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Everything posted by zuludog

  1. zuludog


    I had a look at those books and thought well, yes, they're OK and nice to have but not for the high price demanded Watch YT videos for free, and put your money into decent leatherworking tools - and the leather of course! As I posted earlier there are loads of videos and you'll soon pick it up Try making something simple first, like a key fob, you'll still be using the techniques of pattern making; cutting out; saddle stitch; edge finishing
  2. zuludog


    Ah but think of the benefits! You will have many more toys and tools and knives to play with and spend your money on
  3. zuludog


    Who knows how we settle on a hobby? I, too, started with knife making and realised I had better learn to make the sheaths; I think several people on this forum got started that way. At first it was just a means to an end to make the sheaths, but I now also make belts and wallets If you do start doing leatherwork you will quickly realise that the same construction techniques - sewing, edge finishing, dyeing etc are used in many items - belts, sheaths, belt pouches, wallets and so on And one of the first things you will need to learn is the saddle stitch YouTube is your friend, Search it for techniques and how to make specific items. In your case knife sheaths, including making a sheath for a round knife, are an obvious choice, but consider others, and watch as many as you have the stamina for. You'll soon see the methods and the tools that are used - you have a whole lot of new jargon to learn; welcome to the fun! I can recommend these channels - Nigel Armitage.....Ian Atkinson.......J H Leather.......Geordie Leather Don't be afraid of the suppliers! email or phone them, explain that you're a beginner and what you'd like to do. After all, they know their stock, and it is in their interests to help you But before you buy anything you might think about asking on this Forum for suggestions and opinions on your possible choices
  4. zuludog


    Yes, John James needles For the most used diameter of thread, which is 0,6mm synthetic, 18/3 linen or 432 linen in the French system choose John James Saddlers Harness needles product code L3912 size 002. Beware; JJ sizing system is a bit confusing. Make sure you get size 002 and not 2/0 Incidentally, what thread do you use? RMLS sell the Chinese Yue Fung thread, both linen and synthetic under their own 'Twist' name, and it's excellent
  5. I've wondered if a large wood carving knife could be used or modified for fine leather cutting And you shouldn't have much difficulty making a skiving knife; an English style leather paring knife; a kiridashi; or a Japanese style leather knife; some of them are similar anyway - as if you didn't have enough to do! And have a look at Vergez - Blanchard's L'indispensible knife, both on their website and YT; you could probably make something similar, but with a fixed instead of an interchangeable blade I made a Japanese style leather knife from an old box plane blade, and once you've got used to the asymmetric/offset blade it's easy enough to use; look for those on YT as well
  6. Have a look at these YT videos and you'll see the sort of thing I mean - How to hold and use a Round Knife by UK Saddlery How to polish a Leather Round Knife by Leathercraft Masterclass How to sharpen your Head Knife for Leather Work by J H Leather Also have a look on Vergez - Blanchard and George Barnsley and Sons' websites. But note that as a traditional manufacturer Barnsley only give you a basic cutting edge and you are expected to do the final sharpening & polishing yourself as that keeps the cost down, and you can adjust it to suit yourself I have a Barnsley Head Knife and it does take a while to do that, but once you've got the edge right, it's excellent To add a bit of interest you can compare UK Saddlery's Scottish/Glaswegian accent with J H Leather's middle class English accent
  7. I can't give you any technical specs, but I'd say go for a long, low angled gradual taper or bevel, without any noticeable step or shoulder
  8. The naming of these sort of knives is a bit confusing. I've always known the full leather knife with two points as a round knife, and the type with one point as a head knife; plus there are a few variations such as a French style leather knife, Chartermade, and so on. If you're making a one - off for yourself you can make it to suit yourself The round knife is well established, but it takes some practice & experience to use it well. A head knife is easier to use, and cheaper if you are buying one. However, they will both do the same job. As for the other shapes, it's just what you fancy, and think you will be able to use Search YouTube for making a round knife...........a head knife.............a leather knife, and there are several videos There are also several videos on using & sharpening these sorts of knives; pretty much the same sort of techniques, even though there are variations in the shape of the blade Have a look at videos by JH Leather; she uses a head knife for most of her work, even though the shape is a bit different to the one you are planning Just one thing - modern circular saw blades often have a relatively soft central part, with only the teeth and the rim made from harder steel, so check what you have before you make it. If that's the case you could still make something like a skiving knife or a Japanese style leather knife
  9. Yes, that's a thought. You say you are a beginner - have you got a strop? They're easy enough to make, Search YT
  10. Getting an awl blade right is not straightforward. It's easy enough to get it nearly there, but getting it just right is remarkably fiddly and frustrating I suggest you have a look at all the YT videos on sharpening an awl. There aren't too many, and you'll start to see how it's done, picking up a bit more information and ideas from each one These are good - How to Sharpen leather awl; Dixon Diamond parts 1 & 2 by Leathertoolz Details made perfection - awl sharpening by Leathercraft Masterclass How to sharpen a stitching awl by Zestien In those they have close ups of what a finished blade should look like Interestingly, in Nigel Armitage's video he leaves the tip fairly pointed. I suppose it's just personal preference Leathertoolz used end cutters to nip off the tip of the blade, but you could use side cutters or the wire cutting part of the jaws on engineer's pliers You could also just grind back the tip on a medium to fine stone But whatever you use, remember that it's a lot easier to remove metal than it is to put it back on again! You have a good selection of abrasive paper Yes, you can use stitching chisels as pricking irons. JH Leather uses pricking irons and an awl for most of her sewing, that will show how they're used. If you watch her sewing with an awl it's magic to watch, and a standard for us all - well, certainly me - to aim for
  11. It's reasonably easy, and therefore relatively cheap to make tools for leatherwork like knives, awls, and stitching chisels, but with these you only get a basic or average standard of finish, and traditionally you are expected to do the final finishing, sharpening, and polishing yourself. That's the main reason why top class tools are so expensive, as the maker has done that for you, but that usually involves careful hand finishing, which takes time & money. Sharpening an awl yourself is tedious and fiddly, but it saves money Search YT for 'sharpening an awl' and there are several videos, and I think they all follow the same method - pushing the blade back & forth on a fine stone or abrasive paper followed by a strop. An awl blade has has a diamond cross section, and you need to smooth & polish each face so that it slides through the leather easily. The two edges should be fairly sharp and polished, but they don't need to be absolutely razor sharp Have the blade almost flat to do the faces, and raise the handle slightly to do the tip The tip of the awl should not be a fine needle point, it should have a very small rounded chisel tip. Snip off the end 1 or 2mm , then regrind, reshape, & polish. Have a careful look at other people's awls on YT to see what it should be like For polishing I would use 600 then 1000 then 1500 grit wet & dry paper, with a drop or two of water; followed by stropping If you have a cheap Craftool awl I assume it's from Tandy. If it is - Stitching Awl 31218 - 01 or Craftool Pro 83020-00 then you're in with a chance The 4-in-1 awl 3209-00 is notoriously poor quality (that's the polite version) If you have that you could use the round/scratch awl blade as there's not much you can do wrong with those, but don't bother with the diamond awl blades, cut your losses and get something else, ie better If you have to buy another diamond awl I would consider a Vergez - Blanchard from Rocky Mountain Leather Supply or an Osborne haft with a chuck or collet and a #42 or #43 Osborne blade from Weaver When you've finished the blade should slide through the leather easily - see how JH Leather does it Preparing and sharpening an awl like this takes a while, but once you've got it right you should only need to strop occasionally
  12. Have a look at www.buyleatheronline.com They have a wide range of leathers I have bought from them, and they are reliable
  13. You could try just using the chisel as a pricking iron, then making the actual holes with an awl.....but that does mean using a sharp diamond/saddler's awl, something like an Osborne #42 or #43, which you would need to sharpen & polish before use There are plenty of YT videos on how to prepare & sharpen an awl blade
  14. Yes, Jo's videos are good, and an added bonus is that you get to hear a perfect Middle Class English accent If you ever want to upgrade from Tandy, have a look at Weaver Leather Supply and Rocky Mountain Leather Supplies I dye before I glue and make the stitch holes, whether it's just one side or both
  15. Averagely priced stitching chisels such as Tandy only come with a basic finish or sharpness, so they can be improved by polishing & sharpening the prongs yourself Make a small file by gluing some 600 grit wet & dry paper to a thin sliver of wood like a lollipop stick; or a piece of thin, stiff plastic; or a thin strip of aluminium. Than carefully polish all the prongs. This is a bit of a tedious job, but worth doing. This will remove the black coating, but that doesn't matter Lubricate the prongs before use by stroking them over beeswax When removing the chisels, hold down the leather by pressing down with a piece of wood right next to the prongs, to avoid distorting the leather and the holes I work on an old magazine. They are effectively free; and have just the right combination of resilience and support, but soft enough not to blunt the prongs. Just replace it when it's worn Mark the line of stitching with dividers. Place one tip against the edge of the leather, and the other onto the leather, with a gap of about 3 or 4mm Search on YouTube for using stitching chisels, there are several videos. Also for making pouches and wallets, you'll see how other people stitch thin leather. In fact as you watch YT videos on making any leather items you'll see the tools & techniques used Nigel Armitage has a series of videos on making pouches, starting with a simple 2 piece model, then building up to more complicated designs
  16. Nigel Armitage's Vimeo channel has several videos on making a belt, from preparing the pattern and making the measurements, right through to the finished item There are 100 videos on it at the moment, covering all aspects of leatherwork, with more being added all the time It's about £5/$6/6 euros per month
  17. Hello French Mich and welcome to the forum! I'm sure that both your English and your leatherwork are better than mine; nevertheless, you are welcome to such advice and knowledge that I have Years ago British crafts and industry were secretive and restrictive, but that has improved now. Have a look at these YouTube channels - Ian Atkinson, J H Leather, Nigel Armitage Nigel Armitage also has a Vimeo channel where he goes into more detail, but that is about £5/6 euros? per month. However it is very good, with about 100 videos on it, and he is adding more all the time
  18. I've just seen that www.workshopheaven.com are selling a Quangsheng 30mm plane blade reduced from £14 to £6 It shouldn't be too difficult to turn it into a skiving knife or a Japanese style leather knife
  19. Ah yes, I'd forgotten about that, thanks for the reminder For years, before I became interested in leatherwork I repaired tents & rucsacs, and I just put the thread through the eye of the needle and that was that Soon after I became interested I went on a leatherworking course and was shown the usual method of threading a saddler's needle, piercing the thread, and locking it. I tried it for a while afterwards, but decided it was too fiddly, so I went back to just a simple pass through the eye As Toxo mentions, you can vary the length of working thread (is that the correct term? I'm sure you'll know what I mean) and the tail to make longer or shorter pulls through the work; and also spread out the wear on the thread caused by the eye. Waxed thread grips well, and fills the eye so the needle doesn't often slip off the thread of its own accord I don't tie a knot in the end of the thread; I just do a bit of backstitching or overstitching at the start. With linen thread it's held in place by friction, and with synthetic I heat seal the end of the thread after I've trimmed it
  20. I used to use a Q tip/cotton bud to apply edge finish, but found it held too much and spread the Edge Kote too much. This was not helped by the fact that the thing started to disintegrate and flop around Now I use a pencil for thicker edges, say where 2 or 3 layers of 2 or 3mm leather are sewn together; they're cheap; you can vary the amount you pick up; and with a bit of practice you can control the application quite precisely For thinner edges like wallets I've seen people use a round awl, though I have yet to try it myself Those are for Edge Kote and similar dyes. For Gum Tragacanth and Tokonole I use the tip of my finger
  21. When you burnish the edges try not to press down too hard with the burnishing tool. Use fast strokes with only just enough downwards pressure to keep it in place and generate the heat
  22. Some thread is ready waxed, and some isn't. AFAIK Tiger is waxed, but you must wax Fil au Chinois/Lin Cable yourself I'd have thought that 0,8mm or 332 thread is a bit thick for watch straps, but I suppose it depends if you want a chunky look or not. Yes I expect it would be difficult to thread a #004 needle with 332, so your choice would be to use a bigger needle like #002 or thinner thread, like 532 or even 632; and 0,6mm Tiger thread, which is a fairly standard diameter for leatherwork If you are using 332 it could be that it is too thick for the holes, and rubbing on the inside of the holes, causing it to fray. Synthetic thread is less susceptible to this For threading a needle you can taper the end of the thread - either cut it on a slant so there's just a narrow point to insert into the eye at first. Or lay the thread on your cutting mat and gently scrape the end 5mm or so of the thread with the tip of a knife to feather it. Then wax it again and work it into a point and thread the eye as usual Tiger thread is synthetic, so you trim the ends and heat them which shrinks and balls up the end of the thread so the cut ends more or less vanish, and the ball prevents the thread from undoing But linen thread is a natural fibre!. All that will happen if you heat it with a flame is that it will burn. The technique with linen thread is to backstitch 2 or 2 1/2 stitches and the friction keeps it in place - JH Leather shows this on several of her videos. In fact she seems to use linen thread for most of her work - FauC and others; watch her videos and you'll see how it's used Search YT for 'thread for leatherwork', there are several videos, including one by Ian Atkinson where he compares Tiger & FauC Incidentally I have used both the linen and synthetic 'Twist' thread from RMLS and they're both excellent. They are the Chinese Yue Fung thread sold under their own label If you have problems with colours, why not tell the supplier what you want and ask them for something that matches - after all, it is in their interest to help you
  23. Yes, make a mock - up from cardboard or thin card like breakfast cereal packets; tape/glue/staple the pieces together. This will show you - What the finished article will look like, and the sequence of construction Then you can make patterns/templates from flat card and fiddle about with these to make the best use of your leather
  24. I have never used an oblong punch - I can'y afford one! But this is how I use round punches, I hope it is useful for you Make sure the punch is very sharp.....I punch over a corner of my bench, where the leg is.......for the support under the leather I punch into an old magazine......this is thick enough and solid enough not to bounce or yield, but is soft enough not to damage the cutting edge of the punch.......move the leather and/or the magazine so there is always a fresh part of the magazine under the punch, and it stays over the leg Decide where you want to punch and press down by hand......this will be just enough to make a small mark; or give the punch the lightest of taps.........remove the punch and double check the position is correct......then tap with light blows, becoming heavier till you've finished the hole This is similar to the way I cut a curve in leather - draw the line with a scratch awl, which acts as a guide.....then a very light cut with the knife........ then firmer and deeper cuts tiill you're through I hit the punch with a hide mallet, or you could use wood or nylon. I think that if you use a rubber mallet that might also cause a bounce......and when you do hit the punch you should hold it down very firmly onto the leather
  25. Have a look at YouTube videos by J H Leather. She does most of her work with a 1/2 head knife I made a Japanese style leather knife from an old plane blade, so that's another possibility......as if you don't have enough to do
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