Pope

The beginning....

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Hi all,

So for a long time i have been interested in many crafts, i love tools, i like to physically do something and see the process, i like the quality etc etc etc.... but the thing is i never done it my self, i admire other people works the detail and quality, i search the web, read articles, watch videos, check tools prices and so on but never got to the point that i am doing it :(.

So want to do the push want to learn .... i was checking prices for the basic tools in uk and cant decide actually, ether to buy a small kit of tools for a start or buy them one by one. I thought i will buy tandys basic tool kit saw the price it was like "as low as 37 £" i was ok decent price but then i saw its for "elite member" :o that was a shock .... i know the tools and everything in leather craft is not cheap but i cant go all expensive but dont want to weste money on cheap garbage as well like that Chinese ebay stuff ....

Could somebody help me out to plan out basic stuff for my first project, i want to start simple notebook cover or simple card holder. 

I live in Uk thank you for your help all i am checking this forum like crazy :o

Thank you 

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You can start out really cheaply in the beginning.  

Straight edge, razor knife, awl, contact cement, sand paper, wing divider, neeedles, thread, wood or bone slicker, edge beveler, dye, and some edge finishing component (gum trag, wax, or even spit).

Most of these tools you probably already have lying around the house.

Do a few small projects and see what tools you need next. I didn't add carving tools to the list because you can make durable long lasting products without them.

Good luck and have fun.

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Thank you for a reply, yes but i still need some tools that would fit for this craft, anybody know best place to buy in UK ? Either buying  a kit or seperate tools, is it possible to use somebody else elite membership on tandys to buy tools ?

 

thank you

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5 hours ago, bikermutt07 said:

and some edge finishing component (gum trag, wax, or even spit).

 

5 hours ago, bikermutt07 said:

Most of these tools you probably already have lying around the house.

I got a big old bucket of spit in my basement saved up for edges.
 

Joking aside bikermutt07 is totally correct. Get  the bare minimum tools you need for the project at hand and go from there. Always look for the same tool outside of leather stores. Why buy a 60 dollar "leatherworking mallet" when a 10 dollar dead blow from the hardware store does just as good. Rivet and snap setters are frequently available for cheaper in farm or sailing supply stores included in "repair kits". I found a grommet set for 2 bux in a camping store. Scraps of hardwood molding from the hardware store can be whittled and sanded into slickers, burnishers and all sorts of things with a pocket knife. A granite countertop place has a bin full of sink cut-outs that can be had for beer as a tooling surface instead of giving tandy money for a rock. Rulers-hareware store. Contact cement-hardware store. Rubber gloves-drug store. Sponges and applicators-dollar store. Dividers-stationary section. Detail cutting knives-wood carvers supply. The only thing on the list bikermutt listed you need from a leather place is the needles, thread, and beveler. Abbey england is another source for better stuff than tandy. Creativity and ingenuity are free and will save you money and time

For best results staring out, only use veg tan if you want nice edges. Use pre-finished leather like bridle or some drum dyed leathers if you can. Pre finished leather eliminates a place to fail when you are just starting out. Look around at a few "first projects" on this site, many were ruined by bad finishing and the person is devastated they ruined all their hard work right at the end. Nice edges on chrome tan are a whole technique themselves. Construction and dying and finishing are two different topics and can be learned separately. This sets you up for success. Another tip, forks and combs can be used to mark stitches. You can also remove the thread from a home sewing machine and pre-punch the holes on thinner projects like wallets, handwheeling it.

My two cardinal rules for beginners are:

1:) Do not EVER experiment on a project. Test every technique first on a scrap, twice.

2:) Buy bandaids and crazy glue. Put them in a couple places. Leather knives cut fingers better than leather and blood stains the project. You WILL cut yourself. The crazy glue is for big cuts. Ask a chef what the crazy glue in the first aid kit is for.

Edited by TinkerTailor

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3 minutes ago, TinkerTailor said:

 

I got a big old bucket of spit in my basement saved up for edges.
 

Joking aside bikermutt07 is totally correct. Get  the bare minimum tools you need for the project at hand and go from there. Always look for the same tool outside of leather stores. Why buy a 60 dollar "leatherworking mallet" when a 10 dollar dead blow from the hardware store does just as good. Rivet and snap setters are frequently available for cheaper in farm or sailing supply stores included in "repair kits". I found a grommet set for 2 bux in a camping store. Scraps of hardwood molding from the hardware store can be whittled and sanded into slickers, burnishers and all sorts of things with a pocket knife. A granite countertop place has a bin full of sink cut-outs that can be had for beer as a tooling surface instead of giving tandy money for a rock. Creativity and ingenuity are free and will save you money and time

For best results staring out, only use veg tan if you want nice edges. Use pre-finished leather like bridle or some drum dyed leathers if you can. Pre finished leather eliminates a place to fail when you are just starting out. Look around at a few "first projects" on this site, many were ruined by bad finishing and the person is devastated they ruined all their hard work right at the end. Nice edges on chrome tan are a whole technique themselves. Construction and dying and finishing are two different topics and can be learned separately. This sets you up for success. Another tip, forks and combs can be used to mark stitches. You can also remove the thread from a home sewing machine and pre-punch the holes on thinner projects like wallets, handwheeling it.

My two cardinal rules for beginners are:

1:) Do not EVER experiment on a project. Test every technique first on a scrap, twice.

2:) Buy bandaids and crazy glue. Put them in a couple places. Leather knives cut fingers better than leather and blood stains the project. You WILL cut yourself. The crazy glue is for big cuts. Ask a chef what the crazy glue in the first aid kit is for.

Believe it on the super glue! First project needed it.lol If UK has something like a Harbor Freight you can get a lot of the smaller tools. Hammers razor knives chisels and punches to name a few. After get making a few thing you can shop around on Amazon for stuff you decide you need or want to upgrade a bit. I am new to leather but that how I am trying to go about it. Good luck. Matt.

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Thank you this is a very good idea general tool shops should have basics with decent prices thank you ! :)

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Knives and razors aren't as big a blood letter as needles and stitching awls... when I say I put my blood, sweat, and tears in every project, I ain't lying ;)  ALWAYS keep a roll of paper towels within reach!

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23 minutes ago, Pope said:

Thank you this is a very good idea general tool shops should have basics with decent prices thank you ! :)

They see you coming at the leatherwork store......Tandy sells disposable nitrile blue rubber glove in a package of 6 gloves for $8.39 regular/$5.04 elite. That works out to $1.40-0.85 per glove. I can buy them in a box of 100 for $20 dollars at the drug store, This works out to 0.20 per glove. Tandy has put drug store gloves into ziplock bags and then multiplied the price by 7, because leatherwork...... All of the above are current Canadian pricing btw

I am all for businesses buying wholesale and selling retail to make a profit. This is how it works. Doubling or even tripling the wholesale is common and i have no problem with this. In the bike world they call it keystone when you double it, and this is standard. Things that are triples are threestone.  These would be the kinda things the shop had to direct import from italy or japan and do all the customs stuff themselves, so the profit needed to reflect the input.

Selling commonly available stuff at a markup of 600+%  "for leatherwork" is way out of line. Once you eventually notice these things, you feel taken advantage of. I'm sure this loses tandy customers

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10 minutes ago, CaptQuirk said:

Knives and razors aren't as big a blood letter as needles and stitching awls... when I say I put my blood, sweat, and tears in every project, I ain't lying ;)  ALWAYS keep a roll of paper towels within reach!

Harness needles go so deep too. If you are pressing hard enough to put that blunt needle through your hide, there is nothing gonna stop it but bone.  I hit my knuckle bone the other day with an awl. Went right in, no hesitation....Fortunately for me awl injuries are usually a clean and narrow hole that heals fast.....I find the most pain but not a lot of blood comes from pulling the thread into my baby fingers when stitching. If you pull hard enough to pop that waxed thread through your skin.......wow does that sting....I have leather finger sleeves I made from scraps for my baby fingers just to prevent this.

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9 minutes ago, TinkerTailor said:

They see you coming at the leatherwork store......Tandy sells disposable nitrile blue rubber glove in a package of 6 gloves for $8.39 regular/$5.04 elite. That works out to $1.40-0.85 per glove. I can buy them in a box of 100 for $20 dollars at the drug store, This works out to 0.20 per glove. Tandy has put drug store gloves into ziplock bags and then multiplied the price by 7, because leatherwork...... All of the above are current Canadian pricing btw

 

WallyMart sells gloves 50 for $5, if you find the cheap ones. The missus is a Nurse, and sometimes I can get her to grab a handful... but she tends to forget more often than not. Seeing how much I spent for them at WallMart helps to jog her memory.

As for the needle wounds, I've had a lot of needles break at the eye, then penetrate flesh. Now that right there will have you screaming obscenities! I have also put the stitching awl straight through a finger once.

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Looked for them at wallyworld here in canuckistan and i think they dont sell them. I like the thicker black ones tattoo artists use, when  I need some I get a buddy to throw a box or two on his next supply order. I can usually go on a friday afternoon with a six pack, drink one or two with them and leave with a box in hand....

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This is great guys, as a newbie myself this information is incredibly helpful; even if it isn't my thread!

Sounds like just about everything can be purchased at Harbour Freight to start out (which is great since one is right down the road from my house), except the needles and thread. So should one resort to biting the bullet and buying the beginner needle set at Tandy to get things started and source the rest from HF? Also, is buying a stitching horse necessary at this point, simply helpful, or completely uneccessary now?

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I have yet to try a stitching horse, but I think I like to move around too much to make it useful.

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The pony is helpful, but not mandatory.

To help with awl and needle pokes use a wine cork to back up your pushing.

As far as needle sets and thread. I wouldn't go to Tandy.

Their sizing system doesn't jive with anything even within their own system. The stitching chisel, needle, awl, and thread combination can just be overwhelming to figure out. 

All my threads, needles and awl have come from Tandy. It took several extra wasted purchases to work it all out. Including their 2.7 mm stitching chisel s that are too small for anything that I can think to make. That was an expensive mistake.

I wish I had a comprehensive list of these items and what works well together and what doesn't. But I don't.

Sorry for that. In the real world starting out just get the items and make something. This is more important down the road. After you see everyone's awesome stitch jobs and wonder why mine doesn't look like that? That's when it's time to figure out those things.

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1 hour ago, bikermutt07 said:

As far as needle sets and thread. I wouldn't go to Tandy.

What company do you recommend ordering a set of needles and a spool of thread from?

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Sadly, the Tandy tale is as far as I have gotten. I finally figured out what would work with the craftool pro awl and co link 4 mm stitching chisels. Those two seem to go together well. I can't tell you the needle and thread size because Tandy doesn't really advertise the size unless it's for a machine????

FB_IMG_1474745114794.jpg

Here is an example of the tools and thread mentioned above.

If you're in the states I would suggest calling Springfield Leather Company and talking to Rusty or Kevin. In the UK, I don't know, sorry.

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3 hours ago, StoryTeller said:

What company do you recommend ordering a set of needles and a spool of thread from?

watch some of the videos by nigel armitage on youtube. He has gone into every detail of stitching

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UK is like forgotten country always something different or double the price on each item ....

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Tandy had their stitching horse on sale for just $20.00 over Christmas, which is less than half price, so I bought one. Don't like it: unless I sit it on my lap, it's too tall to be at a comfortable stitching height. Holding it between my legs doesn't work for me, either height-wise. It also puts me too far back from the lights on and overtop of my work bench. Need to figure out how to make a shorter one and a way of anchoring it so it doesn't move around. I often think a carpenter's vise with padded edges, attached to the edge of my workbench would work just fine, and be at the right height.

Unless I am desperate, and have to have it NOW to finish a project, or the item is really cheap (belt keepers, rivets, etc.) I never buy anything at Tandy that's not on sale. And since I have a business license, I get Elite club pricing on everything. 

Still trying to figure out sources other than Tandy for leatherworking stuff. Getting things shipped across the Canadian border gets expensive, especially with the difference in the dollar. 

Edited by Sheilajeanne

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I made a stitching pony with $7 worth of material from the hardware store. I started with (what seemed to be) standard height then kept cutting it off until I found the height that worked for me by standing it on top of the bench to see if it was comfortable. Once I got the right height I drilled a couple of holes in the base and a couple in the top of the bench. When I need o use it I drop a bolt in each hole to keep it in place.

They say that if you're gonna be dumb you gotta be tough but I've learned that if you're gonna be cheap or lazy (and I have a touch of both) you gotta be creative! :lol:

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