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  1. #1
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    Feb 2005
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    Pricking Irons - How to go round corners, not cut them!

    Pricking irons are very different to an overstitch wheel as they are a wide "comb" of teeth that mark out individual stitches in a fixed straight line. They usually come in 1/2", 1" and 1 1/2" widths. The 1 1/2" pricking irons are actually the most versatile as you can use them to create very straight lines or to go around corners, even tight curves.

    When using a pricking iron to mark your stitches on a straight line you would position the iron in the right place then hit the top with a mallet.

    This will create a row of stitch marks for you. If you need to carry on the row to make it longer, overlap the teeth by 5 or 6 as this will immediately place the iron into the correct place to ensure the line of marks will be straight.

    Here is a picture of the line I just created with a ruler to show that its straight. I didn't create a line for the pricking irons to level up on, this was done freehand.

    As I said, the wider pricking irons can be used to go around corners. This is done by using a technique called "heeling" where the iron is slanted so just one or two teeth touch the leather.

    You hit the top of the pricking iron, create one or two more tooth marks then move the iron so the single tooth you are using sits in the last mark created.

    The angle you need to have the pricking iron set at depends on how tight a curve you are marking. One thing to be aware of though when working very tight curves is the potential for overmarking. This can cause extra unwanted marks on the leather.

    So, the same wide pricking iron can be used to create things like the straight line here as well as the curved lines.

    Just a point to remember, pricking irons are not used to go ALL the way through the leather, they are simply to mark the place you need to make your hole with your awl

    I hope this helps those of you who might have pricking irons bought in bulk loads of tools from ebay but who dont know what to do with them!

    Last edited by Tiffers; 14-04-06 at 11:48 PM.
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