1. BladeForums has ZERO TOLERANCE for extremism or calls of violence. We request your assistance dealing with this as we do not want to see the site shut down due to violent threats. Please see this thread here in Tech Support: https://www.bladeforums.com/threads/bladeforums-has-a-zero-tolerance-policy-towards-threats-of-violence-extremism-be-warned.1769537/

Starting out, confused about a lot of things

Discussion in 'Sheaths & Such' started by Brian.Evans, Aug 5, 2015.

  1. Brian.Evans

    Brian.Evans Registered Member

    Aug 20, 2011
    Due to the divorce I no longer have a shop in which to make knives. It's too long to rehash here, but everything is in my sub-forum. I'm completely retooling for leather, which I can do mostly in an apartment. This might be a little rambling, which I have a tendency to do when I am unsure of anything of a general direction, but please stick with me. Basically, am I on the right track?

    I'm getting ready to buy a double shoulder from Hide House or somewhere else someone recommends, 8/9 oz. I figure this will be a decent weight to begin, and give me options as far as sheaths and notebook covers, etc. I'd like to do some check book covers, but that's later. Maybe 3/4 oz for those since they have to have pockets sewn in for the checks and ledger?

    Which brings me to my next question(s). I need to know about stitching, thread, holes, needles, edge slicking, etc. I know I could look it up. I have, and I'm even more confused than when I started. The problem is there are 15 ways to do everything. I'm not an ask rather than research kind of guy, I just don't even know the questions to ask.

    Basically, what basic white thread do I need to stitch 8/9 oz into sheaths? What needles with that thread? I'm planning to use a stitch groover and use a over stitch wheel at 6 spi to mark the holes.

    Holes: I've never been so confused. Right now I'm thinking of getting a small drill press from Harbor Freight and punching the holes with a sharpened needle or awl blade chucked up, not spinning. Or just drilling them. Basically I have no idea.

    Edging: I was planning on buying a No. 2 edger initially given the only leather I'm find to be using is 8/9 oz. Once I move into thinner stuff I'll grab a No. 1. I'm still a bit stumped on burnishing the edges. I have sandpaper to smooth everything out. I have a 4x36 sander for sheath edges. However, I keep seeing different ideas on the actual finishing of edges. Dye vs no dye, gum vs just water, VS something else, canvas scrap/chunk of smooth wood/powered burnishing rod in a drill or lathe/something else?

    So, you can see, I'm in need of general directions. Any recommendations are appreciated.
  2. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    Brian been there done that and started over so do understand that part. I use to do a lot of handsewing but the drill press idea seems like what folks are doing these days so I'll let others answer that and the thread questions too.

    I can talk you through the edging process and how I do it. In my opinion the edger is one of the most important tools to not go cheepo on. Your stitching groover, the cheap ones really do work just as good as the expensive ones and this is emphantically not so with the edger. A #2 Barry King would be my recommendation. They run $55 and money well spent. As far as the really good edgers go they are kind of middle of road price wise but in my opinion they are at the top of em all use wise. A good Osborne is half that but they cut a flat fawcet type cut and so you have more sanding and more rubbing to do to get that good edge. Edge holding on the Osborne is about a 1/3rd of the BK. Get the BK, particularly if you're trying to make money at this.

    I do the vast majority of my sanding on my 6x48 so no reason your 4x36 won't work. I use a 120 grit ceramic belt that is dedicated just to leather and I have a dedicated A/O belt at 400 grit. I do occasionally use a dremel with a 1/2" sanding drum for real tight inside curves I can't reach with anything else, but don't use it much and just a 120 grit drum there. Thats all I need for sanding.

    I've used gum for years but recently swittched to a product called Wyo Slik that I get from Sheridan Leather supply. It simply works better. I just paint it on a sanded edge and rub while still wet. I do use a power tool (lathe) but I've done many miles of edges by hand using a piece of heavy canvas, denim or a hardwood stick. I don't dye edges (except for a very occasional project) and run quickly away from edge dressings like Edge Kote. After rubbing I give the edge a couple of coats of finish (Bagkote). This produces a nice finished edge that more importantly will last up under tough use for years.
  3. leatherman

    leatherman leathermoderator Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 30, 2001
    Hey Brian,
    This is somewhat close to how I started out. Though my wife stood with me, but the switch was a sudden after I was let go from a job due to an abusive person in the middle management.

    For holes, if you have the drill press and a small drill bit use it. Get that press at Harbor Freight and get a small assortment of bits. Always use a sharp bit and use care. I know, I guess I am a bit of a rebel here in that I seem to use everything that everyone else shuns but its worked for me since '96 so I guess I'll keep it up. :p

    Thread, if you have a Tandy leather in your area go there. They have thread of all thickness's and needles that you'll need. Harness needles is what they used to be called there but now they are the small eye needles. Get the large and middle sizes to start with as they are what you will use most. Thread they have in excess, I use the "sewing awl thread" its mid weight and works well and is very strong. Expensive though. If you prefer a lesser cost go with the Tejas thread, its thicker and requires the larger needles but its reliable.

    More info already posted in the various Frugal Leather Craftsman threads here. I'll be updating them soon so look for them up top. But only if you dont want to spend top dollar for the best of the best tools and materials right away.
  4. spike116


    Aug 4, 2008
    Pickup Al Stohlman's book on hand stitching and some of his sheath/case books. They were very helpful to me starting out.
  5. Omega Leather Works

    Omega Leather Works

    Jun 13, 2007
    My battery is about to die, but in terms of sanding and edge finishing allow me to recommend that you look at Nigel Armitage's burnisher and sanding drum combo. You'll need a buffer with 1/2" arbors. I haven't been able to use mine yet, but it's obviously a high quality kit.


    The kit is fairly expensive, but I believe it'll be worth the money in my operation.

    I'll address the other questions later.
  6. Omega Leather Works

    Omega Leather Works

    Jun 13, 2007
    For some reason I can't edit my post. Here are a couple more pics.




  7. Brian.Evans

    Brian.Evans Registered Member

    Aug 20, 2011
    Ant, thanks. I look forward to your full reply when your battery is charged. :)
  8. Omega Leather Works

    Omega Leather Works

    Jun 13, 2007
    Obviously *my* way isn't the only way. They just happen to work very well for the way I go about things.

    Please let me know if any of the above doesn't make sense, I'll do my best to clarify.
  9. Brian.Evans

    Brian.Evans Registered Member

    Aug 20, 2011
    Good enough guys. I'm off like a herd of turtles. I'll make a list this week and get stuff ordered. The only way to see is to jump in and get started.

Share This Page