William Bloke

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About William Bloke

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  • Leatherwork Specialty
    English saddlery

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  1. Final attempt

    Looks like they make a nice consistent patten, and the steel looks chunky enough to hold up to a lot of use. Good job!
  2. Would I? Fast down and dirty!

    I was going to say that it doesn't take long to make one and it's useful if you don't have the right sized "proper" iron. And those ones in the photo have been languishing at the bottom of a box marked "Misc." For a long time. (As evidenced by the rust!) But I have just realised that my 1/2 no 8 that I use quite a lot is one that I made when my original one went walkies with a work experience girl.
  3. Would I? Fast down and dirty!

    Measured and marked the spacing I was after, sawed the slots and hand filed the angled with a three square file. It helps if you take the teeth off one flat of the file so it can run along the one tine as a guide while you file the angle on the next one. I'm pretty sure that this is how the Blanchard irons are still made. (Prob with machine cut slots?) And I know that Dixon hand filed their irons right to the bitter end.
  4. Would I? Fast down and dirty!

    I've made pricking irons in the past, mainly for restoration work with weird stitch lengths. I think these are from a piece of gauge plate which works well because it's easily hardenable.
  5. Dixon Tools, who are the players?

    Oh sorry, you biting satire was clearly too clever for me.
  6. Dixon Tools, who are the players?

  7. Awl's ,Awl handles, and blades/harness needles

    My favourite handles are the small Blanchard ones, they are cheap, have a narrow ferrule to get into fiddly spots, and I like the way the flats sit consistently in my hand. Personally, I don't understand why handles with chucks are so popular. I'd rather have my tools set up and ready to go than spend more on something I have to keep fiddling with. Also beautiful as some of the handles I've seen are, when I did my apprenticeship we were taught to push a sticky needle through with the wood rather than pick up pliers. Over the course of a day it saves so much time if you're not constantly switching tools over. Here's a photo of a Blanchard handle with a Saddler's handle from Abbey. (You can see where I use the wood to push needle in a way I wouldn't want to if it was made of something precious and cost 20X more!)
  8. Pricking Chisel Size

    No it's not. 3mm is just under 8 1/2 to the inch, 4mm is about 6 1/3, and 5mm is close enough to 5 to the Inch that it makes no difference.
  9. Dixons unbranded army surplus tools...

    I'm sure the plough gauge is Dixon's. I have an absolutely identical one of a similar vintage marked Dixon. No idea on the punch though.
  10. Is it just me who really enjoys opening a delivery from Blanchard? I know it's just a few punches and a present for a girl who's been doing some work-experience, but always look forward to a big brown box arriving from France.