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About eby

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    Portland, OR
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    Trees, leather, wood, whisky, maps, and learning something (anything) new. Not necessarily in that order...

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  1. Greystone and Wolfe, Thanks for expressing your interest. I'm still working on getting samples, so nothing new on my end. The project's still ongoing and I'll update when I actually see some product. gzvunm, as Wolfe said I think you missed the entire point of this thread. Nice effort I guess?
  2. Lekoza, I do understand your points. It may end up not making sense to do, but I feel like it's worth asking around. Everyone knows there are lots of imported options, some pretty good. However, I constantly hear that people want to buy American but don't have the option or availability. What I want to know is, if US made buckles were available for reasonable prices in small quantities would anyone be interested? You are correct that many people don't care at all about the source of their products. That's their prerogative; I'm interested in hearing from people who do care. I have a hard time asking customers to buy my goods, pay a little more for quality, support my local business, but then myself turn around and use parts from some unknown vendor in China/India/?? that made doorknobs last week and will be making ashtrays next week. Anyone else feel the same way? Yes it's easier to just buy the imported stuff that's easy to find, but I'd like to support makers that would like a domestic option. As for Philip's buckles being special aside from country of origin, I'm honestly not sure yet. I have a message in to them regarding samples, but nothing in hand yet. They look like standard high quality brass heel bar buckles in several patterns. Hopefully I'll get a look at some examples and be able to report back. This is definitely in the "research" phase right now... Thanks for the thoughts!
  3. I'd be looking at a mix of solid brass and nickel plated brass 1.25" and 1.5" heel bar buckles. They have both rounded and square patterns at: www.philipmachine.com/solid_brass_buckles.html Still waiting on a reply from Philip Machine on pricing and samples. If this went ahead I'd put in an order and then sell off the surplus on my Etsy shop. Minimal markup to cover shipping, some of my time, etc. Not looking to get rich, just to make a purchase for my own use pencil out and hopefully help some other smaller makers who want to buy American. Thanks!
  4. Hi, All. I'm contemplating a belt buckle buy from Philip Machine. They're about the only USA manufacturer of quality buckles that I can find, but they do have fairly high minimum order requirements. Trying to gauge interest from all you nice folks on the likelihood I could resell a good share of that order. I started a thread in the Suppliers forum regarding this at: I'd sure appreciate all your thoughts, interest, etc. and would like to keep comments and replies in the Suppliers thread linked above so we're all on the same page so to speak. Thanks!
  5. I have been looking for a USA manufacturer of belt buckles for some time. There are a few suppliers out there, but very few and hard to find. I'm in the process of getting some quotes and samples from Philip Machine and trying to gauge how much interest there might be in reselling a good share of whatever I buy. I spoke with a gentleman on the phone there today and they typically require a minimum order of around 500 units for solid brass, which can be broken down into multiple finishes, such as brass, nickel plate, antiqued, etc. I have not gotten a proper quote back yet, but I believe they would be somewhere in the $2 range per buckle. I would likely add some markup depending on how much shipping turned into and how long I though I'd be sitting on them. I'm certainly not looking to get rich on this deal, but I do believe in getting paid a little something for taking on the work and the risk... 500 buckles is probably ten years' worth for my operation. If there's enough interest in other folks buying quality USA-made buckles I would list them on my Etsy store as a regular item. I'd love to be able to get quality US items on the market to folks that will use them. So, any thoughts? Anyone? I know other folks are interested in finding domestic suppliers, so it seems like this should be doable. I'm not really interested in trying to do a group buy or form some loose coalition, as those things just seem to stall or fall apart. You can check out Philip Machine at: http://www.philipmachine.com/ If interested take a look at their buckles and see if they might fit your needs. Let me know if you have any interest and what type/size/finish of buckles would work for you. I'll post updates as I get firmer costs and feasibility, or if they come through with samples. I'll also post this in another forum or two where folks might look for this info. And if it turns into a total bust I'll let you know it's dead. Better yet, if someone has already found the secret to buying high quality USA made buckles in small quantities at good prices let me know that too!! Otherwise I think I'll be headed down the Philip path one way or another. Thanks! P.S. - Before some helpful soul points me to one of the thousand sources for quality imported hardware: "Thank you," but finding a good US manufacturer is really the point here. I know there are some very good sources for imported hardware (and I've used several of them,) but it's important to my brand development, and to me personally, to try to keep my suppliers American. It's a shame that it's gotten so hard, but it is possible.
  6. This was .8mm tiger thread at 6 (I think) SPI. I was using smaller pieces for this, the last good bits of a 6/7 oz shoulder. I didn't think about the electrolytic aspect of those back rivets. I guess that'll be part of the experiment! Thanks for the comments!
  7. So, one update to my review: I was contacted through PM by an Ohio Travel Bag rep, who read this post, saying that they (OTB) are a Rome Fastener distributor. I can't figure out from OTB's catalog what they carry of Rome's, so I'll have to give them a phone call and check on pricing and what they carry. If there's not too egregious a markup at OTB it would probably be well worth dealing with them; plus they only have a $30 minimum order, which could help a lot in some cases. Rome has apparently been around for over 60 years, but I really just get the impression they don't typically deal with (and aren't set up for) small off-the-street customers. The samples I got a couple months ago are holding up well on some daily use items, but, like you, I'm pretty curious to see how they do over the long haul. I just put some brass line 24 snaps on a hatchet sheath that should get banged around pretty good, so that should be one test. I still think Rome has the potential to be a good supplier for what I do, there just seems to be a little learning curve to dealing with them direct... I'll post updates if I have any.
  8. Thanks! I posted a review of my experience with Rome on the Suppliers board, as I'd never used them before: Rome Fasteners - Hardware Supplier Review I'm pretty pleased with the quality of the hardware I got, but the ordering process was, let's say "not real smooth." Apparently Ohio Travel Bag is a Rome distributor and stocks their products, but I couldn't find them in their price list. It would be worth a call to OTB to see how that works. For this sheath I used line 24, which Rome calls their 3/24 cap and 31 socket, stud, and eyelet. I guess they're just regular action and seem to be about right for standard items like this. I have some of Rome's "EZ" action line 20 snaps and they're a fair bit lighter; nice for lightweight flaps that could distort pulling on a heavy snap. I also got several different lengths of eyelets and caps for line 20 and that's one of the reasons I was interested in them as well. I would agree with these as well, and also say that if I start swinging with the sheath on I deserve what I get :-) There is a welt in the stitched edges, both to protect the stitching and give a looser fit. The rivets are largely decorative and just to try out a new technique, I have no doubt the stitching would hold together just fine without them. Thanks for the heads up on the green staining. Makes perfect sense, but I didn't think about it. On utility type things like this I don't really mind, but it's good to know for more finished items. Thanks for all the feedback!
  9. I have spent hours watching Ian Atkinson and Nigel Armitage. They have a ton of knowledge and have some of the best tool reviews out there when you look to expand/upgrade the tool set. Both also sell plans with instructions (sometimes printed instructions, sometimes the instructions are in a youtube video.) I bought a couple of Ian's wallet plans when I was first starting out and they're great. There are a couple of professional saddle makers with excellent carving and tooling videos on youtube. Keith Valley and Bruce Cheaney are ones I can remember off hand, but search them out see if they're helpful. For books I recommend Valerie Michael's "The Leatherworking Handbook." It's a little more "luxury" type products than I usually do, but a fantastic resource. Some of the Stohlman books are good as far as technique, saddle stitching, tooling, etc. And then there's this site; someone on here has almost certainly done whatever you want to do and will have advice. Finding this forum when you're starting out is the best help you can get!
  10. Ha ha! I get a kick out of that because of the last time I used belly leather. I had a random belly sitting around forever, can't remember when I got it or why... I installed a fancy new work light on the sloped ceiling over my bench and sat down to try it out: bright light in my eyes and I couldn't stand the glare. Sitting there I was all irritated and saw that belly sitting in the corner, so now I have a not real pretty, but very effective, leather lampshade! That's gotta be a little better than a doormat! I have used belly for heavy belt key rings that are folded sharply, and a couple of small molded cases for shop use. That's about it.
  11. I also use the Gold Star press (the cheaper $80 one.) It works pretty darn well and you sure can't beat $20 dies! I have ligne 20 & 24 round spring snap dies and a small (don't recall the size) single cap rapid rivet die. All work well. I did find that some ligne 20 snap sockets would not fit over the die. I finally chucked that die in my drill press and power filed it down a bit. Now it fits anything I give it. I also got some brass plated steel ligne 20 snaps from Gold Star with the press, but they are pretty crummy in my opinion and I won't use them at all. I'll likely be adding a #00 grommet die and ligne 16 parallel spring snap die. I really think the press and dies are a pretty good value. Plus I'm always happy NOT giving money to Tandy...
  12. Just a little project for myself to use up some cheap-o 6/7 oz veg tan I've had lying around; #12 rivets & burrs, .8 mm tiger thread, solid brass ligne 24 snaps from Rome Fastener. This was my first project using copper rivets and burrs, and there was definitely a little learning curve on that. I'm pretty pleased with how it came out and next time I use copper the results should be better. It takes a bit to get the angle of the setter right so you don't mar the leather around the burr. It also takes a little practice to trim the post to a good length. Too long and you have way too much metal to peen over, too short and there's not enough of a mushroom to hold securely. I like quick projects like this to learn a new approach, no stress on how it turns out. But I think my hatchet looks kinda classy now!
  13. I just posted a review of Rome Fastener before I saw this topic. They make everything in the USA and I'm pretty pleased with the quality, but ordering is an interesting experience. My review: http://leatherworker.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=67992 You can find USA made split rings (steel and brass) at: http://www.keyring.com/ They have lots of sizes and flavors. I'll be ordering from them as soon as my current supply of key rings gets low. Good luck, it seemingly takes the entire leatherworking community to dig up the remaining domestic suppliers these days...
  14. So I've been on a quest to use materials and components made in the USA for my projects. It's a point of pride for me, and also a selling point when talking to people about my items. I've been fairly happy with Hermann Oak veg tan, and I've been very happy with Maine Thread's polycord, so those areas are sorted. Finding quality metal hardware has been a real pain, however. I have a Gold Star press, so I wanted snaps and rivets that fit my existing dies. I have a strong dislike for plated steel, as a lot of my things go outside and will eventually rust here in perpetually soggy Western Oregon. I finally found Dot Fasteners and Rome Fastener Sales. Dot never got back to me regarding samples or country of origin. I called Rome and talked to Georgia, who sent me sample snaps and rapid rivet samples almost immediately. No charge for a handful of each to check on my press. So far so good! The samples appeared to be high quality and did indeed work with my dies, although I had to slightly file down the ligne 20 snap socket die. Here's where things got strange/frustrating. I emailed the sales email address asking for a quote (there are NO prices anywhere on their website) and got no response. I emailed Georgia, copying sales, asking the same info and got no response. About a month later I called back and was transferred to Robert who apologized and took down all the part numbers and my email to send me a quote. I got nothing. A few weeks later I called again and got Francine, who again took the part numbers and promised to email or call that day or the next with the quote. She called me back a couple hours later with a detailed quote for all the items, which was great. They have a $125 minimum on the full order, no minimums on individual items, and I should email my order with part numbers and quantities to Robert, which I did. I got no response or confirmation and had about totally given up on them, but about a week later Francine called to get my payment info (credit card) and said my order was shipping. I told my wife, "I've never had to work so hard to give a company my money!" Several days later my order arrived (complete and correct, you can bet I checked it...) and I'm pretty pleased with the quality. I ordered ligne 20 & 24 snaps, some small rapid rivets, and some snap hooks all in both solid brass and nickel over brass. Ligne 20 brass and nickel over brass. Ligne 24 brass and nickel over brass. As for a recommendation, I don't quite know what to say. So, here are the bullet points for you to decide if you want to try them... Service: Obviously getting pricing and ordering is not as easy as it should be. I don't know if my experience was standard, or if I just had some especially bad luck. They were also out of stock on several less common items (nothing that was critical for me to get) and, again, I don't know if that's a normal thing. Quality: Good, but also a couple of odd inconsistencies. The nickel L20 sockets are stamped "ROME * USA", while the brass ones are stamped "ROME * MILFORD". The nickel L20 eyelets are stamped "ROME * USA" very clearly, while the brass ones are stamped "ROME * ROME" very lightly. I like having them marked, but it's odd that they don't all match. The L24 parts have no markings. The brass parts all appear to have a clear coat protectant on them, which only time will tell if it holds up. The brass is not polished looking, like a plated finish would be. That's fine with me, but some might object. Selection: Very good. Lots of variations on snap cap or eyelet lengths, lots of rivet cap sizes and post lengths. Really more combinations that I think you can find anywhere else I've seen. They also have a lot of base metal and finishes available. I wonder how hard it would be to order more exotic combinations, given my difficulty in placing a very standard order. Price: Not bad. More than crappy Chinese steel, certainly, but not terrible. Solid brass small rapid rivets are about $0.25 each. Solid brass L20 snaps are roughly $.29 each. They do charge a few cents more for the nickel plated brass, and I imagine other metals/finishes are priced accordingly. They do offer brass or nickel plated steel for a fair bit less, although I didn't get prices. Again, not exactly cheap, but I think fair for quality brass made in the US of A. Long review, but I know others are interested in finding quality and/or domestic suppliers. I'll definitely give Rome my business when I'm due for my next resupply and hope that the service issues were an anomaly.
  15. eby

    Thread Sources

    I use .8 mm Tiger thread on my heavier projects, but I don't do enough heavier work to justify tracking down a source for the full rolls. I buy the small quantities off Etsy. For all my regular lighter-weight work I use Maine Thread Company's waxed polycord. I really like working with it and it's actually made in the USA, which is great. Check out their website and request a sample card (which I believe is free.) I use their .03" for my stuff, but you'd likely want heavier to approach the .8 mm you're used to. They don't do braided thread, so I guess disregard if that's a deal breaker... Anyway, it may or may not work for what you do, but I've had really good experiences dealing with them and their thread works great for me.
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