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About JohnnyLongpants

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  • Interests
    Making leather goods by hand, only

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  • Leatherwork Specialty
    Bags, covers, pouches
  • How did you find leatherworker.net?
    referral by a fellow hobbyist

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  1. In general, you will want to dye it, not apply too much oil to it (as oil can make it difficult to make it shine), and then either coat it with diluted Resolene or shine it up with cream polish (shoe cream) and paste polish (shoe polish)... depending on the type of glossy finish you want. You can also coat with Resolene after polishing. Search Youtube for videos on the specifics of shoe shining, as they are shining leather shoes. ... unless you are looking for something like a patent leather finish, in which case you will be dealing with either linseed oil or urethane to obtain the sheen.
  2. Stainless is the one that changes the least, I'd say, but that means all of your hardware will be silver colored. Solid brass will dull over time but just needs some polish to restore it. Some people like how it patinas. That will be gold colored. If you prefer silver but do not want stainless steel then you can buy CB (chrome-over-brass), which has a coating so that will eventually wear off but at least it will not rust after that. Don't go with anything that is brass-plasted or nickel-plated or plated with anything else. Usually that means it is mild steel with a coating on top and that coating eventually wears off and then the steel underneath rusts. If you do not want it to ever change colors or looks you only have a few options: black nylon (the plastic hardware used on backpacks) or solid gold. Everything else looks different over time. Even rocks wear away.
  3. For something like a bible you will want relatively tight stitch spacing... say, 7, 8, or 10 stitches to the inch. You can get by with bigger stitches but in general that will give more of a rugged look than a fine look. Most stuff sewn commercially will be 8+ stitches per inch, because it's easy on a machine. Most things sewn by hand will be 5-9 stitches per inch. For that kind of stitching I would skip hand sewing thread and move to machine sewing thread, in size 138. This is approximately 0.41 mm thick and works well for many kinds of fine stitching. It's plenty strong.
  4. This started off as an old thread but since we are talking about experts now... An old-timer once told me that "an expert is someone 50 miles from his hometown, carrying a briefcase."
  5. The deal is a good price. The main concern I have is that it is upholstery leather. The wallets shown in the original post work well when made out of veg-tan or out of shoe/boot/bag leather. Those types of leathers tend to be firmer. I would suggest 3-4 oz or a little thicker or thinner. Upholstery leather tends to be quite thin and also quite floppy. Used for wallets, it would be fine when it had cards in it, but when empty would be limp. For making drawstring bags, garments, or other soft stuff, that leather would be great.
  6. This is the traditional way to sew. Back then, people needed to be able to push with force and so their sewing clam (stitching pony, but held between legs at an angle) rested against one leg. Before the modern tools, people (especially saddlers) had to be able to push through very thick leather with only a mark on the front side. To make it easier, you can hold a cork in the left hand, such as from a bottle of wine. Besides, it gives an excuse to open a bottle of wine. Push the awl through the leather while holding the cork against the back. Then, withdraw the cork and carefully feel for the awl. Then, rest your left needle on top of the awl blade (in the back where you cannot see), and as you pull the awl back through you learn to follow it with the needle. It take a LOT of practice to be able to stitch a straight line in the front and also the back. Usually the less visible side will look a little bit like the Alps, but the front will look great.
  7. Mulesaw, I love this project you have made. That is the kind of awl that I would like to purchase. I know that there are many expensive awls and hafts out therep, and I have bought a few of them... but my most dependable awl/haft combo is a basic awl (though it may be Blanchard, I don't remember), that has been so polished and sharpened (I strop every time I pick it up) that I use it very frequently. I mostly use that one awl, whether I am stitching 4 stitches per inch or 12 stitches per inch. The funny thing is that it is in a very cheap, brass haft that I bought on Amazon, with some sort of tape I wrapped around it for grip. Prior to this new, favorite awl, my previous favorite awl was one that was stuck into an icepick handle. Very fine leatherwork does not require expensive tools. It just requires lots of attention to certain details. Thank you for sharing. Since I feel confident in working an awl into the shape I like, if you ever feel like making another one I will gladly buy it--no matter how imperfect. :-) In the meantime, very nice job... and thank you for a bit of inspiration! Cheers, -JohnnyLongpants
  8. That is a smart approach. I had not considered cutting quite so oversize and using masking tape to hold things together. Thanks!
  9. That 'cigarette burn' trick is a pretty slick idea. I agree that putting a couple of grommets (and possibly, matching ones on the right side) could be a pretty elegant solution. No one but the original owner would know anything had been repaired.
  10. On finished leather (i.e. any commercial good), you can get respectable results. Attached is a piece of veg tan that I wrote two Sharpie permanent marker squiggles on, then removed one. I had to adjust the light so you can see that there is still a bit of a shadow where the first one was. I actually had to write the second squiggle again because I got a little to eager with the spot remover. The arrow points to where the first squiggle was. This leather was not pre-finished from the tannery. I haven't touched it in months but all it had was some Lexol and one of the Fiebing's products we all use. Tan-Kote, maybe? On unfinished veg tan, I agree with you it is so porous and dry, it absorbs very easily and won't let go. Heck, even water can stain it. Of course, not all inks are the same, either. The best I have seen on plain veg tan is taking the ink from black to gray, but the marks were still visible at a distance. (Hopefully, no one here is trying to sell finished leather goods made out of unfinished veg tan). I don't want to overstate it, so I'll be clear: this wouldn't work if someone spilled quality fountain pen ink on a brand new side of unfinished veg tan, but it can help someone who gets a mark on a saddle, briefcase, wallet, or shoe. I think OP wouldn't do terrible to invest a few dollars and try a quality spot remover. If spot remover doesn't lighten it adequately (hopefully this is not one of those Uni-ball pens with the anti-check washing ink), plan B is going to be live with it, and plan C could be to sew on a patch. :-) Cheers, -JohnnyLongpants
  11. The answer is yes, almost certainly. The question, however, is quite vague. For anyone to answer regarding a specific situation or application, more details are needed.
  12. Buy some masking tape. That is the solution to all leather stretching problems, because paper tape does not appreciably stretch. Stick the tape to the back of your leather. Then lay down your straight edge and use whatever blade you prefer, so long as it is sharp. The masking tape is also useful if you get into tooling or carving leather, as both of those processes distort the shape of the leather. Having tape on the back keeps this from occurring.
  13. Except that I have actually used it, and know people who use it on a daily basis to remove stains from leather. I might suggest relying on that experience over the experience of a random Amazon user. Even if it does fade the area surrounding the ink, there are solutions for that. If the idea is to get the ink out, Angelus Spot Remover is among the best on the market.
  14. In general, you want there to be a degree of proportion between the stitching and the project. Having a very thin project with very large stitches can (emphasis CAN, not saying it WILL) look out of place. For 5 mm stitching I use 0.8mm thread (or, in Maine Thread, 0.030"). I agree that this stitch spacing is pretty large. I would minimally move to 4mm stitch spacing, at which point I would use 0.6mm thread and needles that were about a size 3, but could be 1 or 2. I use Osborne harness needles mostly because they are so available. -Johnny Longpants
  15. A quick coating of CMC (carboxymethylcellulose) is a nice approach. It's not a hardcore protective finish but does make a product display- or sale-ready. Horween leather--in nearly all cases--is sold finished. From there it's the question of using the right leather for your purpose. If it's a pull-up leather, there is not a ton you can do. You can put thin leather along the seam and "bind" the edges. If you don't like Resolene then maybe you can tell us which products you like to work with and we can help from there. If I was out of Resolene I might just go with a nice beeswax edge finish, topped with a little shoe polish to give the edges a nice satin sheen. Then I use Resolene but I don't know you don't prefer that.
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