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Matt S

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  1. Making for yourself is going to be several orders of magnitude easier than making for others. Shoes and boots are a surprisingly complex business, especially for somewhat technical and safety related purposes like horse riding. I admire someone with ambition. The planning I mention is the order of operations, especially the order of which seams to sew. When sewing an upper together you're essentially taking flat pieces of leather and making an upside down funnel with overlapping and abutting parts. You can't sew every seam in whatever order you like because you either won't be able to reach or you will find you need to sew underneath something that's already been sewn onto something else. Cylinder arm machines look like this: These give better access to sew 3D-shaped objects than flat-bed machines and used to be very common in the trade for closing (sewing parts together) shoe uppers but were largely eclipsed by post bed machines in the first half of the 20th century. To an extent I think that cylinder arm machines still are popular for the job in the far east but haven't done much research into the practice to say for certain. They are more generally useful and more common on the market than a post-bed machine. Patchers, like you discussed initially in this thread, are a subtype of cylinder arm machine that sacrifice almost all other desirable features for a very small arm (for access into tight spaces) and the ability to feed in any direction. After about 150 years of development they still have massive shortcomings, as mentioned upthread. When hand sewing heavier leather (heavier than a welding glove, say) the leather is typically first pierced with an awl, and then sewn with one or two blunt needles. Only the very lightest leathers (e.g. for a dress glove) are sewn solely with a (sharp) needle. As you say, it's quite difficult to pierce leather with a needle. There is a sewing method with a tool called an autoawl which has a sharp, heavy needle mounted inline to a wooden tool handle that integrates these two jobs somewhat but isn't used very often. For sewing soles onto turned-in uppers, you have very few options other than hand sewing of one sort or another. You either hand sew with a £10 hook awl or you buy a finicky £10,000 insole stitcher that weighs 300lb and isn't much use for any other job. Making for yourself is going to be several orders of magnitude easier than making for others. Shoes and boots are a surprisingly complex business, especially for somewhat technical and safety related purposes like horse riding. I admire someone with ambition. The planning I mention is the order of operations, especially the order of which seams to sew. When sewing an upper together you're essentially taking flat pieces of leather and making an upside down funnel with overlapping and abutting parts. You can't sew every seam in whatever order you like because you either won't be able to reach or you will find you need to sew underneath something that's already been sewn onto something else. Cylinder arm machines look like this: These give better access to sew 3D-shaped objects than flat-bed machines and used to be very common in the trade for closing (sewing parts together) shoe uppers but were largely eclipsed by post bed machines in the first half of the 20th century. To an extent I think that cylinder arm machines still are popular for the job in the far east but haven't done much research into the practice to say for certain. They are more generally useful and more common on the market than a post-bed machine. Patchers, like you discussed initially in this thread, are a subtype of cylinder arm machine that sacrifice almost all other desirable features for a very small arm (for access into tight spaces) and the ability to feed in any direction. After about 150 years of development they still have massive shortcomings, as mentioned upthread. When hand sewing heavier leather (heavier than a welding glove, say) the leather is typically first pierced with an awl, and then sewn with one or two blunt needles. Only the very lightest leathers (e.g. for a dress glove) are sewn solely with a (sharp) needle. As you say, it's quite difficult to pierce leather with a needle. There is a sewing method with a tool called an autoawl which has a sharp, heavy needle mounted inline to a wooden tool handle that integrates these two jobs somewhat but isn't used very often. For sewing soles onto turned-in uppers, you have very few options other than hand sewing of one sort or another. You either hand sew with a £10 hook awl or you buy a finicky £10,000 insole stitcher that weighs 300lb and isn't much use for any other job.
  2. If you don't find someone closer to home I'd be interested. Can source the webbing and leather here, and probably the grommets. Can either do labels or hot stamp the logo.
  3. @AriShaster are you wanting to make a pair of shoes (for yourself or a friend), or quantities for sale? If it's the former, Jason Hovater has a very good video class on designing, patterning and making shoes. He works from a lastless system (socks and duct tape), which avoids the difficulty and expense of obtaining a suitable last. His method produces a rather slim sole, which I think is what you're after. (The outsole is cemented to a midsole, which is sewn to the turned in upper.) He mostly looks at hand methods but discusses machine sewing the uppers. In industry this is done on a variety of machines, some quite specialist, but I think that the majority of them can be done one a small cylinder machine with a little planning (as used to be common in the trade) or even a flat-bed if you're willing to do a little hand stitching. Jason hand sews the turn-in upper to the midsole as the appropriate machine (an insole stitcher, often called a Blake or MacKay stitcher) is very expensive, and not much good for much else. You get an awful lot of good information for the price of entry. If you want to produce shoes for sale (especially in quantity or standard sizing), this is a somewhat complex area of the leatherworking business that will require a large investment in time, learning materials, physical materials, and machinery.
  4. I thought that Weaver did a self piercing rivet (w/ appropriate dies for their hand and foot presses) but can't find them on their site now. Maybe worth an email?
  5. Hmm yeah that looks to be an oddball needle class. Did the machine come with an old needle that you might be able to measure? You may be able to figure out an equivalent. Other 44-class machine use a variety of 16- and 31-class needles. Perhaps you could adjust your needle bar height to suit one of these more common needle classes?
  6. It's a ranger, for cutting very tough materials like sole leather. I have tried one and found that it leaves marks on more general purpose leathers.
  7. Many common cylinder arm machines have a larger distance from the end of the cylinder arm cap to the needle than you might desire for this job. You're right, it's not a frequently quoted specification, but one that many leatherworkers would like to know. Often the distance is around 6mm (1/4") or more, especially on walking foot machines. Certain models and subclasses have been built and modified to reduce this but they aren't very common and usually have a short stitch length. I've got around it sewing the bottoms onto cups etc. using a regular cylinder arm machine by making the bottom a little deeper to accommodate but I don't think that that's a great solution. I think that Wiz' suggestion of a patcher is an excellent one.
  8. If it comes to that the price of a new car is a lot to pay for 1000Kg of metal, and what I charge for a belt is a lot for less than 1 SqFt of leather. What you're paying for isn't so much the metal but the skill, knowledge and time that went into the part. If it were me at that price and trouble obtaining the part I would probably scrap the machine (or part it out) and buy another. I know what you're saying, you don't appear to get much for your money and it's a big cost if leather is a hobby for you rather than a business. Might be worth trying to get someone to TIG or braze it back together since you're lucky enough to have both parts. You may be able to find a better price (and a dealer that actually has the part in stock) elsewhere. What you have now is the part number and a baseline price. Up to you to do the legwork.
  9. What motor/synchroniser do you have, and what exactly is the fit problem with the Seiko and the synch? Normally the synchroniser kit comes with one or two screws to replace the one the machine came with (but longer, to compensate for the thickness of the boss). Of course not all fit because different manufacturers and models use different thread sizes. You say that the original screw that came with the Seiko is too small. Do you mean that it's not long enough to grab the threads inside the top shaft, or that it's too small a diameter and therefore loose in the bore of the boss? It's not unusual to have to acquire a new screw, or to modify the existing screws or sometimes the adaptor boss, to get a machine and synchroniser to play nice but you can usually find some off-the-shelf screw that does the job. Luckily Seiko is very open about thread sizes etc. so it's easy to look up what you need for a particular job.
  10. Hi Mihel, The part number for the Adler 167 case opener is 067-00-170-0 and you can find the parts book here: https://www.universalsewing.com/images2/parts_lists/all/5ielk82n.pdf Quite a difficult part to get though, we recently had an issue with a member trying to find the same part for the Adler 67. They are old machines. Difficult to suggest somewhere to get it since we don't know where in the world you're located. College Sewing in England (my go-to resource for parts) doesn't have it in stock and the price is GBP£138 (+ 20% VAT if you're in the EU). Unfortunately the address in your photo links doesn't work. You can upload directly here so long as they are smaller than 1.4MB.
  11. To make slit shaped (rather than round) holes. In fact even a round awl will usually make a slightly raggedy slit shaped hole in leather, but with a diamond awl the hole is not only neatly and cleanly cut (rather than torn) but the angle of the slit is predictable and repeatable. This not only makes a neater, more professional appearance but with slanted stitch holes reduces the tendency for the leather to tear. This is especially the case for tighter/finer/closer stitching, as is common in English style saddlery.
  12. Matt S

    Awl makers

    We had a thread about it a while back -- somebody noticed that VB's numbers don't tally with an English/American inch at 25.4mm though they are pretty close. Someone else pointed out that they're pretty much bob on for the old French inch at 27mm. Can't find the thread now. I took the sizes from VB's website and calculated a few values. You can see that their sizing perfectly matches the old French inch. On their own they are close enough as makes no difference but try to match a stitch line marked with a No6 VB portmanteau (left handed) griffe a molar with a stitch line marked with a Dixons No10 RH pricking iron and you'll get a slight misalignment. Not much per stitch but those fractions of a mm will add up over a short stretch. point n° 03 = 9,00 mm between each prong ¦ 27/3 = 9.00 ¦ 25.4/3 = 8.46 point n° 04 = 6,75 mm between each prong ¦ 27/4 = 6.75 ¦ 25.4/4 = 6.35 point n° 05 = 5,40 mm between each prong ¦ 27/5 = 5.4 ¦ 25.4/5 = 5.08 point n° 06 = 4,50 mm between each prong ¦ 27/6 = 4.5 ¦ 25.4/6 = 4.23 point n° 07 = 3,85 mm between each prong point n° 08 = 3,38 mm between each prong point n° 09 = 3,00 mm between each prong point n° 10 = 2,70 mm between each prong point n° 11 = 2,45 mm between each prong point n° 12 = 2,25 mm between each prong point n° 13 = 2,07 mm between each prong point n° 14 = 1,92 mm between each prong ¦ 27/14 = 1.92 ¦ 25.4/14 = 1.81
  13. Matt S

    Awl makers

    Yeah it's a bugger. Can't remember where I got it from now, probably a job lot of tools. You're right about the older/English style irons that Abbey sells they look dead like late Dixons. Maybe it's worth emailing Abbey? They're usually pretty good at replying constructively to odd requests. The funny thing is, Blanchard appears to use pouce (Fr. inch = 27.07mm) rather than English/American inch (25.4mm). Pouce hasn't been used officially since the revolution but I suspect was used informally for far longer.
  14. Matt S

    Awl makers

    I reckon it'd be worth emailing or calling Barnsley, seeing what they can do. The contact I had for the ex-Dixons iron maker (Leather 4 Craft) seems to have stopped taking orders for them. Otherwise... how handy are you with layout tools and a file? Dixons irons were AFAIK always soft mild steel and almost entirely hand cut, right to the end... As it happens I have a left handed iron marked 6, but it's more like a 6.5 (sits between my right handed 6 and 7 Dixons so the stitches don't line up!).
  15. Matt S

    Awl makers

    What SPI are you after? Maybe they would be willing to make you one custom? Alternatively, some of the people who used to work for Dixons are making irons again on their own hook. I wonder if they would be willing to do something to your spec?
  16. Abbey England. They're now part owners of Sedgwick.
  17. Matt S

    Awl makers

    Barnsley do their irons left handed. I don't know if that's the same as a portmanteau iron but my impression is that they're the same thing.
  18. Maybe, but after many attempts at dubbining the snot out of them I've given up and they sit in the boot cupboard gathering dust these days. They're a pretty close copy of the US WW2 para boot and while they fit great (having moulded to my feet) the uppers just go rock hard, especially around the ankles. I've toyed with the idea of cutting them down to ankle height but they'd still be pretty stiff. I don't know what the solution for this problem was "back in the day", if there was one. I suspect it's a combination of different boot styles, thinner/softer leather, lots of grease/pitch/tar, and boots/shoes with a shorter lifespan. As I'm sure you know native Americans brain tanned their hides (a type of tawing really) rather than veg tanning, which isn't so influenced by water. I'm not aware of any commercial brain tanning in the UK, but I do know that there are several hobbyists who do it if you want to try the stuff.
  19. Jammed threads + brute force = slipped timing. It can even happen from a hard crash or needle strike. It's possible that the screws holding the needle bar or hook driving gear weren't fully tightened by whoever was in your machine last. Better that the needle bar slips upwards (easy fix) or the hook driving gears slip on the shaft (slightly trickier fix) than something expensive goes ping. More modern machines have a safety clutch on the hook driving shaft which (in theory) disengages when the balance wheel tries to move a jammed hook. What's in your welt? If it's something hard like nulene or wire you are likely to get the needle bar slipping upwards, or a broken or bent needle. Tempting as it might be, don't brute force the wheel round if you get jammed! Cut out what threads you can reach, take off feet, needles, bobbin, needle plates and whatever else you need to to get to threads and remove the work. Pull out what's loose and apply gentle pressure on the wheel back and forth to see if you can loosen any other threads. Make sure all errant threads are removed before turning the machine over, and do it the first few times by hand (no power). Check that the machine is running okay on a piece of scrap before putting your work back in.
  20. Singer 211w151 looks an excellent machine for your purpose!
  21. I went "there" this week. A normally very reliable sewing machine (that I rely on) started having tension problems and skipping stitches after a needle change. Couldn't balance TKT20/V138 thread reliably in 4mm/10oz of leather, which is ridiculous. Knot was either not being pulled up into the seam, or a single click of the tension knob upwards and it was sticking out the top. Rethreaded, nothing. Fresh bobbin, nothing. Changed needle thread, nothing. About time it had a service anyway so I retimed the hook (which was a few degrees off) and the synchroniser while I was at it, still got problems with tension. Stripped out the hook assembly, gave it a thorough clean, inspection and reassembly, whereupon I lost the bobbin tension spring retaining screw while removing the spring to clean under it. Two hours on the floor sifting through the sweepings came to nought. Luckily I keep a backup machine so I transplanted the missing screw, put it all back together and still had the same problem. Then something went "twang" in my brain. Yep, I'd not fully seated the needle when changing it out. Needless to say the machine worked just fine once I'd pushed the needle fully up into the needle bar and reset the hook timing. Only 6 hours' production time lost to a schoolboy error...
  22. Pfaff 5487-814 looks like a chainstitch machine intended for cloth. 99% of the time with leather you will want a lockstitch machine. Not sure where in the world you're located but you should be able to get an adequate machine for your needs and budget, though it will involve a lot of legwork and homework to ensure you get something that will meet your needs. There are very few hand crank machine around these days, electric motors became popular over 100 years ago and most lighter machines have a handwheel too small for practical hand cranking. If you just want to buy something that you know is going to be suitable you'll probably have to up your budget. Again not sure of your location but assuming that's US dollars, you'd need $1-1.5k for an entry level new machine.
  23. I have a pair of boots with veg tanned uppers. I wouldn't recommend it, every time they get wet they dry hard. Even just foot sweat would be a problem I reckon.
  24. I expect that they are chrome tanned, or with another process which does not respond in the same way as veg tanned hides. Is the ostrich glued to the veg tanned liner throughout?
  25. I have an Adler 67 (might be a 67-72, can't remember). It definitely shouldn't be stiff to turn over, though it shouldn't freewheel either if you see what I mean. Without thread or material in the machine, is it equally stiff throughout the stitch cycle or is it stiffer at any particular point? I'm not sure if a broken bobbin case opener should make it stiff to turn the wheel, unless the broken part is rubbing on something. Did your husband take the shuttle hook assembly down any further than what's in the photo? If you rotate the basket relative to the hook at a certain point you should be able to remove it. Make sure to clean under this thoroughly with solvent then lube with a suitable oil before reassembling. The clearances under here are really tight -- even a short length of thread or an accumulation of oil and fluff can jam it right up so this could be a source of the problem. Also check the bevel gears that drive the bobbin assembly (could be too tightly meshed, I guess, or claggy grease in the box). Try not to take the gears out of mesh though, or you'll have to retime the hook. I guess also the timing belt could be tensioned too tight, or maybe just very old and stiff. Anyway, once you sort out this issue you'll be very pleased with your machine I'm sure. I think that Adler 67s are real "sleepers" at the moment -- boxy and fugly but very solid, reliable and fast machines that can be picked up for not much money.
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