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Thread: Tiffers Tips!

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    Tiffers Tips!

    I said TIPS gentlemen, TIPS!!

    Right, I know I am not the only one on here with leatherwork experience but I do seem to be getting asked one or two leatherwork questions every so often. I thought it might be a good way to keep these questions and answers together as well as me adding other tips when I think of them.

    So, feel free to ask questions here and all you other experienced people, feel free to add your thoughts too! My knowledge is by no means the be-all and end-all of leatherwork and never will be. I am as likely to learn something from everyone else as you are from me!

    Tiffers

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    Re: Tiffers Tips!

    Made sticky!

    & speaking of which, what glue do you use for sticking leather (brand name?) & how is it applied/used?
    Eric & proud!

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    Re: Tiffers Tips!

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin KC
    Made sticky!

    & speaking of which, what glue do you use for sticking leather (brand name?) & how is it applied/used?

    Evostick Impact adhesive, the liquid one which involves glueing both sides then giving it a few minutes before putting them together.

    Or, the own brand impact adhesive liquid from Wicks DIY stores.

    I must add that I dont glue stuff if I can help it and both sheaths I have made recently were made without glue I think though that experience might play a part with keeping stuff in place!

    Tiffers
    Last edited by Tiffers; 26-04-05 at 08:21 PM. Reason: Removing some of the superflous "thoughs"!

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    Re: Tiffers Tips!

    Tools.........Rapidboy asked in a different thread about what tools are needed to make a sheath. If you look at any task in a step by step function its easy to work out the tools. So, to make a sheath you need to mark the leather, cut the leather, prepare for stitching, stitch then form the sheath. Easy!

    For marking out your pattern onto the leather some people use red pen (As mentioned somewhere by PS_Bond, the red dye is easy to cover with most dyes). Another option is to use a biro which has run out. This doesnít mark the leather with ink, simply presses your pattern into the leather for your knife to follow. Using this method means there isnít any chance of you putting ink where it isnít supposed to go! A mistake I made once when making a leather bodice.

    For cutting the leather, a decent sharp knife will do but you will need to be able to cut through the thickness of leather in a controlled fashion. A single head knife or a round knife from someone like BOWSTOCK will make your life much easier if you intend to do much leatherwork. Not only can you use it for cutting out the leather in the first place, you can also use it to skive (thin down) sections as you need to.

    Preparing the leather for stitching involves creating a line for your stitch marks to follow then marking them. A pair of dividers can mark the line you want then could also double up to mark each stitch. Ideally you should mark the stitches using either a pricking wheel or (preferably) a pricking iron. Again, Bowstock can help with those. How fine you stitch your sheath is completely up to you. Some people say that if you use too many stitches to the inch then you run the risk of it falling apart as the stitch holes act like perforations on a bit of card. My experience is that this happens with machine stitching in general but not hand stitching, possibly because the hand stitching is less traumatic to the leather fibres.

    The reason you should use a pricking iron is due to the slant of the mark it leaves. Itís designed to work with the diamond section of the awl blades and encourages your thread to fall into a slightly slanted position. Pricking irons are not designed to go through the whole thickness of the leather, but simply to mark the top surface as a guide. If you use a nylon or wooden headed mallet it saves wear and tear on the pricking iron.

    To hand stitch the leather you need some needles and thread, beeswax to run the thread across (this helps protect it from water as well as causing it to lock inside the leather hole), an awl with a suitably sized blade and possibly a pair of small pliers. You also need something to hold your work in such as a pair of seat clams or full size clams. Bowstock do full sized clams while I think you can get seat clams from Tandys in the USA. Alternatively, you can make them; I will post a picture of some later with a few measurements.

    Usually when you buy an awl, you choose the blade then the handle and put the two together. A good sized awl blade to go for would be 2.5" or 2.25" as this gives you plenty of blade to have as the tang. The best way of setting a blade into a handle is to use a couple of pennies to hold the blade in your vice then to tap the handle down onto the point which is left more unfinished. If you set the blade so that the entire section showing above the pennies is to be set into the handle then you can use them as a guide.

    For forming the sheath, you can use virtually anything which has a smooth hard edge. An old fashioned butter knife with a bone or false bone handle or a proper plastic tool such as Brisa sells. Either of them works well. If you do get the plastic tool it might be worth just taking off the burr you get from the forming as it can cut your leather.

    There are other odd items which can help make your life easier, glue, tacks (fine tingle tacks), a marble block to provide a firm and flat base for when you are marking the stitches but they are all added extras and not strictly necessary.

    Hope I didnít lose you in all that waffle!

    Tiffers

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    Re: Tiffers Tips!

    Just thought I ought to say a big thank you to Tiffers! I've been pestering her with questions about sheathmaking and really appreciate her advice.

    Make yourself an honest man, and then you may be sure there is one less rascal in the world. ~Thomas Carlyle

    मम कुटुंबाय

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    Re: Tiffers Tips!

    Ooh, forgot to mention about threads. Most leatherwork threads are numbered such as 18/3 or 18/4 or 25/4. Basically, the larger the biggest number, the thinner the thread while the larger the small number, the more cords make up each thread.

    To explain a bit more.......

    A thread which was 18/3 (or 3/18, sometimes its written the other way around) is made up of 3 cords which each have a thickness rating of 18.

    I would say that for fine work on a sheath, a 18/3 thickness linen thread would be good while for something a bit heavier, a 18/4 thread would be about right.

    If you get balls of flax cord then you are buying a single cord thickness and in order to use it, you have to twist it with 2 or 3 other cords in order to make something which is usable. I will write up how to do that later if you want Its nice being able to say you have something stitched with a hand made thread

    Tiffers

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    Re: Tiffers Tips!

    Quote Originally Posted by Isshogai
    Just thought I ought to say a big thank you to Tiffers! I've been pestering her with questions about sheathmaking and really appreciate her advice.

    I love being able to help so dont worry, its a pleasure!



    Tiffers

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    Re: Tiffers Tips!

    ...So this is a sticky THREAD? Leather us all give her a hand!!
    Seriously, thanks to Tiffers, and even though I do not use leather for sheaths, I will make belts etc, so I am eagerly anticipating pearls of wisdom..
    ...previously known as zackerty...alive and well and living at http://edgematters.uk/

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    Re: Tiffers Tips!

    Oooh, what sort of belts do you intend making Zackery? Ones with press studs on the fold by the buckle or do you intend stitching them? Or how about a stitched loop for the belt to fold back through to keep the buckle in place?



    Tiffers

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    Re: Tiffers Tips!

    Yes!

    Tips oot fo' th' Lads!

    I usually glue bits together with the impact adhesive (Bostick, or a supermarket own-brand) so the pieces stay in place while I sew. Maybe when I get that clamp sort of thing on a stick, I'll not need to use so much glue.

    I set my awl blade in a 2" long section of beech dowel, and stick it into a wine cork to protect it when I throw it in my leatherwork bag.

    Can you explain about setting eyelets, Tiffers?

    I find that they tend to split, if you know what I mean... You have a tube with a flared end, the other end is supposed to be flared by the die (I use setting pliers). But I find that the end isn't properly formed, and splits as it is curled over.

    Are my eyelets too long, or too short, for the thickness of leather I'm working?


    Keith.

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    Re: Tiffers Tips!

    Tiffers, aluminium interscrews actually..the same as these on this sheath...

    ...previously known as zackerty...alive and well and living at http://edgematters.uk/

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    Re: Tiffers Tips!

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiffers
    Most leatherwork threads are numbered such as 18/3 or 18/4 or 25/4. Basically, the larger the biggest number, the thinner the thread
    Same as wire gauge... higher number == smaller diameter.

    16 gauge is 0.0625" (IIRC)

    Or like shotgun bores (10 bore is a bigger diameter than 12 bore).

    I suspect that there is some relationship to the weight of a bundle of wires of gauge n ofa certain length...

    Is a thread marked 25/4 four threads of 25 gauge, or four threads for a total of 25 gauge?

    Keith.

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    Re: Tiffers Tips!

    A recent tip I picked up but haven't tried is to use waxed dacron bowstring for stitching leather. B50 dacron is very readily available from archery suppliers in black, white and other colors. It's cheap and durable if you want a synthetic thread.

    PS - sorry if I'm hijacking, you can't blame Tiffers for this one
    Not mean, not mad !

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    Re: Tiffers Tips!

    Good idea Alick... I have tried Lubex 60, triple layered, and it is a good alternative.
    ...previously known as zackerty...alive and well and living at http://edgematters.uk/

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    Re: Tiffers Tips!

    Quote Originally Posted by Alick
    A recent tip I picked up but haven't tried is to use waxed dacron bowstring for stitching leather. B50 dacron is very readily available from archery suppliers in black, white and other colors. It's cheap and durable if you want a synthetic thread.

    PS - sorry if I'm hijacking, you can't blame Tiffers for this one
    I wonder if fishing line would be as good. I think that some is made of Dacron, and some of the thermo-fused plaited threads are very strong.

    I got some green, but I think that you can also get red and fluorescent yellow for night fishing.

    Keith.

 

 

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