[ 3 / biz / cgl / ck / diy / fa / g / ic / jp / lit / sci / tg / vr ] [ index / top / reports / report a bug ] [ 4plebs / archived.moe / rbt ]

Maintenance is complete! We got more disk space.
Become a Patron!

/diy/ - Do-It-Yourself

View post   

[ Toggle deleted replies ]
File: 112 KB, 825x510, bigstock-Leather.jpg [View same] [iqdb] [saucenao] [google] [report]
1681099 No.1681099 [Reply] [Original] [archived.moe]

I want to get into leather working. I already messed around with a few crappy projects, simple pouches and the like, but I only got a few needles and thread for now. Any leather anons here that can tell me what tools I should at least have to go any further?
I'm not sure I want to fork over 60 bucks for a three piece starter set, but I don't really trust amazon's china stuff, either.

All other tips for beginners are also welcome, of course.

>> No.1681104

Forgot to mention, the leather I'm planning to work with is soft leather and hard leather up to 3mm.

>> No.1681331

Bump for interest. I've learned to tan but never to do anything, I just sell it.

>> No.1681333

You can buy those cheap Chinese kits that comes with a bunch of stuff and replacing them with good parts once they start breaking from use.

>> No.1681336

What kind of leather work are you talking about anon? What do you want to make?

A swivel knife is a terrific tool for many things, as is a punch. Beyond that it kind of depends on what you are doing.

I don't know if Tandy Leather stores still exist, but if they do look into them.

>> No.1681388
File: 216 KB, 865x1200, 1923-Aug-23-Hardware-Age-The-Easiest-Line[1].jpg [View same] [iqdb] [saucenao] [google] [report]

>Want to make a leather apron for woodworking (mostly hand tools)
>No idea what I am doing
>Buy a big-ass roll of leather at a flea market
>Find a pair of big, old, all-metal scissors at a thrift store and sharpen the ever-living fuck out of them
>Cut the leather into the shape I need and reinforce the edges with an extra layer of leather because they started curling up on me
>Used an awl to make the holes and just stitched it together with dental floss
>Use some rope for the neck loop and the waist tie
>Shit man, this thing is heavy as fuck

So, yeah, according to a family friend I bought moose leather. Didn't even know that was a thing. The seller probably didn't know it either cause I paid $30 for a roll that was 4 feet long and 3 feet wide. When he heard I cut it with scissors he thought I was joking. Apparently old Wiss shears are quite good, especially when you sharpen them like a plane iron and don't know their are better ways to do it. It was too heavy for me to work in so I sold it to a bro who does welding and forging. He quite likes it but the dental floss gave out pretty quickly in the heat so he restitched it.

>> No.1681422

>What kind of leather work are you talking about anon? What do you want to make?
Small stuff for now, sheaths, bags, pouches that look less crappy. Maybe some gloves or other small clothing once I know what I'm doing.

Incidentally, what's the best way to get a clean and even seam on soft leather?

>> No.1681460

tandy leather still exists...

and for their 100th anniversary all of their books , patterns, design sheets, etc. in their library are all free...just kind of a PITA to put them in the cart "pay" for them then download them, while having to copypasta each title for the DL....but the books alone are worth it...much less the patterns.

>> No.1681586

Part 1:

Ok I don't have my tool box in front of me, but I'll try to list off what I can from memory. This is ENTIRELY dependent on how deep you want to go into the hobby. I have a huge tool set for for leather work but a lot of them are pretty specialized and don't get used often. There's a core group of tools that'll I'll pretty much use on every project

Ok so to begin with, you'll need to get your leather cut out of your stock sheet. That will require either some really sharp scissors, tin snips, a rolling cutter (basically a pizza cutter) or my favorite, a utility knife that takes disposable blades. I especially like to make a shallow cut with a straight blade and then switch to a hook blade (the type they use to cut shingles) to finish it off. That's for pretty thick leather though.

You'll also need a good stiff straight edge, and perhaps other stiff shaped edges you can trace. My favorite is a carpenter's square so I can do fairly long straight lines and also 90deg corners. I also have a collection of round objects I can trace circles and radii with.

If I'm making something complicated I make a cardboard or heavy paper template first. A scratch awl or heavy needle will let you "draw" or trace the template but you can't erase it. Pencil or pen you can rub off may be better.

After you have your shape cut out, you need to stitch it. There are a ton of ways to do this but I highly recommend punching holes in the leather BEFORE trying to stitch it. This will help you keep your stitching even and keep from breaking needles. You can stitch thin leather by just pushing your needle through it but I find that tires out my hands and results in shoddy looking stitching. Good even stitching in leather work contributes greatly to it's aesthetic quality.

>> No.1681592

Part 2:
So for making stitching holes: there are lots of ways to go about it. I use manufactured steel awls that you hammer through leather on a small anvil. They come as a set and look like forks with diamond shaped tips. The set includes awls with 1, 2, 3 and 5 tips. The more tips, the harder to push through, but they keep your stitch line straight. You can also just use a single tipped awl and eyeball it but I like the professional look.

Once you have your holes made, you just need a couple of needles and thread to stitch. I use a saddle stitch because it is super strong and it can't be done by machine. There's tons of tutorials and videos online for how to do that.

Finally, to finish a product you'll need to be able to dress and polish the edge. This is assuming you're using stiff veg tan leather that has a noticeable edge. If you're using chrome tan leather you probably don't need this. Just like nice even stitching, a well dressed edge greatly improves the aesthetic and tactile quality of your project. Depending on the thickness of your project, you may need a edge beveling tool to give yourself a good starting point. This takes off the "corners" of your edge and takes it from a square shape to a trapezoidal shape. If your leather is thin you don't need this. Once the edge is prepped you need an edge polisher/burnisher and a polishing compound. Some people use water, or special burnishing products you can buy. I just use saddle soap because it works great and it's multi purpose for leather work anyways.

Like I said before, this is entirely dependent upon how deep you want to go, how much money you want to invest into the hobby and how much space you have for tools. Hope this helps, and keep in mind this is just off the top of my head. There are tons of other tools I'm leaving out.

>> No.1682413

Thanks for this, I'll get an awl for now and practice stitching, and maybe a chisel set when I tackle the harder leather.

>> No.1682577

>So for making stitching holes: there are lots of ways to go about it. I use manufactured steel awls that you hammer through leather on a small anvil
ive had very good results with a stitch marker and drill press

>> No.1682749

The guy I primarily learned from on youtube, Ian Atkinson (highly recommend his tutorials) says the same thing. I like the clean diamond shaped wholes I get from my awls but it's really preference.

>> No.1683526

where do you buy leather? is leather off amazon fine? the tandy near me seems to sell only small useless squares for etsy soccer mom shit or full hides that cost $500+

>> No.1683566


I was just going to post that OP should check out this guys site and channel. Very good plus he has a suggested starting tool list. Goldbark leather has some good very basic info.

>> No.1683573


Springfield leather is a good place to start when it comes to buying leather. Rocky Mountain is also good. Buckleguy had a good reputation for hardware like buckles etc.

Tandy for years acquired a reputation for being expensive second rate stuff of inconsistent quality targeted at beginners. They're trying to change now but be warned.

You need a sense of what different leathers are like. Springfield has a channel that gives some good ideas and advice.

Basically there are scraps and hides and not a lot in between. But a single or double shoulder is a decent middle ground that isn't crazy expensive. Also try buying scraps for practice and small projects. Compared to stock in woodworking and metalworking, leather isn't expensive it's just kind of surprising to buy a whole hide at once, vs the value of a little thing you made from it. Cut carefully to get the most out of each hide.

Hides are headed, but they all go through the same process. The grade just refers to the number, size, and location of blemishes like brands, scars, bullet holes, etc. Hence why you can cut a "shit" Craftsman grade piece into two A grade pieces.

This is where Tandy really fucks up. They buy whatever from wherever and then label it in a way that makes it hard to know what you're getting. Then they shift suppliers so even the same shit might be very different if you buy it twice. It's tough on beginners because you get good practicing on one hide and then can't find that kind of hide when you go back to the store even if you buy the exact same thing.

>> No.1683575


Warning: brain dump

First: oil tank vs veg tan. Oil tan uses harsh chemicals to greatly soften the leather so it's more flexible. Good for garments and upholstery. Veg tan takes longer and is more expensive but the leather comes out harder and more suitable for some projects like belts, wallets, pouches, saddles, etc. Also veg tan can be tooled (carved/stamped decoratively).

Different processes can make veg tan softer and oil tan harder, so it depends.

Also, leather can be saturated with oils to produce something more water resistant. The original ideal was "Russian leather" but the process for that was lost in the Revolution (socialists murdered all the village elders, who happened to also be the only ones who knew the process). They found rolls of the stuff at the bottom of the Atlantic from a sunken ship that had gone down more than a century ago. The leather was still in great condition and you could actually buy rolls from the wreck.

A few companies have tried to reinvent the Russian technique but nobody has managed to duplicate it. Other similar techniques produce latigo, English bridal leather, oil-stuffed, etc. None are waterproof, just water resistant.

Thickness is measured in ounces. Thicker cuts are stiffer and stronger, and thin is light and softer. You can split the leather to reduce its thickness, or skive to just shave its thickness down in a few spots for folding or whatever. Top grain or full grain means the leather is solid from the outer skin layer down to whatever target thickness you're buying. Suade or slits are solid pieces that start below surface and are softer and less durable, but sometimes treated to LOOK like top grain. "Bonded" leather, sometimes deceptively branded as "genuine leather" is a layered scrap composite glued together. It's garbage but even big names use bonded; that's why a cheap belt on Etsy is often way better than an expensive retail designer belt.

>> No.1683578


Where on the animal the cut is the next thing. Backs are consistent and stable. Bellies are stretchy and often end up as scrap you can buy. Other parts of the animal are in between. Springfield's catalog has a full explanation and most listings show you visually where the leather comes from on the animal.

So then there's the animal itself. Different leathers behave differently. Mainly people learn with cow because it's plentiful and a very good leather. Other species are a good way to branch out. They tend to be expensive so learn on cow before you start exploring.

Be warned that stuff like alligator skin, pebble, etc are often cow that is embossed with a pattern. Good vendors will declare this but sometimes it's easy to miss the distinction if you don't know to watch for it.

Then comes dying. Many leathers are pre-dyed, especially oil tan. Oil tan often had that pull up effect where the color changes slightly where it stretches. Pull up leather emphasizes that for old timey goodness.

Analine dyed basically means dyed all the way through, which is what you want.

For veg tan, you can dye it yourself (or buy drum dyed). There are different kinds of dye but pretty much everyone says just use fieblings pro. Finish and seal afterwards or the first hint of moisture will fuck your project up and stain everything it touches.

Finishes are a huge topic you'll need to just read/watch.

>> No.1683583


Ok so then you trim. Use a knife for that (a cheap box cutter works).

You can skive with those box cutters but it's a PITA. Safety skives use disposable safety razors. You bought the leather already split to the thickness you wanted, so skiving is just for folding and edges and stuff.

Then you do an edge treatment. A knife will trim the edge and round it off but you need lots of skill and will probably fuck it up at first (expensive since leather is expensive). A beveller solves this problem.

So then you mark your folds and seam lines etc. A pair of dividers and a scratch awl does the job. A groover creaser does it as well including the groove for stitching which those other two can't.

Then you need punches for making holes for belts etc.

Next is for sewing. You do it as a two step process. First drill the holes, then go back with a needle and thread to stitch. A diamond awl drills the holes one at a time. Diamond chisels have lots of points evenly spaced so it looks way more professional. A two point chisel gets you around corners without losing your spacing.

Then you need a needle and thread. Nylon or polyester are best. Linen is best of you're sticking to natural materials. The needle is blunt since you drilled the holes already. Saddle stiching requires two needles so get a bunch.

Edge treatment requires bevelling (see above) and then burnishing with a slicker and either gum tragacanth or beeswax or something. Even water works. Kind of.

Then you finish the leather. Done.

>> No.1683591


Now, for your tool kit.

First, if you're at all serious, just use Ian's suggestions. https://www.ianatkinson.net/leather/toolset.htm You'll lose more money trying to cheap out from ruining good leather than you'll save. A nice leather working toolset is cheap compared to any other DIY.

So seriously just use Ian's list or something similar.

If you HAD to cheap out and don't mind losing expensive leather when you screw up....

A head knife (aka round knife) was the traditional leather workers tool for centuries. It's very tricky to learn and sharpen but it will skive, cut, trim, etc. and substitute for lots of other tools. You can find them at flea markets and eBay for a couple bucks. Get a sharpening stone, too. Failing that, cheap box cutters will kind of do you for most work and are cheaper (at least up front).

Use a pair of dividers for grooving. Buy them used. Also super cheap. Since we're being redneck about it, those dividers and a needle become your loser scratch awl because you're too cheap to spend $5 on a decent one.

Sewing requires thread. Can't weasel out of that one. Needles are cheap so buy a pack. For chisels, get an awl and two prong chisel.

For snaps and grommets and shit, buy cheap Walmart packs that come with a shitty anvil and set. Then use a hammer (easy and cheap to find).

Try to pick a snap that requires the same size hole as you'll use for belts, then buy a punch for that.

Find a thick stick on the ground (or dowel) and cut grooves on one side for edge burnishing. You need beeswax anyway for the thread so that will work for this too. The stick will be your "bone folder" because we're going stupid cheap anyway so why stop now?

So then you're set, all paid for by skipping your happy meal at McDonald's a few times.

It's still stupid to skimp that much. The leather alone (let alone dye and thread) will cost more than even a decent toolkit. So your tools pay for themselves from day one.

Name (leave empty)
Comment (leave empty)
Password [?]Password used for file deletion.