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Buying my first double shoulders?

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I am looking at buying my first veg tanned double shoulders.  I am feeling a little bit lost on what to buy.  I will be making belts, radio straps and suspenders (for firefighting) so I am thinking 9/10oz would be a good weight.  That's about all I have figured out.  There are so many different  companies/ brands/ebay listing I am not really sure where to start. 

In the past I bought a part of a side from Tandy.  The quality seemed mediocre and I think the leather was bit thinner than the listed weight.  Its tempting to go back to Tandy since they have a local store (SF Bay Area) and I get free elite pricing through their first responder program.  But with my past experience and from what I have read on the forum I can probably get better leather for the same price elsewhere.  Are there any specific sites I should look at to buy double shoulders?   What is a fair price I should be looking at spending?  Besides the obvious holes and blemishes, what should I be looking for to tell if a piece of leather is a quality piece of leather?

This will mostly be used for myself and possibly a few items for some co-workers/family so I expect for a set of shoulders to last for a little while.  Are there any considerations I need to take into account to storing leather?  Do I just need to keep them rolled up and dry, or should I be applying a light coat of oil if it might sit for a while?

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If you pay the same, or even a little more than Tandy, (but you'll likely pay less), but you don't have massive amounts of waste, you are still ahead. If you have a lot of small bits to cut out, Tandy can work. But the length of a belt, or anything larger than maybe a wallet or so, you will have to be creative to make it fit without various holes and blemishes. Just bite the bullet and get something good. Hide House seems to have a pretty good following. Springfield leather is another that has some good stuff. Others will chime in soon. 9/10oz is a good weight for a lot of items. You don't want to go too thick on most belts. Especially if you're going to line them. Might be a bit much for radio straps. There's a guy on here that specializes in Firefighter stuff, maybe he'll chime in too. 

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I think Tandy stock dbl shld 4/5, 6/7, and 8/9,  and may at times carry 9/10.  10 oz is pretty heavy, certainly makes a belt - but may find it's a bit heavy for suspenders.

I think ALL the Tandy went to pricing by the piece instead of by the foot.  You might get a slightly better price here 'n' there, but then you'd be paying shipping, so it all likely works out.  Something to be said for seeing it before you buy.  Look for a piece fairly rectangular, which will give you the least waste.

Some go on (and on) about tandy not having anything worth getting, but this belt was made with a tandy dbl shdr.

Untitled-2.jpg

 

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I would call Maverick leather Monday and see what they say. They are pretty helpful.

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Anybody have any experience with S H Frank in San Francisco, especially on their pricing?  It looks like they have very mixed reviews online.  Im not worried about having my feelings hurt or can deal with the odd sense of humor,  I just don’t want to get ripped off.  

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I have purchased a few sides from Springfield. They are ok. Their Hermann Oak Craftsman side is a great deal when cutting out straps as the blems can be worked around. There is also Maverick and Thoroughbred to choose from as well. I had started making gear with 9/10 oz but had decided that the beefier weights were more desirable for straps and suspenders, but with that comes the need for a multitude of weights that you can technically get away with when keeping it at 9/10. At current, I use approximately 4 different weights to make a full radio strap set. I would also consider looking into a benchtop splitter in the future as you will notice that certain items work better if they are a few ounces thinner. 

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Pretty normal for dbl shdr, shown here.  This is about 14 sq feet (ish). Fairly rectangular, minimal marks, pretty clean, and this is 7/8 oz leather.  It's 60" wide, plenty for making belts and straps.  On a 1 to 10 scale, I'd give this a '7'  - since it's a pretty clean shoulder, but it's still a shoulder.

I'll cut off teh top section, eliminating the hole and teh irregular edge.  On teh bottom edge, not the 'wavey' shape.  This is normal to dbl shdrs , and sometimes you'll see a 'V" notch taken out allowing teh leather to lay flat so you can get a straight cut on the edge -- likely you can do that and only "lose" an inch or so.  This would allow you to cut straps from almost the entire piece.  Smaller pieces would allow the use of the cut-offs as well.

IMG_20180225_112531911.jpg

Oh, I wouldn't pay more than $100 for this piece, newbalance shoes not included.

 

Edited by JLSleather

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5 hours ago, JerseyFirefighter said:

I have purchased a few sides from Springfield. They are ok. Their Hermann Oak Craftsman side is a great deal when cutting out straps as the blems can be worked around. There is also Maverick and Thoroughbred to choose from as well. I had started making gear with 9/10 oz but had decided that the beefier weights were more desirable for straps and suspenders, but with that comes the need for a multitude of weights that you can technically get away with when keeping it at 9/10. At current, I use approximately 4 different weights to make a full radio strap set. I would also consider looking into a benchtop splitter in the future as you will notice that certain items work better if they are a few ounces thinner. 

What thickness do you use for the main strap?

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Thanks, JLS! That is some great info.

I do a fair amount of splitting with my cheap-a$$ed Tandy splitter, but every time, I have to take some scrap and figure out, again, how to set up the thickness. Does anybody make a "thickness gauge" the you can insert in the splitter to set the thickness?

Jeff (The OTHER Jeff)

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Thanks for the breakdown JLS.  With that being a 7/10 would that be an equivalent to a C grade or would that be a B grade?

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Oh.. I guess it would  be a "B".  Tough to find an "A" in shoulders.. guess they figure if you want the real nice stuff you'd order backs, or bends. :dunno:

This is from a place I've never ordered before - thought I'd check it out.  Haven't carved it yet, but "feels" okay (though wit the usual 'fat marks' normal to shoulders).

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2 hours ago, alpha2 said:

Thanks, JLS! That is some great info.

I do a fair amount of splitting with my cheap-a$$ed Tandy splitter, but every time, I have to take some scrap and figure out, again, how to set up the thickness. Does anybody make a "thickness gauge" the you can insert in the splitter to set the thickness?

Jeff (The OTHER Jeff)

You got me wondering now..... Maybe we should just use feeler gauges?

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Hey Jeff (jls) where did that cow come from?

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Springfield sells a double with one straight edge for about $50. It's not the best leather in the world but it's great for belts. I'd put it at about a C grade.

 

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