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Everything posted by johnv474

  1. The doming is also affected by the surface below. If the cutting board is a little too hard, the teeth do not penetrate past the tips. Hence, belly leather (or a firmer smack with the mallet). The domes mostly go away when you tighten your stitches. I usually dye before gluing because glue usually interferes with dye and I tend to get glue a few places I don't mean to. You can also make your leather have a little more give by dampening the edge with hand sanitizer, which gives a minute ot so of the fibers being relaxed. For a slower-drying option, slightly dampening the leather all over with water (all over to avoid water spots). Don't overdo it on the moisture. Or, use saddlr soap to lightly wash all over. Any of these will help the chisels go through more smoothly. You'll definitely notice a difference if you polish the tips, especially rounding the angle from the tip to the shaft of the prong. They will enter and exit easier. Don't worry about removing the plating-- just put a little sewing machine oil or other light oil like WD40, or some wax, to protect the tips from rust. Or, brush with clear nail polish after polishing and polish lightly when dry.
  2. These chisels aren't bad. They are a durable set that can provide decent holes, and they are a good starter set. You can achieve stitching that will impress the entire public and all but the finest leatherworkers with such a set. *** WALL OF TEXT WARNING. TL;DR: step by step how to improve your stitch hole makin'. *** Before you start, you need a sturdy, non-bouncy table or surface. I would rather punch holes on the sidewalk or a tile than a folding card table. First, scratch a line to stitch along, at the same distance from the edge as the distance from tip to tip on your chisel, or barely closer. Don't use wing dividers as a beginner to scratch a like, or a groover. Instead,.use a straight edge and a scratch awl or pen with no ink in it, drawn backwards. Don't use wing dividers because beginners need to get better at cutting straight edges and curves first, (but you will). Second, overlap by two prongs, not one, and rest the prong at the other end right in the center of your line. You should by looking down the line while doing this... pointed toward you and not side-to-side. Third, have belt-thickness leather under your entire project so it is laying flat. Fourth, if you have a two prong chisel, use that in the corner, exactly centered on the corner where your straight lines would cross, i.e. each one the same distance from the corner. End the lines just before they cross--ideally, so the two prong chisel will barely touch the ends. If you don't have a two prong chisel, use your scratch awl to poke a hole just inside of where your straight lines would cross, so the awl hole barely touches both lines. Fifth, Punch the rest of your holes from each corner out. When you are punching, first rest the head of your mallet on the top of the tool, and then raise or lower the handle until it is exactly horizontal. The chisel must be exactly vertical, the mallet, horizontal. Then, try to raise your mallet using just your forearm and swing down along the same path, firmly but not heavily... enough that more than just the tips penetrate the other side. Pick up the project with the fork still in it and check at first. (If you don't ensure this you will need to use a diamond awl at least as big as the holes and very carefully insert it straight into the diamond holes so they are the same size.) This is to ensure that you are hitting your chisel straight down instead of hitting the edge of the tool (which can bump it at an angle and make your holes on the back wobbly). If you have to fudge the spacing of a hole, err on the side of a short stitch or two instead of a long ones. They are less noticeable than in a corner or the middle of a line. Next time, make a pattern that include punch holes measured/marked/made to avoid fudging the spacing. Sixth, when you pull the chisel back out of the leather, press your finger firmly near the teeth, so that you don't distort the leather by pulling at and angle. Or, use something like your bone folder laid flat. Seventh, stitch. In choosing between two thread sizes, it usually looks more refined to choose the thinner one, and more rugged to choose the thicker one. Watch Leodis' Leather and Nigel Armitage's Youtube videos to get incredible instruction from two of the most prolific and experienced leatherworkers on Youtube. Both seem to genuinely want to help preserve this craft by teaching, and are generous with their knowledge. Eighth, tap down your stitches lighly with a smooth faced mallet or hammer. If needed, go back over your holes with a matching overstitch wheel, or by very lightly pushing your dull chisels into the stitching, or by using a dull stylus or a ballpoint pen with no ink in it to push down the space between each stitch equally so they all look the same. Ninth, eventually put some sealer over your leather, like acrylic Resolene. This will help keep your stitching in place and help slow down any discoloration from jeans, etc. Tenth, freely share to others, as others have with you. The better the results we all get, the better it is for our future customers' satisfaction and loved ones' delight, and the greater the demand will be for well-made, beautiful leather goods... which helps us all. This was long, but I hope it was worth it.
  3. Is there a reason it can't be made of two pieces together? Even heavy steers don't typically get that thick. The exotics that do get that thick or thicker will be split down (e.g. rhino, elephant).
  4. Of the options mentioned, carnauba cream is probably the best. Tragacanth is not particularly resilient and can wash off. Beeswax is good but can be hard to apply. Carnauba (which is the hardest of the natural waxes, IIRC) polishes up nice without being as sticky as beeswax can be. However, carnauba by itself is hard and brittle, so it has to be mixed with other stuff. If you want a basic finish, you can also buy paraffin wax in the canning section of the supermarket. You can melt it to mix with beeswax if you like. Or, you can buy shoe polish, perhaps neutral. Most of them contain a solvent that evaporates away but lets the wax mix and carries it into the leather. My personal favorite brand is Lincoln.
  5. The medical experts and scientists would disagree with this. Non-scientists, business owners who want their employees back to work, and politicians would agree with you, though.
  6. Instead of marking where you want to put your punch, use your scratch awl and put a dot at either end of where you want the hole to go. Then, scratch a center line between those two. Obviously you won't be able to see that when you are punching, so put a small dot about 1/8" - 1/4" to either side of the center line. Do this at both ends of the center line. For repeat use, a template can be made that has those holes premeasured so you just line up the template and make your dots (or, even, have the exact oblong punch hole cut out of the template and just trace it with your scratch awl). The idea with the dots is that, since you can't see the center line, when you put your oblong punch into place you can visually center each end between the dots on either side of the center line.
  7. I own several types of stones and whatnot, but here is what I do. I am not a sharpening enthusiast, and do not care to sharpen just for the sake of sharpening. However, I find that VERY sharp knives are a requirement for good leatherwork... or at least for refined leatherwork. First, I only use a few knives. At any point I could tell you whether a given knife is especially sharp. A good set would be a McKay type A knife (such as this one: https://www.rmurphyknives.com/store/mckay-stitcher-2-1-8-inch-5-4-cm-shoe-knife-pn-mcky-1-b-details.html ) or a Tina right handed knife (like this: https://www.rmleathersupply.com/products/tina-shoemakers-knife?variant=26075664643 ), and then a head/round knife (Kevin Lee or Osborne are the bang-for-the-buck options, but there are better ones out there for triple the money). That McKay knife is a great trim knife. For one thing, it is very short so it doesn't go beyond your fingers (which means it is more like an extension of your hand). For another, the blade tapers and gets thinner, front to rear so you get it into some very tight places (great for starting to cut out stitches, for example). Third, it's cheap and can get surprisingly sharp. Second, I do not use any sort of angle guide. The type of abrasive you use doesn't matter but you need to go from coarse to finer and finer. My favorite overall is to use this set of diamond hones (here: https://www.dmtsharp.com/sharpeners/guided-sharpening.html , the one with the 7 angle guide). Unless a blade is very dull or damaged, that is a good setup. For a coarse stone I have a few but just use a cheapo from wherever that cost $10 or so. Most of the time, my coarse stone is used for reshaping tools like narrowing the teeth on pricking irons. Cheaper than nice sharpeners is to just get some wet-dry sandpaper from an auto body shop or the auto section of Walmart. Go up to 2000 grit or so. Tape the sandpaper to a piece of glass or your granite stone so you know the surface is flat. Instead of an angle guide, I go by feel. I lay the flattest part of the blade on the abrasive and then tilt up just a bit. I don't care about multiple bevels or anything and would use a full flat grind if it were available. I am not looking for the longest lasting edge; I want the sharpest edge. (You basically have to pick one or the other for a given knife). Third, GET A HONE. Get a butcher's steel. This makes more difference than you'd believe. Many times a blade is sharp but the edge is not as straight as it could be. You don't need sharper, just more aligned. If you do not have a butchers steel, use the back of a pair of metal scissors or something. A few passes on either side with medium and then light pressure is all it takes. Fourth, POLISH THE BLADE. My favorite is to use either green compound on a strop, or a magic eraser + Mother's Magnesium and Aluminum wheel cleaner (from the auto section at Walmart). Your blade, especially near the cutting edge, needs to be smoooooth. I leave my strop and butcher steel within arm's reach of my working space. I will touch up each knife on the steel every day before I use it, and usually give a strop or two also. This takes seconds. If I am skiving something down to paper-thin, I might only be able to go a few feet before needing to hone again (a few seconds) and then voila. If it takes effort, it isn't sharp, polished, or honed enough. Of course, better knives with newer, better super steels are much easier to keep sharp for a long time. One of my favorite leather knives is made of S35VN and it holds its edge for a very long time: https://www.kabar.com/products/product.jsp?item=5103
  8. You want to apply a very thin coat of neatsfoot and then give it lots of time to spread throughout the leather (like overnight). If, the next day, it isn't flexible enough, apply a second very thin coat. Don't dip it or douse it. Over-oiling your leather will make it soggy, limp, and weak. It cannot easily be undone, so take your time.
  9. I use the same polishing principles as for shining shoes because shoes that get polished are made of leather.
  10. It will ruin the nap if you use carnauba cream or wipe on acrylic. You might be able to spray acrylic. I recommend using Tarrago Nano Water and Stain Protector, which is a spray, or any other non-silicone containing spray sold as a waterproofer/stain protector.
  11. Okay, I can take a deep breath. If you have exact recipes for cleaners and conditioners I would be happy to know about them. If they are superior to some or all of what's out there, I will say so honestly. All products have their pros and cons. There are many natural or DIY recipes out there, as well as on the market. Good. Like you, I support the use of natural ingredients, or at least responsible ingredients, and reducing waste. Some synthetic materials are superior to their natural derivatives, and sometimes a compromise yields the best results. I would rather use the lab-made spermaceti oil in Lexol, for instance, than to have whales getting slaughtered for it. I myself have gathered information for making DIY versions of products out there: Tokonole, Fil Au Chinois, how to turn veg tan into bridle, turning veg tan into pullup leather, alternatives to synthetic bag stiffeners, glazing fluid, leather forming/stretch liquid, leather stiffener, burnishing products and tools, as well as a tool set created from three household items, etc. Fortunately, most of these can be done using exclusively or predominantly naturally-derived. I intend to make these open-source as well, and encourage you to do the same. This indistry and hobby has too much information that is hard to obtain. This is getting pretty far afield from OP's questions. I contributed to what OP can do for this project, though I don't actually see any other prescriptions written out for OP. DIY products could have their own post(s).
  12. I thought they were the SAME? "Lexol IS neatsfoot oil." Here are the ingredients listed in the MSDS Water or Hydrogen Oxide Purified Water 7732-18-5 70 - 80 % Sulfated Neatsfoot Oil 68424-50-0 5 - 10 $ Oils, vegetable, Me esters, sulfated Sulfated Sperm Oil 68648-42-0, 68424- 75-9 5 - 10 % Tall Oil Fatty Acid 61790-12-3 5 - 10 % You have been here for two months and half of your posts refer to this MSDS, that you haven't even read correctly. I will go ahead and tell you that the most important thing about a conditioner is NOT getting the most actual conditioner in the bottle. We don't want ultra concentrated conditioners. Wait, you knew that already, right? Ultra concentrated conditioners will take weeks or months to properly dissipate. Leather is porous and absorptive, but ... You know what? I'm wasting my time. Maybe you are just a cheapskate and trying to get the most conditioner/$. If that's the case, buy prefinished scrap leather. Go ahead and buy some super concentrated bleach and use that in your laundry, buy whatever you want for your leather. In the meantime, populate the next 21 of your posts with projects that you have done or valuable objects you have restored as a consequence of your ultra concentrated concoctions. I can't tell if you are a troll or 12 years old. I'm sick of this. I'm out. Thank ScottWolf.
  13. Wait. Tandy labels their chisels differently than anyone else I know. They do not label their sizes based on tip-to-tip, like every other company. They list just the distance between the sides of the teeth. This is dumb. Since teeth size vary between manufacturers, and even among Tandy's lines, this is frankly a useless measurement, and confusing to customers trying to comparison shop. Tandy's 2mm chisel is the equivalent of a 4mm chisel anywhere else, and gives you 6 stitches per inch, or very close. Their 3mm is 5 spi. (should be called 5mm). Their 4mm is 4 spi (should be called 6mm). For the 2mm (6spi) Tandy chisel, I recommend 0.8mm Tiger thread for a thicker look or 0.6mm for a slightly finer look. I like 0.8mm for their 3mm (5spi) chisels, though others may like 1.0mm. (Side note: the highly esteemed Nigel Armitage aka DangerousBeans on this site, commonly uses 7 spi and 0.6mm Tiger thread in his excellent Youtube videos, for example, and also in his excellent-er Vimeo channel. It's worth checking it out. For $4/month it is the very best single bang-for-the-buck leather learning resource I know of. Try a month and you'll see it pays for itself in the leather you won't mess up).
  14. I heard that one of the big linen suppliers is shutting down, but I don't have confirmation on that yet. Barbours is the big name in traditional Irish linen. Crawford and Campbell also are big names. Barbours is available in 1 cord up to, I believe, 11 cord. Osborne (I believe) sells 25 yard spools and 4 oz spools of waxed linen in black, brown, and natural. Samson Historical Leather sells smaller quantities of linen thread, but not Fil Au Chinois. Landwerlen Leather in Indianapolis (order by phone, no site) sells both the 25 yd and 4 oz spools I mentioned, at wholesale to the public, as well as Barbours and their house brand. If you attend any rendezvous or historical reenactment events with a flea market you can find suppliers of smaller quantities too. If you get some unwaxed linen like Barbours (mostly 1 lb spools and cost about 60 bucks), come back and I'll tell you how you can make it quite similar to Fil Au Chinois at home, for cheap. That's what I do. For 0.8mm I think that would be similar to 3 or 4 cord. I believe 5 cd is close to 1.0mm.
  15. Maverick Leather sometimes gets W&C overstocks or seconds. There aren't that many US tanneries left, compared to a generation or two ago. Some of them took the recipes and hired other tanneries where labor was cheaper to follow their recipe and make basically identical leather. Of US tanneries, Horween (some tannages only), Hermann Oak, and Wickett & Craig are probably the biggest names in veg tan.
  16. Deglazer will cut through the Tokonole and also remove a significant amount of dye. It will also dry your leather. Lemon or citrus oil is a good cleaner for household stuff, not sure about for leather. I don't know about juice. Hand sanitizer is a pretty good cleaner, too, and readily available. It can slightly dry leather but not much. If you own saddle soap, use that. It works well. If you don't have saddle soap, try castile soap. Don't use regular soap like Irish Spring and all those because they arendetergents and strip off oils. You want soap made with oils or glycerin because they are moisturizing but will help clean the leather. If you don't have any of those you can use blue Dawn dish soap (not generic, and only blue). Afterwards apply a little conditioner if you don't use a moisturizing soap. To avoid this, buy some nitrile gloves. or, use hand sanitizer on your hands before handling the leather and any time you get stuff on your hands, or wash your hands. Doing that a lot can dry your hands so when you are all done apply some conditioner or lotion to your hands.
  17. Definitely not interested in arguing over semantics. I am offering my experience and research, as well as others' expertise that has been shared with me, to help those who would welcome my suggestions. That said, I am not an expert. You are welcome to ignore my comments and advice. Lexol is not interchangeable with neatsfoot oil. Their applications, pros and cons are different. I know this from both research and firsthand experience using them both on hundreds or thousands of my own projects, several years selling both products and getting feedback from customers, as well as comparisons with the hundreds of other products I sold for the years I worked as a wholesaler and retailer in this industry. In that role, my job was to help people (newbies to professionals) to get better results in their projects and to repair damage caused by others. Somewhere I still have the article written by, IIRC, one of Lexol's engineers, explaining the differences between Lexol and other plant, animal, and petroleum-based oils, and the reason they were granted a patent. At the moment I am not particularly inclined to find or share it, however. Those who care can do their own research. I am not an expert or a leather chemist, just a guy giving free advice so you get what you pay for, bro.
  18. Oily leathers rarely burnish well. They also typically don't take a shine well. Tokonole works wonders, though. Some people use paint or edge kote-type products with varying success. Tokonole works better, for me. Usually you just have to fold the edge and sew, or sew thin leather to the edge to cover/bind it.
  19. Of what OP had on hand I would use the neatsfoot oil and then the carnauba cream. Both are excellent. For the dye that came off, you may have some trouble applying more dye but you can try it. Or, you can use Fiebings Leather Balm with Atom Wax in Black. (It is available in black and neutral). Use it very sparingly and let it dry for 30 minutes, then buff. Then repeat. Or, you can buy cream polish (usually sold for shoes). Tarrago shoe cream is good, Kelly Shoe Cream is very good, Saphir shoe cream is excellent. Buy some black and apply a lighrt coat, let it dry, then buff to a sheen. Then, repeat. If desired you can follow that up with shoe polish--too very light coats. Let the polish dry for 20 minutes to an hour, then buff with a soft cloth or horsehair brush. I like Lincoln brand shoe polish, then Saphir, then Kelly shoe polish, then Kiwi. Some people swear by Kiwi. After a good buffing, I wojld sral with two light coats of diluted Resolene. It'll be gooooood and black by then. Gum Trag will keep more dye from soaking into edge (slow it down, I should say), but you should still be able to get a good, deep black if you follow the above steps.
  20. I am one of the people that regularly recommends Lexol, so I'd like to add some thoughts. 5-10% neatsfoot oil isn't really the same as saying Lexol IS neatsfoot oil. Lexol contains neatsfoot oil (good), and water (good), and is also the correct pH for leather. It is superior to any individual oil, including neatsfoot oil, coconut oil, olive oil, almond oil, etc. The water it includes is good because leathers have particular moisture levels to be maintained, and processes like dyeing can dry it out. I put 5-10% sugar on my Raisin Bran, but that doesn't mean Raisin Bran IS sugar. For what it's worth, neatsfoot oil is often included in British Museum Leather Dressing, which was based on a 50 year long study of museum conservation of rare leather books. When you have priceless books you don't eant to deteriorate, you do your research to ensure they are well-protected. Additionally, if you own a Ferrari (don't we all?), or many, many other premium automobiles, Lexol, specifically, is the conditoner recommended by the factory. The patent that was awarded to Lexol was based on the property it has of not migrating out of the leather, unlike most of the other individual oils. My understanding is that Lexol is, effectively, a replacement for what was considered perhaps the best leather conditoner: whale oil, which is no longer legal. In the years that I sold leather conditioners and related products, I never once had a complaint about Lexol. It can be safely used on nearly every leather without discoloring or damaging it. It is among my favorite products (though, in fairness, there are many many good products out there, and most of them contain one or more of a dozen or so common ingredients). Frankly, I'm just glad it's not petroleum-based. It is not a waterproofer, however, just a conditioner. Thank you for looking up the MSDS. I found many, many useful MSDS reports from Weaver Leather's website, for lots of the common conditoners and products. That has helped guide my recommendations.
  21. Suede brushes are typically nylon bristles (more aggressive) or brass (curiously, less aggressive). It requires some pretty stiff bristles to fix the nap. At shoe stores you can buy a "suede and nubuck kit", which contains an eraser-type cleaner that helps remove dust and dirt, and then a brush to restore the nap. Fiebings makes one, and it usually is about $4. To clean suede or roughout, there are some specialty cleaners such as Lincoln EZ cleaner. My favorite, because it is an awesome all-purpose cleaner for delicates, is Angelus Foam-Tex. Great stuff! There also exist " Suede Renew" products, which are to help restore the color as well as protect or moisturize (I don't remember which). It is also available in Clear or Neutral (again, I don't remember which). Moneysworth & Best is one brand. Generally, they recommend using suede-specific dyes for suede or nubuck. (Note that roughout just means "flesh side out" and is otherwise just regular leather). I don't know the difference but they say regular spirit-based dyes will ruin the nap. Fiebings, amond others, have a line of suede and nubuck dyes that work well. I do not suggest spraying any cleaner or conditioner directly onto the veg split. Even something as trustworthy as Lexol (or worse, something like Mink Oil) tends to leave "splatter" marks from the droplets soaking in very fast when they first hit the leather. Eventually, they will dissipate and fade but it takes a while. I would suggest using a damp sponge or a damp soft brush like a horsehair brush to apply the product. If it were me, I would use Fiebings liquid glycerin saddle soap as a light cleaner and moisturizer to get the veg split damp and softened. I would let it soak in and dissipate for an hour or so, or overnight. I would then use something like Kelly's wax-free leather lotion or Lexol to condition. I suggest NOT using beeswax, carnauba, or any wax on the outside. You can apply lightly to the inside, but wax will make the nap stick together, like hair gel does. Note also, waxing suede/split is regularly done, and can look really great, BUT you specifically wanted to keep that nap/luxurious feel. Waxed suede looks a bit like a pullup leather in that it shows scratches and stuff (which fade and can look great as it develops patina). The scratches can be buffed away because you are warming and respreading the wax. Instead of wax, I suggest using a spray-type waterproofer and stain repellent and I would use a specific one. Do NOT use a silicone waterproofing spray because it will spot. I suggest tracking down Tarrago Nano Waterproofing spray. It has a silver can with a blue cap, IIRC. It's about ten bucks a can but look it up on Youtube--it's pretty awesome. If Tarrago Nano is not available then Moneysworth & Best also make a Nano (smaller molecules, better penetration). I would recommend doing two coats inside and out, drying overnight between coats, immediately after completing the bag or after the pieces are ready for final assembly. This will help protect them from stains and water spotting. Think of it like Scotch-gard, but for suede/split/nubuck (and also leather). If you get caught in a downpour, I would let the bag dry naturally with plenty of air (but no heat!) over a day or two and then touch up with a little more spray. Hope this helps!
  22. If you browse through this forum you will see more problems related to Eco-flo than perhaps any other dye. Maybe that is because it may be used with some of Tandy's lower quality leather offerings. Water-based dyes are not inherently bad. In fact they may soak in better...yet there are an awful lot of people asking these questions specifically about Eco-flo. I rarely see questions related to problems with preferred dyes such as Angelus or Fiebings pro dyes. I'm not going to be bothered with figuring out how to make something work when there are already suitable solutions for cheaper, that work better. Tandy should have done that before releasing the dyes... not that they actually research them except to find someone to package them and slap Tandy's name on there. For what it's worth, I love the pro dye Yellow and have never had problems covering one of my dyed projects with Neatlac... but I have answered hundreds of questions online and in person and the most frequent thing they have in common is Eco-flo.
  23. If you want to you can clean the leather with saddle soap and WHILE iT iS STILL DAMP, apply Lexol conditioner by misting it or using a DAMP sponge, putting the Lexol on it, and wiping the leather. It is important for both the leather and the sponge to be damp before applying Lexol (just a light coat, which can be repeated the next day but no sooner). Lexol will not darken your leather unless you slather it on. I don't know what is in Bick 4 but unless you know that it has NO waxes I wouldn't put it on roughout because it will ruin the nap. It's like using hair gel on your hair--it won't look normal anymore. That effect on the nap is why so many conditioners recommend against use on suede or roughout. The suede or roughout doesn't know that it is roughout so will absorb it all just the same.
  24. Tokonole doesn't stain. It dries clear. What it does is slightly resist the dye. You can be meticulous about cleanliness to minimize that effect, or use something else instead of Tokonole until after you have dyed it. Try CMC. It's awesome for smoothing the backs. It's not as good as Tokonole but doesn't resist quite as much. For edges, use hand sanitizer to smooth the edges, then dye, then apply CMC or Tokonole. If you don't want it to resist dye then just do your edges with water or alcohol or saddle soap.
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