Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About johnv474

  • Rank

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location

Recent Profile Visitors

7,665 profile views
  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Agreed. I dislike water-based dyes but have never had a problem once I switched to Fiebing’s Pro dye.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Landwerlen Leather in Indianapolis sells them in bulk for cheap (around 15-25 cents). They also have a 1" jumbo size.
  12. 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.
  13. Glue the leather first: two layers. Ideally, slightly on a curve but ignore that for now. Use something like contact cement or white glue like Leathercraft cement. Glue is friendlier than cement. Then, you have a few approaches. Poke three dots for the width of each strap, which you line up along a straightedge to cut them out. Mark out all straps at once ans cut them at once. A head knife, razor knife with a new blade, or a rotary cutter will make fast work of them. If you use veg tan and tou use white glue then burnishing will be easier, but you do want the glue to dry under pressure for an hour or two. I put a piece of glass over mine and then added weight, like books. Big tip: when cutting along a straight edge, do not ever let your knife go past the fingertips of the hand holding down the ruler. Pause, move your holddown hand, continue cutting, and repeat. If you got past your othwr hand you will wander from the line or will push hard enough against the straight edge to push it off your line. Cut within the borders of your holddown hand, and avoid that forever.
  14. These last suggestions by Rahere make sense to me. I don’t think the fur will throw off the fit much (once you have included 1/8”-1/4” allowances), because the fur will compress to fit. I would work with a 3/16” allowance, just over 1/8”, to make room for a second pair of socks. The easiest approach will be to use a fresh cast from the foot, but using an additional 1/8” of material. The material could be more tape or, say, weatherstripping foam. For insulation and padding I often use military surplus wool blankets, which are a consistent 1/4” thick and inexpensive.
  15. Dye color variation across a side is no big deal and quite common. It will change by the time the products are done. The "correct" way to strip out a hide is to start with a straight edge along the spine. No matter how you do it, this creates a bit of waste that is useful for belt keepers, tabs, etc. It is very important that this straight edge is straight. When cutting a strap, the ideal is to cut from the butt end (on your left in the photo). This is where the strongest leather is. You cut from the butt towards the shoulder (the second strongest part of the hide). Ideally you cut parallel to the spine. If you know the widths of the strips you plan to cut out (most commonly 1.25" and 1.5" for belts, 1-1.25" for shoulder straps, 0.75-1" for straps on pockets on bags, etc.), you can go ahead and mark and cut now. Or, cut as needed. Generally, if you are just going to make straps then you cut every strip from one end to the other, and NOT to length. You cut to length when making the belt, which leaves you with a bunch of short straps left. Ideally, the adjustment holes for the belt will be on the butt end of the strap, but this is less important than cutting parallel to the spine, and not perpendicular. Some belt makers just cut off the shoulder with a straight line perpendicular down from the spine, about 70+ inches from the butt, or whatever is a little longer than any strap you'll need. Those shoulders are generally sold off for 25-50 dollars, depending on size. If you also intend to make other goods, then from the other end (shoulder end), starting from spine for a straight edge, lay out panels and pockets etc, working larger to smaller as you work down from the spine. This gives you the strongest leather on the main parts of the project. For small tabs, etc, that function to hold on hardware, these are made from cutoff scraps from the better parts of the hide, i.e. the waste left when you cut the straight edge along the spine. Hope this helps!
  • Create New...