has sufficient for now but it's about to run out so you better top up.
  5. We had a short discussion on these sorts of press here: Click me Upshot is that such things might be useful for certain small and/or repetative jobs. However they are very limited on their punching power and have a narrow daylight space. I would dearly love a swing-arm press because it would massively reduce the time it takes per cut, and placing cuts around flaws would be much easier. I don't have the space or power required for a "real" clicker press, and the Weaver pneumatic ones are expensive and have a fixed head. There's a few options on smallish manual ones: Weaver, Lucris, and Cowboy and they all look like excellent machines. As far as I can tell they all work on the same principle, which is a long-arm toggle press that can deliver around 4-5 tons pressure and have a moving presser head around 12" square. Unfortunately they all cost 4 figures and I just don't have the budget for that at the moment. Instead I went down the popular route of an inexpensive bearing press, which is a machine that car mechanics use. It's a heavy steel frame with a bottle jack attached. I bought a 6-ton model as I had limited space available and my research indicated that the ram will move quicker the smaller the pressing capacity. I was able to buy the press, some steel plates, a heavy cutting board, and build a stand out of 2x4s for under £100 total. This machine has two major limitations: it can't handle leather any wider than 13" and it requires usually 4 strokes of the handle to make a cut, and a separate control to release/raise the presser. It also requires the presser plate to be loose, rather than fixed to the ram, so I lose a little speed here too. However the price was excellent and being entirely manual I can feel the exact moment the knife passes through the leather, which limits the wear on the knife and the board. I also have a fly press, which is a machine commonly used in metalworking. It uses a weighted arm which spins a very large screw, which provides a surprisingly powerful "bounce" with a single stroke of the arm. This makes it fast to operate, and the open C-frame will give a lot more flexibility regarding the leather pieces I can put through it (no need to cut into strips first). Unfortunately I've not yet had the chance to set this machine up and run it through its paces.
  6. Looking for advice on a stitch groover

    Heavier stuff I rarely tap as I find it tends to sit neater than lighter work, and I like the feel of the stitches slightly proud. Lighter stuff I will tap if it's a little uneven, or to encourage the thread to fill the awl holes better if they're looking a little empty. Perhaps you are looking for something that makes a particularly narrow channel but have you looked at a V- or U-gouge, or perhaps even a race? These are designed for exactly this purpose and often have a flat facet which can be run along a straight edge. They have a blade that's less likely to jam up when taking a heavy cut than a stitch groover, though in all honesty the only true stitch groover I've used is an Ivan, which is certainly not the best quality.
  7. Singer Kilbowie closed in 1980. I believe that's when the U classes came about, Seiko machines rebadged as Singer. BUSM continued until 2000, though I don't think they were making any sewing machines by that stage. I doubt even a 25% tariff on Chinese machines is going to have any effect other than putting up the retail price by a similar amount. Premium machines are two or more times the price of a Chinese copy of the same model. Compare the price of a CB4500 against that of a Juki TSC-441 -- even after a 25% price rise there's going to be a lot of small custom shops and hobbyists going for the clone. It's still a fraction of the price of a "real" one. I'd have to check with someone like @gottaknow but I don't think many American factories make much use of Chinese made machines -- the longevity and reliability just aren't good enough working full-speed 2,000+ man-hours per year. So perhaps these tariffs might tip a few potential purchasers closer towards a premium machine rather than a Chinese one, or perhaps to rebuilt vintage/classic/used machines. However these are still going to be the small custom makers and hobbyists that buy maybe a machine every few years, rather than volume production factories, which will buy a dozen or more machines at a go. There's not going to be a lot of sewing machine factories get built in the US any time soon. Sadly.
  8. Looking for advice on a stitch groover

    Evenin, GG. Perhaps not a popular opinion or one you're seeking, but I really don't like stitch groovers or the effect they achieve on the seam, except in the very few circumstances where their effect is necessary. Leaving the stitches semi-proud of the surface is perfectly fine in 90+% of circumstances, and I think gives a more impressive tactile and visual effect than burying them. I'm sure both of these groovers are excellent quality but I can think of some far better uses of the $$$ Just my two cents as they say. No offence intended, I'm sure you know what you're doing and the effect you want to achieve. Certainly not trying to tell you how to spend your beer tokens, just offering a slightly different perspective.
  9. Larger thread is often desired for aesthetic as well as practical reasons. I have a strong dislike for commercial leathergoods sewn with skinny thread. Look at wallets (of any price) in the local department store and you'll see TKT40/V69 thread at the most, and probably a size or two smaller. I suspect that it's done for speed and cheapness -- thin thread allows the use of more commonly available garment weight machines, costs less per yard, and allows more items to be sewn between bobbin changes. I've had plenty of commercial wallets break threads in a short amount of use, which really doesn't impress. Rightly or wrongly thin thread looks cheap to me, and I believe that this goes some way to implying the quality of my products. I put time and care into the design and manufacture of my goods, and use nothing smaller than TKT20/V138, except where technical reasons require me to use TKT40/V69.
  10. Downloadable Manual For Pearson No.6

    I have an original manual (1919 edition I think), which isn't leatherbound. I could scan it if you're curious but Amuckarts PDF is excellent. The only area for improvement is the illustrations, which aren't very clear.
  11. Beginners Leather

    Now then Sam! Welcome to the forum. What sort of things do you want to make, just passport holders or maybe some other items too? I can suggest a bunch of places you can get leather, at various prices, but will need to know what sort of things you want to make.
  12. Chrome tanned burnishing

    Some of the the chrome tanned leathers I use burnish, or at least seal. I use diluted glue to damp the edge and a little wax on the wheel, reapplied as often as needed to keep the edge lubricated. Multiple cycles are needed to get a decent result The wheel I use is pretty fast, which I think is a key part of the puzzle. 2950RPM and has a 2"diameter. Takes a long dwell time to get a burnish, and not all chrome tannages will do it. TBH I'm not entirely sure if it's a true burnish rather than just a seal, could be I'm building up a layer of highly polished glue on the edge but if so it penetrates the edge of the leather quite deep and doesn't build up like edge paint.
  13. Thread size

    Well if you have a micrometer or caliper (digital or vernier) you could measure it. This page is very handy for comparing thread sizes. It gives diameters too if you do have a way to measure it. If you like I can send you a few samples of known thickness thread for reference.
  14. Thread size

    Hey @Redhead, where did you get that thread from? Perhaps there was a mixup with the labelling, TKT40 is equivalent to V69 rather than V138 -- fairly thin for most of the sorts of leatherwork you'll see on this forum. Perhaps you could try some TKT20/V138? It's a little chunkier, one size below TKT13, which is about the same diameter as 18/3 linen. I like Coats Nylonbond, which I get from Abbey England. It's very consistent, not very expensive, and comes in a wide range of colours. (As usual the less common thread sizes have fewer colours available.)
  15. Not having laid hands on any of those exact machines, in a word yes. What you're looking at are upholstery-weight machines -- by which I mean the common, relatively inexpensive industrial machines that can comfortably sew 5/16" (8mm) thickness of leather with TKT20/V138 synthetic thread all day long -- hopefully using a triple-compound feed (feed-dog, needle-feed and powered walking-foot). Most of this class of machine will be able to sew thicker leather and/or thicker thread, though perhaps not for ever (it's rarely a good idea to run any machine at or near one if its maximums for very long.) Such machines are great at sewing dress belts, wallets, watch straps, bags, purses, small knife sheaths, tool rolls, aprons, heavy duty clothing, upholstery, whatever fits within the above limits. Exactly what features you need/want on your machine are up to you to decide -- flat or cylinder bed, reverse, large bobbins, rectangular needle motion, synchonised needle positioning, whatever. Those are decisions that you need to make based on your work and your budget. I have a locally badged Highlead 0618, which I use almost every single day. (For comparison's sake it's very similar to the Consew P1206 but please don't take this as a recommendation for or against that particular machine.) It's a flat-bed triple-feed upholstery-weight machine which I have setup with a cheap needle-positioning servo motor and £9 Ikea worklight. I've sewn somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 metres of seam through this machine this summer on dog leads alone, using TKT20/V138 nylon thread into 4mm of medium-temper leather, often faster than 1,000 SPM. It takes the 1" M bobbin, which means I can sew two 5' dog leads (about 20 feet of sewing) per bobbin and save for cleaning and oiling I don't think I've had to do any maintenance to it for months . This is pretty small potatoes as far as manufacturing goes but what impresses me is that this is a pretty low-end machine which is imperfectly setup. I went a different route but you can buy packages of machines like this, on a table, with a servo motor and set up, for £/$/€1,000 -- which is under a month's minimum wage. There are other ways that a beginner to machine sewing leather can go, but this isn't a bad one.