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ThatTallChick

Bi-Fold(?) Wallet

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Last time I posted it was recommended that I practice on something smaller so I gave wallets a go! I'm not entirely sure what kind of wallet this is, I used my spouse's old wallet as a template since his had gone through the wash too many times and I thought I should replace it. My main focus this time was trying some new techniques I learned from you guys, and focusing on making my edges really nice. I used 2-3oz veg tanned leather on this project, and Dark Mahogany Eco-Flo Leather Dye.

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One thing I also tried was using a 3D punch I had purchased. Unfortunately while I was hitting it, it seems to have moved a bit resulting in a shadowed "effect". I had heard that there are ways of "erasing" a punch or mark that you put on your project mistakenly, but I had already worked that part of the leather a lot due to a mistake in the grooving that I had to burnish out, so I left it... I'm particularly fond of the edging I did on the front flap- I sanded the edge down first as I had seen recommended on this site quite a few times, and then used tokonole on it and it seemed to work like a charm.

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My letter stamps also left a lot to be desired, I'm not sure if I wet the leather too much, or just didn't hit it hard enough with the mallet or what. I'll need to practice! I also learned that I need to burnish the outsides of the pockets before assembling everything, good to note for next time.

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Oddly enough I noticed that the resolene seems to be wearing off on the bottom edge of the front flap there, just from general use. I'm not sure what to do about that.

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You can see that some of the thicker edges I packed with beeswax (after a lot of sanding) and then burnished with a cloth, and sometimes some added tokenole (before the beeswax and after). I have no idea if this is the right way or not, and it didn't turn out really well, so my next attempt I will use a knife to thin out the leather on the edges so that they come together more readily. 

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The bottom front and back edges turned out okay. I was skeptical because it is three layers of leather because of the money pocket but after a lot of sanding I managed to get it to look semi uniform. 

This time I also tried gluing my project before punching the holes. I also purchased some better needles (saddlers) on you guys' recommendation and by golly were they ever nice!! I made the mistake of assembling the project with contact cement before dying the leather, so after punching the wholes I took the wallet apart, dyed it, and re-glued it together however some of the pieces didn't line up the same which was unfortunate while hand stitching- but the ones that did line up the same were so easy and seamless. 

Previously I had been tying off my stitches and then cutting them. I learned from you guys that it's more typical to just back stitch a few times and then cut and burn the ends of the thread. I did that this time and it was a great recommendation. It looks so much better. 

The main question that came out of this project for me was: When hand stitching, when I get to a corner (say, the bottom right hand corner) should I cut the thread before starting the next edge, or should I wrap the thread over the edge and keep going, or should I feed the needle through to the next edge by going through the inside of the project instead? 

Otherwise I would appreciate some constructive feedback! I'm just learning, and kind of just winging it, trying out different things so I would love all of your thoughts and ideas !

Edited by ThatTallChick
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5 hours ago, ThatTallChick said:

The main question that came out of this project for me was: When hand stitching, when I get to a corner (say, the bottom right hand corner) should I cut the thread before starting the next edge, or should I wrap the thread over the edge and keep going, or should I feed the needle through to the next edge by going through the inside of the project instead? 

I don't know which corner is bottom right corner.  When I make a wallet, I glue and the sew the complete perimeter.  One piece of thread.  I never felt the need to do any overwrapping.  It looks like cheap leather which makes your work more difficult and affects the outcome.  I suggest some nice pre-dyed leather.  The stitching distance to the edge looks close.  I suggest 2.5 to 3mm.  Did you use an edger?  The corners are too sharp. The stitching is inconsistent. Not knowing your technique I can not suggest how to do better.  The edges are thick and need to be skived.  Always hammer down your stitching holes before and after stitching.  Rocky mountain Leather has a great  Japanese skiving and cutting knife for $60.00 U.S.. 

The edges really need a lot of work.  I suggest that you cut your pattern out a bit larger and after gluing the pieces together, trim everything to size with a sharp knife.  That way your edges will be nice and flush and will need little to no sanding.  Then prick your holes and sew and edge bevel then smooth if needed and burnish.

I must say, it is a strange and difficult pattern to practice on.  I believe that type of gusset is called a Mexican gusset.  I suggest that you make a more simple wallet or card holder to practice on.  Something with a T-slot.

You seem to have potential.  Make another.

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I like the design and i think with some refinements it could look great. the main thing i notice is the way the gusset comes together at the bottom. It looks like you used 3 pieces (left,right and bottom) or maybe im wrong.

If that's the case i think it might look better if you were to integrate the bottom gusset into the main outside wall of the wallet and you would only need 2 side gussets so it wraps around if that makes since.

Or if you do it your way maybe use some thinner leather and pre punch the panels so you can glue together and sew as opposed to trying to get inside the gusset with your pricking iron.

Also i would recommend some thinner thread but thats just my personal preference.

Keep it up !

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3 minutes ago, mike02130 said:

I don't know which corner is bottom right corner.  When I make a wallet, I glue and the sew the complete perimeter.  One piece of thread.  I never felt the need to do any overwrapping.  It looks like cheap leather which makes your work more difficult and affects the outcome.  I suggest some nice pre-dyed leather.  The stitching distance to the edge looks close.  I suggest 2.5 to 3mm.  Did you use an edger?  The corners are too sharp. The stitching is inconsistent. Not knowing your technique I can not suggest how to do better.  The edges are thick and need to be skived.  Always hammer down your stitching holes before and after stitching.  Rocky mountain Leather has a great  Japanese skiving and cutting knife for $60.00 U.S.. 

The edges really need a lot of work.  I suggest that you cut your pattern out a bit larger and after gluing the pieces together, trim everything to size with a sharp knife.  That way your edges will be nice and flush and will need little to no sanding.  Then prick your holes and sew and edge bevel then smooth if needed and burnish.

I must say, it is a strange and difficult pattern to practice on.  I believe that type of gusset is called a Mexican gusset.  I suggest that you make a more simple wallet or card holder to practice on.  Something with a T-slot.

You seem to have potential.  Make another.

My spouse has been using it for a few days and also mentioned the corners were too sharp- I liked the look of the sharp edges but I learned that it's definitely not practical. I'm not sure about the quality of the leather, I don't know how to check for it and I can't buy the leather in person as the nearest store is 8 hours away-- I just purchased it from Tandy and actually got some really dry, cracked stuff first that I had to send back and the manager said he hand picked this replacement for me. Admittedly I really really love dying the leather myself, it's one of my favorite parts of it-- I know that might sound stupid and I can't exactly explain why it is; I'll just have to work on my dying technique I think. The next wallet I will definitely Skive the edges, I only just learned about that technique but my tools aren't sharp enough so I'll have to wait for my sharpening supplies to come in but I will definitely be doing that next!

The distance from the edge was a lot further before I started sanding it, perhaps I'll make the groover deeper-- I just didn't know I would be sanding off so much! On the last project I made I had hammered down my stitches and was asking about the more difficult to reach places (it's hard to hammer down the stitching in the corners because I can't get enough pressure on them) but a few people I asked said I don't need to hammer the edges so for this project I didn't... I think I prefer the look of it being hammered down though... may I ask why you hammer the holes before stitching? Wouldn't that make it more difficult to put the needle through? I think the stitching ended up so inconsistent because I pricked the wholes once it was all together which was hard to do because of the shape I guess? It's not flat on the table so I couldn't just prick and hit, I had to do this weird... bending... yoga thing with it and the pricker kept falling out of the groove I made for it.

I'm not totally sure what a T-slot is, I'll be making a normal bifold next which might be what you're referring to?

I know you said my edges need a lot of work already but what are your thoughts on the top flap edges? I personally thought they turned out nice other than the corners being too sharp. 

Thanks so much for all your advice! I'm striving to get better and I appreciate the time you took to type out your answer

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11 minutes ago, CastleLeatherWorks said:

I like the design and i think with some refinements it could look great. the main thing i notice is the way the gusset comes together at the bottom. It looks like you used 3 pieces (left,right and bottom) or maybe im wrong.

Or if you do it your way maybe use some thinner leather and pre punch the panels so you can glue together and sew as opposed to trying to get inside the gusset with your pricking iron.

Also i would recommend some thinner thread but thats just my personal preference.

Keep it up !

Oh I wasn't aware I could get thinner thread for hand stitching-- I'll definitely have to look into that-- would I buy smaller pricking irons for that?

As for the rest of your points, I definitely used 3 pieces- I originally made the pattern with just one but the leather was too thick to pinch into a proper square if that makes sense? So I cut it into threes- I purchased the lightest hide I could though.. maybe I should be using a lining leather to make wallets like that instead? 

Quote

If that's the case i think it might look better if you were to integrate the bottom gusset into the main outside wall of the wallet and you would only need 2 side gussets so it wraps around if that makes since.

I think that's a great idea, and when I re-do this wallet I'm definitely going to try that out- I think it would look awesome!

Thanks so much for your advice, I really appreciate it!

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You can buy panels of bridle leather in a variety of colors and weights from Buckleguy.   My suggestion would be to try using some pre-dyed, high quality bridle leather for your wallet project that has already been split down.  

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4 minutes ago, sbrownn said:

You can buy panels of bridle leather in a variety of colors and weights from Buckleguy.   My suggestion would be to try using some pre-dyed, high quality bridle leather for your wallet project that has already been split down.  

I'll have to see if I can find bridle leather Is the only reason to purchase pre-dyed leather just because it looks nicer than dying it myself? I'll definitely look into purchasing higher quality leather when I'm not so terrible at this haha I didn't realize that veg tan is no good, but it's definitely fun to play with :)

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Well, it does allow you to make really nice looking things before you learn how to do professional level dying but the main reason I like it is because it has allowed me to concentrate on other aspects of my leatherwork like edges, and stitching and still end up with a nice looking piece.  I usually don't bother to apply a finish to the projects I make out of bridle leather either; not that it doesn't make them look "shinier" because it does, but I don't see enough gain to bother anymore.  The "stuffed" leathers are pretty weather resistant as they come from the tanning process so I leave it up to the customer to apply a finish if they so desire.

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24 minutes ago, ThatTallChick said:

Oh I wasn't aware I could get thinner thread for hand stitching-- I'll definitely have to look into that-- would I buy smaller pricking irons for that?

As for the rest of your points, I definitely used 3 pieces- I originally made the pattern with just one but the leather was too thick to pinch into a proper square if that makes sense? So I cut it into threes- I purchased the lightest hide I could though.. maybe I should be using a lining leather to make wallets like that instead? 

I think that's a great idea, and when I re-do this wallet I'm definitely going to try that out- I think it would look awesome!

Thanks so much for your advice, I really appreciate it!

Its really all personal preference. some people like a more rustic look while others want something that looks super refined and higher end.

i dont know what size pricking irons you used but i would just suggest thinner thread for now untill you figure out what look you want. i use 0.45mm for most of my projects spaced at 3.38mm but with tighter stitch spacing like 3.0 or 2.7mm i think i might step it down 0.35mm.

For being a new at leather work you're doing the right thing by constantly making things and asking a lot of questions. as for the leather youre using it looks like utility grade which is fine for prototyping. i went thru a whole side when i first started. it was split horribly with some parts being 2.0oz and the rest somewhere around 6/7oz. this is when i started looking into skiving and splitters.

Also when i first started i bought a bunch of dyes thinking i was going to hand dye all my projects and soon found out that wasnt the best route for me. Now i buy single shoulders or panels of different colors already split down to the thickness i like which is around1.0/2.0oz. makes my life easier and i always get a consistent color and finish. you will find out what works for you the longer you're in the trade.

take care =)

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3 minutes ago, sbrownn said:

Well, it does allow you to make really nice looking things before you learn how to do professional level dying but the main reason I like it is because it has allowed me to concentrate on other aspects of my leatherwork like edges, and stitching and still end up with a nice looking piece.  I usually don't bother to apply a finish to the projects I make out of bridle leather either; not that it doesn't make them look "shinier" because it does, but I don't see enough gain to bother anymore.  The "stuffed" leathers are pretty weather resistant as they come from the tanning process so I leave it up to the customer to apply a finish if they so desire.

Ohh, that's all good to know, thank you so much! It doesn't look like Tandy sells bridle leather (unless it goes by another name) and we don't have TheBuckleGuy in Canada but I'll definitely have a look around and see what's available.

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BuckleGuy is an online store.  In my experience, you don't have to be afraid of buying leather from them sight unseen.  

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4 minutes ago, CastleLeatherWorks said:

Its really all personal preference. some people like a more rustic look while others want something that looks super refined and higher end.

i dont know what size pricking irons you used but i would just suggest thinner thread for now untill you figure out what look you want. i use 0.45mm for most of my projects spaced at 3.38mm but with tighter stitch spacing like 3.0 or 2.7mm i think i might step it down 0.35mm.

take care =)

I honestly couldn't' tell you what sized pricking irons I use, I got this kit from amazon and ... I mean it's not amazing but it got me into the hobby. The pricking irons are getting a little rough already though (the pricks are actually bending... Which is weird because I use a self healing mat when I use them) so it looks like I'm in the market for some new ones soon anyway. I'll have to look into more of these measurements- is the 0.45 mm the size of the prick, and the 3.38mm is the size of the space between each prick? 

Quote

For being a new at leather work you're doing the right thing by constantly making things and asking a lot of questions. as for the leather youre using it looks like utility grade which is fine for prototyping. i went thru a whole side when i first started. it was split horribly with some parts being 2.0oz and the rest somewhere around 6/7oz. this is when i started looking into skiving and splitters.

Yeah I'll definitely keep using the rest of the...entire...cow... I have... of the veg tanned leather I have already haha until I'm a little bit better at this whole thing- right now I feel like everything I make is just me experimenting and I don't want to do that with something terribly expensive 

Also when i first started i bought a bunch of dyes thinking i was going to hand dye all my projects and soon found out that wasnt the best route for me. Now i buy single shoulders or panels of different colors already split down to the thickness i like which is around1.0/2.0oz. makes my life easier and i always get a consistent color and finish. you will find out what works for you the longer you're in the trade.

Quote

Also when i first started i bought a bunch of dyes thinking i was going to hand dye all my projects and soon found out that wasnt the best route for me. Now i buy single shoulders or panels of different colors already split down to the thickness i like which is around1.0/2.0oz. makes my life easier and i always get a consistent color and finish. you will find out what works for you the longer you're in the trade.

Hahah that's good to know. I was introduced to leatherworking when I came across prince armory's youtube channel-- and he does dying, painting, etc, so initially I thought that was the norm which is why I picked up the dyes and resolene and the like-- I do like the texture it gives me, and it's fun to be able to pick whatever colour you want for each individual project (instead of buying a specific colour for each project) but when your wallets pop up on this site I'm always just dumbfounded.. I think the solid colours really help make them look so professional and clean. I'm sure I'll grow out of they dying, especially once I've moved up to higher quality leather.

3 minutes ago, sbrownn said:

BuckleGuy is an online store.  In my experience, you don't have to be afraid of buying leather from them sight unseen.  

Right! I just like to buy from Canada so that I don't have to pay import fees and the like :) 

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47 minutes ago, ThatTallChick said:

 The pricking irons are getting a little rough already though (the pricks are actually bending... Which is weird because I use a self healing mat when I use them) so it looks like I'm in the market for some new ones soon anyway. I'll have to look into more of these measurements- is the 0.45 mm the size of the prick, and the 3.38mm is the size of the space between each prick? 

A lot of folks will use the term pricking iron for both pricking irons and stitching chisels.  There are different.  The pricking irons are intended to just put a mark on the leather that you then make the hole with a stitching awl.  Stitching chisels are heavier and are used to actually make the holes.  So that could be why the tines our your pricking iron are looking worse for wear.

Take a look here for more information:  https://www.goldbarkleather.com/sourceblog/chisel-vs-pricking-iron

You are off to a good start, keep at it!

Allen

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38 minutes ago, ThatTallChick said:

I honestly couldn't' tell you what sized pricking irons I use, I got this kit from amazon and ... I mean it's not amazing but it got me into the hobby. The pricking irons are getting a little rough already though (the pricks are actually bending... Which is weird because I use a self healing mat when I use them) so it looks like I'm in the market for some new ones soon anyway. I'll have to look into more of these measurements- is the 0.45 mm the size of the prick, and the 3.38mm is the size of the space between each prick?

I too bought a kit from amazon when i first started about 2 years ago. the only thing i still use is the block of beeswax and the wood burnisher lol. i still buy some tools from amazon just for the sheer convince. for my leather i go through rocky mountain leather supply, district leather supply and occasionally Springfield leather. you might want to look into a poundo (rubberized) board or even a thicker scrap piece of leather. instead of running your pricking irons into your cutting mat.

so the 0.45mm i was referring to is the diameter of the thread and thats my most commonly used size for the goods i make.... theres a whole bunch of different diameters but you will find what works for you. i have several spools of thread i wont ever use because i didn't know what i was buying when i ordered it.

pricking irons range from 2.7mm for small goods like watch straps all the way up to 6mm for bigger items and thats the distance between the holes it will make. then there's the different types of irons you can get diamond, french or round style are all popular. if you do a search on amazon you can see all the different types available.

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5 minutes ago, acope said:

A lot of folks will use the term pricking iron for both pricking irons and stitching chisels.  There are different.  The pricking irons are intended to just put a mark on the leather that you then make the hole with a stitching awl.  Stitching chisels are heavier and are used to actually make the holes.  So that could be why the tines our your pricking iron are looking worse for wear.

Take a look here for more information:  https://www.goldbarkleather.com/sourceblog/chisel-vs-pricking-iron

You are off to a good start, keep at it!

Allen

Okay well this just opened up a whole new world-- I definitely have chisels, so I'll use the proper terminology from not on, thank you for clearing that up but... Now I feel like I'm using an awl wrong? I use mine to help open holes that I'm finding difficult to poke through with my needle... I didn't know people used an awl to create the holes from the beginning-- are awls supposed to be sharp? Mine are maybe as sharp as a saddlers needle so...not... 

4 minutes ago, CastleLeatherWorks said:

I too bought a kit from amazon when i first started about 2 years ago. the only thing i still use is the block of beeswax and the wood burnisher lol. i still buy some tools from amazon just for the sheer convince. for my leather i go through rocky mountain leather supply, district leather supply and occasionally Springfield leather. you might want to look into a poundo (rubberized) board or even a thicker scrap piece of leather. instead of running your pricking irons into your cutting mat.

so the 0.45mm i was referring to is the diameter of the thread and thats my most commonly used size for the goods i make.... theres a whole bunch of different diameters but you will find what works for you. i have several spools of thread i wont ever use because i didn't know what i was buying when i ordered it.

pricking irons range from 2.7mm for small goods like watch straps all the way up to 6mm for bigger items and thats the distance between the holes it will make. then there's the different types of irons you can get diamond, french or round style are all popular. if you do a search on amazon you can see all the different types available.

Yeah the cutting matt is getting pretty rough from the pricking chisels, I'll definitely look into getting a rubberized board instead 

Oh that's good to know about the thread thickness- I just checked and I've been using 1mm which is a lot larger than 0.45mm haha I'll purchase a smaller size and see how I feel about it! I don't know what I'm buying right now either so knowing all the different things I should try is awesome, thank you!

I know the ones I have are diamond shaped-- I had no idea they come in different shapes... I feel like the more I learn, the more questions I have haha what do the different shapes get you? Does your stitch line look different? 

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Three things not to do that you do.

Use wing dividers rather than a groover.  It came in the kit, right?

Do not use your self healing mat as a backup to your irons.  I use a thick piece of leather or an end-grain log.

Do not shop at Tandy.  O A leather supply is in Canada. https://www.oaleathersupply.com/

Be aware that chisels are measured between the teeth while irons are measured from center to center.

Leather work is not a poor persons hobby.

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I took a look at the Amazon kit you mentioned, and it appears that  you have a set of diamond chisels, which make a diamond shaped hole in the leather. Pricking irons make an angled slit in the leather, rather than a hole. Pricking irons are meant to MARK the holes that you then pierce with a stitching awl. That's the traditional standard, and many people aspire to that. But the diamond chisels are much more forgiving, and easier to make good stitching lines with (since getting straight lines with the awl takes a lot of consistent practice).
The stitching chisels should be strong enough to drive through two pieces of leather of the thickness you are using. If they are bending, then they are made of bad metal, or you're driving them into something hard.
Good advice given above, to change the thing you're using underneath the leather when making the stitching lines. And if they keep bending, then the tools are bad, and you should look into replacements.
I second the advice on using the wing dividers to make a stitching line (or a light, shallow stitching "groove"). I found that I can get a much better line with the wing dividers than with the groover I bought years ago. The groover sits alone, unused for a few years now. 

For choosing thread: take a look at some YouTube videos to help you match the thread (which will involve choosing the right size of needle and the size of stitching/pricking iron also) to the project. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uc_4cZp9JDs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYT9Rc2YRAk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3BwpAkQlgg

All that being said, that's pretty good work, and you've learned a lot! Keep it up!

Edited by DJole

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1 hour ago, ThatTallChick said:

Okay well this just opened up a whole new world-- I definitely have chisels, so I'll use the proper terminology from not on, thank you for clearing that up but... Now I feel like I'm using an awl wrong? I use mine to help open holes that I'm finding difficult to poke through with my needle... I didn't know people used an awl to create the holes from the beginning-- are awls supposed to be sharp? Mine are maybe as sharp as a saddlers needle so...not... 

Yeah the cutting matt is getting pretty rough from the pricking chisels, I'll definitely look into getting a rubberized board instead 

Oh that's good to know about the thread thickness- I just checked and I've been using 1mm which is a lot larger than 0.45mm haha I'll purchase a smaller size and see how I feel about it! I don't know what I'm buying right now either so knowing all the different things I should try is awesome, thank you!

I know the ones I have are diamond shaped-- I had no idea they come in different shapes... I feel like the more I learn, the more questions I have haha what do the different shapes get you? Does your stitch line look different? 

" are awls supposed to be sharp?"

Yes, they should be sharp on the edges and pointed as well.  Different sized awls are used for the different sized holes needed for the different sized threads.

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Get yourself a #1 and #0 bevelers, and maybe a 10 mm corner punch. The edges will look more refined and withstand wear and tear better.

Keep at it! :rockon:

 

Addendum: have you tried Zelikovitz? https://www.zelistore.com/

Edited by Hardrada

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3 hours ago, Hardrada said:

Get yourself a #1 and #0 bevelers,

One needs to figure out the actual measured width of a beveler.  Different brands have different numbering systems.  A Ron's Montana edger--#1 and Barry King's #00 and Palosanto's #0 are all the same size.

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16 hours ago, DJole said:

I took a look at the Amazon kit you mentioned, and it appears that  you have a set of diamond chisels, which make a diamond shaped hole in the leather. Pricking irons make an angled slit in the leather, rather than a hole. Pricking irons are meant to MARK the holes that you then pierce with a stitching awl. That's the traditional standard, and many people aspire to that. But the diamond chisels are much more forgiving, and easier to make good stitching lines with (since getting straight lines with the awl takes a lot of consistent practice).
The stitching chisels should be strong enough to drive through two pieces of leather of the thickness you are using. If they are bending, then they are made of bad metal, or you're driving them into something hard.
Good advice given above, to change the thing you're using underneath the leather when making the stitching lines. And if they keep bending, then the tools are bad, and you should look into replacements.
I second the advice on using the wing dividers to make a stitching line (or a light, shallow stitching "groove"). I found that I can get a much better line with the wing dividers than with the groover I bought years ago. The groover sits alone, unused for a few years now. 

For choosing thread: take a look at some YouTube videos to help you match the thread (which will involve choosing the right size of needle and the size of stitching/pricking iron also) to the project. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uc_4cZp9JDs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYT9Rc2YRAk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3BwpAkQlgg

All that being said, that's pretty good work, and you've learned a lot! Keep it up!

Thank you for all the help and advice! It seems to just be the one tooth on my 6 pronged chisel that is bent, perhaps I dropped it at some point... I might get my spouse to forge me some new ones. I've tried using the wing divider and I can't say I'm terribly fond of it, just because it seems to fall all over the place- I find the groover is really easy to rest on the side of the leather and use the edge of the leather to make the line straight, but I'm sure using the wing divider just takes practice. 

I'll definitely keep watching some more videos; that last one was especially helpful, it was helpful to see the varying thicknesses actually stitched out. It sounds like the general consensus in choosing thread thickness is based on whatever you think looks best, and maybe a little bit of strength but I'm not making saddles or anything.

All in all, good to know, thank you!

17 hours ago, sbrownn said:

" are awls supposed to be sharp?"

Yes, they should be sharp on the edges and pointed as well.  Different sized awls are used for the different sized holes needed for the different sized threads.

That's good to know! I have one sharp awl, it looks like I could thread something through it though so I figured it was for actually stitching with, also it's huge- I'll need to get myself a set of good awls once I'm better at the craft.. or maybe sharpen the ones I have or something. 

16 hours ago, Hardrada said:

Get yourself a #1 and #0 bevelers, and maybe a 10 mm corner punch. The edges will look more refined and withstand wear and tear better.

Keep at it! :rockon:

 

Addendum: have you tried Zelikovitz? https://www.zelistore.com/

I've got some bevellers- not quite sure on the size but I find they just tear apart the leather- I'll sharpen them and try again though and if all else fails I'll add it to the ever growing list of new tools I need :) Thank you!

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Not bad,,, it takes practice for anyone to make stuff that pleases many eyes, 

i get leather from Maverick, their prices are decent and quality is great IMHO, makes it less costly to get going, and get some variety, plus who of us doesnt like the smell o hides! 

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19 hours ago, sbrownn said:

" are awls supposed to be sharp?"

Yes, they should be sharp on the edges and pointed as well.  Different sized awls are used for the different sized holes needed for the different sized threads.

Slight point of clarification on this.  The edges of the awl should not be very sharp.  The tip needs to be, but as the awl tapers outwards, the edges should be more polished than sharpened.  The reason is you don't want the awl to cut a hole as wide as the awl is.  The idea is to cut through the leather and then expand the hole, not cut it.  That way it will allow itself to close back up.  If you cut the leather, hammering will flatten the hole but it can't "heal" itself.  The smaller the hole the better so long as there is room for the thread to do what the thread needs to do.

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7 minutes ago, Tugadude said:

Slight point of clarification on this.  The edges of the awl should not be very sharp.  The tip needs to be, but as the awl tapers outwards, the edges should be more polished than sharpened.  The reason is you don't want the awl to cut a hole as wide as the awl is.  The idea is to cut through the leather and then expand the hole, not cut it.  That way it will allow itself to close back up.  If you cut the leather, hammering will flatten the hole but it can't "heal" itself.  The smaller the hole the better so long as there is room for the thread to do what the thread needs to do.

I guess it depends on what type of awl you are using.

I use a Palosanto awl and it's edges do not taper at all.  It came sharp and I keep it that way and find it is much easier to use than my other awls that do have tapered edges.

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3 hours ago, ThatTallChick said:

I've tried using the wing divider and I can't say I'm terribly fond of it, just because it seems to fall all over the place-

A wing divider will allow for a better looking stitch.  If you start using proper thickness of leather for a wallet, a groover may just tear it up.

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