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johnv474

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About johnv474

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    Leatherworker

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    Indiana

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  1. If you are able to save up to afford it, Weaver's 4 ton hand operated clicker called the Mighty Wonder is pretty awesome. Even though it is more expensive than an arbor press, it takes a lot less extra work to make it do what you want to. You wind up with an area about 8"x11" or so that can be pressed. Of course, an extremely intricate stamp using the entire area requires maximum force, but I have had success with it in all sorts of belts, etc., using 6" stamps and larger.
  2. For any bootmaking you definitely want to use soling leather and not just thick vegetable-tanned leather. There is a huge difference. Check out TheHCC.org, then under Resources check out the Guild Library. They have downloadable free books in PDF form that will tell you everything you need to know about making shoes/boots. Be aware that bootmaking is the fine woodworking equivalent in the leather world. It is very, very complicated to make shoes or boots that look good and also function as needed. You will need to buy lasts. If you want to give it a go, then check out Andrew Wrigley's video series "How to Make Shoes" on Youtube. Even though he isn't making a pair of boots, it gives an idea of what is involved. If you want to learn to make cowboy-type boots then check out anything you can find from DW Frommer. He runs thehcc.org. He uses no machines and is a big of an oddball, but he really knows his stuff. Expect a pair of basic boots made by him to cost $1800+ and to take almost two years.
  3. Another thought might be to include what the meaning of nps is, so we know where you are coming from. Pardon the comment, but it is a recurring issue here with people making reference to things that not everyone will be familiar with. Leatherwork includes garments, saddles, holsters, sheaths, tooled items, and many, many more. Whether you have the stitching showing vs. whether you have a turned bag (i.e. stitching on the inside done inside-out, then turned rightside-out) is a personal preference. Showing the stitching means that you can have a more form-fitting bag. Having a turned bag gives more room for other items in the same bag and also covers any inconsistencies in your stitching. Some people think turned bags look more finised because you don't have to worry about having presentable edges.
  4. As often happens. People are so desperate to get answers and never return to tell you what worked, what didn't, what they already tried, etc. It can make it feel less worthwhile to answer these quesitons at all.
  5. The difference between the major seams would be minimal. If you want to do a handsewn saddlestitch, that would be impressively strong--stronger than nearly all machine stitches. 5 spi, 1.00 mm polyester (not nylon or linen) will provide among the strongest seams. However, those stitches will be stronger than the leather that contains them. So, when the seam fails it will be due to the leather and not the thread. If you didn't care about the strongest seam you would choose a thread and leather combination where the thread broke just before the leather tore. It is far easier to repair a few broken stitches than it is to repair torn leather. You dig?
  6. Wisdomsleather, it looks like you are using the diamond stitching forks/chisels that Tandy sells. Is that correct? Your holes appear straight, as does your stitch line. However, those punches are not especially sharp (hence, pushing the leather) and they are not especially polished (I believe they have a black painted or powdercoated coating). You can use those punches and get good results but you will do well to have an awl--it doesn't matter the brand but you will have to sharpen and polish it until it has nearly a mirror finish. You use that awl to stretch the holes and pull your thread through. Otherwise, you need to buy better punches. Bang for the buck, I suggest Kevin Lee or Wuta tools (both are available on Ebay or Amazon). Check out Nigel Armitage's video on Youtube about sharpening an awl. A sharp awl + practice is more important than good punches. PS skip using wing dividers and definitely skip the stitch groover. You don't want a groove for the stitch. You don't want wing dividers unless you are absolutely 100% certain that your edge has been cut perfectly straight. Instead, use your scratch awl ($3) and a straight edge and drag the awl along the ruler/straightedge to guarantee a straight stitch line. Then, be sure your forks have pointed tips so they can nestle into that line. There are even steps to being sure you hit it straight down. Then, when you pull out, don't yank it out. Hold the leather down on both sides of your stitching fork/chisel or else the leather and holes will stretch (and each one will stretch differently. You don't want that). PPS if you want the back to look just as good, then let the chisels punch/push through, then flip your piece over and tap your stitching chisel/fork into the SAME HOLES. You are NOT trying to punch through but just to smooth out the top half of the leather so the pushed out leather is instead in that hole. Yes, it will make them slant the other way, some. Ignore that. Use it that way, and return and report. Best of luck!
  7. Liquid food coloring won't last the way you want. It is useful as a leather dye wash (like watercolors). I understand it is also used as a temporary hair dye. However, there are reasons people don't use food coloring as a leather dye. For one thing, it is not intended to be a longlasting dye, but instead a short-term dye for food that is intended to be eaten. Probably the best dyes on the market are Angelus. Short of those, the Fiebing's Pro Dyes are top notch. Both of those are alcohol-based. If you want water-based, then Fiebing's also sells a line of Institutional Dyes, such as for schools and prisons, that are water-based. Tandy sells a line called Eco-Flo. I cannot stand their products though, and most of them are simply repackaged versions of another, cheaper, product on the market. So, stick with a different brand. If you are dyeing black and it is rubbing off and turning grey, then you definitely need to be taking additional steps. Either it is not soaking in, or is not properly colorfast, or you have a low quality of leather, or you need better dye. FWIW I stick with Fiebing's Pro Dyes. I do not have ruboff problems and do not get streaks or haziness. The colors come out rich and even. I suggest only buying Black, Saddle Tan, possibly Mahogany, and Dark Brown. Those are by far the most popular colors of leather people want to buy.
  8. Your holes are too small. For a stitching distance of 4 mm (distance between the centers of the holes), you want approximately a 3 mm diamond-shaped slit. This can be created with an awl. The correct thread would then be 0.8 mm, like Tiger thread.
  9. Agreed. I dislike water-based dyes but have never had a problem once I switched to Fiebing’s Pro dye.
  10. For a little more money ($20-30 from Landwerlen in Indianapolis), Osborne sells a japanese style skiving knife. The advantage of the stamped steel skiver is that, once you learn the right angle, it works like a sharp knife. Because you don’t need to sharpen them, and it’s only a $9 investment, and because blades are 0.35 apiece, it’s cheaper for a beginner to learn how to skive instead of learning to sharpen and also learning to skive. A non-serrated steal/kitchen knife can work also. The key point for a skiver is the sharpness and not the shape or brand.
  11. You can also switch adhesives to Leathercraft Cement or Renia Aquilim contact cement. They dry clear. That is by far the easiest solution. Unless you are making unstitched shoes, the bond is plenty strong. Side note: white glues work better with Tokonole.
  12. One of clicky razor knives with the snap of blades is both sharp and flexible. Extend the blade a little extra and skive away. These cost about 79 cents at tool or craft stores. Otherwise look around for the skiving knife sold by Russell. It should cost about $8. The blade is round on the end, flexible, and about 5 inches long and 5/8” wide. Osborne also sells their skiver made of stamped steel with a replaceable razor blade and they are about $9. You can also buy a “razor plane”, which uses shaving razors and is limited to 1/16” depth of cut so you can skive without ever cutting too much. These are on eBay for about $15. You can—kind of—skive by sanding but it’s a pain. You need to increase the grit until it is fine. For a small wallet or something, an emery board can work. Set the leather on the edge of your table, place a ruler across it so ypu don’t sand outside the lines, and sand-skive away. When done, moisten the sanded fibers and slightly compress with a bone folder or anything smooth (Bic lighter, shot glass, back of a spoon).: You may still need to recut the edge to eliminate the little fuzzies. I thinned a piece of elephant leather to make my wallet, and just used a safety razor and lots of blades, If you do not buy a disposable knife then you will need to learn to keep the edge sharp. That is far more important than the tool you use. It does not have to be expensive or difficult to get an edge sharp enough that it glides through the leather and never catches or stops.
  13. The difference between a cheap guitar and an expensive guitar is the player, until he reaches the limit of that guitar. Eric Clapton could make a cheapo guitar sound better than most but a beginner can’t make an expensive guitar sound good any more than a Boy Scout gets better aim by buying a sniper rifle. Most of my tools are neither cheap nor expensive. You can get by with about six tools, a la Daisukenshin, and none of them are expensive. I threw out all of my tools yesterday. I am replacing them with a knife, a fork, a spoon, an awl, and, optionally, wing dividers. Throw in a head knife and some needles and the set is complete. Owning too many tools gets in the way of learning how to use them.
  14. Landwerlen Leather in Indianapolis sells them in bulk for cheap (around 15-25 cents). They also have a 1" jumbo size.
  15. There is another trick that can be used to fold leather that wants to crack (even if, in this case, it was just wrinkling). That old trick is to just use a little dish soap in water, and dip the leather or wet it about a minute before bending. If you don't like the idea of using dish soap, you can use saddle soap too. The soap element "makes the water wetter", as they say.
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