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About Tannin

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    Hand sewing leather, thick saddle-type veg tan leathers, green woodworking.

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  • Leatherwork Specialty
    Hand sewing thick veg tan saddle-type leathers
  • Interested in learning about
    English saddlery techniques, tools, leather dressings
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  1. Zuludog, I started with the JJ size 2 although I find myself using the 2 sizes above that more recently (caveat: I mainly stitch thick saddle leathers with 0.8 or 1mm thread, usually Tiger). You can place small orders directly with JJ on-line. Interesting to note that the English company JJ's needles are/were made in China whereas the American company Osbourne's needles are/were made in England (at least they were last time I checked)! I also started with the 7 ppi pricking iron suggested by Nigel but, again, found it too fine for the work I do, so now far more likely to use 4-6 ppi. I can't imagine ever wanting to go more than 7 ppi (but some folk do).
  2. Tannin

    Stropping Compounds

    However, it is easy to get carried away with all these compounds. To put things in proper perspective I like the review this video from time-to-time (stropping with "buff stick" begins @ 3.30), just to "keep it real": Bare leather and then beef tallow and carborundum on leather K.I.S.S. Watch his other videos for confirmation of just how sharp that knife is.
  3. Tannin

    Stropping Compounds

    BTW There is a chap on youtube who polishes an axe head to a very impressive mirror finish. He goes through a long series of progressively finer "flap wheels", papers & compounds. It took him all day. I was surprised to see him going to (presumably soft, fine) red jewelers rouge (after dark grey, light grey, green and then white compound) - using buffing wheels. I don't think he used blue compound though. The result was truly impressive. Very shiny. The sequence of buffing with the various compounds begins @ 5:40:
  4. Tannin

    Stropping Compounds

    Great chart, although I too have come to the conclusion that green is coarser than white. However, they seem to produce similar results as far as I can tell. Most suppliers recommend green for carbon steel and white for stainless-steel, which suggests to me that white is softer, as I believe stainless steel is considered a softer steel (but perhaps it just requires/warrants a finer finish?). Interesting, I've been looking into the green vs. white which is finer issue for some time and the answers vary. I used to strop with plain leather - worked fine. Then I tried Autosolv white metal polish on the leather strop, that worked well: it produced a nice shiny finish - it has some cleaning effect too. Then after reading-up on compounds I bought a large block quality white (aliminium oxide?) compound, enough to last several lifetimes! I notice that Americans prefer green (chrome oxide) compounds but white was allegedly finer, so I figured I'd use that. I bought a metal polishing kit last year and contacted the maker, they confirmed that white was finer than green. So I have some strops with white compound, some with green. I often use just one or the other but sometimes start with green and then finish with white (and sometimes a bare strop or strop with metal polish after that). BTW I've been experimenting with strops recently: - Most recently with a large MDF strop. I have green compound on the rougher side (which as expected is quickly getting flatter & smoother with use) and white compound on the smooth side. - I also made a leather "Power-Strop": 3 thick, saddle leather, 4" diameter disks glue together & mounted on a spare drill arbor). I use it with green compound. It works very well, fixing some edges that had proven stubborn in the past, so... - I made another "Power-strop", this time slimmer with a curved edge-profile, for stropping the interior of carving gouges. Not that useful it turns out as I use mainly "out cannel" gouges (which have their bevels on the outside) - they really only need a quick hand-strop to deburr the inside and the outside can be done on the basic flat powerstrop or by hand.
  5. Real nice & appropriate.
  6. Tannin

    Compounds For Stropping And Buffing

    I agree with most of the original post: colour can be a useful guide but that some manufacturers deviate from it by colouring their compounds and obviously their recipes vary. However, I believe the colour is often (not always) indicative of the abrasive used, or at least one of them. For example: - emery/carborundum/silicon carbide in black/grey coarse compounds for steel (coarse) - chromium oxide in green compound (fine) - aluminium oxide in white compound (finer/finest) I've heard the base or medium which holds the abrasive variously referred to as: wax, fat, tallow, soap. I expect all of those things - and more - have been used at different times. One forum member, a Scottish saddler, has a youtube video where he demonstrates the use of his extremely long strop, which is covered in beef tallow & carborundum. I often go straight from worn 600 grit wet & dry paper (wear probably makes it closer to 1000/1200 grit) to white compound and that works fine. Although I find myself using green alone or green first more these days, probably just because it seems to be more popular, esp. on USA forums. To be honest, I don't notice any difference between white & green compound (or white Autosol metal polish) in practice, either can get you close to a mirror finish. My working assumption is that (coarsest to the left, finest to the right): 240 grit wet bench grinder > 600 grit wet & dry > black/grey compound > green compound >= white compound >= Autosol metal polish Not sure exactly where compounds fit into the waterstone grit spectrum but ... My turn to be controversial: The big revelation for me is that I rarely bother using my 8000 grit waterstone now, because I can instead go straight to a strop with compound from 6000/5000/4000/3000/2000 and probably even 1000 grit -- you don't really need those very expensive, superfine 8000+ waterstones - they are just a very expensive, messy and time-consuming way of polishing the metal. In fact the edge produced on my 1000 waterstones is quite usable even without further stropping/honing. I aim to the get the edge sharp on the first stone I use (which varies considerably), after that any further work is just refining that already sharp edge, with the aim making it last longer by cleaning up the jagged edge.
  7. Tannin

    How To Make A Strop For Knives

    BTW My preferred final strop currently is often a power strop: I made a leather stropping wheel from 3x 4" circles of thick saddle leather fixed onto the drill arbor from a cheap metal polishing kit, which I fit into an knackered old Bosch drill with a seized-up chuck (just enough movement to fit & tighten the drill arbor), which I clamp into my woodworking bench vice. The drill has a speed control, which I set quite low. I have the wheel spin away from me. I treated the new leather wheel with a little soap (soap or beeswax was recommended - probably to reduce unnecessary waste of compound?) & then green compound. It works very well. Best of all, it cost me nothing, as I had all the parts before I thought about making it. I am also currently experimenting with MDF. I cut a large paddle from an off-cut that I had laying around, I strengthened the handle with a piece of scrap hardwood - it looks like a short cricket bat! I put green compound on the rough side & white compound on the smooth side - no leather, just MDF. The rough side seems a bit too rough but it does seem to work quite well, also both side are getting smooth, glazed even. You could probably make a pretty good power stropping wheel out of MDF. I also like the huge, long strop by a Scottish saddler on youtube (a forum member here too). It looked like a length of wall stud with a long leather strap glued to it, covered in the saddler's own "compound": beef tallow & carborundum power (coarse compared to green or white compound).
  8. Tannin

    How To Make A Strop For Knives

    It really doesn't matter that much. Although I think I would recommend smooth side up. I've seen both approaches recommended and I have strops of both types. I tend to use rough side up as a coarse strop with courser compound and the smooth side up as a finer finishing strop - but it's not really necessary to have both, either will do the job. In use, stropping and compound tend to smooth the rough side and use tends to roughen the smooth side. I still sometimes use my oldest strops, pieces of an old, suede from a worn-out old welders gauntlet (used as gardening gloves). The smooth side is glued to flat pieces of scrap wood with room left for a handle. I wasn't sure it suede would work but it worked fine. I later started using metal polish (autosol) as "compound" on it. That and use have made the strops quite smooth now & I sometimes use them for final strop/polish.
  9. Tannin

    Double Pippin Punch?

    Hmm, I just found a Pippin punch on Amazon by Tandy that is much cheaper than the Osbourne ones I normally see (~ a third of the price) - but they call it a "button hole punch": http://amzn.to/1NysXiQ They also show a handy size chart:
  10. Tannin

    Double Pippin Punch?

    Or simply punch 2 holes & cut between them with a craft knife or wood chisel. More work & only as consistent as the craftsman tho' It's a pity Pippen punches and Pippin plier punches are expensive & hard to come by. I wonder if the Chinese leather tool makers will get round to producing some - they seem to make many/most leather tools now, including a wide variety of punches but I have yet to see a Chinese Pippin punch. They'd probably end up selling on ebay for a couple of dollars!
  11. Good point. Have you considered making your own copper rivets? I came across this on youtube sometime ago:
  12. Really nice & tidy and everything nicely proportioned. What thickness thread did you use & how many SPI (stitches per inch), 6 or 7? Nice job on the brass pop studs too - it's surprising how much can go wrong with those, esp. on thicker leather. If you don't like the patina of verdigris, good ventilation and a greasy coating (e.g. Ko-cho-line leather treatment/petroleum jelly/Dubbin/most any grease) should help prevent it. I was surprised to see the rivets at the back of the axe head, it would have been simpler to just wrap one piece of leather around -- was the idea to use smaller pieces of leather? They look good. If the copper rivets are in contact with the iron/steel of the axe head you will likely get an electrolytic reaction over time if there is moisture around (in the UK there is often quite a lot of moisture around ). I like the drop-in, full head cover design, secure & safe.
  13. I didn't see a response to the above post. You're description matches my understanding of the difference between pricking wheel & overstitch wheels. It is possible to buy new pricking wheels very cheaply these days. e.g. This one is only £1.29 inc. shipping from Amazon: I bought one & tried it out last week. I was rather disappointed because I could not see the tiny point marks in the very dark brown (almost black), textured leather I was using (admittedly my eye sight is not what it used to be). I went back to using pricking irons instead. Below is what I think of as an overstitch wheel but I have not tried one (they look tougher, more versatile & less prickly than pricking wheels): From: http://www.marthastewart.com/1125947/how-sew-leather-hand
  14. I got one of these higher quality (heavy duty I would say) but no-name punch pliers from Amazon last year. It's made in Taiwan and I've been very pleased with it. It's solid, not cheap for sure but it compares well with some (very) similar looking name brand products that cost far more (I suspect the manufacturer supplies other companies).
  15. Tannin

    Osborne Pricking Chisel?

    Sorry I mis-read your question - my response above may be of use though. Re. your specific question, that looks a lot like my Joseph Dixon iron when it first arrived - and it does not surprise me that they suggest it is intended for lacing. After using mine a couple of times, with horrible results, I sent it back to Dixons for them to re-grind slimmer (I had specified "slim" when I ordered but apparently that meant nothing to them but they were willing to grind it to my required width without any additional hassle or cost - you pay a lot but they provided good service, before they went under). So my guess would be that you could use it for stitching BUT (unless you are doing some big, heavy, horsey leather work that needs 3mm+ wide slots) that you will be disappointed by it UNLESS you are willing & able to grind the sides down yourself to make the slots much narrower (to maybe 1.5mm?). There is a cheaper & simpler solution in my post above: either cheap, short Chinese irons or the more expensive Chinese Euro irons - although it is possible that the latter are base on a similar design & might have the same problem , check dimensions carefully.