BillinTR

Stohlman's Book Method

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A ferrule is the little metal neck, usually brass, that is clamped onto the handle to more securly hold the blade of something in.

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A ferrule is the metal band which goes around a wooden handle just where an awl or chisel blade fits into the wood. Its to prevent the wood splitting

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I have two awls - one from Bowstock, I think, which has a narrow blade, about 2mm, and I got a blade only from John James and mounted it in my own haft; this is the more usual wider size at about 3,5mm

They both needed to be shaped & sharpened, which took ages, especially the JJ. I used a medium and a fine oilstone, then a strop, spreading the work over 3 afternoons. Trying to do the work in one go would be tiring and probably not produce as good results

I find I like the narrow awl. I tried Tandy's Craftool Pro Stitching Awl 83020 in their shop a while ago, and have just bought one when they had it on offer at half price

It would be interesting to try a Japanese awl, especially the Craft Sha

I like to think I'm fairly good at sharpening, but recently I tried the Scary Sharpening System - find it on Google and YouTube, and I'm impressed. I sharpened a head knife and an awl blade very well, easily, and quickly. I'll report on that soon in the Sharpening section  

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I just wonder if the Billin has tried a selection of veg tan or just one piece of very old dryed up leather

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I have read and re-read that book many times.  I still do it differently.  I mark my holes with a stitch wheel.  Then I poke all my holes with the leather piece flat on the surface using a  piece of leather and a cutting board to stop my awl from going through to the table.  I have become pretty good at keeping it aligned properly, and it works for me. Then, when I go to the stitching horse, all I need to do is stitch, although sometimes I do keep the awl in my hand in case theres a difficult hole.  

I know it's not traditional and I don't care.  It was how I was able to get consistent, good looking stitches on my work.

Now, I have tried a lot of awls by a lot of makers, and I finally found one that is exceptional.  It's not fancy, but it does the trick.  Sharp, but not TOO sharp.  One maker makes them so sharp they cut the leather and that makes for ugly stitching.  Sure, it goes through a mile of leather with ease, but the holes are ugly.  So, the one I have been using and will likely add another one or two is made by LederLouis in Switzerland.  He ships to the states and they are well worth the money.  He makes prepared blades that will fit existing hafts and he makes finished awls with very plain handles.

https://shop.leder-louis.ch/product/Diamond-awl-ready-to-use-45-mm-S/1595

Here's some stitching I was able to do using the methods described above and with this awl.
 

Hope this helps.  Just a different approach.

 

 

CT5.jpg

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Mike, very interesting comments and that looks like gorgeous work to me. I am beginning to believe that some form of technique that involves pre punching all of my stitching holes for a stitch line is going to be my preference, at least for what I consider thicker stuff.

Chris, I don't have a "selection" of veg tan. But the stuff I have is fresh from Springfield Leather within the last couple of months. It isn't old and dried out. And hopefully I won't let it get that way.

 

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May I add my bit?

I got these stitching-holes pliers not to long ago and I find them dandy for pre-punching holes. Sometimes in very thick leather they don't cut all the way thru so an awl is handy to open up the hole, or use of a Glovers sewing needle. I have them with 4 teeth and  2 teeth; for the curves an corners. One is stuck on the spi with these but they generally work out fine

5bb92f546905b_Stitchingpliers01s.JPG.c1c3e32723fc5ba02a82709a9dd39666.JPG

 

 

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Fred, That is an interesting tool. Where did you get it?

I did get some stitching chisels from Weaver. They got here pretty quickly and I got to use them for the stitch lines down the length of my quiver. I found them to be a big improvement for me. I haven't totally given up on the awl but I believe I have managed to prove it is me and not my awl. I asked my son, who knows diddly squat about leather work to push my awl through two layers of 6/7 oz. veg tan. He had little difficulty and didn't even know what he was doing. Didn't push perfectly straight in or anything. My conclusion is that I am the problem not the awl. Guess I will have to work on my awl muscles. Which ones are they by the way.

 

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A word of caution @BillinTR, if you do multiple plies, you have to be beyond careful to either ensure your holes are perfectly perpendicular through all layers of your leather (maybe make a jig tho keep everything aligned?) or that you punch holes on all layers of the leather in exactly the same place on all layers (again, a jig?). This is the entire reason I learned the Stohlman method. It wasn't for tradition or looks or any other reason aside from being able to get my awl through all the layers and get the pointy part to come out the groove I made on the far side. I have ruined some really cool projects by punching through at a slightly off angle and also by being off slightly on my pre-punched holes on multiple pieces of leather. Its doable, it is just tough to get right, especially early on.

Think of making a sheath for a thick bladed bushcraft knife where you need a double welt and you have both front and back pieces of leather on a taco sheath....4 layers of 8-9 oz. No punch in its right mind is going to go through that without a ridiculous fight, and then you have to ensure your angle doesn't change mid punch or else you just made holes somewhere that you didn't want them.

Again, it can be done, but the difficulty gets upped. The Stohlman method takes a bit of learning but I can get my holes where I want them far more regularly than not. It is more forgiving but it costs you in learning curve.

I punch my holes sometimes but usually only on one side to get the holes right and then use the awl to get through the other layers.

In any case, please post pics of whatever you do and keep asking questions and sharing. Inspiration is a two way street :) 

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1. I got the stitching-hole pliers from a Chinese seller on ebay. They cost under £9.50 a tool. (about $12?)I bought a 4 tooth and a 2 tooth but the 2 tooth one wasn't hardened and the teeth bent so I bought two more 4 tooth ones and ground off two teeth on one. I live in a ground floor flat (apartment) so I need to keep noise to a minimum. Its ok to hammer a bit during the day when neighbours are out at work, but after 7pm its not good - with these I can work anytime

example; https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/New-4mm-Leather-Craft-Spacing-Stitching-Chisel-Hole-Punch-Piercing-Nippers-/301787381110?var=&hash=item0

Check out different sellers. I got mine for under £10 and I've seen these for as much as £80 - they all come from the same factory

Also; be aware Tandy does or did something similar, but those are for lacing, they make 3mm (1/8 inch) holes 3mm apart. These stitching pliers gives about 6.25 stitches per inch

2. Try backing up the leather with a block of cork in your hand. You can get a good sized block of cork in a hardware store, for wrapping sand paper around. It can be cut down to a neater size

 

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battlemunky, I posted in the Critique My Work section. Maybe I should have posted here but most forums don't like double postings.

 

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Thanks for the info guys! That is a cool pliers.

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8 hours ago, BillinTR said:

Mike, very interesting comments and that looks like gorgeous work to me. I am beginning to believe that some form of technique that involves pre punching all of my stitching holes for a stitch line is going to be my preference, at least for what I consider thicker stuff.

Chris, I don't have a "selection" of veg tan. But the stuff I have is fresh from Springfield Leather within the last couple of months. It isn't old and dried out. And hopefully I won't let it get that way.

 

it works for me.  I'm not knocking the purists and I use exactly the Stohlman method for the rest of the stitching, including holding the awl to open difficult holes.  I just find I get good consistency this way.  Now this would be impossible sewing a cantle binding on a saddle and you'd HAVE to do it the other way, but I don't make saddles. 

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On 10/5/2018 at 7:34 PM, BillinTR said:

I appreciate all of the comments and suggestions. A lot of interesting information to digest.

First of all for me it is a hobby and I have no anticipation of making any money at it. As a matter of fact as a hobby it can only cost me money. Secondly for those that hinted at me possibly finding the act of holding the two needles and the awl and performing the actions of Stohlman's technique a bit awkward, that is not it at all. My manual dexterity is reasonably decent for an olde pharte. It is purely about the effort of getting my awl through the hole. The awls I have are Osbornes that I got from SLC. There is absolutely no burr to be felt anywhere. I have polished and polished right down to using an ultra fine ceramic stone I use for polishing sears on my pistols. I will continue to work with them.

As I said it is a hobby so it costs me money. And I am on a fixed income. So paying upwards of $75 to $80 for a Barry King awl isn't likely any time soon. I don't need a finely finished cocobolo handle to make an awl work. And I expect that I will here the you get what you pay for preaching. Well if you can't buy "quality" then you have to be willing to work to make it so. In Armitage's video he is sharpening an Osborne awl with a fixed point. He seems to do pretty well with it but I can't say that the awl appears to just "glide" through the leather as some seem to think it should.

I am not giving up because I have a number of things I want to do in my new leatherworking pursuits. I hope to do a fair amount of hand stitching, one way or another. I will get back to my polishing this week end although I am unsure how much better I can get these blades.

Thanks again for all the comments.

Not discounting your fixed budget issue, a Barry King awl blade is $25 plus shipping.  I think they sent mine first class mail for a buck or two.   I use it in my cheap Osborne awl handle.  Works just as fine as a nice cocobolo handle, just not as purdy!  I think my first Osborne awl blade cost me $12 and several hours over the period of many months chasing my tail thinking I sucked at saddlestitching.  If I knew then what I know now, I would’ve gladly paid the difference. 

My offer stands, if the $25 properly shaped, properly sharpened BK awl blade doesn’t make a significant difference, I’ll gladly buy it from you & have a spare.  

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On 06/10/2018 at 7:36 AM, zuludog said:

I've just had a look at Crimson Hides website; just Search Google

Made up awls are a bit expensive at $95 Singapore = $68 USA = £52  presumably as the hafts are carefully shaped to fit your hand

But the blades alone are more reasonable at $20 Singapore = $15 USA = £11, so you could fit a blade to your own handle

these prices are before shipping and any import duty

 been hearing about Crimson Hides.. didnt realise that they are a local (to me) company!...

 

Edited by canonitr

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