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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  CAS TOPICS  |  The Leather Shop (Moderators: Marshal Will Wingam, Ten Wolves Fiveshooter)  |  Topic: Hand Stitching Leather 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Hand Stitching Leather  (Read 58357 times)
Bitterwheat
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« on: October 04, 2005, 03:29:06 pm »


How many use a hand stictch? Do you use a saddle stich? How do you make you holes? Do you punch them with and awl or use a leather punch? I usally punch mine with a leather punch. But if there is a better way I would like to know.
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Silver Creek Slim
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« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2005, 03:41:04 pm »

I hand stitch using two needles. I don't know what a saddle stitch is since I'm still a newbie to leatherwork. I use an awl to make the stitching holes.

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« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2005, 09:37:50 pm »

Hand-stitch using two needles and an awl.  Makes for sore fingers at times.
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« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2005, 06:59:12 am »

I hand stitch using an awl.  I have a punch that does 5 holes per inch, but it really doesn't work on real thick leather, ie holster thickness.  Nothing holds better than the saddle stitch, imho.
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« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2005, 07:36:52 am »

They make an awl/needle/bobbin hand contraption that seems to work well...mine looks sort of like this one:
http://www.safetycentral.com/spsthaoplese.html

And if the leather is too thick, I'll mark it and take it out to the drill press with a 1/16" or so bit Smiley
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Hogleg_Willy
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« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2005, 09:31:05 am »

I have always used a dremel tool and a 1/16 bit. Then a saddle stitch with 2 needles...

This is a money belt, roughout, stiched along the top and one end. Also some stiching on the holsters. This pic shows in the white, now has a light tan stain...

(image deleted from photobucket)
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« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2005, 01:30:14 pm »

I use Hand sewing (saddle stitch) and machine sewing, just depends on the project.   For hand sewing there are a number of ways you can do it as seen by the posts above.  However there are several ways that will get you the best results.

1. Is the traditional way with a diamond blad awl.  Two of the points of the diamond are sharp and you punch your holes at the proper angle to allow the thread to always pull against a flat side.  This is the strongest way.  Don't use a round scratch awl as it just punchs a jagged hole and will cause more of a postage stamp affect to your leather.

2. Is useing a special Stiching punch(not lacing chisel) that will punch several small slits that will work the same as #1 above for making holes.  This is great for large project of light to medium weight leather.  On really thick leather the chisel is hard to punch thru the thickness of leather.

For spacing of holes for #1 you should use a stitch marker or overspace wheel to mark your holes before punching.  They come in 5, 6 or 7 for the number of holes per inch.  For most work you will use a 5.  Size 6 or 7 is for fine work like gloves.  After sewing you the same wheel over your stitching to make the thread nice and flat.   For really good instructions on hand sewing invest in "The Art of Hand Sewing by Al Stohlman"  this book is like the bible of hand sewing and one of the best reference books I have found.
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laffalotlouie
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« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2005, 05:42:27 pm »

I use a double needle stitch on everything.  It has some major advantages over a lock stitch, mainly that if one thread breaks, the other is still holding. 

I recently bought a stitching pony, not the tiny they sell at Tandy, but a larger one off of Ebay and I'm loving using it.  It really makes the double needle stitch easy to do.

Later,

Laff-a-lot Louie
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« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2005, 06:03:41 pm »

I also use a double needle stitch on everything. I don't do enough to warrant buying a machine and besides, it's stronger.
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laffalotlouie
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« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2005, 06:23:51 pm »

Hello all again,

http://cgi.ebay.com/Leather-Stitching-Clamp-Pony-3-Models-Slicker-Stick_W0QQitemZ8223454278QQcategoryZ28133QQcmdZViewItem

This is the gentleman I bought the stitchin pony from.  The one I bought is the one pictured on the right, not the one he's currently selling.  I like the wider size for sewing holsters and such.  So far it has worked out great.  Makes me wonder how I ever got along without it. 

If you hate juggling needles and such for the double needle stitch, then try a stitching pony.  It really makes a difference.

There are also instructions out there on the web on how to build your own. Something I didn't have the time or the tools to do myself so I paid someone else for their time and tools.

Later,

Laff-a-lot Louie
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« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2005, 08:23:19 pm »

Thanks for the link, Laffalotlouie. I made one like the one on the left, but it's more trouble than it's worth. Maybe mine isn't big enough.
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« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2005, 09:38:14 am »

...
There are also instructions out there on the web on how to build your own. Something I didn't have the time or the tools to do myself so I paid someone else for their time and tools.

Later,

Laff-a-lot Louie
Here's one.
http://wrtcleather.com/1-ckd/tutorials/_stitchpony.html

Slim
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« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2005, 09:31:52 pm »

Excellent link...!!!
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« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2005, 09:34:49 pm »

Thanks for the link, Laffalotlouie. I made one like the one on the left, but it's more trouble than it's worth. Maybe mine isn't big enough.

I have tried to use a Pony before but I handstitched without one for so long it felt clumbsy to me.....but those are real nice looking ones.
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Rascal Ralph
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« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2005, 09:58:12 pm »

I learned the saddle stitch from my ex-wife who is a saddle maker, and has her own shop. The secrete to the saddle stitch is to NEVER pass the needle through the opposing thread. As we learned in psysics, materials of the same material will abraid each other at a high rate.( one thread against the other) My ex tought me to pass one needle through the hole, then pull the thread downwerd. This leaves the top of the hole free to pass the second needle through with out piercing the first thread.
 I love a good stitching pony, however I built my own to have an upward sloping jaw, which allows me to stitch at an upward angle (about 45 degrees). Just my personal taste!
 Sure love this forum for leather workers, I learn a lot from all of you ! RHR.
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« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2005, 10:10:46 pm »

Hand stitching for me.

I sew it out and then turn around and sew her back.  The 2 needle thing is to much trouble in my opinion.  For puching the holes I have a 8 inch Craftsman drill press set up with a cross machine vise.  In the vise I have a piece of I beam that I cut and polished the bottom of it off (so I have a T shaped piece of metal). the bottom of the T is cranked down tight and level in the vise with the flat top looking up.  I covered the top of it with 9 oz. leather, milled a bit that is just a little over sized for my needle I'm sewing with.  I use my overstitch wheel to lay out the holes, fire up the drill press at it's lowest setting so it turns slow and punch away.

My 2 cent's worth....

Reverend Bob

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« Reply #16 on: December 31, 2005, 12:15:07 am »

Howdy,

I have built a couple stitching horses for folks over the years. They all were four legged benches with a platform shaped like those flat wooden spoons that used to come with ice cream, and a lever that you worked with your foot to open and clamp them shut. I saw a fellow at one of the shoots who had the actual clamps leaning over a little to one side, instead of straight up and down like I used to build them. I believe his idea was an improvement if you're right handed, or totally left handed. Myself, I always like to be able to switch back and forth as I tire from working from one side or the other. I've never seen the little table top models like were in the links above, just the bench type. My first one was a copy of an existing one, where the shop wanted a second one just like it. The others were just based on what I remembered of the first one, and what material I had to build from. 
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« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2006, 11:03:03 pm »

When I was making knife sheaths, I used to mark the stitch holes then drill them on a small table top drill press with the smallest bit that would fit in the chuck. I then stitched using 2 needles but I'm not sure what the stitch was called.
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« Reply #18 on: February 17, 2006, 12:38:36 am »

When I was making knife sheaths, I used to mark the stitch holes then drill them on a small table top drill press with the smallest bit that would fit in the chuck. I then stitched using 2 needles but I'm not sure what the stitch was called.
I've used a dremel with a small drill chucked into it for drilling holes through places where a bunch of layers of leather make it too thick to comfortably punch. My new dremel has a little chuck that might take a teensey bit from my torch tip cleaning set of drills, some of those are like thin piano wire. I'll try that next time I need to drill stitch holes. Actually, I may do it for my next project just to try it out.
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« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2006, 06:40:24 pm »

Howdy, Pards,

For most of my work I use a lockstitch, as I can pull it snugger.  Depending on the job, I may use a sewing machine, especially for flat work (stitching belt loops to holsters, cartridge loops, etc.).  However, for the main seams of holsters, and a lot of other stuff, I use one of two types of "needles".  For most heavy work, where I can get at the back side, I use a Landis machine hook (a "needle" with one side of the eye open...they are made that way).  You push the needle through the leather, either through a pre-punched/drilled hole or you CAN push the point through the leather itself. After pushing the machine hook through both pieces of leather, you loop the thread over the "hook" and pull the thread partially back through the leather, forming a loop. You unhook the "needle" from the thread. You then stick the free end of the "near-side" thread through the loop, and pull both ends tight, making sure the threads are evenly set in the middle of the two layers.  Makes the stitching look like machine stitching.

For main seams on holsters, I punch the holes in each part separately.  I may punch the holes using my sewing machine with the thread removed from the needle, or pre-drill the holes with a #56 drill bit after marking the leather with an overstitch wheel in a hand tool.

Sometimes, where I'm working in close quarters, I'll use a regular needle in a hand haft (Speedy Stitcher).

For light jobs I use #207 nylon thread.  For sewing belt loops to holsters, etc., #277.  These are the equivalent of military 3-cord and 4-cord respectively.  For hand-sewing the welts on holsters, I use polyester "Coarse" thread from Stewart Manufacturing.  That's similar to 4-cord.

Hope this is of interest.
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« Reply #20 on: March 04, 2006, 11:29:20 am »

  I use two needles and depending on what I am working on, either a awl, single hole punch, or a row punch (I have one with 5 and one with 3 prongs)...  I keep a block of bees wax handy and stick the needles in it after every few holes...kinda helps them slide a bit better...  I also use thimbles and sometimes a pair of needle nose pliers to help push the needles through...
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« Reply #21 on: March 04, 2006, 12:56:39 pm »

I use a pair of duckbill pliers to pull the needles through when they get stuck, which is often if I make small holes with my awl. I'll try sticking them in the beeswax. Good idea. Thanks for the tip.
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« Reply #22 on: April 04, 2006, 12:52:19 am »

I use thde 1/16 drill bit and two needles for thick lether 6 oz and up for 4oz and thinner I use that nice hole punch Tandy came out with a few years ago.  The one that they show for use on dear and elk hides and it works great on the thinner stuff.  The drill works great on the 5/6oz and up.By the time you die the leather, and oil it after  the dye dries the woles close up.  Matter fact I got a project on the table that I need to lay out the holes on and sew up.  Guess I will do it in the AM.
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« Reply #23 on: June 11, 2006, 05:12:02 pm »

I have used a hand stitch to a limited extent. I concur with every other comment made hear. I too am new to leather work.
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« Reply #24 on: June 11, 2006, 06:45:45 pm »

I have always used the needles I could get from Tandy Leather for hand stitching.   Have any of you had the problem I am having with those needles now?  The last three packages the needles don't hold up, I use the heavy waxed thread and never before did I have this trouble but lately the needles are snapping at the eye.  Just to make one knife sheath took 8 needles.
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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  CAS TOPICS  |  The Leather Shop (Moderators: Marshal Will Wingam, Ten Wolves Fiveshooter)  |  Topic: Hand Stitching Leather « previous next »
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