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About AndrewWR

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  • Location
    North Wales
  • Interests
    Making stuff just to see if I can.

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  • Leatherwork Specialty
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  1. Recommended viewing on the subject: https://www.ianatkinson.net/leather/videos.htm He has excellent how-to videos including a couple that talk you through the basic tools. https://www.youtube.com/c/HahnsAtelier/videos Also excellent, but with less explaining and more emphasis on just watching him work. Check out his guide to 10 essential tools. https://www.youtube.com/c/NigelArmitage/videos Lots of tool reviews plus excellent tutorials on stitching technique. Spend a few hours learning how various craftsmen do it then think about what tools you want (need). Its also as well to remember that a lot of the specialist tools of leatherwork are designed to speed up operations that can be accomplished more laboriously, but satisfactorily, with tools most people already have and can repurpose. For example, I haven't bought a cobbler's hammer because I already had a panel beating hammer which has worked out just fine so far. My first skiving knife was a well honed 1" butt chisel. My scratch awl was a metalworking scribe. For cutting I still favour a Stanley knife. I have 2 Stanley knives: a standard blade and a hooked blade which is great for curves (I use it wherever a pro would reach for a clicker knife). I've had a lifetime of practice being accurate with a Stanley knife and it's generally not a bad idea to stick with tools you're comfortable with. Wheel knives, sold for cutting fabric, are excellent too, and cheaper than a decent quality head knife. Unless you're already skilled at sharpening and honing blades, my advice is to stick to disposable sharps until you know you're going to stick with this hobby, then think about investing in 'proper' tools. Good luck with your new hobby.
  2. Not just for halloween. This serial killer mask with interchangeable filters is great for enforcing social distancing. Nobody wants to be within 2 metres of this. A shout out to Hahn's Atelier for the free pattern. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNrrAuy8QOc
  3. Yes, Maxdaddy, four rubber feet of the type used on flight cases. 25mm x 10mm, secured with brass Chicago screws (again). Having a carbon fibre base means it won't sag in the middle either. I tested it with my railway track anvil (about 22lb) and the base didn't visibly flex.
  4. Hello again from North Wales. We're in lock-down again and nobody can travel so I decided to make a travel bag. Obvious really. And it's not just any travel bag. Because I'm half salmon on my mother's side, I have to find a way to swim upstream so I decided to make a bag I couldn't buy hardware for: A Gladstone bag. Yes, yes, I know you can buy Gladstone frames commercially but they looked flimsy and cheap with that 'antique brass' finish that looks nothing at all like antique brass. I made the frame first, sourcing some 1/16th" x 1" brass angle and some 1/8" x 1/2" brass strip. The hinges were ready made 'desk hinges' from a restoration company and measured 1/2" x 3" when opened. They're also 1/8" thick (or 1/4" when closed.) The hinges and frame are rivetted with traditional cold rivets that you hammer the heck out of. Hard work but strong in the ridiculously over-engineered way I happen to like. The catches for the bag are modified 1" roller buckles: The rollers were removed, along with the sides of the buckles the tongues were attached to. The shafts the rollers were around were then wrapped in pig skin to make them a tight fit under the brass straps, giving them enough friction to only move when pushed./ The straps are fitted with Chicago screws with the screw component replaced wit M3 brass countersunk screws that fit flush on the under side pf the frame. The bag itself is English Bridle Hide. 2mm for the main panel and 1.5mm for the end panels because of the need to fold. The compartment is stiffened with 1.5mm carbon fibre plates on 5 sides (including the bottom) and lined with 1mm calf suede. The edges of the main panel (originally 52cm x 110cm) were rolled and the end panels' edges were folded in and sewn through the rolled edge. This was the fiddliest sewing job I've had to date. Working inside the bag half the time, trying to find a needle sized hole in black suede in the dark... I don't recommend it as a pastime. Frame and bag are joined with glue and 13 more Chicago screws on each side. Where the handles are also screwed onto the frame, there is a 1/8" x 1/2" carbon fibre strip on the inside to provide more rigidity. The handles are 1.5mm leather stitched around a 9.5mm cowhide core. The 9.5mm cowhide is sold here for the drive belts of very old lathes and industrial sewing machines. It makes a stiff, firm filler for wrapped handles. There are four rubber feet under the bag, designed for flight cases and fixed through the carbon and leather of the base with Chicago screws again. Mistakes / lessons learned. The frame is the same width as the end panels but should have been about 3/8" wider to account for the fact it's outside of the side panels and the end panels are inside them. The result is that when the hinges lock out, the folding gussets haven't fully opened and still lean into the opening a little. The tabs on the ends of the handles are too long. I feel it would be better aesthetically if they were about 3/4" shorter. I'm considering taking them off, cutting them down just above the rivet holes and reattaching them. Where the hinges are attached, there was only 8mm of brass under them to secure the bag to, hence the two small Chicago screws either end (and either side) of the main frame. These turned out to be inadequate to hold the leather to the frame at the ends. I had to make 1.5mm x 10mm x40mm carbon reinforcing plates, cut away the lining suede and glue and screw those plates in directly under the hinges to securely trap the bag leather. I hope that as the bag gets used the leather will soften and stretch a little with bending and the stress on the screws will diminish. Stay safe. Andrew W-R
  5. Actually BD, I'm thinking of them for a pilot's case so the hinge will be at the top. It's a good point though. If one of these hinges were on ,say, an attache case, the feet would need to be high enough to keep the hinge off the ground. That said, this particular hinge is 6mm thick (2mm leather wrapped around a 2mm CF rod).
  6. I use Sedgwick's own preparation for maintaining bridle leather. It's the same stuff they originally curried the hide with so there probably is nothing better for this leather. I'm still puzzled why I couldn't find more than a couple of (very chunky) examples of this sort of hinge on Google. It was easy enough to make them and the decorative possibilities would surely appeal to the toolers out there. There doesn't appear to be a wear issue and I don't expect one because the leather isn't being flexed like a strap hinge.
  7. Three experiments in one piece of work: Leather hinges, my new brogue punches and a first attempt at box stitching. I figured this would test the practicality and durability of leather butt hinges before I attempt to put them on something bigger (and more expensive). The box is made from scrap Sedgwick Bridle leather about 4mm thick. The feet are 8mm Sam Brownes and the closure is a German made Loxx fastener (just like a Tenex). The hinge and hasp are made of 1.5-2mm bridle hide, wet formed around a 2mm carbon fibre rod. The dimensions are 17cm x 12cm x 12cm. It's going to be used for my shoeshine gear so it'll be used almost every day and any wear issues on those hinges should be apparent pretty soon. That said, my prototype (see above) has been on my desk for a month and fiddled with a lot (it's like a fidget spinner in that respect) and it's showing no adverse signs.
  8. Hahn's Atelier has free PDF patterns for leather 'proper' face masks, designed to take replaceable filters . there's a youtube how-to video here with downloadable pattern. I made one in black bridle leather but tan ones look a lot less like fetish gear.
  9. The lock is riveted on. It was supplied with plated rivets and solid backing plates for both lock and hasp. The wrench shaped thing is the tool for setting the combination.
  10. The lock is Italian, palladium plated CNC machined brass (not a casting), manufactured by MMC (https://www.mmcolombo.it/en/catalogue/patented-articles.html), but I bought it from Rocky Mountain Leather in Utah and had them ship it to Wales (an expensive way to buy it - paying import duty and all). MMC don't retail their products and have a high minimum order value. They're beautifully made and feel very precise and solid in their operation. The dials are hours and minutes so the combination is a time of your choosing (such as the birth of a baby). I'm planning an attaché case on a carbon fibre frame and I want to use MMC locks on that. They'll only sell me a minimum of 10 pairs of locks so I'll have nine spare pairs to shift on Etsy to recover the costs. They're likely to be about 68 Euros per pair in palladium or gold plate and they'll work for wooden boxes too, being only about 6mm deep (shallower than key locks). If I get enough interest in these locks, I'll talk to MMC about stocking more styles so hobbyists like me can have access to them.
  11. Thanks Fredk. However, that raises the question of why I couldn't find more than a couple of 'curiosity' examples of leather hinges (with a pin). I assumed, because nobody appeared to be doing it, there was a good reason not to. It's too obvious an idea to have not been had by many before me and it was too easy to be abandoned on technical grounds. I actually used the same clamping arrangement I recently set up to mould tabs around buckles and D-rings for a briefcase: two lengths of 50mm x 50mm x 4mm aluminium angle and a shedload of joinery clamps. I spent some time last night fiddling with my prototype and tidying it up a bit. A bit of breaking in was all it needed to give that full 270 degree ROM and it looks quite elegant considering it was a piece of scrap a couple of days ago. I think I'll have to make a little leather box to test it in the context before risking it on a bigger (and more expensive) project.
  12. I'm looking for options for a bridle leather pilot case. The top has to stay open and not get in the way. Just out of curiosity, I wondered if I could make an actual hinge out of the same leather as the bag, so I got a bit of scrap bridle leather (1.5-2mm thick) and wet moulded it around a 2mm carbon rod. When it was dry, I halved it and cut alternating notches then assembled this hinge (100mm * 25mm). It won't quite fold flat but probably would if folded around a 3mm rod. It does fold perfectly to 90 degrees in the other direction so a proper one should have a full 270 degree range of movement. Two lines of stitching should be more than enough to secure it. Since it's basically just a variation on a rolled edge, I'm wondering if I can make the hinge integral to the edge of the leather panels. The beauty of CF rods as pins is their flexibility: essential on a bag that's only semi-rigid. It can't be any more prone to wear and tear than bending a strip of leather back and forth and the tallow based treatment for bridle leather should provide effective lubrication. Can anyone think of reasons this won't work?
  13. Part 2. I wasn't planning to put a slip pocket on the back but there was a natural blemish in the leather and I didn't have the luxury of cutting around it so I covered it with another piece. A big shout out to the lovely people at Rocky Mountain Leather who supplied the lock. It's made by MMC in Italy but RMLeather are pretty much the only retailers of these palladium plated beauties. You may recognise them from Marcellino's bags. This one has travelled far to end up on my bag: Italy to Utah to North Wales. The large Sam Browns under the buckles are just an alternative to loops. I find loops a bit fiddly but the studs work fine. 8mm studs and 8mm holes so there is no stress on the leather to push it over the stud our pull it off, hence no wear & tear. The holes were punched a little high so the strap naturally pulls up behind the ball of the stud, retaining it but easily releasing it. The silver screw on the end of the case is the back of another Sam Brown. This one allows the attachment of my pen case to the gusset. I never liked pen loos on the dividers of briefcases: Why make a narrow space half an inch narrower when there so much more length than width? I find it's far less intrusive at the end of the bag and, being removable, it can still go in a pocket if I choose. There's no shoulder strap because I never use one. It's a fraction over A£ size internally (not by accident) with three compartments (1",2",1"). Now they've extended the lockdown I'm planning a laptop case to match / fit inside. Stay Safe.
  14. OK. So the UK is on lockdown and a month ago I got a couple of shoulders of Bridle Leather (2.5-3mm & 1.5-2mm thick)... The plan: to make myself a new briefcase. Three weeks of lockdown should be enough. Cut, glue, sew, burnish... repeat as necessary. To be continued...
  15. I just remembered posting the pattern for this case. It's gratifying that a few of you guys liked it enough to try it. I've been using mine for over two years now and it's wearing very well. It still gets me into conversations in coffee shops whenever I leave it on the table.
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