Rick, per your request.
I was hoping that some of you fine sheathmakers could post pictures of the reverse side(I refained from requesting pics of your "backsides" for good reason) of your machine stitched leather goods. My fingers aren't going to get any younger and I have looked into machines(Tippman, Cobra, Artisan, etc...) but have reservations about the look of the opposite side of the stitch. I am also concerned about the pressure foot tracks I've seen on so many machine sewn sheaths. I realize that has alot to do with set up and experience... I'm just curious about what makers are able to do with these infernal contraptions
Hope you don't mind that it's not a sheath......
Thanks a lot guys. Those lines are nice and straight. Do you think it is possible to run a grooving tool on the reverse side prior to stitching with a machine? I make a lot of ambidextrous sheaths and have been working really hard to get the same quality of finish on both sides of the sheath. That, and I want the thread to sit below the surface of the leather.
Paul... Matt Bailey has a thread in Shop Talk about a Cobra Type 3 machine that he just ordered on your recommendation. I am very excited for him and it rekindled my interest in looking for one that can do what I need.
I appreciate the replies.
Last edited by Rick Marchand; 10-31-2012 at 08:48 AM.
Rick, grooving the front is a common practice for machine stitching, although I don't do it very often..most machines include an edge guide and it will be very helpful for that.
Rick, the machine stitch will always look a little different on the back side, but if you look at Rayban's photo I'm sure you will agree that he has his machine adjusted to provide the very best looking back side imaginable. The machine marks you refer to, can and will be minimized in the edge finishing operation, assuming you do take time to properly finish your edges.
Any of the 441 Clone machines can and will do a fine job. My choice is Cobra because of the guys running the company and their record of quality and customer service, based on about 10 years of experience with them. I'm sure you can get similar endorsements from other guys about other 441 clone machines (Artisan, Cowboy etc.)
The Tippman is also a very good beginner machine, but the cost of a new Tippman is sufficiently high as to cause one to stop and consider that a motorized machine is not all that much more and the likelyhood of trading up from a Tippman in the future is very real.
By the way I bought a new Cobra 4 about the first of October and I like it very much. Currently using it beside the Artisan 4000 and the results are identical, except the Cobra does include state of the art upgrades not present on the Artisan.
Last edited by sheathmaker; 10-31-2012 at 10:03 PM.
Thanks, Rayban... I was talking about grooving the backside of the sheath as well. I do think the reverse side of your(and Paul's) stitch looks nice and clean... it is just not what I am looking for. Paul makes very good points for stepping up to a motorized machine from the get-go.
It must be wrong for me to think that I can get the hand stitched look from a machine... if it were possible, you fine gentleman would know. Most of my sheaths look the same and have all the typical flaws involved with the learning curve of hand working. I was hoping that the "right" machine could make things easier, faster and cleaner while still achieving the same look. I guess I just need to keep doing what I'm doing for the time being, until I smarten up.
I'm glad that the two of you replied to this thread, as I admire both of your work and were the first I thought of when considering machines.
I believe it's safe to say that for machine stitching to look the same on both sides is impossible, because the action required to pass the thread through the work is different from opposite sides, whereas in saddle stitching, the action is the same from both sides.
Rick, I have handstitched for over 20 years,and I own a Cobra 4. I Groove the front side on my projects and have tried gooving the backside. Its very easy for the needle to deflect a tiny bit or your angle changes slightly and BAM your out of the back groove and it looks ugly. The photos posted above are as good as it gets when machine sewing. I wil say the the front of a properly adjusted sewing machine looks fantastic and its way faster. I still handstitch some of my stuff. Richard
Thanks to all. This is a great thread.
I love the look of hand stitching but after the last couple of years I am pretty worn out on doing it every day and I still have a couple decades left of work in me. Researching I have settled on the Cobra 4 in the very near future. Just the sheer time savings alone makes it worth the cost.
I have a Tippmann, It's what I use for making holes for hand stitching, I'm told that is a near criminal waste of the machine. When actually sewing with it, well it is a very finicky machine in my experience and I spend as much time sewing as I do fiddling with its adjustments.
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