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  1. leather carving

    hi everyone, I did start to learn leather carving, i do have These Tools now. I do have over 10years experiences with leather bags, but this is something completely new and exciting for me. I think, i do make somewhere huge mistakes: either with not enough depth of a cut or also this can be using of wrong hammer maybe ? I do sending some Pictures, would be very glad for your help. have a nice Weekend, Sling
  2. Sewing machine help

    Hello, I am looking at buying my second sewing machine and need help, I have never used a machine before so I am looking for something that's user friendly has a servo motor and a speed reducer. I had bought a jack sewing machine over a year ago paid $1850.00 for it and never been able to use it, can't figure out how to thread properly I had it threaded once before and it sewed but the it had a bird's nest on the bottom of the leather never been able to fix that, now when sewing it does about 2 stitches and the top thread breaks so I don't know if it's still bird nest's on the bottom the machine has become such a head ache that it just sits there. There's no youtube video's on it I called and e-mailed the company I bought it from and no help was given from them at all so I e-mailed the manufacturer with no help at all from them either. I know I need a walking foot industrial and I have it figured out down to 2 machines the cobra class 4 and the cowboy 4500 price wise both machines are the same for the package I am looking at. I make a large variety of products mainly use veg tan, english bridle and suede for lining. I need to be able to sew from 2 oz to about 18 oz. I have chosen these 2 machines because they are cylinder base with flat table accessory when needed and have a throat length of 16 1/2 as I make anywhere from wallets, bags, holsters etc. I would like input on these machines and how well they do the job I need. What are the pros and cons and what are the experiences people have with the company they bought it from. Any help is greatly appreciated thank you in advance.
  3. Very first project!

    This is my first and only leather project so far, used 2 tandy stamps and a swivel knife I had found at a garage sale. I am extremely excited all ready about learning the craft! Also I take criticism extremely well!
  4. First two projects

    Hey all, Started binge watching some leathercraft videos on YouTube and got me hooked to the point I had to try it. I've made 3 wallets so far, the first 2 based on a free pattern online, one having the outline of a business logo on the back, the card holder was my own design but admittedly its a very simple one! Attempting a vertical wallet tonight for a friend of mines birthday, love to see what you guys think and offer any advice
  5. It's a design from one of those Al Stohlman stencils, I'm not designing my own yet. It's 9oz leather. It just doesn't look right. I feel like I'm doing something wrong. I used to have an issue where I was tooling with the leather way too wet, so I stopped doing that and all my work looks improved, but I still feel like something is not "clicking"? Like I'm missing something about this. I have most of the Al Stohlman books including Figure Carving Finesse. Sometimes it's a bit overwhelming and confusing though, and most of all I wish I could see his work in real life, because I stare at the flat photos in the books and I wonder how deep the cuts are and such...and sometimes it's hard to make out what effect he's trying to teach? I feel like I need to see and touch to really understand, but that's not possible...I don't know any leatherworkers in my area either. I feel like maybe I'm striking too hard or cutting too deep? Beveling too deep? Using the wrong bevelers? Stohlman recommends certain specific bevelers for figure carving, but I don't have those exact ones (yet). I have these straight bevelers, B935 and the bigger/wider version of that one. Will it really look THAT much better if I use the triangle-shaped "figure bevelers" Stohlman says to use? Also I don't know what Stohlman means when he talks about using the modeling tool to "smooth and round off edges" of the beveling. Like, I see this ledge that occurs when you bevel, but I don't really understand how to make it round, when I try to use the modeling tool on it it just feels like I'm making the image less dynamic and pressing the edges down so they don't stand out as much. idk if that makes sense. Obviously the lines inside the animal (supposed to be muscle definition) is a hot mess. Also I suppose I should add some fur texture? So idk. Any and all advice and critique is welcomed. I kinda like how this turned out because I really like working with thick leather, it allows a lot of depth which is fun, but I still feel like I'm not understanding something about it.
  6. Cutting Questions

    I'm just getting started in leather working and I've got questions about cutting. Some of the shapes I'm needing have curves and angles. I'm using 8-9oz leather and a husky razor knife. I'm having trouble following my trace and leaving little cut "burrs" when I have to re-cut over a line due to thickness or not staying in the line. 1. Can someone recommend a different tool or method? 2. Will an edge slicker sufficiently smooth those cut burrs? Thanks for any help.
  7. I'm not so much a beginner in leatherwork itself. But i am a newb on selling handmade leather goods. I'm looking for advice as to how to start a buisness. I tried selling on etsy and it went ok but it wasn't really a buisness. Does anyone have any ideas on where i could start? There is this farmers market every saturday in my city and i was thinking I could try selling there. Im open to any ideas whether it be online or out in the real world. What worked for you?
  8. Restoring saddles in California

    Hi, I am new to leatherworking. I have bought an old saddle for almost nothing, and I am taking it apart and refurbishing it, and (hopefully) putting it back together. I need lots of help with types of leather, what glue to use, how to stitch, what type of shearling to use, and I'm sure I'll have more questions in the future. I am happy to have found this community and all of you experienced folks.
  9. Hello everyone, I am a beginner to leather working. I have done some hand sewing, but I am now considering buying a sewing machine, and I am looking for help knowing what to buy. I am hoping to keep the budget under $500, but I really don't know how much one needs to spend. I would prefer to spend less if that is possible. I was looking at walking foot sewing machines and thinking that would be a good idea, but you tell me if you think it's worth the upgrade. I am thinking of buying something used off of ebay or somewhere, but I wanted to ask the experts first. Thank you for your help! -Cole
  10. Does anybody have this stencil or something similar to it? The letters are very small. So I'm just thinking, are you supposed to press these into the leather and then do nothing else, and the words will just stay there even though they're shallow? Even after dying and finishing? They are way too small to cut with a swivel knife. It would make it just look like a mess if I tried. So it just seems like maybe you just press them into the leather and you're done. Correct me if I'm wrong.
  11. I'm going to bind carved leather journals. I just need to know does anybody have suggestions about what type of paper to use, and where to buy it from. They will be a little shorter than your traditional Moleskine notebook but about the same width, idk if that matters. I was going to maybe just use printer paper and trim it to size but idk if maybe I should be using something nicer since they're handmade and all (if you think it's fine to use printer paper let me know though!) Also, if anybody knows of any good tutorials for different binding methods that would also be nice (I already know a couple but I'm always looking for different options). I will not be doing any super involved/advanced bindings though, I'm mostly just interested in the kind where you sew the paper into the spine with waxed thread.
  12. Hello, i am just starting out and i figured out real fast that this is a VERY expensive hobby starting up, but I've found and made some things to cut cost that i wanted to share with yal to help out, ill label whats free, and what i payed for and how much. 1. FREE... wine box from any liquor store.just ask them if they have one to give to you, they just throw them out. Makes a tool holder, storage box.. anything you want, just be creative. 2. CHEAP...Bar soap containers. 1$ at walmart... for holding all your small stuff you want to keep separate. Like the swivel knife and stamps. 3. CHEAP/FREE.Trash bags/walmart bags. Used to lay down under leather when dying. Be careful with walmart bags though, alot of times they'll have holes and not as flat. CHEAP... tool storage boxes.. bought a pack of 4 of them at walmart for 9 bucks. Good for keeping things organized. FREE/CHEAP... old white t-shirts.. instead of throwing away the old white work shirts. Keep them cut them up. Good for tons of stuff.. buffing towels, speading glue and dye, what ever you can think of. CHEAP... stanley box knife. Couple bucks at wal mart and you can get 50 blades for 5 bucks i believe. FREE/CHEAP... BOOKS! 8 bucks a month and you get a ton of books(including al stohlman) can also download them onto your phone, using your free 30 day trial(wink, wink).. and if you cancel membership before the month is over you dont pay a dime. Again (wink wink) its not letting me put up the pics so if you want to see them, or have any questions, send me a message and ill send them to you somehow! Addition! Ill add stuff as i think of them and do them... The internet/youtube!! I have already learned a ton of stuff off youtube, and when you have a better understanding of what your doing and how to do it you'll waste less products and save money... Tandy leathers offers a free beginner's class go take it!!
  13. Hello, I am posting on here for some advice and help. I am very new to working with leather and am hoping to be able to fix this old saddle and get it back to functional light use. I am wondering if anyone has any recommendations for replacing the fender and what kind of leather to use. I've seen the new replacement fenders that you can buy already cut and ready, but I'm not sure if maybe that is the best route to go? I would like to get it looking as close to the other fender, if possible, but it is not completely necessary. I have not tooled before and am uncertain that I would be able to match the tooling pattern. Anyway, I was hoping to use it as a project learning opportunity. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!
  14. beginner tools

    Hey Gang, I've done some research on which tools I will need to start learning how to work with leather. There is a Tandy relatively close, but little in the way of much else. I ended up purchasing a kit online for very cheap ($25 CAN), and I'm hoping the quality won't be too terrible. I think it was a good decision, with several of the tools being on my list. I'm sure there are some in the kit I didn't necessarily need. Thoughts? I'm interested in being able to make wallets, knife sheaths, harnesses, and belts. I still planned on buying a mallet, saddlers needles, thread, wax, glue, utility and precision knife..
  15. beginner tools

    Hey Gang, I've done some research on which tools I will need to start learning how to work with leather. There is a Tandy relatively close, but little in the way of much else. I ended up purchasing a kit online for very cheap ($25 CAN), and I'm hoping the quality won't be too terrible. I think it was a good decision, with several of the tools being on my list. I'm sure there are some in the kit I didn't necessarily need. Thoughts? I'm interested in being able to make wallets, knife sheaths, harnesses, and belts. I still planned on buying a mallet, saddlers needles, thread, wax, glue, utility and precision knife..
  16. Hello all! I'd like to introduce myself. I'm extremely new to leather work and vinyl work. I work with the USAF as an Avionics Technician on the B-1, F-16, B-2 and various other aircraft. I have a healthy background in electrical and computer engineering and maintenance. Currently I live in Japan, and I was lucky enough to come across a very rare care in the United States; an R32 gtr. So far, the car seems to be in good condition, even the interior is very nice for 25 year old car. It does have some cosmetic problems, and of course I want to do a custom interior retrim. I'm completely capable of trial and error, and taking my time with especially large projects such as an interior retrim. So I've been doing as much research as I can, and I decided to make an account here to get a first hand opinion from you guys. Currently, I've researched about the most prominent walking foot sewing machines, since I'll mostly be sewing vinyl. I've heard of the headaches that are solved by using a walking foot. I looked for pricing on the singer 111 series, and noticed that most of the pricing with motors and table almost always equal the price of a brand new Sailrite LS-1 basic. I've seen a few singer 95-15 around sewing leather, but how well does it honestly work with folded layers of vinyl and foam? I feel that it's a bit incredible that most of these older sewing machines, or general "used" new sewing machines are over 800 dollars. I feel that 600 USD for a brand new LS-1 is acceptable, but I was wondering what other machines I could use with heavy automotive / marine vinyl. Specifically, some allsport 4 way and some thick carpeting / foam padding. What other machines can you think of that don't break the bank? I'd say the main reason i'm looking for a ~600 maximum is because I would pay for someone to take the time and ship it to me (ie: paying extra for your efforts, plus the shipping cost). Of course, if push comes to shove, if anyone is in Florida, I can get one of my buddies to pick it up and ship it to me. What are y'alls opinion on my machine choices?
  17. First attempt to make holster, leaves a lot to be desired, but was enough to hook me up to try more... There is a second holster from an amateur who after making a few more realize how much I really don't know about leather working.
  18. I have been practicing with my swivel knife and stamps, that I inherited from my grandparents, on some old veg tan scraps from the Local surplus store, for about six weeks now and feel like I will be ready for my first projects soon. I want to make leather stick barrettes for my mom and me. I still need some more practice because I'm still not confident in my abilities yet, but I think I have almost everything I need. I'm going to buy a piece of belly from the surplus store to practice on since it's probably a little better quality than the supper thick, warped, dry scraps I've been practicing on. I ordered an 8-1/2"X11" 6-7oz piece of leather from Springfield LC. It was a nice piece, I liked the stiffness, but seemed a bit thin for the project, so I ordered a piece of 7-8oz and it should be here in a week or two. Should the 7-8oz piece be ok? for the stick, I'm using a dowel rod from Walmart, because that is what I use for my Native Amercan beaded stick barrettes. I want my barrette to be black. I'm brewing up a batch of vinegaroon right now. I've done a lot of reading about it here on the site. If it goes wrong, I have a bottle of black Feibings oil dye. Do I burnish the edges before or after I dye, or is it personal preference? I'm going to be burnishing with water, a wooden burnishing tool and paraffin wax. something I'm really concerned about is the finish. Mom wants the natural look and mine will be black. Since the leather we will use will be some what flexible, I'm concerned that acrylic finishes will crackle. Unless I could wet form them into the shape we want, but I don't know how that is done.We need a finish that is moisture resistant because we plan on wearing our barrettes almost every day, which means we might have damp hair when we put our hair up. I have read on the site that a 50/50 mixture of beeswax and neetsfoot oil applied to the leather, then melted in with a hair dryer was a good way to water proof leather. Would that work for this project? Would burnishing the flesh side aid in making it water resistant? On a side note, from what I understand, vinegaroon will turn some wood black. I think I'm going to cut a piece of the dowel rod off and see if it reacts to the vinegaroon. I'd like to have a black stick to go with my black barrette. If that doesn't work, some of the oil dye will work on the dowel rod, won't it? Thank you for your time.
  19. Good Leather For Wallets

    Hi everyone. I was hoping you guys could point me to some good leather for making wallets. I have some undyed veg tan that I have practicing with, but now I'm wanting some nicer leather to actually make some decent quality wallets. I'm looking for a basic brown color. Do you guys have any recommendations? Thanks in advance!
  20. Sewing Machine

    Does anyone know what the best leather sewing machine is for -easy operating system for someone with arthritis -still classify myself as a beginner - mostly sewing belts, purses, light horse tack ( bridles, breast collars, etc.) -able to be shipped to Canada -quality for price Thank you all in advance for your time and effort in this matter, Christine
  21. Newbie Getting Started

    Hi Everyone, Warning: Complete Newb. For the past 6 years or so I've had a desire to learn leatherwork. I love well-made leather products and since I've got fair hand eye coordination I finally want to give a go. I've been trying my best to read as much as possible about the various thread types, leather types, sewing machines, etc. I had contacted a guy on Etsy a few days ago who does great work and he imparted some advice which was "First, know what kind of projects you want to take on" and "Start with hand sewing to see if you like it." Seems logical. So having given this some thought, I'd like to start perhaps with a bag, like a possibles bag, and maybe belts, and then more elaborate bags with linings, pockets, sections, etc. I want to use premium materials in my items. I'm from Chicago originally (home of Horween) but I live in the UK these days (London). I could really use some good advice because I'm finding myself overloaded with info researching this on my own. 1. What is the best leather (and/or canvas) to use for a mens bag, like a possibles bag and/or satchel? I've received some samples from a Scottish mill of some wax canvas up to 24oz which seems to be a reasonable material. 2. Can someone explain, or post a link to a good source, on thread thicknesses, how they're categorized and their applications? i.e. what is a good thread "gauge" and type to use in a bag application. I've read Polyester is the best weatherproof thread out there. 3. What kind of lining would be good for a bag, if any? Would a tartan wool work well? Are linings typically glued in (if so, what type of glue)? or stitched in? 4. If I'm doing this by hand, what is the best needle to use? Are there specific leather or canvas type needles out there? and do they match up with the thread thickness somehow? 5. Let's say I go a sewing machine route. What are some good sewing machine types / brands that I should consider? I've done a bit of research on this and whilst some people suggest a vintage Singer 201K, others seem to use much more industrial and robust machines like a Techsew. I've seen some amazing videos by Arthur Porter. And Wizcraft's posts stand out on this forum. Amazing. 6. Any really good classes, books, or online bag making tutorials out there that are recommended? I know this is a load of questions and anyone answering doesn't need to address them all. I suppose I'm looking for a general "approach" to this whole thing and to understand if there are any "rules" involved. Thanks so much, and apologies for the long post. Any and all advice you can throw my way is appreciated. Kind Regards, Geo
  22. Books

    Heya folks! Newbie here and I'm simply curious as to what reading material ya'll would recommend for a feller who's just getting started in the biz. I'm sure there's a plethora of good books out there to get one started; hoping some old pros may have some suggestions.
  23. New Guy

    Hey to all. I am very new to leather working. My first project is a set of leather armour that I am making for re enactment. I would always appreciate a guiding hand. I love learning about new things and plan to make my first piece look great. I am glad to find a community of leather workers that will be willing to share their knowledge.
  24. I am 65 years old. I am a former gun engraver from Europe, Fabrique Nationale', and the USA. I am pretty good as I never finished worse than 2nd in the National Engraver Guild competitions. I do 13 different styles of floral work. So the floral aspects should come quickly. The layout should be a non-issue. The shading perspective as well. But the tools are entirely different. The application of the tools is entirely different. I am wondering if anyone can recommend about 20 stamps to get started. I do not mean the manufacturer, but the veiner, background, camouflage, etc. I will not buy Tandy. I live near the FT. Worth shop so convenience and price is not an issue. * I would like to also include a couple of basketweave stamps in this. 18-22 would be ideal. * I planned to focus on Barry King and ProCrafters especially for the basket-weaves. But size is an issue? * Maybe the Gomph Hackbarth set of 15 for $145 is a starting point. If the Hackbarth set sounds like a good idea, then perhaps let's add 15 more? Thanks much! I had to give up engraving so this really helps the 'ole man, Steve (P.S. I got the tapered Barry King 14oz mallet and his swivel knife)
  25. How To Get Started

    My name is Thijmen, and i'm trying to get started with leatherworking. i'm mostly interested in making functional items. but i can't figure out where to buy tools and what tools i'll actually need. so far i have: a curved leather needle (half a circle) a knife that easily cuts through leather. a set of chisels and gouges hole puncher tongs i also read about needing a mallet but, would a clawhammer with a rubber cover do (with that cover it'd pretty much be a rubber mallet in function) things i think i still need: an edge beveler piercer something to make grooves in the leather a steel ruler a self healing cuttingboard a marble slab (i plan to get a marble cutting board) materials i have: 2mm thick full grain leather which was supposed to cushion expensive couches. i have 2 garbage bags full of this mostly half skins. black thread suitable for leather (thats all i know about it) and a handful of buckles, buttons and similar things things i plan to make: wallets (seems like a good starting point) bags/backpacks (when i'm good enough) if i get good enough i also plan to make my own boots but that will wait untill i'm good enough in a few years the problems i have: is there anything i'm missing? and where should i buy tools. a steel ruler or a cutting board isn't hard to get but an edge beveler or groove maker is harder to find. thanks in advance