William Bloke

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About William Bloke

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  • Leatherwork Specialty
    English saddlery

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  1. Morning  how hou doing.   Brief question...iam new at leather and i notice the difference between the chisel i got from amazon and the one i see here . Would hou recommend me a chisel for a biginner that iwll last lónger?

    1. William Bloke

      William Bloke

      Wow, I haven't checked in here for months and when I do Simone has left me a message 15mins ago!

      I can't see which chisels w

    2. William Bloke

      William Bloke

      We are talking about, but I'm guessing you've got a stiching chisel with diamond shaped points that is designed to be pounded right through the work to make sewing holes.

      I'm perhaps a bit old fashioned, but when I learned my trade I was taught to use what they call on here a "Pricking iron" and what we called a stitch mark. These are just tapped into the leather to give the spacing and angle of the holes. The actual holders are made with a sewing awl as you make each stitch.

      I think the stitching chisel, wallop it through and sew it up later will give good results on simple flat projects and has much less of a learning curve. Ultimately though, just marking where the stitches should be and making the holes with a awl is much more versatile, and will probably give a better, stronger product in less time in most cases. However it does take time to develop the skill. We don't really expect new saddler apprentices to be able to see well until their second year of full time work.

    3. H2345


      I appreciate your help.  I will look into it and welcomeback to the site.... we need expert like u and others who can guide us all in this craft.  I am new at this and its becoming a passion...so what better is there but to be mentored by the best and experienced people. 

  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Dixon Tools, who are the players?

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

  8. 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!)
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.