Matt S

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  1. Keep an eye out for used bell-knife machines, they're fantastic once you get the knack. I don't know what your situation is regarding mobility or willing helpers but there's bargains which occur near where I live -- £300 and good timing will buy you a used skiver most months. Hopefully something similar will come your way soon. Otherwise, have you tried a skirt shave/french edger? They're more of a straight push motion than a skiving knife, and easier to control. I use mine all the time for skiving. A Japanese style skiving knife might work for you too -- it looks like a wide bladed wood-chisel and is a push forward rather than push across motion. I used to have the more complex version -- the Scharffix clone. I spent far more time and leather than I ought trying to get it to cooperate. I suspect that the one I had was flexing too much with the leather I was putting through it. IT would work, for a while, then randomly plunge through. Fred you may find better success with your design -- it's got fewer moving parts so I suspect it's far stiffer.
  2. Normally it's the black thread that's stiff and awkward! 138/TKT20 thread is about £10 per big spool. Sounds like something's gone very wrong with that red. Unknown brand/condition/age/provenance thread that doesn't play ball isn't worth the aggro, whether you're leathering for fun or profit. Put it in the circular file, replace it if you want, and get sewing.
  3. Matt S

    Contact Adhesives

    My workshop rarely gets as hot as yours does, I'm sure. However my contact cement (proper toluene stuff) does thicken over time. To avoid this I use one of those glue pots with the lid. I try to only decant from the big tin what I'll use that day. It doesn't stop evaporation so I do need to add thinners every now and then but it does slow things down a lot, since I'm opening the tin far less often. It also reduces the amount of vapours hanging around the shed, is less messy than working directly from the tin and provides a handy place for the glue brush to sit.
  4. Matt S

    Tippmann Aerostitch II still available?

    That seller bought the one I considered buying. They've put it on a new table and oiled it. Definitely worth the £1200 markup they put on it...
  5. Matt S

    Tippmann Aerostitch II still available?

    Shame that Tipmann doesn't sell a pneumatic upgrade kit for the Boss -- massively reduced production/inventory costs over dedicated Aerostitch parts and a functionality improvement to the Boss. "Got a Boss but getting lopsided biceps? Got a compressor? For $500 upgrade your machine to pneumatic. Now, with 72% more better!" I think that this was both the Aerostitch's unique selling point and reason why it had limited appeal -- the idea was good but massively outweighed by the practicalities. I almost bought a used one recently, thinking I could take a portable air tank to shows but did some calculations on how much air it consumes... and realised that at 5CFM a standard 24 litre portable air tank would be empty in about a minute. Even a big 250 litre tank would last... 10 minutes? Even a standard 2.5HP DIY compressor would be running about 50% duty cycle to keep this thing fed.
  6. Matt S

    Juki 563L

    So is backlash not much of a problem with vertical-axis bobbins? If so why -- is it the weight of the bobbin pressing itself down onto the hook basket?
  7. Matt S

    Juki 563L

    Is the 563 a vertical axis bobbin or horizontal axis? My Seiko lcw8 is a balls adjacent to the wall fast machine (2000SPM), has a large vertical bobbin and have no problems with backlash. Even with abrupt stop/start. Conversely I used to have two horizontal axis machines that had to have backlash springs fitted or be babied, or i got massive backlash.
  8. AIUI all you need is a fine double crease, a ruler, a steady hand and a lot of practice. It's a bit like checkering a gunstock -- the diamonds are created by where you choose to stop each checker line. I guess it has fallen out of fashion in the US harness trade? What out-of-date terms are you getting for the tools?
  9. Matt S

    glueing leather together

    What did you glue your Airfix kits with as a kid then Mike? Retiled the bathroom lately? Best practice is to glue and stitch. Anything less is a compromise that could easily cause your product to fail. I wouldn't trust a glue-only belt, especially for something that's going to be out in all weathers, bent, abused, tools clipped and unclipped, 40+ hours a week -- then thrown in the back of the truck at the end of the day with the kango and 3 bags of offcuts bouncing around on top of it for the drive home. To say nothing of the practical issues caused by the stiffness mentioned upthread... Do you (or your customer) have tools and pouches that can attach to a 1/2" thick belt?
  10. Matt S

    advice on sewing machine needles

    Just looked it up. Basically the same as a CB3500/GA5 (non-R) or Singer 45K21. Cylinder bed, drop-feed-only, no reverse. Speed limit 800SPM. No cup holder.
  11. Matt S

    advice on sewing machine needles

    That's a long drive to Yerksher and back! I think the one you're looking at is the 105-MO on eBay, yes? That's got a differential upper feed, which is used in puckering the toes of boat shoes. Apparently you can set the upper feed to match the lower feed but I've never tried. Maybe @Constabulary or @Uwe knows?
  12. Matt S

    advice on sewing machine needles

    What does your research show you about that machine model? And how far is Yorkshire from where you are?
  13. Matt S

    advice on sewing machine needles

    There's cylinder bed Singer 45Ks as well as flat-beds, and the Adler 5/105/205 series are cylinder beds of a similar capacity to the old Singer 45Ks. There's really just too many suitable machines to list. Industrial sewing machines are something that needs a lot of homework to buy wisely.
  14. Matt S

    advice on sewing machine needles

    The first two are flat-beds. Will your project/product fit on a flat-bed? Also, the 58 subclass doesn't have a reverse. That's a 133K, but yes similar to the cylinder-bed 45Ks.
  15. Matt S

    advice on sewing machine needles

    Yeah it's a good machine. Slow and heavy but powerful and reliable. I'd be happy to sew some pieces for you if you like though getting the very heavy thread is difficult. I mostly use TKT8 polyester at the moment and even that's pretty hard to find. A Singer 45K or similar would do 3x layers of 3mm leather fine, though you'd be limited to TKT8 thread (0.65mm). No, patchers like the 29k would be worse for this job than that Juki.