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About zuludog

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  • Birthday 04/25/1950

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  • Location
    Northwest England
  • Interests
    Backpacking, Car mechanics, Model aeroplanes, Knifemaking, Leatherwork

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  • Leatherwork Specialty
    Knife sheath making
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    general leatherwork
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  1. Thanks for the tip about the lollipop sticks. I have been using scraps of leather under my clamps but, as you say, the lolly sticks will spread the pressure more evenly I glue small patches of 600 grit wet & dry paper to the sticks which turns them into very small files or wands to polish the prongs on my stitching chisels But I don't buy the sticks, I pick them up in the street; just give them a quick wash then let them dry
  2. newbie

    I also use a Stanley knife. Although the blades are disposable they cut better if you resharpen them on a fine stone & strop when they become blunt. This is because you polish them, and reduce the shoulder of the bevel There is a sharpening section on this forum, or you can Search YouTube In fact the key to good leatherwork is to have razor sharp tools, but you will quickly realise that you can spend a lot of money on stones, and there is a bewildering choice from diamond, ceramic/water, and oil. Because they have been around for longer you can usually find oilstones in secondhand tool stalls in markets. I got mine for £3 You can make your own strop from oddments of wood & leather, this will be just about the easiest leatherwork project you'll do. But treat yourself to some proper honing/stropping compound. It's not that expensive, and a bar will last you for years. I use Veritas Honing compound #05M08.01. Again, search YouTube You will also need another knife. This can be just about anything you want, and is used to cut string; open parcels; sharpen pencils; and so on. It's purpose is to make sure you use the Stanley knife (or whatever else you use) exclusively for cutting leather John Lobb make very expensive hand made shoes. I saw a TV programme about them a while ago; they keep their rivets, eyelets, and similar small components in old jam jars http://www.johnlobb.com
  3. Probably like a lot of people I began leatherworking with a Tandy Starter Set, which included the 4-in-1 awl. I quickly realised that this wasn't very satisfactory as the blade kept slipping in the haft, no matter how I tried to tighten the locking collar; and I couldn't seem to get the blade very sharp, which I put down to my inexperience. I mounted the round blade in a fixed haft and that works well enough; after all there's not much you can do wrong with a round/scratch awl So I got a fixed blade saddler's awl from Bowstock. I believe the blade is actually by Tandy, the same as their fixed blade awl. I also bought, mounted, and sharpened a John James saddler's awl blade. Which leaves me with the two leaf blades left over from the 4-in-1 awl, and what to do with them. The two fixed blade awls do everything I need, so the easiest would be to just forget the Tandy blades, but I wondered - can they be turned into anything decent? I have some spare hafts, and if I worked on the Tandy blades with an oilstone and a strop for say half an hour a night over a couple of weeks would it be worth persevering? Or are they of such poor quality that nothing useful can be made from them?
  4. By chance, soon after I became interested in leatherwork I met a retired traditional cobbler - in a pub, where else? among the various bits of advice he gave me, he said that 'them green mats' were about the best cutting surface he'd ever used this is what I use For general cutting - the typical green craft cutting mat; for a knife I use either a sharpened Stanley knife or a Japanese style leather knife For skiving - the glass oven door off an old cooker For using beneath stitching chisels - an old polypropylene kitchen chopping board, about 15 mm thick I don't do tooling or pounding
  5. Just say 'Thank you' and leave it at that. Making any more fuss will only embarrass one or both of you Learn from this, and maybe charge a bit more in future
  6. We all know what a round knife looks like For a head knife Search for 'Barnsley Single Head Knife' from Abbey England.com
  7. fredk is correct. The semi circular leatherworking knife is known as a round knife, and is symmetrical. A head knife is asymmetrical, having a rounded, slightly bulbous profile on one side, and the other side elongated and tapering to a point, thus having a resemblance to a dead, especially a bird's head Confusion arises because the phrase 'head knife' became so common & synonymous with a leatherworking knife that it is also used erroneously for a round knife The origins of the word 'cobbler' for someone who makes or repairs shoes doesn't seem to be very well known or established, but it gives us the phrase for describing something that has been hastily prepared or assembled from whatever materials & components are readily available - 'to be cobbled together' It also gives us the British rhyming slang 'Cobblers!' meaning to speak rubbish or nonsense. In rhyming slang you use a familiar phrase or word pairing, but only say the first word. thus - Cobblers = cobbler's awls = balls Bread = bread & honey = money Raspberry = raspberry tart = fart Apples = apples & pears = stairs and so on
  8. LUMPENDOODLE2 & MY63. Thanks for your replies I have bought brass sheet, rod, & tube from MaccModels for my knife making, and have called at their shop, but had completely forgotten about them. Thanks for the reminder I hadn't heard of EKP Supplies but they could be useful You can see that I also make model planes, the plastic kits, but the days when every town had a model shop are long gone. There are still a few around, but mostly everything's on The Net now
  9. That's excellent work! Please can you provide the name and/or website of the model engineering firm? Thanks
  10. Search YouTube for 'Making a Leather Knife Sheath' by Ian Atkinson - it's an absolute masterclass! There are several other videos on sheaths, by Ian, and others
  11. Nigel Armitage has a review of that very tool on YouTube, it's well worth watching - 'Pricking Iron Review 10 Tandy 3.5 mm'
  12. I've been watching Nigel Armitage's review of Craftool Pro stitching chisels. He makes the comment that we shouldn't make stitching grooves so much as - They weaken the leather; and as the stitching is set in a channel that restricts the sideways expansion of the stitching so that it is less able to develop the typical zigzag pattern He just uses a line made with dividers, and then goes on to say that when the stitching is flattened and has time to settle as the item is used, there is not much of the stitching protruding above the surface of the leather anyway Interesting; any comments? I make mostly knife sheaths and I have always used a stitching groove, but I think that for the next couple I might just make a line with an edge creaser
  13. I think there has been a misunderstanding. I wasn't referring to a stitching chisel but to the 4-in-1 AWL, Tandy # 3209-00. Not many of the members on this forum think much of it either It's also quite expensive. For less money you can get the better quality Craftool Pro Stitching awl # 83020-00 plus the scratch awl #3217-00
  14. I've just had a thought about your problem with an awl. Are you using the 4-in-1 awl sold by Tandy and others? It's not very good (that's the polite version!) Get a simple fixed blade awl like Tandy Stitching awl with 1 1/4" blade, #31218-01, or, if you can afford it, Craftool Pro Stitching awl #83020-00. And remember to polish them on a strop
  15. I have a Craftool 2 - prong, 4mm stitching chisel, #88046 - 02, and I'm happy enough with it; but now I would like a 4 - prong to match, and also some chisels with narrower gaps, say 3mm This is where the fun starts as I'm getting confused. There are so many to choose from. I've just spoken to my local Tandy store, and they say they have three types of chisels, but the full range of sizes & prongs is not shown on their website Then there are the variety of Chinese & Japanese chisels on the Net, Amazon, and so on. Some of them are better known (Craft Sha, Seiwa) than others; presumably the quality will vary as well. Yer pays yer money and yer takes yer choice Searching YouTube for 'leather stitching chisels' will produce lots of videos; watch as many as you have the stamina for. In particular Nigel Armitage has done several reviews of different brands. In fact anything by Armitage Leather, Leodis Leather, and Leathertoolz is worth watching Be careful with the measurements and specifications as some refer to the gaps between the prongs, and some to the distance between the points. Also, the Chinese & Japanese chisels are probably made from the ground up in metric measurements, but I suspect that some of the Tandy chisels will be fractions of an inch that have simply been rounded to the nearest millimetre equivalent. I have decided to stay with Craftool chisels as I know they are OK for me, but I'll be visiting my local Tandy store soon and may just change my mind if I see anything better. Perhaps I'm a bit old fashioned but I'd rather pay a bit more to actually see & handle the goods before I buy them. On the other hand, some of the imports are so cheap it might be worth trying them, and no great loss if they're not very good. Decisions, decisions..... Whatever you get it's well worth fettling or polishing the prongs with a needle file and a home made 'wand' made by glueing some wet & dry paper to a sliver of wood like a lollipop stick; use 500 or 600 grit, then finer if you wish. There are a couple of videos about this Similarly with an awl. If you have difficulty using it, work on getting it as sharp and as smooth & polished as possible. If you haven't done it already, make your own strop from oddments of wood & leather, and use a proper stropping compound. This will be just about the easiest piece of leatherwork you'll ever do It helps with both awls & chisels if you rub/lubricate them with beeswax before you use them If you still have problems using an awl you could try adapting a drill press. In fact I think there have been a couple of threads about that on here; search away! As for thread, try starting with unwaxed, natural, 18/3 linen, and take it from there. Ask your supplier for needles to match