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Hi all - 

 

I’m sure many on here have seen (and like me, drooled over) the Fred Moreau clams that a few lucky souls were able to get their hands on. For my part, I’m still working with a very inadequate Tandy stitching pony, while continuously promising myself that I’d one day get around to building something bigger and better. That day finally came when I visited home for the Christmas holidays and I convinced my dad to donate his skills and equipment as a woodworker to help me in my endeavor. My goal was simple – create something as close to the Moreau clam as possible. Anything else just seemed inferior.

 

For the wood I used zebrawood for the jaws (each jaw is a laminate of 4 pieces at about 1/8” thickness each, bent into shape with a custom form), walnut for the base, maple for the “lips”, and a combination of walnut / ash for the wedged dowels. Overall, the piece is 100 cm from tip to base, and has a little over 20 inches of space to work with on larger format projects.

 

The one improvement for next time (if there is one), is to add some sort of internal “guide rails” on the jaws to keep things aligned well. The hinge has a little bit of play, so there’s some lateral movement that I’d like to get rid of.

 

I’ve tried to chronicle the build process in the imgur album blelow (I’ll apologize in advance for my pictures – I’m slowly being convinced to spend money on a nice camera). This hasn’t been put into action just yet, but am looking forward to tossing the old tandy stitching pony, and actually being able to stitch bigger things like bags without holding them in my legs

 

BUILD ALBUM: https://imgur.com/gallery/7C6NI1t

Edited by goingconcernMA
Re-sizing image

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Excellent piece of kit. Being a carpenter one would think I would have something nicer than a piece of Chinese junk to stitch with, but here we (still) are. Lol

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43 minutes ago, bikermutt07 said:

Excellent piece of kit. Being a carpenter one would think I would have something nicer than a piece of Chinese junk to stitch with, but here we (still) are. Lol

Get it done! As a plus, if you make something nice you can always have an excuse to leave it around the house ("but it's a conversation piece!")

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Beautiful design. Thanks for sharing the build process. The time spent with your dad putting this together is an inspiration.

Kevin

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Man...  Not only does your dad have a great-looking wood shop, he has a pretty killer home-brewing rig too.  Green with envy, I am.

The stitching clam looks very nice.  Be proud of it.

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That's awesome!  A beautiful piece!

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Looks like you had some fun with Dad, Great job!

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16 hours ago, klstclair said:

Beautiful design. Thanks for sharing the build process. The time spent with your dad putting this together is an inspiration.

Kevin

 

1 hour ago, GRod said:

Man...  Not only does your dad have a great-looking wood shop, he has a pretty killer home-brewing rig too.  Green with envy, I am.

The stitching clam looks very nice.  Be proud of it.

 

1 hour ago, Smartee said:

That's awesome!  A beautiful piece!

 

22 minutes ago, Samalan said:

Looks like you had some fun with Dad, Great job!

Thanks all! I got some really great feedback about improving the hinges, so if for no other reason I may do a "version 2" just to clean up that part of the project at some point

 

Yes, it's a pretty sweet homebrew setup. I've done some brewing myself, but basically just working with a large aluminum stockpot and a 10-gallon cooler converted to mash-tun.

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51 minutes ago, goingconcernMA said:

Yes, it's a pretty sweet homebrew setup. I've done some brewing myself, but basically just working with a large aluminum stockpot and a 10-gallon cooler converted to mash-tun.

I've been brewing extract-based with adjuncts for years, and was always happy with my beers.  Then I felt inexplicably froggy a few years ago and tried to do a boil-in-a-bag approach for my first all grain brew.  The results, in a word: disastrous.

I brew infrequently, and have too many *&^%$ hobbies as it is, so I've intentionally held back from building a mash tun.  I just don't have room to store all this stuff.  But this leatherworking thing...  It's gonna get out of hand.  Fast.

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6 hours ago, GRod said:

I've been brewing extract-based with adjuncts for years, and was always happy with my beers.  Then I felt inexplicably froggy a few years ago and tried to do a boil-in-a-bag approach for my first all grain brew.  The results, in a word: disastrous.

I brew infrequently, and have too many *&^%$ hobbies as it is, so I've intentionally held back from building a mash tun.  I just don't have room to store all this stuff.  But this leatherworking thing...  It's gonna get out of hand.  Fast.

Oh boy, I remember trying the boil-in-a-bag approach one time. Sadly I did not have the foresight to think how heavy 5+ pounds of grain becomes once soaked - that brew ended up a hot mess. All grain is nice, but I found it to be an all day affair - lots of cleanup on both ends. 

 

I tend to prefer the flexibility that leather offers - I can sit down for 15 minutes and work one step of a long project if I don't have a ton of time (which all too often I don't)

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Nice job,,,

your pop has some mad skills, that piece came out excellent, 

so heres a stupid question,

ive seen these clams, never used one, how do you keep it closed?

i know, real stupid question

 

Edited by Kulafarmer

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1 hour ago, Kulafarmer said:

Nice job,,,

your pop has some mad skills, that piece came out excellent, 

so heres a stupid question,

ive seen these clams, never used one, how do you keep it closed?

i know, real stupid question

 

Thank you - not at all a stupid question. This style clam is designed to rest at a slight angle on your left leg (assuming you stitch right-handed), while your right leg applies pressure to keep the jaws closed. Now with that said, the "proof is in the pudding," so to speak, and I've not yet had the time to work up a project using this. It's a consideration that will be top of mind when I do so

 

In case it's causing any confusion, the strap on the inside is purely there for storage purposes

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I love the look of wood grain and can really appreciate the finished appearance of this "tool".  It is too pretty to really call it a tool.  

Are you going to add the pieces onto it that help it stay on your thighs?  Not necessary, but look like they would be helpful.

 

Image result for moreau stitching clam

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4 hours ago, Tugadude said:

I love the look of wood grain and can really appreciate the finished appearance of this "tool".  It is too pretty to really call it a tool.  

Are you going to add the pieces onto it that help it stay on your thighs?  Not necessary, but look like they would be helpful.

Thanks! You know, I told my wife I wanted to hang it up, but I don't think she liked that idea all too much...

 

I've thought about adding a few of the other odds-and-ends that Fred's models have. I'm either going to add the little triangular "guides" on the inside of the jaws to help mitigate some of the lateral play that the hinges have, or I'm going to add an internal locking mechanism (not featured on the one you posted, but on several others he has done), though it's been incredibly hard for me to figure out which hardware to use for that. I would really like to do the leg guides, but I also see that as one of most difficult features since you've got to join it to a very curved section of the wood

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Excellent work!

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I took the opportunity this weekend to pad the jaws and take the clam for a test drive:

pWMhGiRl.jpg

All in all, it worked great! Still need to get used to the new stitching angle and find the optimal height to sit at, but happy that I'm able to get a fairly consistent stitch in the first go with a different setup. A definite area for improvement is getting the jaws to come together with a larger surface area, but it didn't take too much pressure from my legs to hold the leather securely while I stitched. I think an "extension" piece that sits inside the jaws may also be good to mock up for more delicate work. I can see myself running into difficulty trying to stitch something like a thin strap in here

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