Leather edge guard (for adze)?

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Re: Leather edge guard (for adze)?

Postby gavin » Mon Apr 08, 2013 3:23 pm

mrcharly wrote:'saddle stitch' is a technique where you work with two needles from both sides at the same time - push one needle through from one side, push the other through from other side. Apart from providing a continuous run of stitch, it helps with locating the holes from both sides.

Refer Al Stolhman's The Art of Handsewing
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Re: Leather edge guard (for adze)?

Postby Lozzuck » Sun Apr 28, 2013 9:27 pm

ToneWood wrote:Sounds fun - and if you managed to make something useful on the course (a really nice edge guard for example), it probably didn't cost much more than buying a really nice one - and, of course, you can make more afterwards :).

BTW What's a "saddle stitch" - is that what you get when using two needles & a simple non-speedy leather awl? Did you learn anything about those "pricker" wheels/punches - I think I need something to help me stitch straighter/neater/more regularly. Did you wet the leather to soften it?

Hi ToneWood
I usually soak the leather for about 10 minutes to soften it ( called casing). This helps to retain any markings made with a pricker, the 2,4,6 pronged thingy. i also use natural linen thread as it takes a dye better than artificial threads. I'm no expert by any means mainly picked up from Al Stohlman's book "The Art of Sewing Leather" written many years ago but still relevant
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Re: Leather edge guard (for adze)?

Postby ToneWood » Sat Jun 08, 2013 7:53 am

gavin wrote:Refer Al Stolhman's The Art of Handsewing
Yes I intend to get a copy of that at some point. It's a cheap book on Amazon.com but too expensive on Amazon.co.uk:
Image
"The Art Of Hand Sewing Leather

I believe it is significantly cheaper at the LePrevo on-line leather store that Gavin suggested but I found their website frustrating to use.

I came across this book - it looks rather elaborate for our needs at first but if you look at it (using Amazon's Look Inside feature) it's got some good information on what tools are used/available:

Image
Leatherwork: A Manual of Techniques [Paperback]
Geoffrey West (Author)
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Re: Leather edge guard (for adze)?

Postby ToneWood » Mon Mar 17, 2014 2:43 pm

I made a new leather axe guard this weekend:
Doloire  unsheathed.jpg
Doloire unsheathed.jpg (77.42 KiB) Viewed 20160 times

I tried some of the tips I came across here & elsewhere, for example I used:
- A pencil & ruler to mark where I want the stitching to be (something I hadn't bothered with previously - it helped keep the stitching a little straighter)
- A kitchen fork with appropriately space tines to mark out the holes (a cheap alternative to pricking wheels or expensive pricking irons) for evenly sized stitches.
- A vintage leather awl & 2 leather needles to saddle-stitch it (saddle stitch won't completely unpick if one stitch is cut, unlike the SpeedyStitcher's. I opted to use SpeedyStitcher's natural coarse waxed thread though).
- Waxed the awl regularly with beeswax (particularly helpful when pushing through 3 layers of leather)
- glued the pieces together to hold them in place when stitching (with UHU contact adhesive).

Rather than just folding the old leather belt (to eliminate the need for stitching one end) and stitching a slim edge-protector piece in between, as I have done in the past, this time I opted instead to use the more conventional 3 pieces of leather (2 sides + slim edge-protector piece in between). Using this approach I obtained a closer fit which makes a retaining strap unnecessary:

Doloire  sheathed.jpg
Doloire sheathed.jpg (96.23 KiB) Viewed 20160 times


Far from perfect but certainly an improvement on earlier efforts. After taking the above pictures I filed the 2 ends smooth and waxed the whole thing, inside & out, with clear shoe wax.

BTW Don't dampen the surface of the leather for stitching (this started to lift the surface finish so I stopped). I've since discovered this "casing" is done for "tooling" (decorative carving), not stitching .
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Re: Leather edge guard (for adze)?

Postby ToneWood » Thu Mar 20, 2014 2:02 pm

A good series of leather working videos by an English master craftsman, Nigel Armitage of Armitage Leathers: https://www.youtube.com/user/Nordicbadger

After watching some of the above videos, I purchase a new awl by US maker, C. S. Osbourne - good value @ £8. The blade is super sharp and has a much flatter more spear-like shape than my vintage awl. But I've also tuned up my vintage palm awl (which I rather like) following Nigel's awl sharpening video (see above link).
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Re: Leather edge guard (for adze)?

Postby ToneWood » Tue Apr 08, 2014 5:51 pm

My latest edge-guard. Using old leather belts has its limitations and I made several mistakes - some visible in the image below - but overall I'm pleased with it:
Large Draw-knife leather edge guard.jpg
Large Draw-knife leather edge guard.jpg (78.28 KiB) Viewed 13288 times

Not sure if and how I could secure this edge guard at the back (strap/snap-popper/press-stud/Sam Browne stud/velcro/...) but it is such a close fit that it is already quite secure without anything else.
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Re: Leather edge guard (for adze)?

Postby ToneWood » Sat Apr 19, 2014 12:57 pm

It's often hard to figure out what tools you will need when you start a new activity. Guided by this thread, I was able to start with minimal equipment:

Starting leather tools.jpg
A USA made Speedy Stitcher Awl & an old pair of Super-Scissors (useful) for cutting the leather.
Starting leather tools.jpg (82.46 KiB) Viewed 13256 times

Recently, influenced by this discussion thread & the saddler's clam thread, I've converted to saddle-stitch. The tools required are equally simple: saddler's awl, 2 needles, waxed thread.

BasicSaddleStitchTools.jpg
All made in England:
A vintage Stanley 199 knife brought back from America (but made in England) with a new high quality, stiff, single-ended, "made in Sheffield, England" hook blade (inexpensive from ebay) - works very well. A cheap, effective alternative to the traditional "clicking"/"clicker" knife, used to cut around patterns on leather (my blade is the same thickness, has a similar curve shape and is deeper).
The plastic cutting board was new/unused from a local charity shop.
The spools of waxed polyester thread each came with 2 saddlery needles from ebay.
The lovely vintage awl has a square blade that just needed sharpening.
The Maun Safety Rule made in England & distributed by Jakar - an inexpensive way to protect your finger tips when cutting :)
BasicSaddleStitchTools.jpg (69.2 KiB) Viewed 13256 times


The English-made Maun Safety Rule by Jakar was something I stumbled across - any steel ruler would do the job but the Maun protects your finger tips too for under £5. Similarly, in his videos, Nigel Armitage shows how to use coins to cut rounded corners.

More recently, after watching the Nigel Armitage videos mentioned above, I've started to "invest" in a few good basic leather craft tools:
LeatherToolsInfluencedbyNA.jpg
A self-healing cutting board, helps protect tools & surfaces.
John James (England) number 2 (or 002) saddlery needles (made in China) - significantly thinner & shorter than those above.
My new USA made C. S. Osbourne awl with short, sharp, spear-shaped saddlery blade.
A wooden leather slicker - something the turners could perhaps make for themselves & others - there are flat-bottom versions that non-turners could make too.
I'm still using the ebay waxed polyester thread & Super-Stitcher coarse & fine threads - Nigel Armitage uses & recommends waxed polyester "Tiger Thread" (rather than traditional flax threads) - quite hard to find in small amounts but not impossible (search for "Ritza thread").
I made the leather needle wallet to keep the needles together, tidy & safe.
Also, but not show: improvised pricking iron: a kitchen fork, used to mark regular stitching points.
LeatherToolsInfluencedbyNA.jpg (84.98 KiB) Viewed 13256 times
Cobbler's dividers.jpg
Vintage locking dividers. New locking dividers for leather work can be very expensive (~£50) but Silverline offer something similar for £6. Vintage dividers are sometimes referred to as "blacksmith's dividers", I won 2 pairs (large & small) on ebay, labelled "cobbler's dividers" - so perhaps these once belonged to a leather-worker?
Cobbler's dividers.jpg (39.53 KiB) Viewed 13249 times

After careful consideration I also made an investment purchase, from old English maker Joseph Dixon:
JosephDixonLeatherTools.jpg
Newly made tools:
- Joseph Dixon #2 Hollow Edge Plane,
- Joseph Dixon 1.5" 7 spi pricking iron and a
- Joseph Dixon awl handle (with slightly longer C.S. Osbourne spear-shaped saddlery blade).
The awl & Edge Plane are reasonably priced. The pricking iron was a significant "investment purchase", handmade to order.
Pricking irons are a traditional English tool, not much used in the USA (pricking/over-stitch wheels and/or diamond shaped "chisels" and groovers being used instead), they are expensive but have some advantages (French pricking irons are even more expensive).
JosephDixonLeatherTools.jpg (50.44 KiB) Viewed 13256 times

As well as the needle wallet [shown above], I've made a "saddler's clam" and some small sharpening sticks & mini-strops to sharpen these small new tools.
Image
Sharpening sticks & paddle for leather tools.jpg
1200 grit wet & dry paper, white grinding compound, small leather strop, and a paddle with leather "laces" for sharpening the hollow edge plane (based on a Tandy youtube video). My awls and hollow edge plane are now sharper than new :)
Sharpening sticks & paddle for leather tools.jpg (68.54 KiB) Viewed 13251 times
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Re: Leather edge guard (for adze)?

Postby TRS » Tue Apr 22, 2014 12:35 pm

Here is the burnisher I made last week for a leatherworking friend of mine (made from Hornbeam). Apart from the "pointy" end not being so pointy, he is very happy with it :).

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Re: Leather edge guard (for adze)?

Postby ToneWood » Thu Apr 24, 2014 1:40 pm

That's great Tony. I don't think they have to be particularly pointy (but I'm no expert - just started using mine). I only use the pointy end to open up a guard after sewing, for which yours would be fine. So far, I have mainly used the 2 largest grooves &, occasionally, the long straight side.
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Re: Leather edge guard (for adze)?

Postby TRS » Thu Apr 24, 2014 2:49 pm

Thanks Tonewood, it's only the third thing I've made on the lathe so far (apart from a giant dibber and a spurtle) and I wasn't really sure what he was after but he says it's working well :).

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Spurtles

Postby ToneWood » Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:20 pm

Hi Tony, I know what a dibber is but I had to look up spurtle. Coincidentally I was going to add a post to the "Sloyd/Small Craft projects"-thread suggesting a slicker, fid and dibber as possible projects, for wood carvers but especially for turners. Sounds like spurtle fits right in with those :)
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Sam Browne Studs

Postby ToneWood » Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:12 pm

I made another axe guard at the weekend and, for the first time, added a leather retaining strap. I also used "Sam Browne"*-studs for the first time. Some leather-workers recommend that you don't sew straps on when using Sam Browne studs, because eventually the strap will need to be replaced. So I opted to use 2 nickel-finished, screw-in, Sam Browne studs, to complement the matt/satin-finish black leather used. I put a small, squat, fat-headed Sam Browne stud on the back to act as the semi-permanent anchor and a very slim one on the front for everyday opening & closing. In hindsight, it is similar in concept to my previous attachments, which instead used 2-toggles/buttons & a cord [see images earlier in this thread]. It works very well.

EagleAxeWithStrappedGuardSamBrowneStuds.jpg
Image shows the "front" of the guard with the slimmer Sam Browne stud. The axe head is a Kent-style Eagle 310 - perfect size for carving and, unusually, in excellent condition. It just needed a handle & sharpening. The cutting face is, unusually, slightly flared at the top and bottom - quite attractive and it gives a slightly longer cutting edge - I flared the edge-guard to reflect/emphasize that detail. The guard is a snug-fit.
EagleAxeWithStrappedGuardSamBrowneStuds.jpg (46.67 KiB) Viewed 14152 times

To allow facilitate opening & closing, a small extension slash is made in each stud-hole in the strap, opposite the side under-tension: a button-hole!

BTW Leather is extremely easy to drill, I just used a small drill-bit and rolled it between my fingers, without need of a drill!

*I'm not sure but I suspect the name of the "Sam Browne" stud may come from it use on/with the Sam Browne belt (perhaps on the pistol holster?), which was named after one-handed British army officer, General Sir Samuel James Browne VC.

UPDATE: BTW I found 2 good suppliers of Sam Browne studs in the UK (but there are others):
I bought various sizes from this ebay seller in Surrey. For the above guard, I used the "small" (which is short & fat) and "slim" (which is taller & slim-topped). The studs are significantly smaller than I had imagined but that's fine, they look good and are far less obtrusive & easier to use than I expected; they also fit the 3-3.5mm leather used, which I hadn't expected for the small stud. If you want to buy only one size, the "501" model looks like a good general purpose stud, having the height of the "slim" model and the head-girth of the "small". I prefer the regular brass finish but used nickel for this guard. Price & postage is v. reasonable.
Image

The other seller - Artisan Leather - is based in the Torbay area of S. Devon: http://www.artisanleather.co.uk/sam-bro ... -125-c.asp
They also have a store you can visit (when on holiday perhaps). I like this one because you buy very small quantities (x2), nice, crisp, clear, simple website, persistent shopping cart, Paypal checkout option &, again, reasonable delivery charge.
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Re: Spurtles & Sam Browne studs

Postby TRS » Fri Apr 25, 2014 12:00 pm

ToneWood wrote:Hi Tony, I know what a dibber is but I had to look up spurtle. Coincidentally I was going to add a post to the "Sloyd/Small Craft projects"-thread suggesting a slicker, fid and dibber as possible projects, for wood carvers but especially for turners. Sounds like spurtle fits right in with those :)


Off topic I know, but that sounds like a great idea :). Here is the spurtle.

Back on topic, I like the new guard. Must have a bash myself sometime :)

Tony
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Cheaper leather tools for non-professionals

Postby ToneWood » Sun Apr 27, 2014 9:26 pm

Good, professional quality leather tools can be surprisingly expensive but might last several lifetimes & can be sold on. Green woodworkers can probably benefit from a few basic leatherwork tools & skills but understandably may not wish or be able to justifying spending out on such items - it's not a priority. I've come across some cheaper alternative leather tools that might be suitable for the hobbyist and non-professional (Al Stohlman, the author of "The Art of Hand Sewing Leather" made a lot of his own tools when he started out, decorating leather with doctored nails & such like). I have only tried the pricking irons so far - so check out the on-line reviews.

1. Homemade leather tools video on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPMQEeRQhMM

2. Cheap Pricking Irons on Amazon:
Far cheaper than professional quality English/French-made irons - but "your mileage may vary". These are significantly smaller than, say, Joseph Dixon pricking irons.
Buy them individually from £4.69-£9.49. Nigel Armitage recommends just getting the larger 1.5" model (of the English-made J. Dixons pricker), because it can also be used for shorter runs & curves - he has a video that shows how to do this by simply tilting the tool (he makes it look easy but it takes practice).
Or buy a set of 3 for £18.09Image
These are all 8 spi (stitches per inch) - 1 step finer than my Joseph Dixon iron - good for sheaths, wallets, bags, belts, etc., quite fine. For what it's worth, I reckon ~4-8 spi is "in the ballpark" for axe-size edge-guards; 5 or 6 would be my preference currently - and perhaps finer for smaller items/tools. The professionals seem to prefer higher spi - perhaps because it gives a finer finish.


3. Cheap V/U-routers/edge planes:
From what I can gleen, there are (at least) 3 variants of this cheap but reputedly sharp & effective Chinese made tools: 1mm V-groove, 1.5mm V-groove & U-groove. They can be used to cut grooves and to bevel edges. But for some reason - even though they sell all 3 in a set in the USA - they only sell them in sets of 2, in various combinations, in the UK:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00F ... rious02-21
Image
£5.99 for 2 inc. shipping - and you may be able to find them cheaper.

4. Diamond chisels:
Apparently more popular that pricking irons in the USA, typically used to punch right through the leather - so that a saddler's awl & pricking iron/wheel is not required to open the hole.
This is a cheap set (£6.49 on Amazon), there are others (on Amazon, eBay & elsewhere) that are more expensive & some look better made than others Image

Tip: Although beeswax is typically used to wax the thread when sewing leather, at least one USA leather retailer is adamant that it is better to use paraffin wax (e.g. candle wax), because it runs smooth unlike beeswax which is tacky and tends to stick/drag (true - I apply beeswax to some tool handles for that reason).
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Re: Cheaper leather tools for non-professionals

Postby ToneWood » Thu May 15, 2014 1:21 pm

ToneWood wrote:...2. Cheap Pricking Irons on Amazon:
...buy a set of 3 for £18.09Image
...
I bought a set of the Chinese pricking irons and have updated my earlier post to reflect that. They are actually very nice: polished & sharp - better than I expected. They are significantly smaller than English pricking irons, as are the diagonal holes they produce but the holes must be opened up with a saddler's awl, so it makes little difference - actually I prefer them small, esp. when using 0.8mm thread. They seem like a great option for occasional users (like green woodworkers) and smaller folk but a professional who uses such tools every working day might find them a tad small.
Both curved axe guards.jpg
Curving the edge-guard, to better fit curved blades, complicates things considerably:
Numerous errors on the left edge guard (used 1.5" J. Dixon pricking iron): a learning experience.
Far fewer errors on the right edge guard (used all 3 Chinese pricking irons): made cardboard templates first, to identify & fix problems before committing to leather.
Both curved axe guards.jpg (58.86 KiB) Viewed 14715 times
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