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Everything posted by caressofsteel

  1. Quickcad. It is free if you do not use the proprietary dll files. There is a learning curve but I used to use AutoCAD for work so I picked it up quick.
  2. Vegetable tanned leathers can be stiff especially if it is intended for carving as a soft surface will not hold the details well. I have used Horween Chromexcel, which is a combination chrome tan / vegetable tan leather for watch straps and that seems comfortable.
  3. Beautiful. Do not show these to my wife... Also in NC.
  4. I have used Tandy Ecoweld and Aqualim315. Aqualim is a little thicker and better at holding the corners down but takes longer to dry. I have started either beveling corners or rounding them (3mm radius) because white glues are not as good at keeping the very tip down as barge. For the rest of the project, no issues. I have found that a 30CC squeeze bottle with a needle tip helps me get the glue to the edge of the leather without it going over or making a mess. This is one advantage of water based glues.
  5. Nice. You may want to use a french skiver on the main edges and a thinner welt; so you are not punching the holes through so much leather. Might help them go through straighter. The stitching on the front of the sheath looks great.
  6. I want to make a heavy duty briefcase eventually. So I made a purse for my wife as a practice piece. The design comes from Nigel Armitages's Leathercraft book. I liked the idea of making a gussetless bag. The leather is Wicket and Craig English Bridle 6oz leather with a 4oz purple suede lining. The side tabs, newspaper pocket, inside pocket and pencil pocket are all 4oz English bridle leather. The stitching holes were punched with flat (straight line) pricking irons. Angled holes would have probably looked better, but I do not reverse pricking irons for the backside. On a gussetless design, the holes have to be punched before the front and back are joined. Also, straight holes are a little more forgiving if they do not line up exactly. I used 0.6 tiger thread to sew it. And sewing the curved portions while trying to keep the holes lined up was a bear. If I had it to do over again, I would have skived the edges of the suede before stitching. The white center of the suede shows through on the edging. Also, 10oz is pretty thick for a purse. I had to skive, and re-skive, and hammer the turn buckle slot down so I could attach it. 4oz leather with 4oz suede would have worked better. Future project will include gussets. I liked the challenge of making a bag from only two pieces of leather, but I think it would be easier to design and make a bag with gussets.
  7. The holes look large to me, but I hand stitch so I can get away with smaller holes as hand stitching does not loop inside the stitch hole. Round holes always look larger than needed anyway. Do you have a diamond needle? Also, it is rare for a pocket holster to have a reinforcement band unless it is meant for a jacket pocket rather than a pants pocket. COS
  8. I have used bonded nylon and Tiger thread for hand stitching. The advantages to nylon thread are slightly more tensile strength per strand, abrasion resistance, and as far as I can tell, it is used in almost all commercial holsters. Tiger thread is polyester and expensive because it is braided. If fishing line is any indication, braided thread should be about 3 times stronger that twisted thread. Also, braided thread will lie flatter than twisted thread, so that should help with abrasion resistance. And if you are hand sewing, you are probably not using enough that cost is a huge issue (still an issue though). So that leaves the only advantage of nylon thread is that it is the de facto choice. My thinking is that if you deviate from the norms, you need to be able to explain why you are doing so. With tiger thread, that is not hard: its braided, it lies flat, it is impervious to sunlight. As a side note, I remember one short lived holster company that advertised that they used left hand twist nylon thread. They said it was plainly better than right hand twist thread, but offered no explanation as to why. They went out of business before I or anyone could figure out why that would even make a difference. COS
  9. I do one piercing. I have tried more but not found any benefit to it. I use 1.8mm chisels, 0.6 to 1mm tiger thread and significant tension, so if I do not pierce the thread, the needle will slide right off the thread before I get ten stitches in.
  10. I have made watch straps from 4oz vegetable tanned leather from Tandy, and 5oz Chromexcel from Buckleguy. Both worked out well. I have no complaints when purchasing from Springfield, but I have not bought a $30 side from them. I believe they will sell some leather by the square foot if you want to start small. I would recommend checking out Buckleguy.com as they seem to have the best selection of hardware for watchbands. They also sell small panels of leather. The good news is you can probably go for lower grade leather and work around the imperfections (since watchbands are relatively small). Finally, pick a style you like and start crafting. It won't be perfect, but if you like what you made, you will be motivated to improve it on the next go around.
  11. I use LibreCAD for my templates. Although I don't use it; it has a built in dimensioning tool. It is free and open source. Online documentation seems to be pretty good, although I only use it for 2D templates.
  12. The term handmade is mere marketing in niches where the term still implies quality. I recently saw one YouTuber cutting leather with a scalpel. They said that all products were cut by hand and burnished by hand; that is why they were so expensive and high quality. Meanwhile, there was a motorized burnisher and clicker dies in the background. So this was pure marketing on his part. The thing is his stuff looked top quality even being die cut and machine burnished. But you have to tell the customer a story and that customer needs to believe they are getting something special.
  13. Hello bigsig11010, You do not say what type of leather you are using, but assuming vegetable tan leather, here is what I do: I will sand the edges of the leather using a Dremel, 320 grit drum sander to get the edges even. Then I mark the stitch lines at 3mm for linings or 4mm for thicker leather using a wing compass. I like to mark the stitch lines at this point, before the edges are beveled, because there is less chance of the tool slipping off the edge. After the stitch lines are marked, then I will bevel the edges. Before the final burnishing, I go over the edges with a 600 grit drum sander. I don't skive the edges because I mainly make holsters, and I want them full strength at the edge. Hope this helps and good luck. Let us know how it turns out.
  14. Not quite what you asked, but I have hidden snaps between two layers of leather using the flat stud instead of the round cap. Usually have to trim the post 1/8 of an inch or so.
  15. A buddy requested a pocket holster for his Glock 43. This is 2 layers of 4oz leather. I made this one slightly differently. I have been having trouble getting the dye even, so for this one I dyed the outer layer of leather immediately after I cut it. It seemed to dye much more evenly when flat (vs sewing, boning, then dyeing). This did make detail boning the holster more difficult. The holster was not molded inside the trigger guard, to give it a looser fit, but it ended up having a very tight fit anyway. Not a big deal, as loosening a holster is easier than trying to make it tighter. Lining is sewn using #138 thread at 3mm, almost 9 SPI and the body of the holster is #277 at 4mm; lots of practice hand stitching.
  16. No one mentioned this yet but I happen to like the look of a holster with a natural color lining. I use two layers of 4-5oz leather. I think it just looks classier.
  17. I am interested in the Glocks listed and the Sig P365.
  18. To get stitch lines for revolvers, I use a length of 8-9oz leather about a quarter inch wide. I start at the top of the cylinder and wrap the leather around the gun, coming together at the triggerguard. I measure the length, then add 1/4 inch (two thickness' of the leather). I measure again at the middle of the cylinder, the bottom of the cylinder, then the barrel. If the gun has a longer or tapered barrel, you may need more measurements along it. Lets say I measure 5 inches around the top of the cylinder and triggerguard. I would add 1/4 inch, then divide by two, to get the distance from the centerline, 2 5/8 inches. I center the gun on a manila folder and trace the outline. At the top of the cylinder I measure out 2 5/8 inches and make a mark. This is the start of the stitch line. Then I do the same for the middle cylinder, bottom cylinder, frame, top of barrel and muzzle. I draw a smooth curve between these points. I find with a revolver, because the width changes at almost every point, it is difficult to get a stitch line that exactly follows the contour of the gun. (Much easier with semi-autos).
  19. Looks great. I have been wanting to make a leather briefcase / laptop bag similar to this. What weight and type of leather did you use?
  20. Regular dye = rub off. Especially with black. 99% of my problems with rub off disappeared after switching to pro dye. Pro dye used to cost twice as much as the regular dye; but now it's only about 15% more, which is well worth it in my opinion.
  21. 277 bonded nylon thread or 0.8mm Tiger thread. I like the Tiger thread more and more because it lays flat and the braid seems to be stronger than 277 nylon.
  22. I do not own one but read a little about them since old time holster makers swear by the old lock stitch machines. This is a hook and awl machine. As far as I can tell, this uses an awl moving downward to pierce the leather and advance it. Then a hook comes up and grabs the thread, pulling it down to form the loop. The advantage is supposed to be that the awl makes a smaller hole relative to a needle, and there is no presser foot to scuff the leather. People who use these machines say these advantages are functional; IE a stronger stitch and stronger leather versus a walking foot machine. The other side will contend that the final stitch is the same and the differences are cosmetic. Both sides agree that these machines are loud and finicky. Parts, if available, are expensive. If not available, need to be custom made. I know of one holster maker who almost went out of business waiting for his hook and awl machine to be fixed, then finally broke down and bought a walking foot machine to complete his orders. I am sure several people here can give you more details or even some first hand experience with these machines.
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