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I've been looking into getting some diamond stitching chisels and came across Weaver's brand of chisels. They are really cheap compared to many other brands that are known to be of good quality. Around $20 for a set of 4 irons, which makes me worry that the tines will snap as soon as I try to use them. Should I just get a slightly more expensive set like the Seiwa? If you have any experience with the Weaver irons, please let me know your thoughts.
There are many threads on the forum discussing diamond stitching chisels but I thought another one was in order. Several years ago I purchased a 2.5mm Tandy Craftool Pro diamond stitching chisel. The chisel has 10 teeth and at the time was not offered in a 2-tooth version. I didn't buy the 1-tooth iron because I believe it is mostly useless. I will explain later. Those who use chisels already know why. I really liked the chisel and hoped that Tandy would listen to feedback and begin producing the same iron in a 2-tooth model. Well, good news, they have! Around the time I purchased the iron I was doing some fine work such as watch straps and because of that was looking to achieve 9 SPI. I already owned some of the Tandy Craftool diamond chisels (the black ones), but the SPI I had was approximately 7 and I felt that was too big of a stitch for the straps. The chisel is not perfect, but I still find it very good and use it quite often. I will add some photos (sorry for the poor quality) and add some thoughts that I hope will help folks who might be considering these chisels. It at least should be helpful for comparison's sake. Since the first chisel I have purchased two more but in the 3.5mm size. I went with the 8-tooth and the 2-tooth models. First, a comparison of the holes. The tools are made the same, but the size of the tooth and the spacing is different as shown below. As you can see, the row on top has 8 holes and then 2 just to the left of the main line. I wanted to show both irons so you can compare the two irons and see that they indeed match in tooth size and spacing. The middle row is the 2.5mm iron that has 10 teeth but only punched about halfway through the leather. I did this to show that it could be used as a pricking iron should you wish to do that. Notice that when the iron is given a light tap it creates a nice impression but not nearly as big as when it is hammered through. This certainly could be used as a reference in traditional saddle stitching with an awl. The angle is flatter than what is optimal, but it still is functional. Finally, the bottom row is the 2.5mm 10-tooth iron struck all the way through. I had a piece of approx. 3mm vegetable tanned scrap as the subject piece. The irons themselves present very well. They are stainless steel and have a satin finish to them. Nicely engraved with the name of the tool and an item code and number of teeth. Would be nice if they said 2.5mm or 3.5mm but they do not. I also took a pic of the 2.5mm iron sideways to show how sleek the tool is. In this orientation, the tooth is very slim. The real problem with the tool is the width of the tooth. If it were only a little narrower..... Here are a couple of figures that I hope you find helpful for reference. Tandy Craftool Pro 2.5mm diamond stitching chisel Tandy Craftool Pro 3.5mm diamond stitching chisel Tooth options: 1, 2, 4 and 10 Tooth options: 1, 2, 4 and 8 Stitches per inch: 9 Stitches per inch: 7 Recommended thread: 0.6mm Tiger Thread or similar Recommended thread: 0.8mm Tiger Thread or similar In summary: I really wanted to show the tools, the holes they create and discuss some of the features so that if someone is considering buying them they have a frame of reference and a testimonial from someone that has used them. Earlier I mentioned that I believe a 1-tooth chisel is mostly useless. I didn't say totally useless because I suppose there might come a time where you need to make just one hole. However, for most work a chisel with 2-teeth is a better option. When doing a long row of holes, the 8-tooth or 10-tooth chisels are great. When you come to a curved section of stitching, you change to the 2-tooth and continue around the radius. Since the tool has two teeth, the required spacing between holes is maintained. How do you do that with a 1-tooth tool? Well, there is a way, you basically use the tool with 8 or 10 teeth but hold it on an angle and just make a faint indentation beyond the straight section into the curved section. You then pick up the 1-tooth tool and hammer it through in the location of the indentation. So it does work, but you have to be very careful of the angle now. You might end up with the correct spacing but get the orientation of the tool out of whack and end up with an errant stitch. So a 2-tooth tool is the way to go IMHO. I didn't take the time yet to actually put some thread in the holes but I will and submit it later on. But for now, I trust there is some helpful information here that will give you some food for thought. I mentioned that the tools aren't perfect and here are some reasons why. Although the tools are quality SS, nicely weighted and finished, the teeth themselves are quite rough on two of the 4 sides of the diamond. Because of this, the iron tends to bind in thicker leather. Makes it necessary to use a wooden block to remove the iron. This can be helped by punching the iron into beeswax every so often or polishing on a buffing wheel, but it would be nice if you didn't have to do that. Second, the width of the tooth. I would like to see the size of the tooth slimmed down just a bit. As it is, you can see in the pictures that the "diamond" hole that is created is fairly thin but quite long. Wish it could be a little shorter. Finally, the angle of the tooth. As it stands, the angle is probably around 30 degrees or so. Would be much better if it were steeper, say 40 to 45 degrees. I think a steeper angle of the hole would result in a more angled stitch. So what's my bottom line? Am I glad I bought them? Yes, I find them to be good tools. I don't use them on everything, but in the right place they do the job. I use the black Craftool chisels on some of my work and use a traditional awl method on others. I'm hoping that Tandy will evaluate the tools over time and respond to the feedback they have received. Tandy has stepped up its game, introducing some really nice tools lately. If they could make just a few adjustments in these irons they would have a real winner. If you want more detailed information on these tools and reviews of a number of pricking irons and diamond chisels, you can look up Nigel Armitage on Youtube or at his website, ArmitageLeather.com. The Youtube videos are awesome and you get to see Nigel actually stitch the holes created by the irons. Nigel's website has a .pdf file which contains detailed reviews much more comprehensive than what I offered on not just these irons but most of the major players in the marketplace. It is THE reference for this type of tool. Nigel is a master, I'm a hobbyist with a strong desire to do good work. Hopefully this will help someone.
According to many years' experience of our leatherwork team, we originally design and develop the diamond four-prong chisel, which is suitable for larger arc punch. Compared with 5-prong chisel, it is easier to play a significant role for 4-prong when punching the arc area. It also maintains high efficiency for the straight parts as well. Each prong are exactly the same as the middle one so that the every holes are exactly same. High quality white stainless steel. Strong, durable and wear-resistant. Uneasy to break and bend with high ductility. Sharp rhombus tooth is easy to pierce 3mm thick vegetable tanned leather and helpful to punch quickly and effortlessly. Light and conformtable to grip, the body of prong is as small as possible in order to reduce the shoulder fatigue caused by a long time punch. Easier to grasp steadily due to low center of gravity. Grinding and polishing, more natural and environmental without blackening.