Latest project and a question for the leather guys

Discussion in 'Self-made Gear' started by ctovey, Mar 3, 2013.

  1. ctovey

    ctovey Scout

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    So after watching Beo-wulf's sheath making videos (which I totally recommend to anyone thinking about getting into leather work) I decided to make a sheath for my shiv. Its not my first but its the first I'm really pleased with.

    uploadfromtaptalk1362366115532.jpg

    uploadfromtaptalk1362366161326.jpg

    And on to the question. I used a overstitch wheel and groover and the stitching come out clean on the front. However the back has a bit of a Frankenstein look to it. Any tips on getting the holes punched straight, or is this just something that takes practice?

    uploadfromtaptalk1362366715032.jpg
     
  2. Rubberducky

    Rubberducky Supporter Supporter

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    Im no expert but, it looks like when you punched your stitching holes in you leather it ended a bit crooked on the back, that is why they are lined up in the front and not the back. Depending on what process you used to could give an answer to the result but you most likely just need some practice is all. You did a great job either way and should be proud.
     
  3. 2stoves

    2stoves Scout Bushclass I

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    I was having same issue with my stitching. Front would look good, back sucked. I used the overstitch wheel, dampened the leather, and even used a groove. What finally helped me was using a drill press device with my dremel. It helped me get the holes straight and even through all the layers. It is called a Dremel Workstation.

    http://www.casa.com/p/dremel-220-01...102711&utm_content=pla&adtype=pla&cagpspn=pla

    Obviously a regular drill press would be great but I have no room for one so this works great for my leatherwork.
     
  4. HardBall

    HardBall What just happened? Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Yep, I have similar issues using a handheld cordless drill. I'm thinking drill press is the way to go.
     
  5. clanmaki

    clanmaki Guide

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    To be honest I prefer the handmade look. The stitching may be a little crooked on the back but that tells me it was done by hand and with that in mind i am blown away by the work involved! your stitching holes are really even and consistant! So over all you can see a lot of detail, care and time involved which speaks of quality and craftsmanship. Impressive Job!
     
  6. Vantramp

    Vantramp Scout

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    Your sheath looks good, you should be pleased :)

    I usually do mine with a foredom(flexshaft) to drill the holes(on thick material) but it isn't any better than the dremel without a guide of some sort. Mainly it is something that you get better at with practice, like everything else. Muscle memory takes over and now I don't even have to think a lot about it. I haven't gotten to the point where I will do a backside groove before drilling/punching though. I always do one after.

    A drill press attachment is good idea, but I agree with Clanmaki about the handmade look. It does add something more IMO.

    -Mike
     
  7. Paul Foreman

    Paul Foreman Supporter Supporter

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    well done ...
     
  8. ashman

    ashman Scout

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    Glad I am not the only one that can't punch straight holes. :) I think it looks great!
     
  9. 1066vik

    1066vik Guide

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    I took a 6p finish nail, chucked it into my drill press, turned on the drill press, and sharpened it to a needle point with file and sandpaper -- this punches cleaner and straighter holes than I was ever able to get with a 1/16" drill bit and because I'm not actually removing leather, the holes close up after I'm done sewing and the leather dries -- which makes for a tighter, more sturdy sheath.
     
  10. ohski

    ohski Guide

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    I punched all my holes (both sides) prior to bending the leather in half and stiching... I use a 4 prong punch and use the last hole of the first punch to keep them even spaced. So after punching the first 4 holes I'm just punching 3. If you start at the same point on both sides it all lines up very well.

    I got most of my pointers from J... he did a tutorial about a year ago.

    Ski
     
  11. Yankeewoodsman

    Yankeewoodsman Scout

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    I do the same thing. I'll groove the stitch line and use the same punch method. If I have to freehand a line, like the curve you have, I'll use the pattern and mark holes along with an awl, then punch the first hole through both pieces and hold it together with half a toothpick. I can then usually get consistently straight lines. If the leather is particularly thick, I'll use the toothpicks in various areas to hold the pieces flush then proceed. Works for me until I can make a proper stitching vise.
     
  12. ctovey

    ctovey Scout

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    Thanks everyone for the replies! I did all this sitting on front of my drill press and cant believe I didn't think to use it. Did a little practice with a stitching awl in the chuck and it is definitely the way to go.
     
  13. ezra45

    ezra45 Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    I ended up getting a miniature drill press off ebay for less than a hundred bucks and use a tiny drill wire-size. I drill after using the groover and wheel. Additionally, I noticed that when drilling both sides at once, the leather tended to slant towards the edge a bit making the holes on the back side closer to the edge than the front. I remedied that by placing a thin strip of wood under the back edge against the drill press plate which made the leather more parallel with the plate. Now my holes are the same distance from the edge, front and back, more or less.

    Regards,

    ezra

    Edit: press is like this:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/MINI-DRILL-...986?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2c5fd4fd2a
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2013
  14. Silver John

    Silver John Tracker

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    Most of the time I use a stitching pony to hold the leather vertical.
    Then I punch holes with a diamond shaped awl.
    I use double needles and hand stitch.

    The stitching pony holds the work at chest level and you hold the awl level (horizontal) to cut the holes.

    If I have a thick welt that is too much work with the awl then I use a drill press with a drill bit that has been sharpened to a point and polished.
    The point on the drill bit keeps the bit from drifting while drilling the leather. Hence a straight row of holes on the back of the piece.

    Hope this helps.
     
  15. vakman

    vakman Scout

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    A sharpened point on the drill bit is an excellent idea, thanks.
     
  16. Hiwa

    Hiwa Guide

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    I hardly use the stitching wheel. Stitching prong ( 4 tine and I tine for curves) only. I drill my holes with a dremel and 1/32" drill bit which fits the appropriate smaller dremel collet. Stitch groove on both sides the same , mark holes with prong on face , and drill through carefully trying to align with the groove on the back. Then I saddle stitch by hand. The speedy stitcher sucks for sheaths ,Imo but is good for canvas repairs.

    The stitching wheel is good to push your thread line down after you've stitched it , but as long as you pull your thread tight at each stitch it's usually not needed.

    On bushcraft sheaths where you have the J-shaped inside stitch line , I use a coffee can or some such and a freehand groover to mark it on the face only ( very difficult to mark the same location on the back , so I skip it and just drill through the front.)

    A couple of my first ones , about 3 years ago:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2013
  17. KS49

    KS49 Scout

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    I use a cordless dremel and a 5/64 drill bit . The slightly larger hole helps with the saddle stiching. I also use a pair of 2.0 reading (magnifying) glasses to help see the work. Also, invest in a marking wheel, I use a 5/ inch disc and the dimples help guide the drill bit. Finally, I use a straight edge so I roll the wheel in a nice straight line. I freehand around curves, but use the marking wheel fork edge as a visual guide to help hold a 1/8" edge distance. Hope this helps.

    Ken

    PS- for inner and outer holes on a curve, I will often use a 6/inch for the inner radius holes to compensate for the shortening. And I always count the holes before I drill to make sure it all matches up.
     
  18. Lerch

    Lerch Bushmaster Bushclass I

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    That turned out pretty good. I really like the shape.

    That's what I've been doing as well the J leather tutorial is a good one.
     
  19. MiddleWolf

    MiddleWolf Guide

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    Use rubber cement to glue the edges together before punching holes (on 1 side of the leather only for a temporary hold ) so you can open it again if need be. Let it get tacky before putting both surfaces together. To be more permanent you cover both surfaces with glue and let get tacky before sticking together. Having the edges of the front and back glued together means that what hole pattern you see on one side should be identical on the other.

    After it sets up a little you can work it without the edges moving on each other. And if you think you're going to do a bunch of stuff, consider a Dremel Tool for actually drilling the holes in leather that's thick enough to give your hands some workout. Just use one of their small bits and put a piece of soft wood underneath so you can push all the way through to get a clean hole. I use it all the time. If you don't mind I've included a picture of some of my work and most of them are done this way.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2013
  20. Lucky44

    Lucky44 Tracker

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    I use a cordless Dremmel also. I find that on some designs I drill the front side then fold it over and mark the back side to make sure the design has not wandered, then drill the back. It works very well with thicker leather as there is less chance to drill crooked through a single piece as opposed to the full thickness. I also use a groover tool so my stitches set below the leather to prevent wear when ever possible. Sometimes it is a freehand job but I think it helps.
     
  21. ctovey

    ctovey Scout

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    Thanks for all the replies everyone, very helpful info. Now I need a new knife to make a new sheath for... oh darn
     
  22. caladin

    caladin Tinder Gatherer

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    drill press

    You can put sharp leather needles like from a sewing awl, into the chuck of the drill press and use the
    cam action of the handle to push it through the leather without even turning the drill on... does the same thing.

    Cal-
     
  23. RandallFlagg

    RandallFlagg Scout

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    I had the same problem in the beginning. i use an overstitch wheel and i slowly map the hole placement down one side then the other side im going to stitch. I make sure i start from same spot other side. i then use an icepick and poke through each and every spot for the hole. i've seen 4 prong punchers for same use just a line drawn or a groove down first then punch the four holes and then using the last hole as the first you then punch three holes over and over on both sides you plan to stitch. then of course fold it to match the holes and sew.
     
  24. Jandar

    Jandar Tracker

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    hell, you did a great job for the first time, second sheath will be near to perfect..
     
  25. Silver John

    Silver John Tracker

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    When drilling holes use a drill bit that has been modified as follows.
    Using a grinding wheel, Dremel stone wheel or belt sander put a sharp point on the drill bit and the bit will not drift during the drilling process.
    After grinding the point fine sand and polish it.
    To keep the point centered on the bit during grinding, sanding, and polishing chuck the bit in a hand drill. Then keep bit turning while grinding, sanding, and polishing.

    It takes about 10 minutes to modify your bit. Most of the time is spent getting the tools out and puting them away.

    When drilling holes with the modified bit the point will keep the bit from drifting in the leather.

    I hope this helps. Keep on stitching. -Silver John_
     

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