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Loudcherokee

First Belt

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A belt has been on my list of projects I want to do, and I finally wrapped it up today. I do not have a machine capable of sewing thick thread on thick leather, so this whole thing is saddle stitched by hand. About 9 hours worth of stitching. This is only my 4th of 5th leathercraft item so I'm still a little slow at stitching. 

The belt is 2 layers of 7/8 ounce veg tan strips that were pre cut at 1.5" thick. 4mm stitch spacing and ritza tiger 1mm thread was used. Finished in black with a natural inside, finished with neatsfoot oil. 

There is some slight waviness in my stitch line. Im still getting the hang of using the stitch groover. Ive been getting better with the wing dividers, but I wanted a groove on the belt so the stitches would set in at the surface. This is intended to be a gun belt for every day carry. 

Edges beveled with a #4 and burnished with tokonole, then the whole thing finished with resolene. 

I think next time I do one of these, and want to leave the inside natural, I will cover the inside with masking tape. I handled this belt ALOT during all the stitching, and there was some dye rub off from my fingers to the natural interior. 

I used a wool dauber to top off the edges, and don't have a clean line on the inside. Im open to suggestions on how to do edges better and cleaner. 

Open to critiques for any and all errors noticed. Im still learning and would appreciate the feedback. 

LC

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I would like to think that stitching long straight lines by hand is pretty challenging for even a seasoned professional.  I think that is why they use a sewing machine but for us mere mortals on a budget, saddle stitching it is!

Coming from someone who has a belt on his to do list, I am not the best one to judge any ones work.  IThe only thing I saw was the surface, maybe sanding it with a finer grit? 

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11 hours ago, Loudcherokee said:

I used a wool dauber to top off the edges, and don't have a clean line on the inside. Im open to suggestions on how to do edges better and cleaner. 

Have a sheet of shop towel nearby: tear small pieces from it and wipe off any paint runoffs as soon as you've daubed the edge (edge coat dries very quickly, hence you must act fast), using a single motion starting from the centre of the belt (where there is no paint) towards the edge and continuing into the area beyond the belt. Now, scrumple up the piece of towel so as to have the side with paint on the inside of the ball and a clean patch to the outside and ready for the next needed wipe off: this is why you need a full sheet and have to tear small pieces.

If you weren't quick enough and the paint dried you can remove it with a piece of "glue eraser" (crepe used for soles): just rub it off (but be gentle so as not to scrape the leather—some leathers are more forgiving than others).

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8 hours ago, JayEhl said:

I would like to think that stitching long straight lines by hand is pretty challenging for even a seasoned professional.  I think that is why they use a sewing machine but for us mere mortals on a budget, saddle stitching it is!

Coming from someone who has a belt on his to do list, I am not the best one to judge any ones work.  IThe only thing I saw was the surface, maybe sanding it with a finer grit? 

Are you referring to sanding the edges or the surface of the leather? 

LC

1 hour ago, Hardrada said:

Have a sheet of shop towel nearby: tear small pieces from it and wipe off any paint runoffs as soon as you've daubed the edge (edge coat dries very quickly, hence you must act fast), using a single motion starting from the centre of the belt (where there is no paint) towards the edge and continuing into the area beyond the belt. Now, scrumple up the piece of towel so as to have the side with paint on the inside of the ball and a clean patch to the outside and ready for the next needed wipe off: this is why you need a full sheet and have to tear small pieces.

If you weren't quick enough and the paint dried you can remove it with a piece of "glue eraser" (crepe used for soles): just rub it off (but be gentle so as not to scrape the leather—some leathers are more forgiving than others).

I just use the fiebings pro dye on my edges, and not edge kote. Does that still apply with the paper towel? The inside is treated with neats foot. Would running alcohol take the dye off? 

LC

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11 hours ago, Loudcherokee said:

I just use the fiebings pro dye on my edges, and not edge kote. Does that still apply with the paper towel? The inside is treated with neats foot. Would running alcohol take the dye off? 

I'd advise not to use Pro Dye on the edges: not its intended purpose. I confirmed this with a local cobbler who said 'dye for the leather, Edge Kote for the edges'. He said that even though such advice meant losing my business because his stock was only dyes and no Edge Kote. One issue you'd run into with dyes is rub off (not so much with Pro Dye, which is spirit-based, but with the regular dyes...): imagine that on a dress/suit pair of pants.

Also, as to your question: Pro Dye penetrates the leather in such a manner that I don't think my technique would work: the stain is, AFAIK, permanent. Dunno if Fiebing's Deglazer would help here—I've never used deglazer, so I'll let other members pitch in about that.

Edited by Hardrada

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5 hours ago, Hardrada said:

I'd advise not to use Pro Dye on the edges: not its intended purpose. I confirmed this with a local cobbler who said 'dye for the leather, Edge Kote for the edges'. He said that even though such advice meant losing my business because his stock was only dyes and no Edge Kote. One issue you'd run into with dyes is rub off (not so much with Pro Dye, which is spirit-based, but with the regular dyes...): imagine that on a dress/suit pair of pants.

Also, as to your question: Pro Dye penetrates the leather in such a manner that I don't think my technique would work: the stain is, AFAIK, permanent. Dunno if Fiebing's Deglazer would help here—I've never used deglazer, so I'll let other members pitch in about that.

Thanks for the follow up. 

In regards to edge kote, I slick my edges with either tokonole or gum trag. Would the edge kote affect that at all? I've never used it and I was under the impression that you use edge kote to burnish your edges instead of gum trag or other methods. 

LC

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18 hours ago, Loudcherokee said:

Are you referring to sanding the edges or the surface of the leather? 

Hi,

You would want to sand the edges of your belt in this case.  Just the edge!  And use higher and higher grit paper.  I've read here where other master crafters use different kinds of heated paints (united?)  and others use simple softened beeswax in between the sanding.  I personally use tokolone or gum trag in between sanding and seem to get good results.  I am going to switch to dremel or something because it is pretty tedious.  

 

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2 hours ago, JayEhl said:

Hi,

You would want to sand the edges of your belt in this case.  Just the edge!  And use higher and higher grit paper.  I've read here where other master crafters use different kinds of heated paints (united?)  and others use simple softened beeswax in between the sanding.  I personally use tokolone or gum trag in between sanding and seem to get good results.  I am going to switch to dremel or something because it is pretty tedious.  

 

Just from my experience, be very careful with the dremel lol. That little drum gets away from you pretty fast and can cut big gouges before you realize it. 

With that said, I use a combination of a dremel, mounted in the Dremel drill press stand, and a belt sander. 

I'll have to invest in some higher grit sandpaper soon. 

LC

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10 hours ago, Loudcherokee said:

Thanks for the follow up. 

In regards to edge kote, I slick my edges with either tokonole or gum trag. Would the edge kote affect that at all? I've never used it and I was under the impression that you use edge kote to burnish your edges instead of gum trag or other methods. 

LC

I apply Edge Kote AND Tokonole after.

My process is: glass the edges (I don't sand them: don't like the mushrooming that sanding produces); then bevel them; then apply the first coat of Edge Kote and let it dry; then run 400 grit sandpaper in one direction with a light touch (I don't count this as 'sanding'); then apply a second coat of Edge Kote and let it dry; finally, I apply Tokonole and burnish with a cocobolo slicker.

Check this out:

 

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