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Matt S

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About Matt S

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    nr. London, England

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  1. What about a tool cutter grinder, with the blade in a mandrel in the toolholder? I've never used one but they seem pretty ubiquitous in machine shops.
  2. TBH, I think that Aquilim as about as good as it gets with water-based contact cements. As you've found there are many applications where it's not suitable, and if there were some way of making a water-based glue that works as well as the high-VOC glues, Renia would be all over that like a rash. Simply put, the "nastier" the solvents the more effective it is as a glue. If you don't need such a powerful glue you might be able to find one locally with reduced fumes. Try DIY/hardware stores. If you like it (apart form the fumes) you may be better off finding new ways to deal with the fumes of the Barge stuff. I work with high-VOC glues in enclosed spaces a lot and find that simple measures improve things massively. The biggest single one was fitting a small extractor fan (like you'd get in a kitchen or bathroom) in the window behind my workbench. I wear a 3M respirator rated for organic solvents when using larger quantities, close the glue/solvent pot ASAP, and force myself to take regular breaks in the fresh air. If the weather were more reliable where I live I would have an outdoor glue bench for maximum ventilation. Even with the ventilation the fumes are still noticeable and I'm working from a dedicated workshop rather than my kitchen so how useful this advice is may vary depending on your situation but these measures let me use the super effective glues that I need for my business without much discomfort.
  3. You're most welcome Spud, it came as a surprise to me too. Don't know why more people don't use it, it's been a common technique in the trade for years and works really well. It baffles me that so many people continue to use gum trag, but I suppose that's probably the Tandy/Al Stolhman effect! Thanks for the translation @Retswerb, it's so common over here it completely slipped my mind that it's a genericised trademark like Tannoy or Kleenex. Yes just plain liquid dish soap. Lynn, that sounds great. I thin I'll try Titebond 3 a go, that should be even more waterproof!
  4. Has anyone tried Weaver's EZ edger on anything other than stiffer veg tans, specifically soft-medium temper chrome tan? I'm looking for something off-the-shelf that will take a consistent, neat smidgeon off the corners of multi-layer chrome tan dress and fashion belts prior to edge painting. Mostly backed with a fairly stiff chrome split but I'm using softer premium top layers and would like to be able to use a range of leathers with minimal tool changes. I'm having trouble getting a consistent and fast bevel with my normal/handheld edge shaves, even freshly stropped! I've seen Brian/@RockyAussie's ingenious automatic bevel sanding machine and while that would be great even the smallest version of that I can think of would take up too much room, and I'm trying to avoid airborne dust. The commercial offerings are very similar to Brian's contraption but come with a hefty pricetag!
  5. No probs, Spud, always happy to help people where I can. I learned a lot from others, it's only fair to pay it along. I've come up with that sequence over the making of hundreds of bridle belts, always looking for a faster and longer lasting burnish. Always trying to improve. I also tend to use my burnishing machine for the donkey work of rubbing beeswax in, but have gone back to burnishing by hand as my machine runs so fast I sometimes burn the leather. Yep, it's the same idea as gum trag, except it's cheaper, water resistant and actually works. Essentially yes you are sticking down the fibres but only once they've been burnished down by the burnishing if that makes sense. Think of it more like sealing the fibres in once they're smooth. Certainly don't rely on a swipe with the glue-water to stick down fuzzies or to takea rough edge and make it smooth without work. I use it as an all-in-one, but I know that some people prefer to dye as a separate stage. If I had a piece of leather that was tricky to get the dye-glue-water combo to penetrate I guess I might do it as a separate stage (maybe with alcohol base) but TBH I've got this pretty reliable and fast, I can't remember last time I got my dye jars out.
  6. No worries! I usually take a mayonnaise jar and put a teaspoon of dye powder in the bottom, with exactly one large dollop of PVA glue. Fill most of the way with hot water and stir it well. Once it's cooled a little I put some of the mixture on a piece of leather and rub. If it doesn't shine within a few seconds of vigorous burnishing it needs more glue. If it dries before it shines I add more water. If it doesn't stain dark enough more dye powder. If it doesn't penetrate greasy leather (sits on the surface) it needs a little squirt of fairy. For a neutral or clear burnish skip the dye powder, of course. The mixture is usually noticeably thicker than water, but not a lot thicker. A bit thicker than whole milk, I guess, but thinner than single cream. Burnishing will go much easier for you if you use glue-water than just beeswax, and it won't shag out so quickly with use. In fact (and I don't mean to be rude here) if you think you've been burnishing just rubbing beeswax onto the leather you'll be very pleasantly surprised with the difference! It's handy for slicking slightly shaggy flesh side too. In use I tend to shave the corners off, wet with burnishing compound, allow to soak in a few seconds, wipe off any excess then rub, focussing on a 4" short section at any one time. Your edge will go a little duller before it gets shiny, but persevere and at the stage it starts to grab the tool a little move onto the next section. If you find it's drying faster than you can rub, rewet. Once I've done the whole edge I take a look with light raking across the edge and if it needs another go I redo the above process before it fully dries (PVA is water resistant once it's dry). Then when I'm happy with the edge being smooth and hard I let it well alone to dry for at least a few hours. Then apply beeswax (with heat, a motorised wheel or just elbow grease so it penetrates well) than buff off the excess. Magic. I like PVA because it works well, works fast, is inexpensive, and doesn't go moldy on the shelf nor smell bad. Just given the current batch a sniff and they're fine. Must be at least 6 months old. Most water based glues work well, like I say they have slightly different effects. Wallpaper paste gives a slightly matt, non-shiny finish. Gum arabic is dead shiny but isn't very tough. Hide/rabbit glue gives an easy shine but goes rank in the jar a few days after mixing up and doesn't smell great even when fresh.
  7. Both ways work, depends what you're after -- dissolve in meths for a spirit dye or diluted water-based glue for a colour-and-burnish all in one. Different glues give different effects and work differently on different leathers. If you want a water based edge dye dissolve it in water and a squirt of Fairy liquid to help penetration in greasy leather. I keep jars of burnishing mixture (water, fairy liquid, PVA glue, colour dye and a dedicated applicator) on the shelf, saves making the stuff up each time. Want some to try out? I've got a big jarful of the black stuff, it'll last a lifetime. Can always stick some in the post to you.
  8. Absolutely agree except for one minor point: I believe that the Verdigris corrosion is the salt, formed by the reaction of the copper in the rivet and the leather, which is slightly acidic, under moist conditions. (metal + acid => salt + H2). I'm not sure you'd want to add a basic solution (baking soda + water) as it'll increase the pH of the leather, leading to premature degradation. Veg tanned leather is/should be/"wants" to be slightly acidic -- usually somewhere around a pH of 4 IIRC. The green will be occurring more in the pockets around/under the conchos as those areas will hold water for longer in the event of a downpour or dunking, allowing the reaction to occur for longer. Green stains around hardware indicate copper based (copper, brass or bronze) hardware. Black stains indicate iron (Steel) based hardware -- essentially the same reaction as vinegroon. Not sure if verdigris is harmful to the leather or not. Cleaning might cause more harm than good. It would be good to get some saddlers' opinions on this topic.
  9. I use standard commercial kitchen cutting boards under my hydraulic bearing press (which I use as a clicker press). I buy them online. It's only a little 6 ton machine but it will absolutely bury the knife in the board if you don't pay attention, which not only slows production (have to pull the knife out the board) but also wears the board quickly. When the middle bit of the board wears too much for use I run it through the bandsaw and use the unworn parts either under smaller dies or as handy boards for punching or cutting by hand. I've been known to mill the offcuts into useful little jigs too.
  10. A 111W153 falls into the vast gulf between "old enough to be surpassed by several generations of machine with better capabilities" and "not old/cool/interesting/rare enough to be a collector's machine", nor does it do anything unusual. Local market forces apply but over here you'd be luck to get more than a couple hundred for it. I'm sure it works great, but that machine is built for business and business is brutal. How many serious businesses would rely on a 60-year-old tool if there were just as good quality but far faster, easier to control tools with actual, ready-to-go support, upgrades and safety features available for only a couple thousand $/£/€? By way of comparison I picked up a 212G140 (a newer machine with basically the same capabilities but with two needles) for £113 because I have a specialist operation I want to set it up for with permanent jigs. It wasn't any hidden bargain in a far-off corner of the realm either -- it was on a well known auction site, described correctly and in an area of London with a good mix of well-to-do people and light industry. The seller had offered it to several industrial sewing machine dealers and been turned away.
  11. As well as Abbey another source for UK-made is F. Martin & Son. Good quality and fair pricing. https://www.fmartinandson.co.uk/our-range/
  12. Patchers sacrifice almost everything for the ability to sew in 360 degrees and in very tight spots. They are well suited to repairing or modifying existing items, but not well suited to manufacturing them.
  13. @Simeon54 I think a lot would have to do with the history of the individuals depicted, as we're probably talking about recent immigration to a frontier colony. I appreciate that you might be bound by a NDA but that time period (and the previous seasons of Outlander) would hint at the early Highland Clearances so you might be well advised to look at extant examples and reconstructions of leatherwork from that region, culture and time period and extrapolate those findings through the character's journey, the expected lifespan of any items they may be carrying, and what they may have picked up in the New World to replace or supplement what they brought with them. AFAIK Scotland was never really touched by the strict English guild system, and that had largely fallen out of legal enforceability by the 18th century anyway. Chuck's point that a Scottish cobbler wouldn't know how to make a saddle does stand, but more for technical or experiential reasons rather than gatekeeping (much as a village blacksmith wouldn't know how to make a sword or breastplate). I have a background in archaeology as well as leatherwork and would be happy to discuss things over PM or email if you like. I might be able to dig out some reference books.
  14. Hi Mac, Looks like you've got the right class of needle (DBx1) and size thread (TKT40/V69) for your size of needles (Nm110/S18). If you want to go with a thicker/stronger thread you'll have to increase the size of the needle (usually Nm120 for TKT30 thread or Nm140 for TKT20 thread, though you may have to go up or down a size depending on the results in your leather using your machine), still using class DBx1 needles. Of course that assumes that your machine can take heavier threads. I've looked in the manual and there's not much indication of what size range threads it can handle so you might have to experiment, or find other users of the DB2 B755 for information. Needle and thread sizes are tricky things to get your head around. This chart is pretty handy: https://www.tolindsewmach.com/thread-chart.html In the UK we tend to talk about TKT sizes e.g. TKT40 (which might also be called M40, 40s or even just "size 40") for thread. In the US the V system is used (e.g. V69=TKT40). There's a lot of different thread sizing systems, some only for certain thread materials. These days we tend to use metric needle size designations, since two of the three main needle manufacturers are European. Nm110, for instance, is 1.1mm diameter at the eye of the needle. The old number sizes (e.g. 18) is Singer's sizing system. As to thread strength that's a little difficult to advise about usefully without knowing what you're sewing TKT40 nylon has a breaking strain of around 11lb, for what it's worth, it's stronger than it looks.
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