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About zuludog

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    Leatherworker.net Regular
  • Birthday 04/25/1950

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

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  • Leatherwork Specialty
    Knife sheath making
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    general leatherwork
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  1. FREDK Please will you reconsider your decision. I, for one, appreciate your help and advice, and I would like to do so well into the future Regards Geoff, aka Zuludog
  2. Have a look at www.georgebarnsleyandsons.co.uk then knives, then saddlery. I have their head knife - as a traditional maker they only give you a basic cutting edge, to keep the cost down, and you are expected to do the final sharpening and polishing yourself, but once you get there it is excellent. Search YouTube for how to sharpen a round knife/head knife. They make other leatherworking tools as well They are made in Sheffield, which is a major steel and tool manufacturing city in England. Somewhere on the Net I saw a series of photographs of their factory showing, among other things, head knives being made, but that was a while ago and I can't give you a reference You could also Search around on Google and Etsy. For example 'Etsy - round knife'; ' Etsy - head knife' and so on. While you're at it, you could Search for 'Etsy - Japanese leather knife'. With these categories you will see a variety of shapes and sizes besides the standard ones.......shipping from Etsy suppliers to USA might be cheaper than from UK Have a look at videos by JH Leather, she uses a head knife for most of her work Everything is made to a price. For leatherworking knives, awls and edge bevelers it takes time, care, and work to get an absolutely sharp and perfect cutting edge, and therefore costs more. So as I mentioned, the makers only give you a basic finish and you do the final stage yourself. You only get a sharp out of the box tool and a nice shiny look from the most expensive and exotic top end makes You can improve things by sharpening a new knife yourself, sanding and treating the handle, and so on. In Britain we call this process 'fettling' Strictly speaking fettling means cleaning and grinding rough castings, but it has come to mean any sort of improvement or repair work Search YouTube for 'how to sharpen a round knife' and there are several videos
  3. The usual diameter of thread for general leatherwork is about 0,6mm so I wonder if some of your thread is a bit thin? Consider changing to something around 0,5 to 0,7mm or 432. Still, if you're happy enough with the thinner threads just carry on. Fil au Chinois is very good thread; traditionally it is used for top class work and for a long time it was the market leader but recently newer makes are giving it serious competition - Meisi, Amy Roke, Yue Fung, which is sold by RMLS as their Twist brand. Twist is a bit smoother than FauC but you'd have to be pretty obsessive to notice any difference when it's sewn up Ritza is very popular, but like you I'm not keen on it. Oddly enough, though you say you found it the easiest to work with, I find it rather difficult - all part of the fun! For a synthetic thread I use Yue Fung and Amy Roke, but I also like Tandy Waxed Nylon Thread SKU 1227 - 01; I think it's underrated. 25 yards is $2-99, cheap enough to try. Once you recognise the small reels you'll find it on other suppliers websites. It is twisted, unlike most other synthetic threads which are braided Barbour is a reputable make, though I haven't used it myself In fact all these makes we've mentioned are good quality, and there is nothing actually wrong with them, it just comes down to personal preference. Gradually you will try different things and settle on what suits you There are a few YouTube videos on choice of thread for leatherwork, by Ian Atkinson, J H Leather, and others. Reading between the lines of your last question, I wonder....... Perhaps you've seen FauC recommended as the best thread but have seen that there are other cheaper linen threads available, and you're wondering whether to use them or not? Well, I've used FauC and Yue Fung/Twist, but in future I'm only going to buy YF -- enough said? If you are going to try various linen threads, buy them from a bona fide leathercraft supplier, and not anonymous makes off Amazon as some of it isn't very good
  4. Here's a brief history lesson -- In the early 19th century the French Sanjou company developed a way of making linen thread with a tighter twist, which meant it was smoother and stronger. At the time anything Chinese or Oriental was fashionable, so they called it Chinese Thread = Fil au Chinois, even though it was, and still is, made in France. It is excellent thread Synthetic thread is stronger than linen, and doesn't rot, but the point is that for many purposes linen is strong enough, and some people use linen as it is traditional, and also they prefer the way it feels/handles. Yer pays yer money and yer takes yer choice. Yes, RMLS sell both Ritza 25/Tiger thread and Fil au Chinois. They also sell Yue Fung thread under their own Twist brand, and that is very good too. In fact I prefer Yue Fung linen to FauC I hear Meisi is good but I haven't used it myself There's only one way to find out what you like; I think that if you Search RMLS website, or speak to them, they will make up sample lengths for you Remember that whatever thread you get, even if it is sold as ready waxed, you can give it a rub yourself When I make knife sheaths I use synthetic for the belt loop and usually linen for the body of the sheath, which gets less stress and movement
  5. Could be that an Xacto blade is too small. A Stanley/box cutter/utility knife has a bigger blade; the handle is bigger/fatter so you get a firmer grip; and they're not very expensive. You could also consider a clicker knife, with the interchangeable straight and hooked blades, which is a bit more expensive, but not impossibly so. Straight blade for straight cuts; hooked blade for tighter curves As mentioned by FREDK, if you hold the handle flatter you will get more of the cutting edge in contact with the leather Firstly mark out the shape of the piece with a scratch awl/round awl; then make a light cut around the template; then deeper and deeper cuts, staying in the same groove all the time till you've cut all the way through Even new Stanley knife blades work better when they've been stropped Have a look at YouTube videos for people making the sort of things you're interested in and you'll see how they do it
  6. The usual padding for the jaws of a saddler's clam, or a stitching pony, or a similar device is leather, glued on; no need to be too exact about it, anything you have that will do the job. Perhaps if you watch YouTube videos you'll get an idea of the sort of stuff that's used
  7. I've only just seen this Thread, and yes, I'll go along with those three. But I also like Chartermade and Leathertoolz
  8. You're right, they are hard I made a part that wasn't too bad into axe covers - not exactly beautiful, but they did the job Could make sheaths & covers for machetes & billhooks - not the fold over type, but rougher, heavy duty, 2 piece front & back type. Search YouTube for 'making a machete sheath' and 'making a billhook sheath' ; you'll see the sort of thing. No need to enclose the entire tool or blade if you don't want to; just a cutting edge cover, and a few straps to hold it in place Other parts I made into chest protectors for spoon carving You could try making cases for curved spoon carving knives Or a stacked leather knife handle Odd shaped leftovers I just used up for trying dyes & greases, and as a support for punches & stitching irons You can also use belly leather to make a strop Thin some leather grease slightly with white spirit aka mineral thinners and slap it on, that will soak in and soften it a bit, as well as proofing it. Or try neatsfoot oil Don't bother trying to make it look pretty, go for the tough/heavy duty/rustic/chunky look
  9. Welcome to the forum, and to the fun!. And nice to see you have done some homework on YouTube, that helps a lot I can't help you with holsters, we don't do many of those in Britain; I expect American members will be the best for that. But something you will probably have found out by now is that the same techniques are used on many different items, and edge burnishing, for example is pretty much the same for all of them. Speaking of edge burnishing, as you've seen, there are many variations, and i'm afraid it's just a question of choosing something to start with, and then working out your own preference. I started with gum trag, but now I use Tokonole Your thread choice is OK, if perhaps a bit on the thick side. You could try dropping it down a bit, so you use JJ 004 needles with 0,4 or 0,45mm thread for thinner leather like wallets and JJ 002 needles with 0,6mm thread for general use. 0,8 & 1,0mm threads are usually only used with thicker leather, say 4mm, for items like heavy knife sheaths and axe covers. Still, it's not that urgent; see how you go on, and only change if you think you need to Have you done any sewing yet? You might find threading JJ needles with 1,0mm thread a bit difficult, in which case you could use Tandy Needles #1195. In fact these are sometimes called Tandy Big Eye Needles A scratch awl aka round awl is useful when sewing, especially when backstitching, for temporarily enlarging the hole without damaging it or the thread. It is also used for marking out a pattern and generally poking & prodding. A cheap one like Tandy #3217 is good enough Generally speaking you use stitching chisels with narrower gaps for thinner leather & smaller items. Stay with the 3 & 4mm and see how you get on Doing the buckle end of a belt is tricky. I definitely suggest that you practice and make some mock ups from card, vinyl or cheap leather before making the real thing. Trying to 'think backwards' to get the pattern of holes & gaps for the fold - over part of a belt is confusing; practice and a template makes it much easier For most buckles on 1" to 1 1/2" belts a 35 to 38mm slot is about right, but practice on scrap. A slot/oblong/crew punch is expensive but you can manage at first by making a couple of holes with a punch then joining them You will need to thin down - skive - the flesh side of the buckle turnover. Doing all that length freehand would be difficult, and a bench top skiver is expensive, so use a skiving knife with a disposable blade, or Search Google for a razor plane.
  10. Yes, make a strop from oddments of wood & leather. It doesn't need to be precision carpentry, something about 3" X 15" is OK. 2mm veg tan leather would be my choice, but in practice almost anything will do. There are loads of videos on YouTube, and it's just about the easiest piece of leatherwork you can do. Get some proper stropping/honing compound; green chromium dioxide is as good as any, a small bar will last for ages, and it's not that expensive. Even new Stanley knife blades work better when they've been stropped You will need something to mark a stitching line parallel to the edge of the leather. A stitching groover is often used, but that weakens the leather as it removes some of the best, top surface. Instead use dividers. They just mark a line by depressing the surface slightly. They should not have absolutely needle sharp points; the idea is to mark the surface of the leather but not to pierce or scratch it
  11. Yes, a square is very useful, some would say essential. Nigel Armitage is an acknowledged expert, with many videos. You will notice that he pays a lot of attention to precise, methodical work and the preparation of patterns & templates. Even if you don't want to make one, watch his videos on making pouches, they are a masterclass Jo from JH Leather is another expert, with clear, precise work and measuring, including using a square. She is a trained saddler, so uses the traditional method of sewing with pricking irons and an awl. It takes some practice to do this method, so you could follow her general advice, but make the holes with a stitching chisel - that's why they were invented. When I have a wallet or a knife sheath, or most other items to make, I first make a mock - up from stiff card like cereal packets fixed with tape/glue/staples. This gives me an idea of what the finished item will look like; the amount of leather I'll need and it's alignment/arrangement on the large piece of leather; the sequence of construction & assembly. Yes it takes a bit longer to get there, but old cardboard is a lot cheaper than new leather!
  12. I suspect these are some woodworking tools that have been mixed in, though they might be used when wood & leather are combined, perhaps a saddle or furniture, and I go along with FREDK #1 is a countersink bit, used to set a flat headed screw below the surface of wood. It fits into a carpenter's brace, as in brace & bit #2 is a tack lifter, for use on furniture and carpets #5 could be a turnscrew, used to fit grub screws and bushes that have just a couple of holes instead of a slot #8 is a wide diameter nail punch, used to set the head of a nail flush or just below the surface of wood
  13. This sort of question crops up regularly on this forum, so before you buy anything do some homework - Read old Threads in the Getting Started and Tools sections of this forum There is a lot of information on YouTube. Search for videos on 'beginners tools for leather work' and 'how to make wallets' or bags, or anything else you fancy; you'll see the sort of things that other people use, and how they are used The same techniques are used for most items of leatherwork, so look at videos on edge finishing/burnishing; saddle stitch, skiving, etc. I also have some tools from model making. A modelling knife is a bit too light for anything other than thin leather, but a Stanley/utility/box cutter knife is good enough; watch Ian Atkinson videos, he does most of his work with a Stanley knife. Sandpaper or a sanding stick can be used for edge finishing Geordie Leather has 15? videos aimed at beginners One thing you'll notice is that there are lots of variations in tools & methods, with each leatherworker coming up with similar, but slightly different variations. Watch, practice, and gradually you'll work out your own methods Your list is OK, but here are some comments - John James Saddlers Harness Needles, Item code L3912 are some of the best, and not that expensive, get them from Rocky Mountain Leather Supply Thread - linen is traditional, and some people prefer the way it feels/handles. Synthetic is stronger and can be finished off by heat sealing the ends. I would start off with synthetic 0,6mm for general work Ritza 25 braided polyester is very popular. It has a picture of a tiger on the label, so it is often called Tiger Thread. The disadvantage is that it is normally only available in large reels, so it is expensive to buy into. However RMLS have rewound it into shorter lengths for hobby use RMLS stock other thread, including the Chinese Yue Fung under their own 'Twist' label. 0,55mm & JJ 002 needles for general work, and 0,45mm & JJ 004 needles for finer work But perhaps American members can recommend other suppliers A steel ruler for measuring & cutting A scratch/round awl for marking out patterns and temporarily enlarging stitching holes without damaging them or the thread; and various other poking & prodding jobs. A cheap one from Tandy is quite good enough Beeswax for lubricating the prongs of stitching chisels and waxing thread To answer your question, the size of a stitching chisel - 3mm, 4mm etc - refers to the distance between the points, and within each make the size of the hole is about the same. An exception is Tandy Craftool with the black finish, they show the distance between the sides of the prongs, so the distance between the points is a bit more e.g. their 4mm is about 5,5 mm between the points
  14. I have 2 & 4 prong stitching chisels by Seiwa, Tandy Craftool, and Tandy Craftool Pro; and 2, 5, & 10 prong by Abbey England, which I believe are WUTA, though I'm willing to be corrected on that. I'm happy enough with those, and I don't plan on getting any more I'd say get a 2 prong; about 4 or 5 prong, and about 8 or 10 prong. If you intend doing long runs of stitching then a 12 or 13 prong might be useful. I assume you have a 2 prong, so for the moment I'd stay with your 2 & 6 prong, and see how you get on with those, you can always add more if you find you need them I have a few awls, but I've settled on Osborne #42, it needed much less polishing then anything from Tandy or other suppliers. I mounted it myself in a plain wooden haft, which is tricky. If I get another awl I would get the same blade again, but also an Osborne haft fitted with a chuck or collet Watch videos by JH Leather, she uses pricking irons & an awl for most of her work; even for items you might not want to make, like a dog's collar, it will all help to see how things are done. She has several videos on techniques, and I think her video on the saddle stitch is one of the best If you haven't got one, make a strop from oddments of wood & leather. It doesn't have be be precision carpentry, something about 3" X 15" will do; there are loads of videos. Get some proper stropping compound, green chromium dioxide is as good as any. Even new Stanley knife blades work better after they've been stropped
  15. Evostik Impact contact adhesive. Get it from Halfords in small tubes, which are a neat way of trying it, but expensive if you use a lot; or larger cans. Or Search t'Net. You could also try a general purpose glue like Bostik, UHU, or the store's own brand. Might have to do a bit of fiddling about to get the right amount applied, and the amount of drying or tackiness before you fix the pieces together Furry side of leather................Leather is the skin of a cow. The side that's on the outside facing the world has a smoother, denser composition and is called the grain side. The inside that's fixed to the animal has a rougher, more open composition and is called the flesh side
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