Leather edge guard (for adze)?

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Re: Leather edge guard (for adze)?

Postby ToneWood » Tue Jun 03, 2014 8:57 pm

For punching holes in leather, I've used drill bits (you can just twist them by hand without a drill) and a cheap set of Amtech round punches (~£3 - now just £1.25 in. shipping for 6!!!):
ImageSet of 9 - Now just £2.59 inc. shipping!
The former work fine for studs but don't produce crisp edges, the latter are cheap but effective & clean cutting. You might want to consider a larger set than the one shown above (e.g. the 9-piece or 12-piece set), as I soon found I needed a couple of smaller sizes (esp. 2mm) not provide in this v. useful but basic set.

Recently I looked into getting a rotary hole punch. Something fairly heavy duty seemed sensible. There are dozens of options out there but I narrowed down my choices to 3 which looked most promising to me in terms of price/quality/strength/effectiveness (i.e. overall value), as rated & reviewed by their purchasers:
Screwfix: Image Draper: Image
Amazon/Horze: Image

Although the latter costs 3x the price of the first 2, it is intended for professional use and is v. similar in design & construction to several name brand products costing 2-4x as much.
There are other options, including the very reasonably priced Silverline product for £6.40 inc. shipping which has a lifetime guarantee.

Note: Rotary punch pliers don't all provide the same size punches - so check before purchasing. e.g. The Screwfix model has 2.0, 2.5, 3.0, 3.5, 4.0 and 4.5mm; the Horze has 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6mm.
Some recommend placing a piece of denim or leather on the anvil, to reduce the change of blunting the punch tubes (seems to help).
Last edited by ToneWood on Wed Jul 30, 2014 6:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Leather edge guard (for adze)?

Postby ToneWood » Sat Jun 21, 2014 10:13 pm

Bought a couple of leather crafting books:

Al Stohlman's book, was recommended by Gavin above (they say his tool book is also well worth getting). I agree with the recommendation. Pleasantly surprised by how large the pages are (A4-ish) although disappointed by how flimsy it is - my copy is a booklet rather than a book, like a thin magazine with a thin cover. Pity, the content is good, classic & deserves a binding that will last, especially at this price. Visually covers the basics, esp. saddle stitch, & a bit more in, considerable detail (more detail than the book below) with some useful tips. It felt incomplete to me though - so will probably get his tool book too at some point. It describes the use of pricking/overstitch-wheel & awl approach, as opposed the Nigel Armitage's traditional pricking-iron & awl approach - I think the latter has some advantages.

The book below seems like quite a good introduction and is nicely presented. It is aimed at this sort of leatherwork i.e. English-style hand-sewn veg. tan (saddle-type) leather.

The Leatherworking Handbook: A Practical Illustrated Sourcebook of Techniques and Projects by Valerie Michael

I wonder now if this one might be better, despite the less relevant cover image (e.g. it offers a different opinion on the use saddle soap, incs. use of head knife, proper use of neatsfoot, more tables of reference data, larger tables, etc.) - much cheaper from Amazon's alternative sellers:
Leatherwork: A Practical Guide [Hardcover]
Chris Taylor (Author)

Note: The different leather workers above have different preferences, styles, tools, experiences & (sometimes contradictory) advice.

I've chosen to use Nigel Armitages videos are my primary reference - they contain a lot of useful detail and he continues to add new videos to youtube - & The Leatherworking Handbook (above) seems largely compatible with that (although the primary stitching styles are subtly different, if you look closely). His videos are all good, but the ones I found most useful so far are: the 2 saddle-stitching videos (the shorter one is a good one to start with), awl sharpening & multi-layer leather (vital for sewing the welt/gusset in edge guards). Tandy also has a useful video on sharpening edge bevelers.
Last edited by ToneWood on Wed Jul 30, 2014 10:14 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Woodworking tools for leather ... & adze edge guard

Postby ToneWood » Tue Jul 01, 2014 1:30 pm

Some interesting homemade leather tools: http://asailorsleather.blogspot.co.uk/2 ... -tool.html


I've already found that woodworking tools often work on leather too. For example, I recently used an old spokeshave to "skive" (thin) the ends of a leather strap on an axe-guard. Turns out than leatherworkers have been doing this for sometime and often customize a spokeshave specifically for skiving leather (search google for details e.g. http://jeffpeachey.com/tag/using-a-spok ... n-leather/ ), for example: opening the mouth and shortening the base by angling the front (e.g. at 45 degrees). You can even buy spokeshaves already modified for this purpose.

e.g. From near the bottom of the above link by Jeff Peachy:
HOW TO MODIFY A 151 SPOKESHAVE [for leatherwork] ...
... I find eight modifications need to be made to make the spokeshave an easy to use, precision tool. The effective cutting angle is reduced, the adjustment knobs are trued, the surface area of the sole is reduced to lessen leather stretching and the front edge is rounded, the sides of the sole are beveled, the mouth is opened (or closed by shimming the blade bed) to about .040”, the blade bed is flattened and dampened with an epoxy/ paper laminate and the Hock A2 blade is sharpened and the corners slightly rounded.

The suggestion to shorten & bevel the base of the spokeshave (above) made me wonder if a round-bottom spokeshave might work better for leather, so I skived the straps on my latest edge guard (for my adze, below) with a curved-base spokeshave: it worked quite well, probably better than the flat one I tried previously.

Adze Guard - top & side.jpg
Adze Guard - top & side.jpg (65.29 KiB) Viewed 5517 times
Adze Guard - side.jpg
Adze Guard - side.jpg (68.44 KiB) Viewed 5517 times

Another article on using spokeshaves for skiving leather (& info on paring knives): http://aboutthebinding.blogspot.co.uk/2 ... shave.html
Details of spokeshave modifications: http://www.hewit.com/skin_deep/?volume= ... =2#article
Sharpening a spokeshave iron (or paring knife) for leatherwork: http://www.hewit.com/skin_deep/?volume= ... =2#article

Paring (skiving) knives
I used my little red-handled Mora Sloyd knife for tidying up/"fine-tuning" skived surfaces (e.g. for the popper/press stud) - it's v. sharp & works well.
Video: homemade leather paring knives made from old "Victorian"* kitchen knives*: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eq5dGfEjKKY
Making paring knives: http://westdeanconservation.com/2014/02 ... okbinding/

*What are the handles made of?
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Re: Leather edge guard - drill for leather >4mm

Postby ToneWood » Sun May 10, 2015 5:34 pm

Thick leathers (4-6mm) make good looking, tough edge guards but they are hard to work even using traditional saddler's tools. I recently made an axe guard made of 3 thick layers: a total thickness of 15mm. I used one of the v. thin drill bits that came with my Dremel-like tool . This turned out to be quick & easy: I was able to use 0.8mm thick thread and it also allowed me to try a coarser stitch pitch (the 7spi & 8spi that I normally use are, I think, too fine for such heavy leather) so I drilled at 5mm intervals (~5spi). This worked very well, 6spi (/4mm intervals) might be even better.

The above approach might be the simplest/cheapest/most effective approach for many folk, as you just need: a cheap drill* , 2 leather needles and some waxed thread (braided polyester or flax), a ruler to measure the stitch intervals (or 6spi/4mm leather pricking wheel). A cheap pricking awl (£1) is handy for marking the stitch centres but a pen or pencil will suffice.

*I used a cheap (£9) but good Dremel-like tool but it should be possible to use a woodworking hand-drill instead.
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