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Picking Leather, USA materials, Head Knives, ETC

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Howdy folks;

New member here, first post. My name is Harvey Haines, I'm from Connecticut, and I've always wanted to try my hand at leatherwork.   I'll be taking a hiatus and moving to Minneapolis in October, but for now I run a small glass and steel fabrication company. My current project is crafting banjo and guitar stands, an important feature of which is the intended use of heavy leather as padding at all contact points. It would be best to use leather from the U.S., but I'd go for an English leather if necessary. I've been thinking about getting Buffalo leather instead of cow, but I'm not knowledgable enough in availability, origins of materials, merits of different animals, etc. So, I figure I'll ask the experts here!

The framework of each stand will be welded steel, with the leather being bolted on and largely stationary. However, the neck support will be, on at least one model, a 2" or 3" leather strap spanning the 4" or 5" gap between two pieces of steel.

Rust, antique, or reddish-brown leather would offer a lovely color contrast against my steel frames, but I'm open to any good earth tones.


My questions are these:


Where can I reliably get American Buffalo leather in 8-10 oz?

Is there a place to purchase S.B. Foot leather online and in small quantities? (My first big commission came from Red Wing Shoes, I've got a soft spot for the company.)

Does anyone have an idea about the abrasion resistance of leathers? I've read that Chrome tanned leather has higher tolerances, but I'd like to stick with veg-tanned. Am I being too sentimental about the old-timey nonsense?

Most of the cuts will be with a strap cutter, but I'll need to notch each piece of leather a few times. What would the optimum tool be for cutting a few 1"-2" straight lines? Head Knife? Shears?



Alright, done babbling for now. I appreciate the help folks!



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Hi Harvey,

Up Minnesota way, you might try The Leather Guy.  You should call Red Wing direct and ask for a favor. I just know that Elephant is as tough as they come.  As far as domestic animals, horse is pretty tough especially if hard jacked.  You can cut very well with a well stropped utility knife (box cutter).


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Thanks Mike! Had some trouble with the Hide House website when I first found them, but a phone call produced favorable results. 8-9 oz in Tobacco, that looks good! The color will stand out nicely on the steel, but it'll still play calmly with most banjos. Am I crazy for picking Bison? 

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