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Author Topic: Questions for the experienced leather workers out there...  (Read 2842 times)
Lord Pwyll
Gunner
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Japan Japan


Linguist / Adventurer / Gentleman


« on: June 05, 2009, 12:12:52 pm »

Hello ladies and gents,

I have been interested in doing  a little leather work. It would be a nice to make something that I like exactly the way I see it in my head.

I think I would like to start off with something simple, like a good strong belt to go with my Utilikilt.

I have looked at Tandy Leather online and have visited a few hobby stores here in Tokyo, but I would like to ask anyone out there if they have any more online sites  or books they could run by me.

Thanks,
Lord P
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Bailywolf
Snr. Officer
****
United States United States


« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2009, 12:40:29 pm »


I am very much not an experienced leatherworker, but someone in much the same position as you are - lots of ideas, little skill.

I found the instructional vids available through YouTube and similar sites enormously helpful.  Being able to actually see the stitches and techniques is a great help.

There's also some sites out there with tons of free patterns for all kinds of things.  Leather is pretty cool to work with, because prototyping projects in heavy paper and cardstock produces results you can realistically evaluate.  Paper grocery bags are especially good. 

-B
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jringling
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convicted Rogue and Vagabond…long story…


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« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2009, 02:14:48 pm »

I also work with leather on a VERY amature level. I have found that lighter weight  leather is very forgiving when working on small projects. It can be easily hand stitched or machine sewn on a mid-level sewing machine (I bought a decent Janome quilter's machine).

I have also found working with exotic skins to be interesting and alittle different than the standard items that you can just buy off of the shelf. I have bought stingray skins, frog skins, fish leather, and dyed sea snake skins on ebay. Tandy also sells small variety packs of lizard and exotic skins.
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Mr. Hatchett
Zeppelin Admiral
******
United States United States


Unnaturalist


« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2009, 02:44:16 pm »

Speaking of exotic leathers, you might want to poke around and see if you can get a deal on stingray leather locally.  It has a really unique pebbly finish, and considering Japan's small landmass it might be competitive with cow leather in terms of price.  I don't think you can tool it, but I'll bet it'd be fun to work with.
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When Friday comes, we'll all call rats fish.
Lord Pwyll
Gunner
**
Japan Japan


Linguist / Adventurer / Gentleman


« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2009, 03:14:29 am »

Speaking of exotic leathers, you might want to poke around and see if you can get a deal on stingray leather locally.  It has a really unique pebbly finish, and considering Japan's small landmass it might be competitive with cow leather in terms of price.  I don't think you can tool it, but I'll bet it'd be fun to work with.

I actually saw some more exotic skins when I was at the hobby store. Some alligator and snake...and that was just a quick look.

I will have to try my hand at something simple and post pics of the results.
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nitromidas
Deck Hand
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Norway Norway

Part-time forum lurker


« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2009, 05:08:32 am »

Hmm, I am not at all what I would call experienced, but I have been dabbling in leatherwork on and off for a few years now. My advice would be to try to find a purveyor of leather that you can actually visit. At least at first. This allows you to find the leather you want by touching and handling it, as well as to get some advice from someone who are actually experienced. I have found that while I know exactly what I am looking for, I have not yet mastered the neccesary craftspeak to order it. Another source for leather is thrift shops. Old jackets, belts and bags can often give you beutiful hides to work with.

You should also invest in some rudimentary tools. I find that an exacto-knife, a metal ruler and an awl will get me a long way, and the rest of my tools are bought when I needed them for some project or another.

Also, be prepared to bleed... Working with leather has given me my maxim: If you haven't bled, you haven't made anything.
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~If you haven't bled, you haven't made anything.

~Tesla was first.
Aethermancer
Gunner
**
United States United States



« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2009, 08:39:17 am »

Hello ladies and gents,

I have been interested in doing  a little leather work. It would be a nice to make something that I like exactly the way I see it in my head.

I think I would like to start off with something simple, like a good strong belt to go with my Utilikilt.

I have looked at Tandy Leather online and have visited a few hobby stores here in Tokyo, but I would like to ask anyone out there if they have any more online sites  or books they could run by me.

Thanks,
Lord P


I got heavy into leather working about a year ago. My local Tandy has Class night once a week. I started with that. Picked up some basics and went from there. The Leather Work Manual and The Art of Making Leather Cases Vol 1 by Al Stohlman are essential.
Check out my gallery and those of some like minded artists at http://goblinhill.deviantart.com/.
Lots of steampunk eye candy.

Regards,
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stockton_joans
Zeppelin Captain
*****
United Kingdom United Kingdom


« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2009, 02:02:30 pm »

Quote
The Leather Work Manual and The Art of Making Leather Cases Vol 1 by Al Stohlman are essential.
quoted for truth. once you get the basic techniques down you can make pretty much anything.

the other tip I'll offer (I've Been leather working on and off for a few years and more so for the past 2/3) is get the construction side down first, the cutting, stitching etc, first before you start carving and stamping.

it's no use being able to make stuff pretty if you cant then put it all together well.
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Stockton Joans:
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Drac
Snr. Officer
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United States United States


it's a start! what's next?


« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2009, 06:54:23 am »

also join leatherworker.net. we're very friendly, knowlegable and helpful there.
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Zwack
Zeppelin Admiral
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United States United States

And introducing the wonderful Irish (Mrs Z).


« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2009, 03:39:46 pm »

Ask questions...

There seem to be lots of leatherworkers around here who are willing to share tips and advice.

Play around with light card making shapes (it's cheaper than leather) so that you have some idea how you can put a particular shape together.

For example a simple cube can be cut in a variety of patterns.  Which one would you want to use?  That depends on what you want to use it for and the piece of leather that you are making it from.


Z.
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"At least those oddballs are interesting" - My Wife.
I'm British but living in America.  This might explain my spelling.
Tranzient Gallery
Snr. Officer
****
United Kingdom United Kingdom


WWW
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2009, 02:29:25 pm »

I also do quite a bit of leather work, My bits and bobs come more from 15th century Medieval re-enactment lots of belts pouches, scabbards ect. everything has needed to be hand stitched and I very soon learned how to do it. but when i first started out i learnt the wonders of rivets you can quickly put bits of leather together with rivets and its very simple and can give an idea of how a thing will look. brass rivets do also look the part in steampunk  Grin
but as everyone has been saying use some thin cardboard as a pattern and staple the parts together so you can work out what works well and what needs adjusting.
when you come to choosing leather think about what you need it for it wont be easy to make a pouch out of thick leather but it can be a great base or a belt. and vise versa soft leather really wont work well as a belt as it has quite a bit of stretch. but makes decent holders as it has a bit of give.
A great way of experimenting with leather is to get a box of scraps from a shoe repairer. as they normally throw away the scraps you can get them for nothing or very cheap! 
hope this is of some help
wez     
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PennyDreadful
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United States United States


Studying the white savages of the plains.


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« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2009, 02:39:54 am »

Probably the biggest tip is to make sure you have the right kind of leather for the project your doing. That is the most common beginner mistake. I have bought leather for years from Hidehouse.com in Napa, CA. You would need to check about shipping costs vs. Tandy. Hidehouse has a much better variety and better quality than Tandy.

If your unsure if the leather you want is suitable ask at Tandy or Hidehouse. Both places have always been willing to help point you in the right direction.
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Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.
    Oscar Wilde
funkdaddy
Deck Hand
*
United States United States



« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2015, 09:46:39 pm »

After spending a goodly amount of money at Tandy's, I am now an amateur hobbyist. I didn't think to use card for patterns, I found craft foam (soft, pliable and easily cut with good scissors) at a crafts store. It's great for making patterns and can be stapled together to check functionality. Thus far, I have found the learning curve in leatherwork to be great but not insurmountable.
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"I am not what is called a civilized man, professor. I have done with society for reasons that seem good to me. Therefore I do not obey its laws." ~ Captain Nemo
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