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you get what you paid for or don't be an idiot

Discussion in 'Sheaths & Such' started by vilePossum, Aug 4, 2015.

  1. vilePossum


    Jan 14, 2015
    this probably goes in line with the frugal series, but goes to show that there is a point of being too cheap on your tools/materials...
    i tried to turn some practicing into a way of trying to at least cover the material costs. so as sheaths and holsters aren't in big demand over here and i am not yet good enough to make large scale products, i decide to go with some small stuff... key fobs, bracelets, some rounders to put under drinks inspired by daves work.
    i will sell these at a local store where you can rent some sale space and the store manager takes over the rest for a fee. seems nice enough, not like those one dollar stores and it advertises the self made products pretty well.
    we'll see how things turn out.
    the issue at hand though, is that i purchased the blanks for this stuff from a large online retailer... prices were really low, and i was like "well, it's not going to be the greatest stuff, but usable"... boy was i in for a surprise...
    you get what you paid for.
    the rounders... were sort of round... well, less circle like and more like ovals... and they used everything, down to the real trash and leftovers. i had to really sort through and try to at least group the similar pieces.
    bracelets... um... i should have just gotten a strap cutter or some straps from my preferred leather shop and some sam brown studs... these things are floppy first, then rigid from the dye and then they start to crack, regardless what i put on them. and they don't fit and wrist i have encountered so far.
    key fobs... best of the bunch. decent edges, decent leather though rather varied colour. still, you don't have to match these, so that is okay.

    while sure, i am complaining a bit it is actually just a gentle reminder to myself and others. sometimes you just have to pipe down and pay the price!

    and one last one... recently bought what was advertised as a half skin veg tan from an ebay seller with excellent ratings. this is what i got:

    so, while i am certainly no expert, it doesn't really look like a half side to me... so the price probably should have tipped me off. still, it is a decent price for an okay leather which i will use anyways.
  2. Frederiek


    Apr 30, 2014
    Sounds like you should save this stuff for hidden reinforcements (welts in sheaths and such) or practice pieces. Bite the bullet and buy a decent piece of leather, because there's nothing worse than investing a lot of time in something that is doomed already from bad quality materials.
  3. sheathmaker

    sheathmaker Custom Leather Sheaths Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    May 18, 2005
    VileP. A wise old man told me many years ago……"Son if you start out with crap, and put your very best work into it,,,it will still probably look like crap when you're finished" He then followed up with this……….."If you buy a cheap piece of leather, and save some money and the item either does not look good enough, or fails in some other way and you have to start over and make another one…or two…or three. Just how much have you saved?" His meaning was that the cheapest leather you can find will almost always turn out to be the very most expensive after time and trouble is factored in.

  4. vilePossum


    Jan 14, 2015
    Jup, you are both correct. [emoji38] lesson learned. Still not all hope is lost. Parts of that leather will get worked into my first hill style back quiver.
  5. kaizo


    Oct 17, 2014
    Hiya vilepossom :) Hmm I had a similar situation with some horse hide. It was a freebie offcut from my supplier that was full of nicks and stains. What I did was I waited for a project that required either a rugged look or one where I could surgically pick out the small fractions of good leather. I ended up making a camping belt pouch! I know it was a freebie but the lesson I learned is that everything has its place and I shouldn't overlook the treasure that I might be sitting on :)

    BTW if you ever have a chance I would definitely recommend horse leather its really nice leather ;)
  6. Omega Leather Works

    Omega Leather Works

    Jun 13, 2007
    I guess that's what I love so much about the Hide House Premium DS leather. Finding your supplier isn't easy (at least for me), but it's a joy when you do. I tried a small number of suppliers and wasn't happy until Dave got me hooked up.

    My first supplier was Springfield Leather and their small cuts of Herman Oak. Fantastic leather, but at a very very high price. I got around 10 sheaths from those few square feet. After that I moved on to what I thought would be good stuff, but wasn't. Very nappy flesh side, but it could at least be sanded on the belt sander to improve the quality.

    After those experiences I ordered a DS of the "Premium imported double shoulder" from HH. At the asking price of around $5.50 per foot I wasn't expecting much. I had already been looking for another vendor while the new hide was in transit. When the new piece arrived I was amazed with the quality. There was a very small area that wasn't good enough for the body of a sheath, but the thickness was accurate and could be used for welts or even pieces that would be stamped or belt loops, etc.
    My point is that there is leather available that will surprise you in terms of price versus quality. The problem is finding them when you can't look at in person.

    Florian, someday when I get better I'll shoot you some of this HH stuff to see what you think.

    As an offshoot question, can anyone give me advice about shipping stuff like leather and tools to our friends in other countries? For instance, if I want to send a package to Germany is there any reason why I couldn't cut up a shoulder along with some tools and supplies? How would one go about this? Would you need to declare everything making the package too expensive for the person receiving it? Is it worth the trouble?

    Any advice on the above would be really helpful. No bit of advice is too small! :) Also, how would you declare the items in your wording? I know that knives shipped over borders are sometimes declared as "camp tools" or similar so that the box has less appeal than say "custom handmade knife" or the like.
  7. vilePossum


    Jan 14, 2015
    omg, it's alive!!!
    seriously ant, don't go overboard with the package, i just haven't found the right supplier for leather yet. i just need some place in 1-2 hours driving distance where i can actually look at the stuff and feel it. and it's not like i need so much leather anyways, it's still a hobby ;)
    anyways, great hearing from you.
    about shipping, maybe dave has some answers, i rarely ship to europe from the outside, i am not sure whether there is sort of a gift option. i know that extra taxes are due when exceeding 400-450€ when arriving by plane, but no clue about shipping.
  8. Omega Leather Works

    Omega Leather Works

    Jun 13, 2007
    Haha, yeah I'm afraid I'll need to bow out from time to time. :(

    As for the supplies, you let me worry about that. :) I just want to make sure that I proceed in the smartest way possible.
  9. Horsewright

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

    Oct 4, 2011
    On the shipping we don't use USPS unless the value isn't very high say under $125 bucks or so. We've just had reliability issues. Also it seems that customs takes longer. Tracking stops working once it leaves the US. UPS or Fed Ex while a lot more for shipping international gets it there and walks it through customs. To give you an example: once sent a couple of wildrags to Italy. After two months the guy hadn't received them yet. I tell him we'll replace them but to do some more shopping that would make the $100 for UPS shipping worthwhile. He agrees and buys a coule of knives, more wildrags and a couple of other things. With several hundred $ in merchandise its much easier to justify the UPS shipping. We ship it out Friday morning, Monday morning I'm getting an email from him about how wonderful everything is. So from Ca to Italy, through customs and delivered in a weekend. Two months later the orignal package shows up back here. Its covered in Italian writing and looks like it had a 747 land on it but the two wildrags are ok.

    If the tools you are sending are used most coutries won't charge duty on them.

    I agree with Kaizo horsehide is great leather if you can get it.


    Nichole's spur straps in horsehide.


    Horsehide headstall by Nichole with silver buckle and tip on my horse Sonny.
  10. Omega Leather Works

    Omega Leather Works

    Jun 13, 2007
    Thank you Dave! That covers a lot of what I needed to know.

    The prices for ups are indeed high. The other day when I went to ship the passaround knives I tried to go with usps but the office was closed. Ended up shipping via ups. Worked great but it came to $30ish bucks. Kinda surprised me because I'm used to usps flat rate.

    Okay, so when I go to ship the care package, maybe I should remove tools from packaging and declare them used? It doesn't add up to tons of money or anything, but if I can save the receiver a few bucks then I'm fine with that.
  11. harronek


    Nov 29, 2013
    If your really worried about receiver incurring taxes , I would take everything out of its packaging and also include a quick handwritten note saying something like
    " here is some of my old set up that I don't use anymore to help you get started on your new hobby "
    Id be very surprised if the recipient was charged anything .

  12. Jolipapa

    Jolipapa Basic Member Basic Member

    Jun 4, 2015
    One thing I learned after several years buying frequently in the USA is that USPS is IMO the best for parcels to France and probably this goes for Western UE as well. Sure it may take a bit longer ( usaually 6 to 14 days) but the tracking lets you know what happens to your parcel in case of need and it always proved reliable.

    Depending the country there is a level of value under which goods are not taxed. In France it is 35€. But most of small parcels are not taxed, even if the value is over 100$.
    The problem with the only other company I know and once used, UPS, is that they have a hub for Europe and it has to be profitable. So they pass your parcel through customs, where you're charged VAT (+/- 20% depends where) AND duty fees, then UPS will charge you for having handled the job. If the parcel is opened and the Customs finds that goods are NOT used but new, you get fined.

    Add this to the price you pay for quick delivery, it often makes low US prices get pretty expensive when reaching your home.
    Sometimes it pays to be patient.

    I buy only from dealers specifying USPS. I never had problems for years. Only once did I not receive a parcel containing railway tee shirts, but I suspect it was a French postal problem rather than USPS. Since they have fixed those problems (ie fired the robbers). I don't want to be arrogant but I know of other countries where Postal Service is less reliable, I can't speak for those.
    That's just my 10 cents.
  13. Omega Leather Works

    Omega Leather Works

    Jun 13, 2007
    Usps it is. :) They are my favorite carrier anyway.

    Thanks for the information. I've shipped to South America, Australia and Canada, but never to Germany.

    That's a great idea Ken. I don't write German, but I'm sure I could get some help.

    Since y'all are wearing your thinking caps let me add a question.

    Do any of you have thoughts on chems? I know better than to send anything flammable, but what about other chems? Say some Neatsfoot, Pro Carv, beeswax finish, etc? I would need to put them in their own containers and label them.
  14. Jolipapa

    Jolipapa Basic Member Basic Member

    Jun 4, 2015
    @ Omega Leather Works : I live in France, German Customs may have different rates, check with DHL.

    As far as I know for France liquids won't be allowed in (fear of bomb attack) and this is not most useful as we find excellent leather care products in Europe, including some imported from US.
  15. Horsewright

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

    Oct 4, 2011
    So on July 21 we shipped Florian his belt USPS because it is under our limit. It bounced around Germany a few days, Ravensbrook and Frankfurt and now the tracking shows it just in Germany Customs Clearance. It has been there since July 27th. I'm getting worried.....
  16. vilePossum


    Jan 14, 2015
    Haha, okay, that explains a lot! Don't worry, they sometimes are really lazy, and it is required that I bring the letter they send me to pick it up with me to heir office.
    So guess the letter will arrive any day. I will call them up tomorrow. Sometimes they are lazy and take quite some time.
  17. Horsewright

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

    Oct 4, 2011
    Thats good to hear. I was getting worried that it was lost in limbo...

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