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About zuludog

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    Leatherworker.net Regular
  • Birthday 04/25/1950

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  • Location
    Northwest England
  • Interests
    Backpacking, Car mechanics, Model aeroplanes, Knifemaking, Leatherwork

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  • Leatherwork Specialty
    Knife sheath making
  • Interested in learning about
    general leatherwork
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  1. Diverting slightly -- I have visited Fort George in NE Scotland, find it on t'Net This was built in the 1700s, and is still an active military base, though this is reduced, and a large part of the fort is now a museum The gunpowder store, now part of the museum was once lit by candles, as a naked flame was the only source of illumination at the time. The candles are placed in a small windowed enclosure that juts out into the magazine, and is sealed on the magazine side. Access and ventilation is made from outside the magazine, on the other side of the wall For similar reasons, the tools and equipment used were made from wood, copper, and brass
  2. Also, in the days of gunpowder, knocking and scraping a leather bucket wouldn't cause a spark This was still a consideration during WW2, when troops manning gun positions would change out of their usual nailed/studded boots into boots with plain leather soles for working in the magazines and handling ammunition
  3. As chuck123wapati has commented, you know your work is good enough when people ask you to make things ....... and from there it shouldn't be too difficult to ask around and sell a few items to help recover the costs of your hobby and bring in extra income....... but turning it into anything like full time employment and income would be much harder ...... and without meaning to be harsh, if you need to ask if you're ready, then you're not.
  4. Just my opinion but ...... I think you should try to make something as soon as you can, even if it's something simple like a key ring or a basic card holder or simple sheaths/slip covers for your knives and stitching chisels, there are several videos. These are simple enough to learn as you make. Or make your own pattern/mock up from card or thick paper Making these small projects will show you most of the techniques used in leather work - drawing out a pattern, cutting out the leather, making the stitching holes, saddle stitch, edge finishing, gluing up, threading a needle, waxing the thread, treating/greasing the finished article, and possibly dyeing leather and using an awl. To thread a needle cut the thread on a slant or taper/feather it with a knife on a board, then wax it, again there are videos I started out locking the thread as shown in many videos, but then I thought - Why? I don't do that when I sew fabric. So for several years now I just fold over the thread and it works well enough - I do wax the thread though.
  5. Have a look at this video, especially from about 9 mins; you can see that he sews & uses the needles with hardly any effort. there are of course many other videos
  6. Let's start with the basics first I assume you have sewn fabric with typical pointed needles. You might not have realised, but the needle does two jobs - it pierces the fabric, and it carries the thread through the resulting hole You can't do that with leather, as it is too thick & tough, so you first make the holes with bigger, stronger tools, then pass the thread with needles that have blunt, rounded tips so they don't snag on the sides of the hole You can make the holes with special chisels, but there are two similar but different types, and that leads to a lot of confusion - PRICKING IRONS have short prongs which mark the position of the holes, but they are not intended to penetrate all the way through the leather. Instead, they make shallow indentations, then you follow up with a saddler's awl, aka diamond awl, to complete the hole. STITCHING CHISELS have longer prongs, and they are intended to both mark and penetrate the leather You need practice & experience to use a pricking iron & awl neatly & consistently, so most people, especially beginners & hobbyists use stitching chisels So the first thing to check is that you actually have stitching chisels. Even so, the prongs are typically only about 7mm long, so you might have to complete the hole with an awl if the combined thickness of your leather is too thick. When you have made a hole, you shouldn't have much difficulty sewing with just your finger strength. The hole should be big enough for the needle to pass through with only a slight amount of drag or friction, but not so big that the needle is liable to fall out. The holes made by chisels & awls are in fact slits which will close up around the thread to produce a neat finish. Punches actually remove material so you rely on the thread being thick enough to fill & seal the hole, which is why you mostly sew with awls & chisels Watch YouTube videos on making various items - belts, wallets, knife sheaths, and so on, and on saddle stitch you'll see how other people do things. There are several videos on leather tools for beginners, also on choice of thread, saddle stitch, and other techniques, and making up items. These channels are good, but there are many others - JH Leather, IanAtkinson/Leodis Leather, Nigel Armitage, Corter Leather You can polish & sharpen the prongs of stitching chisels with needle files and fine abrasive paper, When you buy a diamond awl you will probably need to sharpen & polish the blade, it should go through the leather with hardly any effort or distorting the leather, you'll see that on videos of them in use. There are videos about sharpening awls For thin leather like wallets I use 0,45mm diameter thread and John James Saddler's Harness Needles item code L3912 size 004 For most leatherwork with say 2 to 4mm thick leather I use 0,6mm thread and John James Saddler's Harness Needles item code L3912 size 002 For 0,8mm and thicker thread I use Tandy Stitching Chisels 10 pack item code 1195 - 00 None of these needles are very thick, they are typically about 1mm dia, though the exact size will be in the specification. Watch videos of saddle stitching and you'll see the sort of size & scale That's my choice, you'll probably find that other people have their own choices & variations
  7. You can go on and on watching videos and reading forums, but ultimately you will just have to try things for yourself, as we all have - that's all part of the fun! -- and the expense! There is a lot of choice and discussion about thread. I have used linen but now I use synthetic, but many people prefer linen, it's your choice. Briefly, synthetic is stronger and doesn't rot; although linen is weaker the point is that it is strong enough and many people prefer to use natural thread with natural materials like leather. I suggest you just try both. There is also Meisi Xiange thread, which is synthetic but made to look & behave like linen, though I haven't used it myself Most people try a few types & makes of thread when they start, before they settle on something they like. And don't forget the beeswax! I usually wax my own thread, even if it is sold as ready waxed Most leatherwork can be done with 0,6mm diameter thread, called 18/3 by the international system and 432 by the French system. For thinner leather like wallets you might want to try 0,45mm diameter thread Shop around the suppliers and you'll find shorter lengths and sample packs to try, also a range of colours For 0,6mm thread I use John James Saddler's Harness Needles item code L3912 size 002 and size 004 for thinner thread; there are other makes but I don't know about them. You could ask the suppliers, and needles are usually cheap enough to try I use solvent based contact adhesive, but many people are happy enough with water based glue There are many videos on edge finishing. This is my method, but I'm sure others will work. After gluing & sewing, edge bevel .....sand if necessary with 120 grit paper ...... apply Tokonole ..... burnish ..... apply edge paint ..... burnish I use mostly Fiebings Edge Kote edge paint, but I've also used Metropolitan Leather and Identity Leathercraft own brands. As far as I can tell they're very similar. I haven't used Angelus, but I think it's reliable. Black will do for most items, but shop around and there are all sorts of colours available, sometimes as mixed sample packs. Besides Tokonole I think Metropolitan and Identity have complete edge finishing systems, with sealants, paints, and other treatments A general comment - Search on the supplier's websites and you will find all sorts of colours for leather, thread, and edge paint, and you can also dye your own leather Tandy is a good supplier, but I'd forgotten about them as they no longer trade in the UK Here's an suggestion - shop around for something like a 2 mm vegetable tanned half shoulder that's cheap, natural or coloured, even if it is second grade . Use it to practice on, make a strop, simple sheaths/slip covers for your knives and stitching chisels, practice skiving, make a key fob, card holder. And Valerie Michael's book is good.
  8. As with most hobbies and crafts you need a minimum of tools and equipment to get started, and you need almost as many tools & materials to make just one item as you need to make dozens, so unfortunately you will need to spend money at first. Also there is a range of prices, from cheap to very expensive; what you want is reasonable quality mid priced tools & equipment. But that does mean you will have to do some finishing/sharpening/polishing yourself. It is only the best, expensive, custom made items you can use straight away The key to good leatherwork is razor sharp tools. There are many videos about this, for leather tools such as knives, awls, and edge bevelers ; also non leatherwork tools like knives & chisels; the more you watch, the more you will learn & understand. You can use water, oil, or diamond stones; or fine abrasive paper. Make your own strop, green chromium dioxide stropping compound is as good as any The same techniques are used on most leather goods, so watch videos on saddle stitch, edge finishing, dyeing, skiving, and so on, and things like belts & pouches even if you don't want to make them yourself A Japanese Leather Knife is good for skiving and cutting straight lines and is easy to sharpen; again, there are videos Here are some more suppliers; even if you don't buy anything you will see what is available www.metropolitanleather.com www.georgebarnsleyandsons.co.uk www.sfleather.co.uk www.proatelierplus.com www.goodsjapan.com These are good mid priced Japanese? Chinese? Korean? tools - Wuta ... Craft Sha ..... Seiwa ..... Kyoshin Elle Besides shipping cost your country might also apply import duty/taxes but you'll have to find out for yourself. Or just order a couple of cheaper items and see what happens There are many YouTube channels & videos about leatherwork; try -- JH Leather ..... Ian Atkinson/Leodis Leather ..... Nigel Armitage .... Corter Leather .... Leathercraft Masterclass ..... Geordie's Workshop - he has about 15 videos aimed at beginners I have used www.buyleatheronline.com They are good & reliable and have a wide range, and have advice on their website or if you email them. But when you start or plan an item, use something like thick paper or cereal packets to make a prototype or a mock - up. This will show you what the finished item will look like, & the sequence of construction, and future problems - Old cardboard is a lot cheaper than leather! Come back to us with any questions, or let us know what you are thinking of buying, and we can give you our opinions
  9. Hello DesertLeather and welcome to the fun! ........ here are a few comments, I'm sure other members will come along with their own Sounds like you already have some ideas, but YouTube will be very useful. Search for 'beginner's leather tools'; there are several videos, each one is similar but slightly different, showing the preference of the individual worker, but overall you'll get a good idea of what is needed Search for making bags, wallets, watch straps and other item's you'd like and you'll see how other people do things and what they use Your Xacto knives will be OK for thin leather, but for anything thicker than about 1,5mm you'll need something better/bigger/stronger. There are many different knives available, but to start with a Stanley/Utility/Box cutter will do the job. The blades are disposable, but you can resharpen them on a fine stone or abrasive paper. In fact blades often work better if they have been resharpened as this polishes the bevel of the cutting edge. Also use a strop, there are several YT videos on how to make one Remember that YT videos are often made by experts, and you'll find that doing it yourself is not as easy as it looks! ...... So start with something simple like a key fob or a simple card holder, and build up from there. The leather you have named is very expensive, so learn on something that is cheaper, but still reasonable quality Here are a few suppliers; there are others, but 1, 2, & 3 are good mid priced suppliers, and 4 has a wide range of leather so even if you don't buy anything from them you can see what is available 1) www.leather4craft.co.uk 2) www.artisanleather.co.uk 3) www.identityleathercraft.com 4) www.buyleatheronline.com Don't be afraid of the suppliers! They know their stuff and are helpful, so ask their advice if you have a question There is a tool to avoid - you sometimes see the 4 - in - 1 awl with interchangeable blades; it's not very good and it is expensive. You're better to buy two separate awls - A diamond/saddler's awl and a scratch/round awl. Sometimes a saddler's awl is supplied as separate blade and handle/haft but It's easier to buy it ready assembled, though you will still need to sharpen & polish the blade yourself, there are videos. And a round awl is cheap enough
  10. Have a look at this video from about 2 mins. She also has videos on raised/padded belts & dog collars. There are videos on raised & padded belts by other people, Search YT accordingly
  11. I don't make holsters but I do make knife sheaths. This is my sequence for sewing black or dark brown leather with white or cream thread - Cut out natural veg tan leather ...... dye it with Fiebings oil/spirit/pro dye ....... glue ....... make stitch holes with a stitching chisel, usually followed up with an awl ..... saddle stitch with synthetic thread ..... even if it's ready waxed I usually wax it myself The thread is about 5X the line of stitching I've never had a problem with the thread becoming dirty/stained while I'm sewing.
  12. JJ L3912 needles have small eyes and can only accommodate thread up to about 0,6mm dia For thicker thread I use Tandy needles item code 1195-00 ; they are cheap enough at $2-99 for a pack of 10
  13. According to the conversion chart I've seen 11 oz leather is 4,4mm thick; let's say the pigskin is 0,8mm thick, so the total thickness would be 4,4 + 4,4 + 0,8 + 0,8 = 10,4mm I'd use John James Saddler's Harness Needles item code L3912 size 002 and 0,6mm diameter synthetic thread or size 18/3 or 432 linen thread Beware - JJ needle sizing is confusing - make sure you buy size 002 and not 2/0 Rocky Mountain Leather Supplies have these needles & thread, but there may be others Most stitching chisels will not completely go through this thickness of leather so you will also need a saddler's awl aka diamond awl
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