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Thread: Leather craft tools

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    Leather craft tools

    Say a person wanted to get into basic leather crafting and maybe make a belt to hold up his britches and possibly a holster or two
    And lets say that fellow wasn't looking to do any fancy details.
    Just basic finished work with some stitching .
    This fellow also needs to keep the budget as slim as possible , but doesn't want crap tools So he would rather work with less tools then try to make junk work .

    What would that fellow need

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    monadnock#5's Avatar
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    Start out with The Art of Leather Sewing by Al Stohlman. It'll be informative on tools and processes, and is an easy read.
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  3. #3
    Boolit Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
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    Check out the Tandy Co. they're sort of the 900 pound gorilla for leather stuff and crafts with it.
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  4. #4
    Boolit Master Kev18's Avatar
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    Honestly, I've been doing leather stuff for quite sometime and buy my stuff at Tandy. But recently for fun I ordered off of Amazon a leather beginner kit... Litteraly has everything. A bunch of thread, a tool to cut grooves, awl, needles, Everything. I paid it less then 20$. Honestly probably one of my best buys and I have all the expensove gadgets, and this is more worth it for a weekend leather worker. I just made a holster for my 1858 rem for fun. And I used the tools... Works just fine. I'm not saying id make an entire saddle with this stuff but for me it's just enough. I really recommend it.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master


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    I am in the same boat. I watched another YouTube video this morning. I would watch a bunch from different folks and see how others do things and go from there. Might be surprised how much stuff you already have. Good luck.

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master

    Wayne Smith's Avatar
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    What hobbies do you already have? What tools? For instance I do woodwork and made myself a sewing horse with some of my scrap wood. Your thread of choice, two solid needles, a way to locate your holes, a way to punch the holes, and some way (e.g. sewing horse) to hold the work while you work the two needles and you are doing a saddle stitch. I could make an awl to punch holes and bought a couple different ways to locate holes.
    Wayne the Shrink

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  7. #7
    Boolit Master

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    Another good book which has a different approach to sewing than Stohlman is Recreating the 18th Century Hunting Pouch by T.C. Albert. This book also has several patterns for different pouches in the back of the book. The biggest difference is where Stohlman utilizes a stitching horse or stitching pony to hold the work you are sewing where Albert's book has you using a lap board for making your holes.

    A different source of information are the videos by Nigel Armitage. If you go over to Leatherworker.net you should be able to find some links to his videos on their Sewing sub-forum.
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  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kev18 View Post
    Honestly, I've been doing leather stuff for quite sometime and buy my stuff at Tandy. But recently for fun I ordered off of Amazon a leather beginner kit... Litteraly has everything. A bunch of thread, a tool to cut grooves, awl, needles, Everything. I paid it less then 20$. Honestly probably one of my best buys and I have all the expensove gadgets, and this is more worth it for a weekend leather worker. I just made a holster for my 1858 rem for fun. And I used the tools... Works just fine. I'm not saying id make an entire saddle with this stuff but for me it's just enough. I really recommend it.
    VERY good advice! If you are a Veteran, Tandy has a discount program that matches their sale prices every day. However, DON'T keep your tools all together in a dark place...they multiply like rabbits! That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!
    IT IS A FINE AND PLEASANT MADNESS !

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy
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    Kev18
    Do you maybe have a link to the kit you bought ( or one similar )

    I really don't need more then the very basics , I get the cast off my leg in two weeks And then it'll be anywhere from 10-21 days before I'm allowed back to work .
    So I'm just looking for something to keep the hands busy And maybe have some fun while making something useful .

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    I just ordered the amazon kit and watched a few youtube videos to learn while it got here. besides the kit I had to order a few things, like dye, neatsfoot oil, sno seal which is pretty much beeswax, leather of course, contact cement, maybe something else I cant remember. I found it fun and easy to learn, your results are just based on how well you design and take your time making it. i made holsters and sheaths not belts but i think the hardest part was establishing an order of operations.

    id watch this video --> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ke7Q...L&index=7&t=0s
    and look at this --> http://beebeknives.com/html/make_a_sheath_tutorial.html

    make a list of every step. then adapt the list for what your project needs, its most of the same steps no matter what your making. id recommend getting stamps too because its really very little work and looks far better than plain. even just a border stamp looks great

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    I got the 35 dollar kit that comes with stamps. the cheaper ones seem fine but I feel id want/need the hammer in multi pronged hole puncher and the round corner bevel cutter and line drawing attachment for the groover that come in the 35 one. those make it much easier to get a good product because it basically makes the "lines" of the final product and how good it looks is very dependant on how even those look.

    but I managed to make this as a rookie with the amazon kit and learning by the info I linkedClick image for larger version. 

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  12. #12
    Boolit Master Kev18's Avatar
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    Here's the link. If this isnt worth it... I dont know what is. It comes in a little cardboard box.
    https://www.amazon.com/Electop-Leath...+t%2Caps%2C148

  13. #13
    Boolit Master brewer12345's Avatar
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    Start with a belt. Buy a belt blank to get started simply. You will need a hole punch, needles, waxed thread, some dye (antiques are pretty and forgiving), a finish (resolene is good), a buckle (you may already have one you like), and stamps/hammer if you want to stamp designs in the leather. I have found I am not a visually inclined person, so I struggle with the stamping. You can also get smaller pieces of leather to make things free form, but then you will need a way to cut the leather. A groover is a really nice thing to have for stuff like belts because it keeps your holes/stitching in a neat line.

    The nice thing about learning to do this stuff is you can make exactly what you want. I decided it would be really nice to have a ball bag for muzzleloading. I made teardrop shaped bags with stoppers made from a piece of shed antler attached with a short length of rawhide. Simple, a good way to hone my skills, and a really useful item at the range and in the field.
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  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    I buy my leather from Tandy. I use a needle and waxed nylon thread (sometimes synthetic sinew), glue to tack the particular work in place and a drill press to place the holes for sewing. One handy gizmo is a star wheel to imprint an even spacing for the use of the drill press. Sew along the length of your work and then double back to alternate the path of the thread. A little practice and it'll look pretty good. I usually make a pattern from newspaper, or the like, to flesh out ideas and find the stuff I didn't think about. It's really not that hard, but there is a learning curve involved. Good luck.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Been thinking about doing some small leather work at home to keep both the hands active as well as the brain. Gotta keep those three remaining brain cells going. Already have the speedy sticher with an assortment of thread. Maybe make a small holster for my J frame.Thanks for the tips. Frank

  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy
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    I went ahead and ordered the $ 35 kit , what's a few extra bucks
    I'm not exactly the artsy type but if I can get neat stitching and decent edges I'll be pretty happy .
    If I can't , well that's ok to . If you don't try you'll never know .
    Half as nice as bmortell's holster would suit me fine .

  17. #17
    Boolit Master

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    I have almost purchased a boot stitching machine several times and for a hobby can't get over the cash outlay for a serious mahine for stitching holsters and 2x belts.

    If ya want to have great hand stitching, go to Armitage Leather on Utube and view his saddle stitching vids. Also, you will need a stitching horse, Tiger thread in .8 or 1.0 and some Tandy 3.5mm stitching irons, medium needles, and a chunch of 50/50 bees wax and parafin.

    Trust me, I struggled for 3 years trying to go without a stitching horse/clam and made life rough on myself. Make one yourself (plans on the interweb), buy one from tandy on sale (usually 2x per year) or someone who makes them for sale (google).

  18. #18
    I have bought a couple belt blanks from Tandy. One was pre tooled, and the other a straight blank. I dyed one of the blanks, and when I thought I didn't like the colour I washed the blank in my washing machine. Well, the colour came out, but so did the starch that made the blank so nice and stiff in the first place. So now I have a nice soft belt for working around the farm, and a nice stiff belt for work.
    That being said, I will buy more blanks as needed, and I buy a fair bit when I stop off at the store.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master Bazoo's Avatar
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    You don't need a special knife for cutting or awl for the holes. All you need is a razor knife, a drill and 1/16 twist bit, some artificial sinew and 2 needles. You don't need a stitching pony, or a stitch wheel for spacing, or a groover. All you really need is the desire and a little bit of patience.

    Here is a holster I made with nothing but my knife and drill for the holes. I glued it with tacky glue from the hobby lobby or walmart. http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...Holster-I-made

  20. #20
    Boolit Bub
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    My Marlin 450 was getting muddy on my wheeler so I wanted a sheath. $$$$
    Got some saddle leather from Tandy, and folded it over and double saddle stitched it.
    Discovered a dremel with a burr bit would go through two layers of that thick stuff as fast as it would punch my fingers. Mark it with a star wheel, sew it up, and drown it in neatsfoot. Made a cap for the big end, sewed on straps to lash to the wheeler.
    Mud rinses right off. Never did figure out pictures, here. Leather is fun.

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