Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About TomE

  • Rank

Contact Methods

  • Website URL

Profile Information

  • Location
    west of Saint Louis
  • Interests
    horses, fixing the stuff they break

LW Info

  • Leatherwork Specialty
    making and repairing tack
  • Interested in learning about
    construction methods, using and sharpening tools

Recent Profile Visitors

The recent visitors block is disabled and is not being shown to other users.

  1. I had the same problem when I began sewing halters. I am wet forming 2-3 layers of 10-12 oz leather around the hardware and there's a steep change in thickness that the presser foot has trouble climbing. @rdl123 gave me a tip that I've used on every halter since. Begin sewing 4 holes away from the hardware and leave long tails on the threads. Back stitch by hand up to the hardware. In your case, you can sew the beginning and the end of the stitch line by hand. Will make the job look neat and keep the hardware snug so there's less wear on the leather. Also, I don't think it's necessary to stitch across the width of the strap. According to Stohlman, the stitches should run lengthwise along the strap for the strongest construction.
  2. Mike Graham, the owner of Ruxton’s Trading Post in Manitou Springs, Colorado does saddle evaluations for The Western Horseman magazine. He and his wife, Gretchen, specialize in collectible pieces of Western Americana. The couple wrote the book Old Cowboy Saddles and Spurs, Identifying The Craftsmen Who Made Them.
  3. Did not know about RJF leather. I've been using HO bridle and been pleased with the consistency and finish of the grain. The flesh side has this pastey thing going on that I'm not thrilled with. Doesn't affect halters made of 2-3 layers, but I'm starting to make bridles and not thrilled with having that junk on the back side of cheek pieces and throat straps. Maybe there's a better way to finish it with a slicker. How does the RJF bridle leather compare to W&C or HO?
  4. Another help for old eyes is a headlamp and/or a LED light like this one. https://leathermachineco.com/product/lda-1-led-magnetic-light/
  5. Spray with Kroil Oil. Wait. Tap on the roller with a plastic mallet. Repeat as needed. Patience is the secret for restoring vintage autos. Can make penetrating oil in larger quantities from a mixture of hydraulic oil and automatic transmission fluid.
  6. Agree with @Charley1. Molten lead can be worked with safely provided you take precautions (eye protection, gloves, ventilation). Cast iron waste pipes are joined with lead seals. Plumbing supplies carry the materials. Lead is cheap.
  7. Ditto for my Cobra Class 4. The narrow plate and feed dog handle the heavy and light leather projects without a lot of fiddling. @Doc Reaper do you have any uses for the original plate/feed dog now that you're using the narrow setup?
  8. Thanks, @tsunkasapa. That would be a simpler setup. With the narrow strap I'd be stitching over the cross stitch, which might weaken the loop.
  9. Thanks, I have tried both positions and don't see a great deal of difference. Since this point isn't covered in the sharpening videos or books I've seen, I thought I'd ask. Thanks @jcuk. I'll keep experimenting. I place an index finger on the guard to guide the leather and maintain consistency when doing long splits. Always looking for tips to advance my skills.
  10. Thanks, @jcuk! That's the kind of details I was looking for. Lots of good suggestions to build my skills. I think I understand them all. I'll try sewing from the flesh/turn side instead, and angling the awl to catch the loop and pull it snug against the other end. Will update with results. Thanks for your reply, @Frodo. The basic problem is there's precious little space under a 3/8" strap to tuck in the ends of the keeper and catch the stitch lines when sewing the buckle turn. This throatlatch is the smallest strap on a bridle - the other straps are 5/8" and comparatively easy to assemble and stitch. One way to avoid this tedium is to use a center bar buckle and skip the fixed loop on the buckle turn. However, tradition prevails and I am determined to use the classic stamped steel bridle buckles that require a fixed loop with a running loop to secure the points. Thanks, @Dwight. I've seen running loops on adjustable nosebands that are secured with a heavy steel staple of sorts. Not sure where to buy these. Because this fixed loop is sewn into the buckle turn, I'd prefer to just sew it. For running loops, I enjoy making them with a single needle backstitch.
  11. Thanks, Mike. Do you pre-awl several holes using the cork then pick up your needles and complete several stitches at a time? My question is whether using a tack is the best way to hold the keeper in place before sewing. I have trouble driving the tack straight into a narrow strap for the same reasons it's hard to sew. A 3/8" strap of 9 oz leather has a square-ish profile that tips easily when you push on the face.
  12. I'm having trouble assembling a fixed loop on these 3/8 inch buckle turns prior to sewing (9 oz leather skived on the buckle end). There is little margin for error in positioning the loop ends so they are securely incorporated into the stitching. In short, they are "fiddly." I tack one end of the loop and sew across it then I tuck the other end in and angle the awl to sew the loop in place. I pre-punch 4-5 holes before inserting the loop then use the angled awl to punch the loop after its inserted. I am using #207 bonded nylon thread coated with beeswax and Osborne 20 ga. harness needles. Questions: Does anyone have a better (than tacking) method for securing the end of the fixed loop prior to sewing? How do you clamp/support a narrow strap when stitching? I modified a Weaver stitching horse for strapwork (picture). The aluminum plates are based on a Stohlman tip for sewing rounds. The notched plates work well for wider straps but the narrow 3/8 straps flex and twist when driving the awl, so the stitches aren't as pretty.
  13. After sharpening a splitter blade do you align it at the top of the roller or a few millimeters behind the crown of the roller? The instructions for my Tandy Pro splitter (Asian knockoff of Osborne #84) says to place the blade edge 1/8 inch behind the crown of the roller. Seems to work but I am interested in the advice of more experienced users.
  14. Download the Springfield Leather Catalog. It has an extensive description of how to choose leather for your projects. Also, they have some Youtube videos addressing leather quality, grades, etc. Hermann Oak tooling leather is my favorite because of its consistent substance. I buy sides and can use most of a side for straps to make tack.
  15. That is a sharp looking bag. I am particularly impressed with the handles. I tried making a similar handle for my wife's briefcase and it turned out a bit lumpy and asymmetrical. I am buying time watching it break in, while procrastinating about making another. Mine was based on a pattern in Stohlman's Art of Making Leather Cases. He used a plywood form to shape after sewing but I don't have or want a band saw.
  • Create New...