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  1. I am very new to leather working. I am starting off with making bronc halters, earrings, hat patches and similar western style accessories. I have goals to make western horse tack in the future when I have more experience. My question is what is the best sewing machine for these types of items that is simple enough for a newbie to use? I have tried reading through the forums but there’s so much information it’s overwhelming. Would it be better to hand sew them for now? I apologize if these questions have already been answered on here this is my first post and still learning how to use this site. Thanks in advance. Also I am located in the United States.
  2. This might seem like a silly question, but does anyone have advice about being able to get a good grip on needles when hand stitching? I try and use the old Al Stohlman method of a needle and an awl in one hand and a needle in the other, but I find myself constantly setting down my awl to grab pliers to pull my needle through. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
  3. This apples to hand sewing. How long does it take to do a stitched belt. It takes me over five hours to do a 40 inch belt. Do you use one thread per side?
  4. Any recommendations for SPI and Ritza 25 size to sew billets on a Ranger Belt?
  5. Yes I know I should have listed these in the for sale/classified section, but I know there are lots of folk out there like myself who like to look at pictures of old and unusual tools. As well as the folk looking to buy quality equipment. 11/2" #6 - G Buck $75 13/4" #6 - Geo Barnsley $75 13/8" #7 - J Dixon $70 13/4" #9 - J Dixon $75 13/4" #9 - Brindley Late John Adams $75 2" #9 - J Dixon $80 11/2" #11 - W Butler $75 11/2" #15 - T Dixon & Sons $80 11/2" #16 - T & J Dixon $80 The # denotes stitches per inch, Prices are USD excluding P&P (approx $10 worldwide basic) These irons belonged to the late Mr Turner of Turner-Bridgar, who were saddlers and harness makers by royal warrant to Queen Elizabeth II until he retired in the mid 1980's. Some of them are stamped with his initials, most are getting on for a 100 years plus and some by makers not seen very often today. In my opinion Buck made some of the best irons, I have some in my toolkit and they are the first I reach for! They are not the prettiest tools in the workshop but have given many years of service and will give many more, as you can see the business ends are still good. I will supply a stamped piece of leather with the Turner-Bridgar makers mark (as in photo) with each iron as a little piece of history/provenance. I hope these go to good homes.
  6. I have arthritis and hand sewing can get painful at times. The problem is having to grip the needle hard enough to be able to pull the needle through several layers of leather or, sewing some really tough leather. I have been using nitrile gloves (the same ones I use for dying leather) to give me some extra grip on the needle. Problem is they make your hands sweaty and are pretty uncomfortable for a long sewing session. A few days ago i came across a container of 'fingertip moistener', trade name "Tacky Finger" that is normally used by people who have to handle lots of paperwork. 'Tacky Finger' is used instead of having to continually wet your fingers when sorting through reams of paperwork. I used to use the stuff and remembered that it did make my fingers feel tacky so i thought that i would try it to see if it was of any help - and it worked very well. It makes my fingers tacky enough to be able to grip the needles without feeling like i have to squeeze them in half. The grip is pretty close to what i got with the nitrile gloves but didn't cause any problems handling the thread. Thought this tip might be of use to some of you.
  7. threepets

    Cary Schwarz

    Cary Schwarz Leather Shop DVD $75 Fort Erie, Ontario Two Disk Set Leather Shop Techniques Disk One: SHOP TOUR: Cary gives a full tour of his shop and equipment while sharing his thoughts on how a work area should be organized. TOOLS: Cary discusses each of the tools he uses every day.He takes the time to describe why it's such an important tool,then demonstrates how to use it while pointing out some valuable little tips and tricks (this includes sharpening techniques for each of the edged tools) Length 49 min. Disk Two Leather discussion: Not all areas of the cow hide produce the same quality and type of leather.In the film Cary shows what locations on a hide produce the best quality as well as what the other areas might be used for.He then describes the various types of tannage a piece of leather might have and what advantages each type has. Hand Sewing: Tips for threading needles,positioning hands,and finding rhythm while hand sewing are discussed.Cary also compares and contrasts hand sewing to machine sewing, outlining the advantages of each and what makes them so different mechanically. Finishing Techniques: Cary demonstrates the use of his preferred finishing products that help make his projects look and feeltop notch.This includes a segmant on his durable hot wax edge finishing technique. Length 43 min. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1744574955565268&set=gm.1595853400530047&type=3&theater&ifg=1
  8. A friend and fellow toddler parent was complaining that her daughter is so tiny that her pants keep falling down, and I suggested that I could make her a little pair of suspenders. She wasn't too keen on that idea, but maybe a belt? she asked. But something that would be simple for her daughter to undo when they start potty training. The idea that we came up with (or agreed to look into further) was Velcro. So I'm picturing a 1/2" or 3/4" strip of leather with a little dot of hooks on one side and a strip of loops on the other. So, I've got the belt leather, and Velcro tape isn't that expensive. But I've never sewn Velcro onto anything. (And I want to sew it on, so that it's nice and secure.) Anything in particular I need to know?
  9. Im looking for a Leathercraft Artisan in Chicago who might help me with:+ Sewing leather (hides, pelts and furs) as tote bags and messenger bags + Hand sewing with thread and leather, + Accesories add ups: Snaps, eyelests, zippers etc... Feels comfortable working with cowhides, calfskin and mainly furs and pelts. This is for a small project making fur/ pelt/ cowhides bags and vests. It just a couple of items.If you are interested please send me pictures of your work... If you are not in Chicago, let me know your price per bag (an estimate of course based on the picture), I will provide everything (linen, leather, hardware, thread, etc) and if its something that I can work through with shipping back/ forth, I will have a deal.
  10. I'm about to start a new project, and need to make some lines of stitching that are very straight or close to. I don't have a heavy duty sewing machine, so hand stitching is the only option. The effect I'm looking for is like pin-striping. Any thoughts or advice?? Thanks in advance Bill
  11. What a good thread would be for western saddle repair?
  12. Pretty excited, I've waited nearly 7 months for these to show up! I put an old Joseph Dixon iron in the photo for comparison. I have yet to use these, so they still have the protective plastic dip on the ends, but they look spectacular, almost mirror finish, and appear pretty sharp. I can't wait to have a project to try them out on! YinTx trying to upload a photo.. but getting blocked. I'll add it when I can...
  13. There are three tools that look similar, but cause confusion; at least they did to me when I started. Here is my explanation. A PRICKING IRON has a row of short prongs. It is used to mark the position & spacing of stitching holes by tapping onto the leather with moderate force. This will leave shallow holes or marks, but to make the holes all the way through the leather you must follow up with a saddler's awl. It is used for sewing leather with thread A STITCHING CHISEL has long, narrow prongs that have a diamond shaped cross section and are set at an angle to the main body of the chisel. They both mark the position & spacing of stitching holes, and make the holes themselves by knocking the prongs all the way through the leather. Often this is enough, but you will have to complete the holes with a saddler's awl if the prongs are shorter than the combined thickness of the leather. It is used for sewing leather with thread. A LACING CHISEL has long prongs that are broader and have a flat cross section, and are set flat in line with the main body of the chisel. It is used to both mark the position & spacing of the holes, and to make the holes all the way through It is used for sewing leather with laces or thongs. For all three types there are variations in the number of prongs, and the distance between them, which in turn sets the stitch length They can usually be improved by careful sharpening & polishing with a needle file and fine abrasive paper There is another tool for marking the position & spacing of stitching holes. It is a wheel set on a handle, and has short teeth or prongs around the rim. By rolling it along the surface of the leather it will leave a row of marks or shallow holes, but the holes themselves must be made by following up with a saddler's awl. You can get different wheels to set different stitch lengths It is used for sewing leather with thread, and is called a STITCH MARKING WHEEL or an OVERSTITCH WHEEL Be careful as some suppliers use the term 'pricking iron' and 'stitching chisel' when they mean the other thing Be sure what you're asking for, and try to see an illustration before you buy
  14. I've searched these forums and lots of other web resources for hand-sewing techniques to little avail... so I'm starting thread in the hopes others here will contribute their expertise and experience. Sometimes you want or need to handsew something and a saddle or whip stitch just isn't what you want. I looked for a long time without much success which leads me to believe this is either: 1) So simple caveman did it. Or 2) We think everyone just knows this stuff!!! Forgive me if this falls into either of the above two categories but when I started I didn't know how to do this. (Disclaimer: I lay no claim to the following's invention or development other than to offer it up here as a useful technique and hope that others will add more.) Bar X Stitch As always, begin at the beginning: Layout Wing divider 1/4" (Over)Stitch Wheel 5 spi Punch (make some holes) Hand Punch Awl Needle and thread #4 harness needles. How much thread? I use the “8x2” method. 8 wraps around front and back of the sewing line (front AND back being the “2”) rather than 16 times the stitch line it’s quicker for me. Use whatever works for you though. First Stitch Both needles through from the back; in this case the flesh side and pull even the thread length. Next we take the right needle (it doesn’t matter which needle you choose but be consistent! Do each complete stitch exactly as each previous stitch.) You can begin with a tie by taking each needle into the opposite threaded hole and back out its original hole from the fleshside if you like but I haven’t here (see last images). Step 1 of Stitch Okay… NOW we take the right needle into the 2nd left diagonal hole and back out its opposite (straight across) right hole. Step 2 of Stitch Next we take the left needle (the needle being used is always the one in the frame) into the diagonal right hole and back out its opposite left hole. This makes the “X” (remember the needle in the frame is the needle we just used) (Backside view) This is the “Bar”. Notice the two threads overlap on this side. Pull thread snug to tight on the flesh side. Next Stitch Repeat steps 1 and 2. What it looks like front and back. I’ve transitioned to simple X stitch to show the differences. “Bars” on one side, “X”s on the other gives us Bar-X. It’s extremely strong especially for curve binding. The key to making this stitch is “don’t let go of that needle once you begin a stitch until the needle is back topside” and always begin your next stitch with the same needle left or right. If you are working around a form or a long run curved needles do help. This example has a “tie” at the top and bottom. To finish and to paraphrase Socrates: “I myself know nothing, just a little, enough to extract discussion from another, who is wise and will receive it fairly.” Please add a stitch to complete this thread… (yeah, I know…. that's punny )
  15. Note: I conducted a search of the forum before posting this, however if I missed a discussion please forgive me (and fire over a link to it). I'm looking to get into making leather boxes, and I would like to find portmanteau/inverse/reverse pricking irons similar to Joseph Dixon slanted style. Even Goods Japan/Craftsha diamond style would be fine. I have searched the internet, but have not yet found any options other than Vergez Blanchard which is way outside of my budget at this time. Thanks in advance for any information you care to share.
  16. Hi. I'm looking for thread of a suitable strength /weight for hand sewing leather goods. Like wallets,purses and bags. I have the multi coloured waxed the from Tandy, and a big spool off ebay that is mostly shades of yellow,orange, red,green and a little blue. I saw a case on etsy by asked in Riga and it looked lovely but she does not remember where age bought it,other than to say it was online. I will try to upload pics as soon as I can but any ideas please let me know. Oh and as I live in Scotland it needs to be an online purchase. Thanks
  17. I can handle mold of my stitching freehand, but sometimes it needs to be held, like this double layer 9 oz stiff chrome tanned. Not having a pony, I scrounged around the shop and came up with this solution. Yes, the thread get caught in the handles, but after the third time you learn to drape it carefully.
  18. I am hand stitching my first belt. I did fine with the diamond punch, doing fine with the awl, and the needles are even working good. My question is; it is getting tough to pull the needle through the hole. Is there any kind of rubber covers that will go over the finger tips to give me a better grip. It would not take much. I wiggle the awl to make the holes bigger but I don't want to make it much bigger. I just need a little help pulling the needle through and I am tired of using pliers.
  19. Many years ago I remember my dad using hog bristles to sew leather, Also where would one find them, I know this is really old school but I would like to try sewing like this just to see how it works. I know dad had no problems,
  20. I have always used Linen or poly thread for the simple sheathes that I make, but recently I got a spool of Nylex. Its size is the same as close as I can tell and stitched it looks about the same, but it is much harder to pull through the leather. So much harder in fact I have to use stitching pliers on every stitch. I added extra wax, but that did not help either. When I use poly I can pull all the stitches except the back stitches with my fingers. I did notice that the Nylex does not lay flat against the needle like the poly does when pulling. Here are two sheaths stitched with Nylex and it looks OK. Has anyone else experienced this?
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