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  1. I make turn shoes for mostly reenacting purposes. I have decided to up my game by doing some edge trim on a two-toggle Scandinavian turn shoe. The trim is skived to about half or 1/3 thickness on one side. The thicker side of the trim is first butt-seamed to the edge of the upper leather. Then it is turned over so the thinner skived side is inside the shoe and is then stitched to the inside of the leather upper with a sort of hidden whip stitch. These whip stitches do not show through the leather. I understand how to do the butt stitch, but I was wondering if there were any tricks or techniques or even special tools for this. I have some shallow curve bladed awls but have not used them for this purpose. (first image is a process photo by Simurlan. The images of completed shoes are made by Alexey Nikifovorov. )
  2. I've been looking into getting some diamond stitching chisels and came across Weaver's brand of chisels. They are really cheap compared to many other brands that are known to be of good quality. Around $20 for a set of 4 irons, which makes me worry that the tines will snap as soon as I try to use them. Should I just get a slightly more expensive set like the Seiwa? If you have any experience with the Weaver irons, please let me know your thoughts.
  3. There are many threads on the forum discussing diamond stitching chisels but I thought another one was in order. Several years ago I purchased a 2.5mm Tandy Craftool Pro diamond stitching chisel. The chisel has 10 teeth and at the time was not offered in a 2-tooth version. I didn't buy the 1-tooth iron because I believe it is mostly useless. I will explain later. Those who use chisels already know why. I really liked the chisel and hoped that Tandy would listen to feedback and begin producing the same iron in a 2-tooth model. Well, good news, they have! Around the time I purchased the iron I was doing some fine work such as watch straps and because of that was looking to achieve 9 SPI. I already owned some of the Tandy Craftool diamond chisels (the black ones), but the SPI I had was approximately 7 and I felt that was too big of a stitch for the straps. The chisel is not perfect, but I still find it very good and use it quite often. I will add some photos (sorry for the poor quality) and add some thoughts that I hope will help folks who might be considering these chisels. It at least should be helpful for comparison's sake. Since the first chisel I have purchased two more but in the 3.5mm size. I went with the 8-tooth and the 2-tooth models. First, a comparison of the holes. The tools are made the same, but the size of the tooth and the spacing is different as shown below. As you can see, the row on top has 8 holes and then 2 just to the left of the main line. I wanted to show both irons so you can compare the two irons and see that they indeed match in tooth size and spacing. The middle row is the 2.5mm iron that has 10 teeth but only punched about halfway through the leather. I did this to show that it could be used as a pricking iron should you wish to do that. Notice that when the iron is given a light tap it creates a nice impression but not nearly as big as when it is hammered through. This certainly could be used as a reference in traditional saddle stitching with an awl. The angle is flatter than what is optimal, but it still is functional. Finally, the bottom row is the 2.5mm 10-tooth iron struck all the way through. I had a piece of approx. 3mm vegetable tanned scrap as the subject piece. The irons themselves present very well. They are stainless steel and have a satin finish to them. Nicely engraved with the name of the tool and an item code and number of teeth. Would be nice if they said 2.5mm or 3.5mm but they do not. I also took a pic of the 2.5mm iron sideways to show how sleek the tool is. In this orientation, the tooth is very slim. The real problem with the tool is the width of the tooth. If it were only a little narrower..... Here are a couple of figures that I hope you find helpful for reference. Tandy Craftool Pro 2.5mm diamond stitching chisel Tandy Craftool Pro 3.5mm diamond stitching chisel Tooth options: 1, 2, 4 and 10 Tooth options: 1, 2, 4 and 8 Stitches per inch: 9 Stitches per inch: 7 Recommended thread: 0.6mm Tiger Thread or similar Recommended thread: 0.8mm Tiger Thread or similar In summary: I really wanted to show the tools, the holes they create and discuss some of the features so that if someone is considering buying them they have a frame of reference and a testimonial from someone that has used them. Earlier I mentioned that I believe a 1-tooth chisel is mostly useless. I didn't say totally useless because I suppose there might come a time where you need to make just one hole. However, for most work a chisel with 2-teeth is a better option. When doing a long row of holes, the 8-tooth or 10-tooth chisels are great. When you come to a curved section of stitching, you change to the 2-tooth and continue around the radius. Since the tool has two teeth, the required spacing between holes is maintained. How do you do that with a 1-tooth tool? Well, there is a way, you basically use the tool with 8 or 10 teeth but hold it on an angle and just make a faint indentation beyond the straight section into the curved section. You then pick up the 1-tooth tool and hammer it through in the location of the indentation. So it does work, but you have to be very careful of the angle now. You might end up with the correct spacing but get the orientation of the tool out of whack and end up with an errant stitch. So a 2-tooth tool is the way to go IMHO. I didn't take the time yet to actually put some thread in the holes but I will and submit it later on. But for now, I trust there is some helpful information here that will give you some food for thought. I mentioned that the tools aren't perfect and here are some reasons why. Although the tools are quality SS, nicely weighted and finished, the teeth themselves are quite rough on two of the 4 sides of the diamond. Because of this, the iron tends to bind in thicker leather. Makes it necessary to use a wooden block to remove the iron. This can be helped by punching the iron into beeswax every so often or polishing on a buffing wheel, but it would be nice if you didn't have to do that. Second, the width of the tooth. I would like to see the size of the tooth slimmed down just a bit. As it is, you can see in the pictures that the "diamond" hole that is created is fairly thin but quite long. Wish it could be a little shorter. Finally, the angle of the tooth. As it stands, the angle is probably around 30 degrees or so. Would be much better if it were steeper, say 40 to 45 degrees. I think a steeper angle of the hole would result in a more angled stitch. So what's my bottom line? Am I glad I bought them? Yes, I find them to be good tools. I don't use them on everything, but in the right place they do the job. I use the black Craftool chisels on some of my work and use a traditional awl method on others. I'm hoping that Tandy will evaluate the tools over time and respond to the feedback they have received. Tandy has stepped up its game, introducing some really nice tools lately. If they could make just a few adjustments in these irons they would have a real winner. If you want more detailed information on these tools and reviews of a number of pricking irons and diamond chisels, you can look up Nigel Armitage on Youtube or at his website, ArmitageLeather.com. The Youtube videos are awesome and you get to see Nigel actually stitch the holes created by the irons. Nigel's website has a .pdf file which contains detailed reviews much more comprehensive than what I offered on not just these irons but most of the major players in the marketplace. It is THE reference for this type of tool. Nigel is a master, I'm a hobbyist with a strong desire to do good work. Hopefully this will help someone.
  4. Greek Key Stitching Pattern

    A friend of mine asked me to replicate this Greek key pattern on his belt for a new hat band. I've been working with the pattern for a while now with little success. Problems are: 1) replicating stitch width to create pattern (left to right distance when looking at the photo) - all of the patterns I've tried are way too wide so it looks like random stitching versus a pattern, and 2) leather tearing out between stitching - when I do get the holes close enough to resemble the pattern then it tears out as one piece. Anyone done something like this? Any tips are greatly appreciated.
  5. Hello, guys! So as a leatherworker, I thought I should be wearing a belt that I made... so I made one my style... thick. I used two pieces of 9 oz leather at 1.5 inches wide... do the math and you get an 18 oz thick belt. I glued the flesh sides together and then stitched it up so I have the smooth on both sides. It's like lining it with itself. It should last the rest of my life as well as my future kids and grandkids and so forth. It will also make a very good spanking strap. (Note: I did not make my dad one.) Comments/critique welcome. Oh, and before you ask, no, I didn't win the buckle. Thanks for looking! -Ryan
  6. Awl Haft

    So I would like to start out by stating I know that this a leatherworking forum and not woodworking, as I am not a woodworker by any means. But I am curious. I have access to a lathe and would like to try my hand at making my own awl haft. But I am not sure how to make it hold a blade, prefferabbly to be able to replace the blade. Would anyone have any experience they would be willing to share with a newbie?
  7. I have seen many leatherwork sites that say their belts have 500,600 or even 800 stitches. I know that is possible but do those makers do it with one continuous piece of thread or with a number of threads. If with only one, how not to have those spots of melted polyester if I use Ritza or similar?
  8. So while making it around a corner, I got an errant stitch, noticeably longer than the others. I'm sure there is a simple and obvious explanation for this, but I'm way to new at this to get it. You know, now that I look at it again, the stitches after the corner are shorter...what is that all about? And I realize the border got a little wonky at the corner, that's another story altogether. Thanks for any advice. Jeff
  9. Well, after getting some practice, including gluing up a proper thickness piece, I stitched a knife sheath. It went PRETTY well. I went REALLY slowly. I didn't use the edge guide, as I'm waiting on a part. I only messed up on the stitch line once, at the acute angle at the tip of the sheath. If I hadn't used a stitch groover it wouldn't show as much. I'm thinking I'll darken the visible line somehow. I'll be cutting a slot in the needle foot so I can see the line better. I imagine with practice I'll get a better at following the line. It appears that I'll have to do some more grinding/sanding on some parts, like the feed dog or edges of the plate. On the back you can see some sharp cuts from those parts. I didn't mind so much hand stitching the smaller, thinner projects, but keeping the back of the piece straight was always a challenge for me. Also, the thickness of holsters and welted sheaths was not as much fun as I'd like. This monster of a machine didn't break a sweat, though! The edges aren't finished yet. Just did some quick burnishing so far.
  10. Any tips on how to properly line up inside and outside pieces for saddle stitching holes using diamond point chisels? I am having a dickens of a time lining up the saddle stitching holes i make with a diamond chisel on the front of my card case or wallet with the holes i punch in the inside pieces. I have tried using the BRL precut templates which come with hole marks but none of my diamond chisels match the spacing and doing a project with a one hole chisel seems crazy. Last time i had the holes on the outside piece going in one direction and the holes on the card case inside pieces going in the opposite direction. (A shame because I spent a lot of time tooling some sumo wrestlers.) I can't afford a drill press or anything like that. Any ideas and pointers will be most welcome. Thanks !
  11. Hay guys, Anyone have experience with the cobra class 4 sewing machine? I am having trouble keeping my stitching even top and bottom from the edge. (top perfect, bottom to close to the edge or comes out the side of the edge) I'm using a left presser foot and the regular plate with feed dog. My thread is 277 top and 207 bottom - bonded nylon. I'm going through 2 layers of 8oz. leather. my stitch line is 3/16" from the edge. I also use the platform that mounts to the table stand so I can have a flat surface for my work to rest so I don't have to juggle the work and guide:) I see people using their machines on youtube to make beautiful stitches, and i would love to know how to do it also. Any advice would help, not many vids out there that show different ways for setup. I love projects that have the stitch line closer to the edges, it makes the work cleaner looking. Thank you for your time
  12. Finished up the order of custom skinner pouch sheaths. Couple carved and a couple plain. All with different color stitching. Carved sheathed are antiqued before final finish coat is applied. It seems that thread color can make a big difference in how the leather dye color is perceived. Thread colors are natural, olive green, dark brown, emerald green. I had one person comment that the plain brown sheath with the olive stitching was a much nicer brown than the one with the natural stitching. Same color.
  13. Sewing machine

    I am thinking about getting a sewing machine to help speed up our work. For the most part we are sewing 10 oz. Leather to 8 oz. Leather. I like the way the thick wax thread looks just takes too long. Was looking at getting a cowboy 3200. Any suggestions or recommndations would be appreciated
  14. According to many years' experience of our leatherwork team, we originally design and develop the diamond four-prong chisel, which is suitable for larger arc punch. Compared with 5-prong chisel, it is easier to play a significant role for 4-prong when punching the arc area. It also maintains high efficiency for the straight parts as well. Each prong are exactly the same as the middle one so that the every holes are exactly same. High quality white stainless steel. Strong, durable and wear-resistant. Uneasy to break and bend with high ductility. Sharp rhombus tooth is easy to pierce 3mm thick vegetable tanned leather and helpful to punch quickly and effortlessly. Light and conformtable to grip, the body of prong is as small as possible in order to reduce the shoulder fatigue caused by a long time punch. Easier to grasp steadily due to low center of gravity. Grinding and polishing, more natural and environmental without blackening.
  15. Hello all, After a few simple no-sew projects, I've decided I should learn to stitch. I've watched a couple of videos, have the Stohlman book on order, and now it's time to buy an awl. I've read enough to know I should avoid Tandy and the other inexpensive version, so I'm looking at the Barry King hafts and blades (available from the same source). Good choice for a first tool, or should I pick something else? Which one? I have medium sized hands (7.5" tip to wrist). My guess is the small haft with the flat side, but if someone has a better idea, I'm all ears! Blade: Are the Barry King blades good for a beginner, or should I bite the shipping bullet and make a second order from Bob Douglas? Blade size? I'm working with small-ish projects (journal cover or smaller) and using ~5oz leather , 2-3 layers. Also, will one small blade cover most small to medium projects, or will I need more than one type? Thanks!
  16. New stitching pony

    Got this in Seoul, capital of South Korea, a few days ago while on a tour. Cost: 28,000 won (about 28 US dollars). Hardwood (birch or maple), sanded but untreated. Uses a cam lock (red lever on the right, with wooden triangle to help reduce thread catching on the lever, I think) Cam can be adjusted by a screw on the opposite side of the lever. Jaws clamp to board with wingnut; hole in middle of the board and on the end. There were 3 other types of stitching clamps available; one was made with laminated wood, and the other was twice as long as this, going from the floor (I guess floor mounted?) I need to l line the jaws with thin leather before I start any stitching, though.
  17. Traveling in Maine today and decided to stop into Maine Thread to have a look a pick up some supplies. Besides being like a step back in time, they have what they call "seconds" boxes of stitching thread. Rolls with not quite enough on them or they consider under waxed or over-waxed. Otherwise perfect stitching thread. Rolls are 2 for $1. This is for the drop in trade only, they don't advertise it. If you ever in the area, it a great stop. They are incredible people to deal will. This is my 20 roll, $10 haul.
  18. Hello leathercrafters, So far I've been using Seiwa diamond stitching chisels. I was Pretty much satisfied wit them however I decided to give a try to another irons. Since Wuta and Crazy Cut chisels are in same price range and reviews found on internet are rather good for both brands I wonder if anybody have Experiences with both of them. I look forward to hear further information / Experiences which might point me to easier decision which sets to pick Best regards, J.P.
  19. I'm almost embarrassed to ask this question, key word almost. I hand stitched on shearling to skirts the other night and was thinking I really have no idea what knots I should be using here, which is part of why this question is almost embarrassing to ask I kinda pride myself on my knot tying ability from being around horses the majority of my life and when I wasn't I was in the service I've learned many knots over the years and have forgot very few. I started my stitch by going through the first hole then going through the second to make a loop did this twice pulled tight tied a square knot with a half hitch on each side ran the dead end of that over so it pulled it up into the stitch on the underside as I stitched for about three inches. To tie to my needle i tried a surgeons knot had it pull out about a quarter way through then tried a palmer had it pull out and then tied a bowline it never pulled out but was a pain to pull through the holes. Finally got to the end tied two half hitches through where i started then back stitched a little ways and tied two more. Thinking about it that seems weak. What are appropriate knots for these situations? Also had my diamond awl pull out of the handle on the next to last hole but thats another story/question for later.
  20. Hey All, I'm in the process of developing durable, hand stitched tool bags for tradesmen. The first iteration I'm working on is a traditional carpenter's bag. By trade, I'm a builder who specializes in structural masonry and timber framing. I began leather working as a way to replace the old Medallion bags that I had used for years and were falling apart. I'm quite happy with where I have landed design-wise, but believe there are a few production processes that need improvement. Generally speaking, I'm looking for any guidance on how to approach stitching through two layers of 8-10oz. leather in an efficient and frustration free manner. I'm a believer that hard work will always be hard work, but it shouldn't be frustrating. Right now, there are a few of aspects that exasperate me, and I'd like to iron them out if I can. Below, I've posted a brief overview of my stitching process and a few pictures that hopefully provide further insight. I plot out all of my stitching lines and use a groove set to hollow out a channel for the stitching to lay flush into. I use a SEIWA 6x4.5mm Stitching Iron to mark and puncture all of my runs of stitching on a cutting pad. I use large 000 harness needles with 1.0mm tiger thread waxed. I use a french styled stitching clam on some aspects of the bag, but the doubled up edges don't seem to provide enough material to clamp down. I've also used a table vise to good effect as well. Also, I sometimes wet and hammer flat the edges before stitching them in place. Currently, I rely on a little scrap leather to help push the needles through. I know I need to buy or made a some sort of glove to keep my fingers free, but should I be having to force my needles through? Hopefully, this provides enough background to my current progress and situation. Let me know what I need to explain further, and most importantly what areas I need to improve upon. Thanks for taking the time to read this and help me out. Here is a link to an imager album that I had already compiled featuring pictures of my work with a further description. Best regards, Patrick P.S. Let me know if I am formatted my post incorrectly, or have posted in the wrong place. I am still learning the rope of this forum. Thanks again
  21. A balls question

    Hi all! as the title said this is a question relates with balls I've got the patterns that Cem shared on another thread. I'd even bought a Tandy leather football kit but I can figure out how to close the ball (the final stitch with the thick thread). I assume is not too difficult but I can do it The second question is about soccer balls and also the final stitching. I asume the ball is done inside out but once you put the inside out, how do you close the ball. Thanks a lot to everyone (sorry for the poor grammar) and I promise to share the results if somebody teach me how to close the balls
  22. Making a Straight Stitch Groove

    I have two hides of thinner 4oz horween Essex that I just can not seem to get a straight and neat stitch groove on. The leather stretches so much that I can't apply enough pressure with the stitching groover guide without the leather moving and creating a wavy stitch groove. I'm not sure if I should be burnishing the edge slightly before marking the stitching line so there is less give/stretch to the edge? Should I try using a ruler to guide the grooving tool or get one of the divider/caliper style tools to make a stitching line. I only have this problem with thin leather, anything over 6oz allows me to make a perfect stitching groove. I would appreciate any advise.
  23. So I've been going crazy the last month making garb and other sundries for the SCA event I went to, which means lots of leftover scraps. I hate throwing anything away, so I came up with a little pouch made of a scrap of leather for the base and a band of linen from something or other. The bead is one I made in lampworking, works pretty well as a stop. Thinking on it, I realized that a good way to use up torn up jeans is to cut off the bottoms and use those as the walls of a sack, just turn down the raw edge and make a new hem, sew on a leather bottom and add a cord! Minimal sewing and you used up some stuff that might have gotten thrown out.
  24. Haven't posted any projects for a while. Made a new phone case for wife. 4/5 weight.leather with magnetic clasp. 3 card slots ( full with 9 cards). Saddle stitched six stitches per inch.
  25. Thread 'n' stuff

    Just one more "attaboy" for Bob Kovar. Talked to Bob by phone on Friday. Thread in my hand on Monday. And it was THE thread I asked for -- not "something" plus a speech about how he'll "make it right". For those old enough to have forgotten, or those young enough they've never seen it, THIS HERE is customer service -- send the customer what they asked for, at the advertised price, in a reasonable amount of time. Sending the wrong goods, or billing problems, or slow response.. an offer to "fix" the problem the supplier caused is not 'customer service' -- it's 'damage control'. I ordered thread, not a fancy pile of bull poo. And thread is what I received, so thanks again, Bob ...