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About JerryLevine

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    Wiltshire, South West England
  • Interests
    Leather working, equestrian sports, field sports

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  • Leatherwork Specialty
    Making and restoring leather sporting goods (gun/rod/reel cases, cartridges bags and belts, etc).
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    Book binding
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  1. Very interesting to hear about polishing pricking irons teeth: thanks for sharing the info. It sounds like you're using your pricking irons to pierce holes all the way through the leather. Purely for interest, my English (Dixon's) and French (Vergez-Blanchard) pricking irons are designated in teeth per inch, according to the number of stitches you wanted per inch, rather than millimetres. They were also not used to make holes in the leather, rather just to make consistent, evenly spaced marks to show where to use your awl.
  2. JerryLevine

    Just Asking

    Hi Wax, Search "sharpening" and similar words on this forum and you could spend all weekend looking through the great advice. There's also loads of stuff on YouTube. All the best, Jerry
  3. JerryLevine

    Just Asking

    Hi Wax, What you have is called a plough gauge. It is more popular over here in Europe than in the USA, where a draw knife is more usual. As the name suggests, you push the blade through the leather, rather than pull, as you do with a draw knife. As I'm sure you've figured out, you can slide the fence, to the left of the knife, along a scale, and then tighten it at the appropriate measurement, which gives you the width of the strap you want. You then raise or lower the brass bail/roller to accommodate the substance of the leather you're cutting. I would go with position one, because as you push the plough gauge through the leather, the blade will naturally want to pivot downwards, trying to end up in position one. This could be a problem, depending on the surface you're working on, but there shouldn't be any functional difference between either position. As I think you've discovered, the last owner also preferred position 1, which is why the blade is duller below the level of where it is clamped in the frame of the gauge. As I write this, I'm also thinking that the blade should be as far forward as you can get it, which should fully engage the slot in the knife with the clamp screw on the frame of the plough gauge. As to makers, I've got a couple, both Dixon's, but there are other brands out there. George Barnsley used to make them, and Blanchard's in France still do. There is a makers mark on the toe of the gauge, which goes under the leather to guide it into the path of the blade, but I can't read it. My Dixons have wing nuts on one of them and the other uses locking levers, so I think yours might be a different make. The knife, though, looks very similar to one of the later patterns that Dixons made before they closed in Jan 2015, or at least it was re-handled then. If so, it too should have a J Dixon & Son (Or T(homas) Dixon if a re-handled early model) stamp on it. The shape looks fine; I sharpen mine in the same way I sharpen my other knives, and there's plenty of advice on the forum on that subject!! As with everything, practice makes perfect, and there are a couple of things that caught me out which may be of help. First of all, always square off the edge which will travel against your fence or you will end up with a wiggly strap. Secondly, when you get a couple of inches into your cut, the leather to the right of the knife as you hold it can curl upwards and interfere with the square shoulder of the knife, where the blade meets the handle and ferrule. You can get round this by anticipating this and pushing the leather down out of the way or adding (sorry!) body filler/araldite and shaping it so that its profile guides the leather away from the shoulder. Good luck with your new tool: a great find! All the best, Jerry
  4. Sadly, Joseph Dixon, the English saddlers' tool maker, folded last year, so depending on what you want, you might want to try the following European tool sources: http://www.vergez-blanchard.fr/boutique/liste_familles.cfm?num=2&code_lg=lg_fr especially for punches, pricking irons, knives of all types, compasses, etc http://www.cuirtextilecrea.com especially for awls. Vergez-Blanchard is expensive, but as the old adage goes, you get what you pay for, and their tools will last a lifetime. Beware false economy: buy cheap, buy twice! I would absolutely support the opinions above for USA tool suppliers and add the the following: http://www.ranch2arena.com/hsbtintro.html especially for punches/chisels And for sewing awls, try Douglas Tools 46-S Wakely Road, Sheridan, WY 82801 Phone: 307-737-2222 Bob Douglas email I hope that helps: good luck with your search.
  5. Hi there, Lovely knife: I hope you can get it back into shape. I have no experience per se with W Rose tools, but I don't think that they will be radically different to other tools of that ilk. W Rose is now owned by Krafttool and their catalogue is here: http://cdn.krafttool.com/download/rose_brochure2013.pdf The obvious pride in their craftsmanship and the age of the original company would suggest that they use traditional methods where possible and appropriate. Many apologies if what follows is teaching Granny to suck eggs! As Bruce says, if the handle isn't pinned then it's either a friction fit, with or without a wedge, or glued. If it's a friction fit, you can wiggle it loose or gently use a drift to tap it looks with a hammer. If there's a wedge, I suspect that it's sacrificial and you'd have to break it or drill it out to remove the handle. Replacing the handle would require you to replace the friction that you reduced in the wiggling off process and then cutting and fitting a new wedge, if previously used. Epoxy or plastic wood would allow you replace the handle effectively but is hardly traditional. Slivers of wood inserted into the hole with carpenter's or hide glue would be a more traditional way of doing it. Any wood worker will be able to give you more detailed help. To replace the bald in this case, I would use the same method as used use to mount an awl blade: clamp the blade firmly and then gently tap on the handle. If it's glued, it's likely to be hide glue, judging by the apparent age of the knife. Hide glue is applied hot and its use is described here: http://www.highlandwoodworking.com/woodworkingwithhideglue.aspx You'd need reactivate the glue with moist heat, possibly with just the steam from a kettle (mind your hands!), which is more than hot enough to remelt the glue. Another thought might be to just immerses the blade only in boiling water (again, mind yourself!), so the heat is conducted up the handle and melts the glue. The key things are not to saturate the handle so it warps or splits and not to get the blade so hot you ruin the temper. I'd try the moist heat first. Other glues, such as solvent based or epoxy would prove more difficult and the latter will be almost impossible to remove without ruining the handle. Someone with more experience than me would definitely be required. Good luck with your project. All the best, Jerry
  6. Here you go...... https://www.tandyleather.com/en/product/craftool-pro-edge-dye-roller-pen All the best, Jerry
  7. I would agree with Catskin on making the round hole punches and, I'm sure the half round punches just need half their circumference bringing away. If I had a lathe and the training and expertise to use it, I would do exactly what he's done. However, judging by the links above, the strap end punches under discussion here are the English Point ones, which require more fabrication, and, as Catskin points out, more tools. They're also finished (in most cases) rather nicely which looks especially good when customers come to the shop and at trade shows, etc. I suspect that what most of us save up to pay a premium for is the convenience of not having to learn new skills and buy and train on new tools. There's also the confidence that the maker understands the requirement (including the need for value for money) and the materials and has a repeatable fabrication process backed up by pride in his product and, of course, a guarantee. For instance, Jeremiah Watt has spent decades making saddles, bridles and spurs and Horseshoe Brand Tools was born out of his experience needed to produce the right tool for the right job. The money I spend on buying HSB tools (all the way from England) is a price I'm willing to pay for the confidence I have in that experience. All that said, I'm always up for trying to innovate and make my own tools where I can or find different uses for the tools I have. All the best, Jerry
  8. Hi Davi, I have Dixons, Bowstock and Horseshoe Brand strap end punches. Dixons is now out of action but worth buying secondhand if you can find them. The Bowstock ones work very well, although I had to sharpen them and polish them when they first arrived. I have a full set of the Horseshoe Brand punches (you get a discount if you buy the full set) and they arrived ready to go out of the box (actually plastic bag, bubble wrap and newspaper). I would buy them again if I had the money again in a heartbeat. No one has mentioned Vergez Blanchard tools which, although they have a reputation for being pricey, you definitely get what you pay for without the US import issues. They do have strap end punches (try this link and it subsequent pages: http://www.vergez-blanchard.fr/boutique/liste_produits.cfm?type=16&code_lg=lg_fr&num=2&pag=6). I do not have any Vergez Blanchard punches, but I do have their pricking irons and they are brilliant. I have no experience with the Japanese ones or the Tandy ones, but I would absolutely echo the comments above about going for the best you can afford and avoiding cheap ones ("buy cheap, buy twice"). Hope that helps. Jerry
  9. I draw/get the artwork and then send it to these guys: http://www.studiotone.co.uk who produce a brass stamp using a CNC machine. I then press (rather than strike) the stamp into the leather. Generally this is for single name or brand stamps, and although I think you're using your stamp to produce multiple decorative impressions over the full length of the belt, the process shouldn't be much different. Obviously this company is in the UK, but I'm sure there must be a similar team near you and I expect they could use bronze instead of brass. However, if you look in the back of Shop Talk or Leathercrafters or on-line there are plenty of folk out there who will CNC a stamp directly from artwork and cut out the intermediate bronze step. I use CorelDraw x7 which allows me a lot of creative latitude but with very high level of precision and repeatability. Hope that helps.
  10. The other place to try is your local undertaker/funeral or monumental mason. They often have unused/unusable pieces that are thicker than counter top remnants. Personally I prefer granite: it doesn't scratch as easily as marble.
  11. One more thought which I probably should have added to the above Heath-Robinson hole cutter contraption.....You'll need to add an appropriate sized cutting surface/anvil on the opposite of the plier because the supplied one won't be big enough.
  12. Hi there, I'm assuming you need a plier punch becuase your work piece is already assembled and/or it is not practical to use a normal drive punch. I, like rickdroid, can't find an existing plier punch with a 10mm cutter, so the only option would be to try to make one yourself. I don't think that the revolving type punches would do the job. You need the straight plier punch which stores it's extra cutters in the handle like this one: http://www.amazon.com/SE-7926LP-4-Inch-Professional-Leather/dp/B0007MX288 Then find a normal 10mm drive punch whose handle you could turn down and thread to fit in the plier, being careful with the length of the bit so that you can actually get it into the plier. The punches which are just tubes with sharp edges would not have the thickness of metal to turn down but if you find a bolt/threaded bar of the correct thread for the plier and epoxy just the sharp bit of the punch on to it (being careful to ensure it is centred), you could make a light duty 10mm cutter! Getting the leather cuttings out would require you to dig them out rather than use pushing them out. I hope that helps, but I f you could post some pictures of the project then we might be able to offer other solutions. All the best. Jerry
  13. Whoops! Sorry: I've been out of the country and completely missed this. Did you pricking irons turn up and do you still need advice?
  14. Hi FreeB, Don't worry about Vergez-Blanchard. They have been on holiday for the whole of August. I ordered some pricking irons, including dents inverse, in early July and went to visit them in France while I was on business in Paris. Philippe explained that they would be on holiday and wouldn't be shipping my order until September. I got them this Thursday. It is likely that, with the demise of Joseph Dixon in England, Vergez-Blanchard is the only traditional maker of quality pricking irons and there is a huge backlog of orders, especially with their holiday break taken into consideration. Not sure how good your French is, but Philippe only speaks French, so if you emailed in English, there may also be communication difficulties. All the best, Jerry
  15. Chris, I'm with 9tpi. I've used both stitch marking wheel/overstitch wheel (mine are the fixed wheel variety, mostly from Gomph) and pricking irons. I prefer the pricking iron method because it marks the slant for you so it always comes out uniformly angled. That said I would not disagree with the methods described above. If you search you tube for "nigel armitage saddle stitch" you'll see the pricking iron in action: www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGuiha5S2oE A couple more things that may also help with the slant: As others have mentioned above, how you hold your awl is critical to a consistent stitch. If you can find the correct position of the awl and then carve a finger notch in the handle or carve the handle in some way so your hand can always come back to the same position with the awl at the same angle, that will help considerably. You do have to practice keeping the awl perpendicular as well so you maintain an even stitch on the back side of your project: this can be very tiring until your muscle memory kicks in! In order to help with this, you could mark a light line on the back of the project with your dividers set the same as your stitch line (if you can do it without marring the project) which will help with your aim and getting all the stitches out in the same line. Good luck,
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