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About zuludog

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  • Birthday 04/25/1950

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    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. Key fobs; dog collars; wallets There are about 10 pages, each with about 20 videos on leatherwork on Youtube. Have a browse through, there must be something to inspire you. Also the Show Off! section of this forum Nigel Armitage has a video entitled How to Make a Simple Wallet, or some similar wording; it shows how to make several variations on the designs Tool rolls & cases for chef's knives; woodworking & carving chisels etc., including a combination of heavy canvas & leather. Search YouTube People are willing to pay a higher price for individual, handmade items, but they usually expect a high standard of finish. You could offer/advertise a Handmade/Custom/Bespoke service. Have a notice made for your stall, and some flyers or cards. Get a set of alphabet stamps for names & initials Have a look at knife sheaths anyway, especially those by Leodis Leather & Jacklore Knives. The techniques are useful and can be applied to other things.
  2. Leather knife roll

    Well done! I'm a retired chef and kept my knives in a couple of scruffy old canvas or plastic rolls & cases. One of my plans when I retired was to make myself a decent knife roll out of leather or ballistic nylon & nylon webbing, hand sewn as for leather. That was about 5 years ago and I still haven't got round to it Search YouTube for 'Leather Knife Roll'. There are several videos which might give you some ideas I think you'd have been better to keep all the hilts at the same level, in a straight line. It would have looked neater, and probably be easier to roll up. Still, if it does the job.......
  3. Beeswax for Thread

    Don't be afraid to experiment; you already have the lip balm and beeswax is cheap enough I can't see any reason why lip balm should be harmful to the thread or the leather, but I suspect it may be too soft. On the other hand, beeswax tends to be a bit hard. In his book 'Leatherwork - a Practical Guide' Chris Taylor suggests softening beeswax with linseed oil to make it stickier, and you could try something similar I've had a stick of lip salve lying around for ages so I've just done a trial in the Leatherwork Research Laboratory (my kitchen). I mixed lip salve and beeswax about 50:50; they were completely miscible with each other, and when set the lump of wax was still quite firm. You could increase the proportion of lip balm till you get the consistency & stickiness you want. The salve is a stick, a bit like lipstick, and I suspect the balm will be softer, like a cream, but you could try it Make a water bath from a small frying pan and a small aluminium pie tray/dish. Heat the water till it's very hot, not quite simmering & stir the waxes together. Then remove the tray. When the mixture has set but is still warm and pliable, remove the wax and mould it in your hands to a suitable shape I sew with linen thread and wax it with my own beeswax & linseed oil mixture; don't see why this new mixture should give me any problems Or you could try using the balm as a leather treatment and see how it turns out
  4. Thinking about leather.

    That sort of thing is pretty straightforward, the only problem might be fitting the eyelet as you will need special tools and a bit of practice. The tools are not that expensive, but it all adds up when you're starting out. If you just want one or two eyelets, try asking nicely at a leatherwork store. Alternatively fit a D ring, as in a dangler sheath Search YouTube for 'belt pouch'; 'knife pouch'; 'possibles pouch'; and 'dangler sheath'. When you've gained a bit more experience you could think about making a belt Incidentally, it looks to me as though the pouch you've shown doesn't have any burnished edges or much in the way of leather treatment. You can do better yourself, and also improve the one you have
  5. Thinking about leather.

    Basic, simple leatherwork is not that difficult (even I can do it!) but you need to be patient, and like any craft or hobby it can be frustrating when you start. But as you go on it gets easier, and the standard of your work improves There is a lot of information for beginners in this forum, especially the Getting Started; Tools; and Sewing sections Last I checked on YouTube there were at least 10 pages, each with about 20 videos, on Leatherwork; watch as many as you have the stamina for! Those by Ian Atkinson/Leodis Leather and Nigel Armitage are often recommended. Also Jacklore has a couple of videos on making sheaths; even if you don't want to make a sheath, the techniques are very similar for a lot of leatherwork, and it's all good background Get a book on leathercraft, try your library. Most books will cover the basics, and have a few simple projects. This book is often recommended - 'The Leatherwork Handbook' by Valerie Michael Find out if there is a leather craft store near you. Tandy is the best known, but there are others. Call in and have a chat to them. I assume you are in the USA; if you tell us where you live I'm sure someone will advise you
  6. Learning stitching and buying my first awl

    CAVEDIVER Here are a few points for you to consider, as if you weren't confused enough already! As when buying anything off Ebay, do your research first - caveat emptor! Seiwa are a decent make, but Tandy's Craftool Pro chisels are also fairly good. If you're going to a Tandy store anyway, why not get a 4-prong 3mm spacing one to get you started. You can improve cheaper stitching chisels by polishing the prongs on a strop, or make a very small file by glueing some 600 grit wet & dry paper to a sliver of wood or aluminium. Then lubricate them with beeswax as you use them. To hit chisels you will need a soft hammer of some kind - wood, nylon, hide, brass or whatever. You can use a steel hammer at first, but replace it asap or it will damage the ends of the chisels I don't like replaceable blade awls as - they don't seem to grip the blade well enough, and it keeps pulling out when I try to remove it from the leather, especially on thicker leather; they are more expensive. If you're thinking of using the same haft for several blades, you will find that you are constantly swapping around. Unless you really want some exotic wood, just get a cheap haft for a fixed blade, it will be good enough Hafts come in 2 basic styles; a bulb or pear shape, and with a neck or waist to help you hold the awl in your spare fingers while you sew. This is considered the best technique, but it takes practice, so if you are only sewing smallish items the bulb shape is OK - just put it down as I, and I'm sure many other leatherworkers do Have a look on supplier's websites and YouTube, you'll soon see the sort of size & shape for awl hafts; or buy the Craftool and take it from there when you make your own. I've just measured my hafts- one is 95mm long X 29 mm dia at its widest; the other two are 90mm X 28mm. But the best size is the size that suits you The key to good leatherwork is to have very sharp tools. You can make a strop from oddments of wood & leather, there's loads of information on this forum & YouTube, it will be just about the easiest & cheapest piece of leatherwork you'll ever do. But treat yourself to some proper stropping compound. Have a look at this website www.bowstock.co.uk On the home page, top right corner there are some tips & tutorials for leatherwork, including a comparison chart of leather thicknesses
  7. Learning stitching and buying my first awl

    Ah yes, I'd forgotten the Craftool Pro Awl I have tried this at a Tandy store, and I think it's quite good, at about $30. Certainly you should have no problems using this on the type of leather you have described I didn't buy it as I have 3 other awls, but I would certainly consider it if I needed another awl Tandy Craftool Pro Stitching Awl #83020-00. About $30, or less if you use their discount scheme. You have to buy in to the scheme, but if you are starting out it's worth considering as there will be a lot of things you need to get, both tools & materials, and you will probably recover the cost Ask around if you know anyone who does woodwork; you could probably get a pony made for oddments for next to nothing
  8. Learning stitching and buying my first awl

    Traditionally you make your own awl by buying a separate awl blade and haft, then mounting and sharpening them yourself. This is a right pain, and will take a year off your life. I strongly recommend that you get one that is ready to use, and to buy the best you can afford. Even if you get stitching chisels, the two tools you will use mostly in leatherwork are an awl and a knife Even if it is ready for use you will still need a strop to sharpen it occasionally To save wear & blood on your fingertips, support/back your stitching with a champagne cork till you gain experience; that is yer actual cork, not the plastic things that come with cheap fizz. Try to push & pull the awl in a straight line, and resist the temptation to waggle it about as you remove it For the thickness of leather you are using get a small awl, then others as you need them Don't know which videos you've been watching, but those by Nigel Armitage and Ian Atkinson are good, and on other aspects of leatherwork too.
  9. Hello Veej Britain did have a large leather industry, but it suffered from the advent of plastics/PVC and, like many western economies from competition from the far East, especially China. So now it no longer has any serious mass production leather industry, but has a lot of small specialist/upmarket/handmade suppliers. Without wishing to sound too biased, it is generally accepted that two of the best makers of leatherwork videos on YouTube are British; Nigel Armitage and Ian Atkinson/Leodis Leather. Also have a look at Jacklore Knives; although best known for his knives, he also makes the sheaths, and his videos on that are good & interesting. In fact there are about 10 or 12 pages on leatherwork on YouTube, each with about 20 videos - watch as many as you have the stamina for! Nigel Armitage's video 'How to make a simple Wallet', or some similar title is actually a good introduction to leatherwork, and a wallet would be a good place to start Try your library for a book on leatherwork. the one by Valerie Michael is often recommended, but just about any book will give you the basics. Also work through this forum, especially the sections on Getting Started; Tools; and Sewing
  10. Carriage thread

    Tandy stock 'carriage thread', which I understand to be hemp. It looks nice enough, but at £32-87 for 100 yds it is very expensive. I would be interested in trying a sample length though. Is it worth it? or any other comments?
  11. How To Sharpen A Round Knife

    This is a reply to PABLO 27; though from about 5 years ago, others might find it useful The leather for a strop should be used flesh side up, ie glue the grain to the wood I have used Veritas Honing Compound product code 05M08.01 with no problems. It adheres to the leather OK and sharpens well. It is green, presumably chromium oxide based Recently I got some Schmidts Poldermedel, also green, but that was harder and didn't stick as well, so I made my own concoction based on it I made a water bath from a small frying pan and an aluminium foil pie tray,and used that to melt & mix some of the Schmidts, to which I added about 5 to 10 % beeswax and jeweller's rouge. This sticks better, doesn't clog up, and still gives a very sharp edge
  12. Stiching holes

    JJ needles are preferred over Tandy needles because they have smaller eyes which are less likely to jam when pulling through the holes, and help to produce neater work. This does mean, though, that they will be more difficult to thread A needle threader might work but there's only one way to find out. Problem is, the needles are usually only available in packs of 25. Both the needles and a threader are cheap enough, but if this doesn't work you could then be left with some stuff you can't use You could ask around suppliers and see if they will sell you just one or two #2 needles as a sample or trial, no harm in asking. Alternatively, could some kind leatherworker in USA arrange to send you a couple? That's what forums are for Beware! the sizing system for needles in Britain and USA are different; make sure you get John James # 2 needles, under the British system. See my earlier post in this thread If you decide to stay with Tandy needles, a threader could help with those, too Go to www.jjneedles.com and use the search box to find 'saddlers harness needles' and you'll see what they look like. You could also contact them and ask their advice, I have always found their sales enquiries dept pleasant & helpful. They would also be able to tell you their American distributor. I notice they do supply easy thread needles, but I don't know if they would be suitable for leather; again, ask them

    Have you got an actual web address for them please? I've found www.leatheronline.co.uk and www.leather-online.co.uk but both of them only seem to sell finished goods Edit - OK, I've done a bit more searching and found www.buyleatheronline.com, that looks more promising It looks like it's an Italian company so perhaps they sell in other European countries as well
  14. Stiching holes

    This topic crops up regularly on this forum; browse through some old threads & posts there are 3 reasons for stuck needles The hole is too small; the needle is too big; the thread is too thick, creating a larger bump where it folds over at the eye. Or any combination of these 3 I use the standard Tandy needles to when sewing knife sheaths, the eyes are a bit big, but not impossible. But in future I'm going to use John James #2. Beware! Britain & USA use two different systems for sizing needles, make sure you know which is which. Nigel Armitage shows this well in his video 'Saddle Stitch in Detail' at about 3min 40sec to 4min 30sec This supplier has a chart of needle & thread sizes on their website www.rmleathersupply.com You should be able to pull needles by hand about 95% of the time, the exception is when backstitching If you need to use pliers to pull needles through wrap the jaws in tape to prevent scratching the needle. Whether by hand or pliers, use a straight pull; resist the temptation to waggle the needle about or it will break at the eye As mentioned, it would have helped if you'd given us more information about stitch spacing; type of leather used; type of thread used, and so on
  15. Pricking Irons

    There is a lot of confusion around this topic, and it crops up regularly on this forum. Browse through some previous threads & posts Strictly speaking, pricking irons have short stubby prongs and are used to set the spacing of stitching holes by making indentations in the leather. Then you make the actual holes with a saddler's awl Stitching chisels have longer prongs and are intended to be knocked all the way through the leather, thus they both set the spacing and make the holes; though there is nothing to stop you just using them for spacing by hitting them with only moderate force What sort of leather are you using? I expect it will be veg tan about 3mm thick, so for a knife sheath there will be front + back + welt = 9mm. This is about the limit for a chisel so you might have to do a bit of extra work with a saddler's/harness/diamond awl. If you need to enlarge the holes use a round/scratch awl; this will stretch the leather without cutting it. Afterwards the holes will close up 6 holes per inch is about 4mm spacing, so you have chosen the right size chisel, and the individual holes should be big enough Britain and USA use two different systems for describing the size of needles, and I'm not too sure what size 0,00,000 is, and I haven't been able to find a comparison/conversion chart. But a commonly used size for thickish leather is John James size 2, in the British system. If you order a size 2 under the USA system that will be too big. Nigel Armitage shows this very well in his video 'Saddle Stitch in Detail' at about 3min 40sec to 4min30sec. This supplier's website has a table & description of needle sizes and thread combinations, including ritza/tiger thread www.rmleathersupply.com You shouldn't have much difficulty hand sewing. You should be able to use your fingers about 95% of the time, with a slight resistance or drag, the exception being when backstitching. There are lots of videos on saddle stitching; those by Nigel Armitage are good, but watch as many as you can, and gradually pick up ideas & tips If you do have to use pliers to pull the needle & thread wrap the jaws in tape to prevent damage to the needle. Whether by hand or with pliers use a straight pull. Resist the temptation to waggle the needle about, that is what causes it to break at the eye I assume a laser will make a round hole, like a small drill bit. The hole made by a stitching chisel or a saddler's awl is more like a slit, and this will expand & stretch a bit more than a round hole. You may well find that when you change to the chisels, the needles pass through easier. Lubricate the prongs occasionally with beeswax, that will make them easier to pull out Ian Atkinson/Leodis Leather and Jackal;ore have some excellent videos on making sheaths, but there are others. Again, watch as many as you have the stamina for It is possible to sew a sheath by making holes in the two sides separately, then lining them up together to sew, but you have to be careful & precise. Glue the welt to one side then make holes in one side and one side+ welt