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Using a drill press.

Discussion in 'Sheaths & Such' started by golfer1, Mar 12, 2017.

  1. golfer1

    golfer1

    194
    Nov 24, 2016
    I have read some of you using a drill press to make your holes and I wonder if you could enlarge on how the press is used. Do you drill the holes, poke them, or just what do you do to make so the thread goes thru.
    Thanks and best wishes.
     
  2. AntCaps

    AntCaps Gold Member Gold Member

    767
    May 6, 2009
    When I did it I drilled the holes. But you need to be super careful the the holes are going in plumb. But you could probably also use it as an arbour press and an awl.
     
  3. weo

    weo

    280
    Sep 21, 2014
    What I was taught was to put a needle in the drill press and poke the holes with the drill running at a slow speed. So I guess I do a combination of punch and drill.
     
  4. M. McCord

    M. McCord

    706
    Mar 24, 2003
    I never used a drill press but I did use a dremel with a 1/16" drill bit.

    Dusty Johnson did an article years back in Leather Crafter's and Saddler's Journal about using a drill instead of an awl. He did a test, albeit unscientific, about the strength of the holes themselves made with a drill versus an awl.

    The drilled holes were stronger from what I recall.
     
  5. Isaacherring

    Isaacherring

    198
    Oct 27, 2015
    I put a needle in my drill press slightly larger than my stitching needles.
     
  6. Salolan

    Salolan

    708
    Feb 27, 2013
    I too use a needle slightly larger than what I stitch with to punch the holes. I prefer the press to be running on its slowest speed. For me it seems to help the needle pass through the leather better and also help reduce how much the needle shaft flexes.

    Chris
     
  7. bflying

    bflying Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 4, 2014
    Changing from punches to the press really increased my quality....big time. However much of what I was doing at the time involved thicker and/or stacked leather projects. My ability to maintain hole alignment on multiple stacked parts was simply horrible. So much better results by drilling after contact cement assembly.

    As others have already mentioned, be sure to keep the item on a level plane, or wonky results may follow. I've had my fair share of projects that look great on one side, but the other side has looked like a "sight challenged" person used power tools for the very first time.

    Many suggest using a needle or awl tip. With drill running, or not. I've only used a drill bit, running. Don't know the size, but it is the smallest bit I've ever seen. It does remove material, so keep that in mind if thread is thin. And I also have been using a rather thick, heavily waxed thread, that has needed an enlarged hole. At least, that is, in order to save my sanity, needle breakage, or finger and palm damage.



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    Sent from my mind....using Tap-a-Thought. (tm)n
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2017
  8. golfer1

    golfer1

    194
    Nov 24, 2016
    Hey thanks so much for your help, it sounds like there is no right/wrong way to do it. From my perspective, I was just thinking of how hard it is to push an threaded needle or awl thru 3 layers of leather and there must be an easier way. Since I had read about the drill press method and have one, thought I might ask. Think I will give it a try and perhaps weigh in on my perspective later. Sounds like the important thing is keeping the leather on a level plane so the holes are straight front and back.
    Thanks again and best wishes.
     
  9. bflying

    bflying Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 4, 2014
    Here is a stacker I made a while back for my ZT0180. Where the hardware trim piece lands, there are seven layers of varying thicknesses (from 4-12oz) of leather, not including the strap. On something like this, I simply can't imagine hand stitching without a drilled hole, with material removed. But that's just in my limited experience.

    My skills are still in the very early novice stage. So I love discussions like this, because I end up learning a ton from everyone that pipes in. Often it's a Pro challenging me on my choices. I've learned so much in this corner of the forum. I've also accepted the fact that leatherwork is partially art. So have fun trying different methods of (pick any topic), and feel ok with whatever works for you.

    [​IMG]

    Edit: Doh! Changed # to oz. That would have been some thick stuff. [emoji23]

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    Sent from my mind....using Tap-a-Thought. (tm)
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
  10. golfer1

    golfer1

    194
    Nov 24, 2016
    bflying, I thought 3 layers was a lot. Thanks for the encouragement, I believe your are correct as IMO all of knife making relatively speaking can be very much artistic expression. That includes the leather work also.
     
  11. Makael

    Makael Leather Craftsman Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 17, 2015
    Here is an early sheath drill pressed and hand stitched. Buy good quality drill bits, less drifting or should I say flex. Wood bit. I'm enjoying my leather machine:thumbup:

    [​IMG][/URL][/IMG][​IMG][/URL][/IMG]
     
  12. DaKruiser

    DaKruiser Gold Member Gold Member

    396
    Apr 9, 2011
    I use a drill press, with a smooth punch just big enough to shove a needle through the hole. I stopped using drill bits thanks to advice from this forum. You want the leather to be able to "heal" back around the stitching, it will lock your thread together. I've found this to be true in my limited experience.

    Here's one of mine that's ten layers of 8-9oz in the pouch and piggyback area.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. golfer1

    golfer1

    194
    Nov 24, 2016
    Da: Please what do you mean by a smooth punch. You guys all do great work.
     
  14. sheathmaker

    sheathmaker Custom Leather Sheaths Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    May 18, 2005
    A number 27 or 28 heavy stitcher needle would make a very good piercing punch chucked up in the drill press (Not running). Still a very good idea to lube the needle with either paraffin wax or bee's wax every few stokes. Make it much easier to pierce the leather.

    The foregoing is not a good idea for thicknesses 3/4" and up. The needle is not strong enough for that.

    Paul
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
  15. golfer1

    golfer1

    194
    Nov 24, 2016
    Thank you Paul for the help. I can't imagine doing more than 2 or 3 layers, but will ask again for help if I do more.
     
  16. DaKruiser

    DaKruiser Gold Member Gold Member

    396
    Apr 9, 2011
    My punch started out as a brad nail, I removed the head, sanded it down smaller and polished it. I use it with the drill press running at low speed.

    Thank you :thumbup:
     
  17. Butch

    Butch Gold Member Gold Member

    120
    Nov 25, 2003
    I'm just a beginner, but have run through several implements in my drill press. I started with a regular 1/16 drill bit. The normal point on a drill bit is not conducive to accuracy, so I tried grinding a finer point on the bit. It worked much better. After reading here about making holes without material removal, I tried a Tandy awl bit. It worked nicely, but the taper made consistent hole sizing difficult. Next, and current, method is 1/16 tool steel drill rod I bought from McMaster-Carr. I ground a nice ogival point on it and polished it to 1000 grit. I run the drill press at a wood drilling (high) speed. Just glides right through. YMMV
     
  18. Ebbtide

    Ebbtide

    Aug 20, 1999
    I've tried the drill press and punch.
    Going thru the leather wasn't much of a problem.
    Getting the leather off the punch was an issue at times.

    Tips?
    Tricks?
     
  19. sheathmaker

    sheathmaker Custom Leather Sheaths Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    May 18, 2005
    Use either paraffin wax or bees wax to lube the punch every three or four strokes. You will see a big difference.

    Paul
     
  20. Ebbtide

    Ebbtide

    Aug 20, 1999
    That's it?
    Sounds way too simple...

    Thank you :)
     

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