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Everything posted by johnv474

  1. Landwerlen Leather in Indianapolis sells them in bulk for cheap (around 15-25 cents). They also have a 1" jumbo size.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
  6. I would buy one of these in a second if I could. Besides a splitter, this may be one of the most handy bench machines out there.
  7. That sewing machine is rare and collectible. By itself, I consider its value to be $1k+.
  8. I love the Aquilim 315 but mostly use Leathercraft Cement, which dries annoying slow and needs clamped, but is very forgiving to work with.
  9. Thank you for sharing this, ScottWolf. I am happy that others see the value of freely-sharing information.
  10. Tandy's chisels have weird sizing. I don't know if the Pro chisels use the same labels as the main ones. In the main ones, 3mm is not the distance between the TIPS, but the distance between the PRONGS. So, their 2mm chisel is 6 spi, 3mm is 5 spi. If the Pro chisels are the same, and have about 5 teeth in an inch, then I would suggest 0.8 Tiger thread or 0.030 Maine Thread or 4-5 cord linen and any needle with a number higher than 0. If the Pro Chisels are actually 3mm, so about 8 spi, then I would suggest 0.6 Tiger thread and any needle with a number higher than 1.
  11. I recommend Kevin Lee tools, kevinleathertools.com Most of his cutting tools are made from D2, which is a real workhorse. Sure, it would be nice to have CPM-S110V or CPM-M4, but even with those, the specific heat treatment makes a big difference. I own some knives with some nicer metals, but not all of them are necessarily good for an edger. I would be surprised if many tool makers would give out the details of their process, considering the R&D they put into it and how giving out that information arms their enemies. It's also expensive information to give out for relatively inexpensive tools. You might be able to get a category of steel, and the resulting hardness after heat treat, perhaps. Frankly, any of the edgers on the market can work just fine, and the cheapest and the most expensive can get identically sharp.
  12. Awesome news! This will be my Christmas gift to fellow leatherworkers once released.
  13. It is an excellent tool for doing rough cuts (ie bigger than needed), especially if you are cutting tough materials like soling leather and shoe materials (rubber, dense foam, etc.).
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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).
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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
  21. 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.
  22. I use the same polishing principles as for shining shoes because shoes that get polished are made of leather.
  23. 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.
  24. 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).
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