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zuludog

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About zuludog

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  • Birthday 04/25/1950

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    Male
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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. I'd say get a 2,25" or a 2,5" blade ; that will give you plenty of length to knock into the haft - which you will have to buy of course You will also need to sharpen & polish the blade as it is only the expensive custom awls that you can use straight out of the box - there are several YT videos about mounting & sharpening an awl Just one thing - the usual way to mount the blade is to hold it in a vice and then knock down the haft onto it, but you need to pad the steel jaws with something slightly softer so you will not scratch or damage the awl blade. Copper coins are often suggested for this, but British 'copper' coins are no longer all copper, they are copper plated steel, so use something else, like aluminium or hard plastic
  2. What to back/support your leatherwork when using stitching chisels? I used to use a typical plastic/HDPE kitchen chopping board, about 8 or 10mm thick .... then one day I couldn't find it..... and still haven't, it must have been thrown out in one of my infrequent but ruthless tidy outs So as a quick & temporary measure I used an old magazine - and it worked perfectly! It is firm & resilient enough to support the leather but soft & yielding enough not to blunt or damage the chisels .... and it is effectively free. As it gets damaged just move it around so you always have a new/good surface to work on. That was 2 or 3 years ago, and I've been using them ever since, and intend continuing to do so
  3. My guess is that a hardware store scratch awl will have a bigger & thicker blade than a proper scratch/round awl. It will be OK for marking out a pattern, but not so good for aligning & slightly enlarging stitch holes, teasing out thread, and all the other general poking & prodding jobs that we do in leatherwork So perhaps in the not too distant future you could buy a proper scratch awl from a leathercraft supplier; they're cheap enough, unless you really want one of the expensive custom made brands, and it does no harm to have two.
  4. No, I don't put anything on top of the Edge Kote, but I wait till it's really dry, probably 2 or 3 hours, then burnish with a typical wooden burnisher. I haven't tried burnishing with cloth such as canvas or denim, perhaps I will next time
  5. It looks like the process is - 1) Gum tragacanth ------ 2) edge paint ........ 3) Tokonole; burnished after each application. The edge paint looks too thin to be Fiebings Edge Kote, which is probably why he uses Tokonole as a top coat My method is to edge bevel & sand, then -- 1) Gum tragacanth, or more recently Tokonole ......burnish ........2) Fiebings Edge Kote ...... burnish
  6. I haven't sharpened a rotary punch, but this is how I would do it based on how I sharpen my individual punches - Mount the punch in a vice with either soft jaws or padded with scrap leather. Turn the head expose each punch in turn Sharpen the outside of the punch using a strip of abrasive cloth or paper and the see - saw method. Depending on how blunt the punch is, start with 400 grit then go up or down the grades as required Sharpen the inside of the punch with a round fine needle file such as a Vallorbe #4 cut. But don't be too severe, all you need to do is to gently remove any burrs and polish the inside of the rim; you don't want to cut too deeply into the circumference of the punch
  7. I don't do stamping/tooling, ie making patterns on the leather, but just like FREDK I keep all my leatherworking tools in a mechanic's tool chest which has a cupboard base for some of the bottles & jars of dyes, oils, & solvents. This leaves my desk top completely clear for work I use the drawers for leather tools like knives, awls, edge bevellers, needles & thread and also for rasps & files for knife making I have a plastic storage box for most of the dyes, solvents, & glues, to contain any possible leaks & spills I keep my whisky in a cupboard in the kitchen, but it's only next door, so that's not a problem
  8. Here's a suggestion - have you got a strop yet? You'll need one for sharpening your knives, whatever type you get Make your own from oddments of wood & leather, it's easy enough and will get you used to cutting and using leather. Search YouTube for 'how to make a strop', there are loads of videos Green chromium oxide stropping compound is as good as any; it's cheap and a small bar will last for ages
  9. As you've noticed, there are all sorts of knives available for leatherwork, at all sorts of prices. Search YouTube for 'knives for leatherwork' ; 'beginners tools for leatherwork' and similar headings, and you'll see what's available, and their pros & cons. Also watch videos on the things you'd like to make and you'll see what other people use. Here are a few comments, in no particular order -- Round knife - it has a semi circular blade with two points and will do most things; the disadvantage is that it takes practice & experience to use well, and they are expensive Head knife - similar to a round knife but it has only one point, which makes it cheaper and easier to use. Have a look at videos by JH Leather, she uses a head knife for most of her work Stanley/utility/box cutter - simple, cheap, and easy to use; you can re sharpen the blades, and even new blades work better if they've been sharpened on a fine stone & a strop. You can do good work with a box cutter, have a look at videos by Ian Atkinson/Leodis Leather, he uses one for most items Clicker knife - with a chubby handle and interchangeable hooked or straight blades; reasonably priced and easy to use & sharpen Rotary cutter - such as Olfa or Fiskars; good for straight cuts on thinner leather like wallets or some bags Japanese Leather Knife - with its distinctive asymmetric blade, but once you get used to it, it's good for straight cuts, gentle curves, & skiving; reasonably priced and easy to sharpen Basic leather knife - a simple style with a wooden handle and a thin blade about 4" long; cheap, easy to use & sharpen Small craft knife or scalpel - such as Exacto or Swann Morton; replaceable blades; OK for thin leather & fine work such as wallets or watch straps, but too light for anything thicker Skiving knives - There are two main types - one is like a hand held chisel, and the other is usually just a plain strip of steel with an angled blade at one end. As you watch videos you'll see them both in use. These are, I think, the most common types, but no doubt you'll see other styles & variations as you gain experience My suggestion - start with a box cutter, you probably have one already, then once you've got used to leatherwork, decide what's next Whatever you choose, you will need to be able to sharpen, usually with a fine stone or abrasive paper, and a strop - but that's another story Just one thing, a draw knife is a two handled knife used in woodwork, not leather.
  10. Here are a couple of suggestions that might help - Search the Net for 'adjustable table for wheelchair users' Then you can position the table and your work better to suit you, and possibly at a slight angle Try a Japanese Leather Knife; you don't need as much finger strength for these as you hold the knife in your fist. This video shows how to hold it, and how to cut thin leather without stretching it where you run off the edge. There are other videos about JLK s; perhaps watch a few and see what you think. Leathertoolz is left handed, I think most other videos will show right handed leather workers. You can also use a JLK for skiving As with just about all leather tools there is a range of prices, but a mid priced one about £30 = $40? will do the job. They are also easy to sharpen Consider using a steel straight edge for cutting as they are stiffer and heavier than an ordinary ruler and don't slide as much. Here's the sort of thing, but you'll have to find an American supplier. I notice that Nigel Armitage uses one for most of his cutting. A 12" one is OK for making wallets Straight Edges & Rules | Accurate | Safe | UK-Made | Maun (maunindustries.com) If you're considering a rotary cutter there are several YT videos; here's Ian Atkinson using one to make a wallet. I don't use a rotary cutter, but I think the two best makes are Olfa and Fiskars (2) Making a Handmade Leather Wallet - YouTube Here's an idea - the usual way of holding a round knife is flat in the palm of your hand with your fingers on top of the blade; but try holding it in your fist like a JLK. And at the end of a cut instead of just running off the edge of the leather and stretching/distorting it, stop short and finish the cut by rocking or rolling the knife so you're pressing down Also, whichever knife you use, as you get towards the edge of the leather stop short and start again from the edge inwards to complete the cut, so you never run off the edge of the leather
  11. The knife shown in the OP is an old French style leather knife. I haven't been able to find a picture of one, but Mike Rock has managed to. This is a plough gauge; yes the knife does look vaguely similar, but is definitely not the same type https://www.georgebarnsleyandsons.co.uk/product-page/plough-gauge
  12. I don't know much about the French Style leather knife, but it's an established design so it must work well enough to remain in production. I imagine it's a what you get used to, although if the internal curve shown on the right hand side is sharp that may well be useful for trimming edges But it would be nice to see it restored, and although I expect you are capable enough, there are loads of videos on YouTube about restoring & repairing knives, axes and so on. Yes, I would use a ferrule; obviously it will reinforce the handle, but it will also provide a nice contrast. If you can't re-use the existing tapered ferrule, a piece of brass or copper tube/pipe will do the job All the woods you mentioned would be OK; Jacklore uses masur birch, which is nice, but I prefer something plainer, like beech, which is a traditional material for tool handles; still, it's your knife. Here's some masur birch -
  13. Sharpening a stitching groover is easy, just load some thread with stropping compound and pull it backwards through the hole to strop the tiny blade inside. I didn't need to do it very often as even with the cheap Tandy groover I was using, I only needed to do it occasionally. Now I don't need to sharpen it at all as I no longer use a stitching groover, I mark my stitching line with dividers It is normal to sharpen and strop your round knife frequently, it's just one of the things you get used to. I don't have the Al Stohlman round knife; I hear it's not the best, but even so you should be able to get it sharp enough. There are a few YouTube videos on sharpening a stitching groover, and several on sharpening a round or head knife.
  14. For years I sewed fabric to repair tents & rucsacs; I just threaded the needle, folded over the thread, and left it at that Then I went on a leather craft course for a day and was shown how to do double hand sewing /saddle stitch including piercing the thread and locking it onto the needle ...... then I saw the same thing in a leatherwork book ...... then on YouTube videos ...... then I thought - why? So now I just thread the needle without bothering to lock the thread, and it seems to work well enough. The thread can be moved along to prevent wear on the fold over at the eye, and my thread is waxed well enough that the needle doesn't slide off of it's own accord. Now I haven't bothered locking the needle for years
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