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Everything posted by Hunhunt

  1. Another option would be to purchase a Munson last which Lisa Sorrel also has available. The Munson last was designed by an army officer in the WWI era for the troops. It provides for a very comfortable shoe/boot and should work fine for the boots you intend to make.
  2. Hunhunt

    My knives dull right after sharpening!

    I have experienced exactly the same problem with a similar knife, the ones sold by Lisa Sorrel. I use a Tormek sharpener and bring the edge to razor sharpness using the stone wheel followed by a stropping wheel. The edge is mirror polished. The knife I use is sharpened on both sides. The knife cuts extremely well but quickly dulls with the chrome tanned leather I use in shoe-making. I have experienced the same thing with the Super Skiver with injector razor insert and with an Osborne french edger/skiver. I make frequent trips to the Tormek stropping wheel to touch up the edge. I have tried varying the angle of the edge but have found little difference. Seems to be the nature of chrome tanned leather and metal edge tools.
  3. Hunhunt

    Advice on a skiving tool please

    I've never tried plane irons but I have used wood skew chisels. The main problem with woodworking chisels is that the handles limit how low an angle you can use in making the skiving cut. I generally use a very low angle. Another thought would be to try using a power hacksaw blade if you know a machinist who is replacing an old blade. The steel should be very good and the price would be right.
  4. Hunhunt

    Advice on a skiving tool please

    Get it really razor sharp and then keep it sharp by frequent stropping. I have leather stropping wheels on my Tormek sharpener but you can do the same thing by mounting a piece of vegtan scrap leather to a flat surface. I rarely have to resharpen with the grinding wheel since I use the stropping wheel frequently. It is amazing how fast leather can take the razor edge off a cutting tool.
  5. Hunhunt

    Advice on a skiving tool please

    There is a very good Lisa Sorrel video on the use of these skewed type skiving knives. I have one that I got from her that I really like. Has to be kept absolutely razor sharp to work efficiently. It works far better than the Tandy's skiving tool (super skiver).
  6. Hunhunt

    Leather for Shoemaking and Tools

    You might check out the video series available at this website: It takes you through the entire shoe making process using the simplified stitch out (stitch down) sole construction method. It is a very simplified process and you can always modify what you learn from the video to suit your needs. As far as leather, I use 5-6 oz chrome tanned leather for shoes that is often sold as "chap leather". For the midsole you will probably want to use a vegetable tanned leather (I use 8-9 oz). Other materials you might use would be plastizote for the insole and crepe which is sandwiched between the midsole and the outsole. I use synthetic outsoles (Vibram) as I find leather outsoles to be too slippery.
  7. Hunhunt

    Wood stain for leather.

    Since I am primarily a woodworker rather than leather worker, I keep a lot of wood stains and dyes stocked. I've always avoided pigmented wood stains (think thin paint) for leather since I am afraid the results would be blotchy and unnatural looking. I actually don't use pigmented stains much for wood either. I prefer aniline dyes for wood to get a more transparent finished look. I've used the same dyes on leather with good results. The dyes I use are primarily water or alcohol based. I do apply a finish (Tandy's Eco-Flo Professional) over them to avoid any bleed-out. I recently used some Fiebings leather dye on a leather project and liked the results I got. It seems like the Fiebings dye was more color fast when applying the finish than the wood dyes I've used.
  8. Electrathon, thanks for the tip on Lasts are indeed the hardest thing to come up with for the amateur shoe maker. I've been buying used lasts off ebay and reshaping, repairing for my use (I'm a woodworker too). Unfortunately, it's not easy to find the Munson lasts I prefer and my collection is far from complete with regards to sizes. has some very interesting looking lasts on their website. Here's an example of some shoes I recently completed on a pair of Munson lasts.
  9. Hunhunt

    Walnut flooring?

    I generally drop contact cement instead of dye on the concrete floor of the barn tack room. Makes a pretty big mess. Which is why I'm banished to the tack room for gluing.
  10. Hunhunt

    Southern Idaho

    Welcome from a fellow southern Idaho leather worker. This forum has been a tremendous wealth of information for me. Don't know if you are aware of it but southern Idaho has some of the most outstanding saddlemakers in the country including Dale Harwood (if he's not retired) and Carey Schwartz. I have one of Carey's saddles and can vouch for the quality craftsmanship that goes into them. As I recall, he offers some instruction including a video series. You can check out his website. I started learning how to make shoes as a result of this forum and a video series I found on-line. It's a hoot.
  11. Hunhunt

    manual shoe press

    Another option that is less expensive if you aren't making a lot of shoes is the old LA Macker type presses. The pressure is applied through an acme screw thread. They show up on Ebay frequently. I payed less than $100 for mine and have been gathering various press forms for it as they come available. The press works fine.
  12. I've used 9 - 10 oz bridle leather from Waterhouse Leather for belt making. Was very pleased with the leather. It is very waxy, minimal stretch, and wears very well.
  13. Hunhunt

    Leather Boots In The Pacific Northwest

    Horween Predator leather is an extremely oily, waxy leather that I have used in shoe/boot making. It is difficult to glue because of all the oil (contact cement seems to remain "gummy" for awhile) but once everything has been sewed up it works fine. Predator may work good for your application. Some of the Crazy Horse leather that I have purchased from Zack White Leather has been almost as oily/waxy as Predator. The last Crazy Horse "dark brown" that I got was like this. It does have a sort of sanded surface which may not be your preference.
  14. Henry still had some size 5 needles when I ordered a few from him this past month.
  15. I am looking for suggestions from anyone who has experience with a Junker and Ruh SD28 with regards to compatible thread. I have a machine due to arrive tomorrow and am trying to prepare for using it. I have emailed Henry but have not heard back yet (probably pretty busy with the Christmas season on us). I hope to use the machine for stitching uppers to midsole on the stitchout constructed shoes I am making. I am currently hand stitching using waxed nylon thread that measures .030" diameter. I would like to stick with either waxed nylon or waxed polyester since I can get it in various colors. Seems like linen/waxed linen thread comes in any color you want as long as it is black or white. I have read that nylon and polyester thread can be more abrasive than linen thus shortening the life of thread guides. However, this is just a one person hobby so I would think that wear would be minimal for my application. The manual specifies the use of flax fiber linen 6 strand right hand twist thread but I'm not sure if 6 strand from the early 1900's corresponds with what is currently termed 6 strand. Right hand twist throws a bit of a monkey wrench in this too as it appears that most nylon or poly twist thread that is available is either left hand or unspecified and thus, probably left hand to be compatible with modern machines. Maybe even "Tiger" thread is a consideration to avoid the right hand twist issue? I also need advise on what needle size would be required for .030" diameter thread. The machine is coming with one size 6 needle. I have read about the scarcity and expense of needles for these machines but have been in contact with Henry on obtaining needles. Thanks for any input.
  16. I have now successfully used both .8mm and 1mm Tiger thread. I used a size 5 needle with the .8mm and tried both a size 6 and size 7 with the 1mm. I prefer the look of the 1mm to the .8mm for outstitching shoes and I'm now using that exclusively. The size 6 needle worked fine with the 1mm thread. If I was using a particularly dense leather or for some other reason having trouble getting the knot to draw up into the stitch then I would switch to the size 7 needle for the slightly larger hole. There is not a lot of difference in the size of the 5-7 needles. Initially the hole seems quite large for the thread but as you press the edge down for gluing the sole to the midsole the stitching fills in nicely. Don't know about stitching through an additional layer of rubber outsole as I haven't tried that. You may have to go to a larger needle to do that. As far as the force required to do it I can only say that stitching through 2 layers of 5-6 oz leather (heels counter + upper) and 9 oz of hard temper midsole is effortless. It has lots of mechanical advantage.
  17. Thought I'd follow up with what I've learned so far with the machine. The ancient linen thread that came with the machine would break (upper thread) every time I tried to use it while trying to draw the lower thread up into the leather. While I waited for new thread to arrive I decided to completely clean the machine to remove all the sticky accumulation of gunk from all the years of previous use. Turns out gun cleaning solvents work great for cleaning away all the gunk (tested them on the underside of the base of the machine first). Then I loosened the bobbin tension slightly and tightened the upper tension some. I had decided to start off trying "Tiger" thread since the woven thread would eliminate the concern for finding right hand twist thread. The .8mm thread arrived and I spooled some up and gave it a try. I bypassed the lube pot since the Tiger thread comes pre-waxed. It worked perfectly on the first try. This little Junker & Ruh SD28 machine is really cool. The stitching is virtually indistinguishable from the way I hand stitched before. In less time than it used to take me to mark the upper to midsole with an overstitch wheel and punch the holes with an awl, I was done stitching with the SD28. I would have spent another 30-45 minutes hand-stitching the seam. I imagine there are other alternatives to the Tiger thread that would work (certainly linen but it's hard to find in various colors) but I'm thoroughly satisfied with the Tiger thread. This is the first time I've tried it and I'm really sold on it.
  18. I actually have the Campbell-Randall website bookmarked as they are a great source for linen thread as you mentioned. Frankford Leather also stocks it. However, as I mentioned above, you can only get the linen thread in white or black. I use far more dark brown than any other color. I am curious to know your experience with the Lax Wax. I've been hoping to avoid having to use any lubricant, as I mentioned, just because it seems like it would be more messy and an additional hassle compared to just using modern pre-lubricated (waxed) thread. There is also still the issue of needing to run waxed thread in the bobbin as that is a stated requirement in the manual. I wonder where the other users of Junker & Ruh machines are? I know I've seen the machines discussed on the forum before. I'm surprised no one has chimed in about experiences trying to use modern threads. They really are cool old machines.
  19. OK, I've got some more details as the machine arrived today. First, thank you Wiz for the information you provided especially regarding size of needle relative to size of thread. Regarding the required strength of the needle, I actually will only be sewing the upper (up to 2 layers of 6 oz. chrome tan with relatively soft temper) to 8-9 oz veg tan midsole. The hair side of the midsole leather is sanded/roughened for good glue adhesion so even though it is hard temper, it is softened by the roughing. I don't sew the crepe subsole or the synthetic sole (usually a Vibram rubber sole). These components are just glued to the midsole. So I checked the thread that came with the machine. The ancient spool is marked "6 cord" and the thread (presumably linen) measures .030" and is indeed right hand twist. I can't tell if it is waxed/lubricated or dry as I've never used linen thread before and it is very old. The #6 needle that came with the machine measures .075" at the eye which would agree with your rule of thumb for the needle to be approximately 2X diameter of thread. This will work perfect for the .030" diameter thread size that I have been using to hand stitch the uppers to midsole. Unfortunately it sounds like Henry only has size 5 needles so I may have to do more searching for some size 6 needles. I only have one needle at this time so I will be proceeding very cautiously in trying the machine out. Now the question that remains is type of thread to use. Browsing, polyester thread specifications list 6-cord (government) corresponds with size 415 (commercial) with a nominal diameter of .0283". However, I can't seem to find right hand twist in polyester or waxed polyester or nylon (also checked Maine Thread). Waxed linen is readily available in 6 cord right twist but only in white or black. I mostly use dark brown thread for the shoes I make. I suppose the white linen thread could be used but it does create a stark contrast with the dark brown leather I generally use. Tiger thread is available in .8mm (.031") and many colors including dark brown. Since it is a braided thread, right hand twist becomes irrelevant. It may be a good alternative although I don't know how the braided look will compare with the traditional twisted look. Will have to try it and see. Finally, one of my concerns was whether anyone had been successful using waxed thread for the needle thread instead of using dry thread and running it through the lube pot. The Junker&Ruh manual actually describes using gum tragacanth rather than liquid wax in the lube pot for the dry needle thread. I would prefer to use waxed thread for the needle thread to avoid the use of the wax pot because it seems like liquid wax or gum trag will create a mess. The question is whether the waxed thread has enough lubricity to work for the upper thread. The Junker&Ruh manual specifies waxed thread (linen) for the bobbin thread.
  20. I haven't been able to reach him by email yet. I asked him similar questions as I've posted here and was checking on suitable needle size, availability, and cost as well. I just got a message that the email was undeliverable so I've just PM'd him. In the meantime I did some checking on the Crispin Colloquy forum for more information and gleaned a little bit. There were some folks there that talked about using waxed polyester as well as braided poly. But there really wasn't much discussion on that particular subject on that forum.
  21. Hunhunt

    Cuttin' Leather With A Bandsaw

    Another use for the stationary belt/disc sander is for re-shaping wooden shoe lasts. I buy used maple lasts (some with pretty nice curl figure) off Ebay and re-shape them for my preferred profile.
  22. Hunhunt

    Cuttin' Leather With A Bandsaw

    I'm primarily a woodworker/furniture maker and have only recently begun leather work. I make shoes mostly and use my 18" bandsaw for cutting soles to shape after gluing to the midsole/upper. Works great. I also use my lathe for grinding/finishing edges using sanding drums since I can't justify the expense of a shoe repair line finisher. I occasionally use a 6"x48" stationary belt sander with 24 grit belts as well for edge grinding and sole roughing but it gets pretty tense using that tool which runs at 3600 rpm. Vee grooves are made with a super quality Swiss made vee carving chisel. It's amazing how many woodworking tools can serve a dual purpose for leather work.
  23. Hunhunt

    Seidel Leather

    Anyone ever use any Seidel leather and know a source for it. I have looked at their website (Seidel Tanning Corporation) but it isn't very helpful and I have not been able to find a retail outlet for their leather. I have seen some of their leather compared favorably with Horween Chromexcel. It is used by some shoe/boot manufacturers and has me curious about an alternative to Chromexcel.
  24. Hunhunt

    Shoe Last

    I might be interested in any that are marked "Munson" or "Modified Munson" depending on condition, sizes, and price.
  25. Hunhunt

    Shoe Last

    There are many old lasts for sale on Ebay. I have bought quite a few for the leather shoes I make. Most are pretty well used and require some filling of nail holes. I reshape them to the styles I desire to make. You can look on Ebay and get an idea what prices they are getting.