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General Upholstery Questions and Comments => General Discussion => Topic started by: 65Buick on October 24, 2017, 10:40:37 AM

Title: Leather
Post by: 65Buick on October 24, 2017, 10:40:37 AM



I bought some scrap leather for a small project, mainly to give potential customers something with my name on it. As I've found out, working with leather is another whole ball game.
Short of buying a kit from Tandy with all the special tools, does anyone have any suggestions? I wanted to machine stitch the leather, not spend a ton of time, but at least have something professional looking.

At a minimum I have realized that should a customer ask for leather, I'm in for it. Though, stitching straight lines on a cushion is a whole lot easier than stitching something small.
Title: Re: Leather
Post by: MinUph on October 24, 2017, 11:11:58 AM
What special things do you think you need 65? If I remember you have a decent sewing machine.
Title: Re: Leather
Post by: 65Buick on October 24, 2017, 11:52:51 AM
For sure I need some way to bevel or shave down the edge. Possibly a burnishing tool. I am not sure what else at this point but I am sure I will discover.

For example, I look at my wallet by Fossil. It's a quality piece. Edges are clean. In fact, how did they get the fold-over edge so nice? It does look machine-sewn. Thus far I discover that sewing a straight line on a wallet is tricky. And how did they get the stitch exactly in the right place at the corner?
Lots and lots of questions.

Here are a couple photos of my wallet. Not intending to make entire wallets, but it's the same process.

http://gdurl.com/tLQL

http://gdurl.com/zK3f
Title: Re: Leather
Post by: MinUph on October 24, 2017, 04:19:26 PM
Its a good sew-er
Title: Re: Leather
Post by: kodydog on October 24, 2017, 07:47:06 PM
For example, I look at my wallet by Fossil. It's a quality piece. Edges are clean. In fact, how did they get the fold-over edge so nice?

I've been working with upholstery leather for a long time. I cut my teeth upholstering leather office furniture. But when I see a finely sewn wallet. purse or hand bag I ask the same question. I've sewn stuff for myself like storage bags or a phone holder for my belt. But they don't come out as nice as those you see in stores. I'm guessing lots of sewing experience working with stuff like that. Having the right tools surly would help. Maybe guides for your machine. But more than anything else a good teacher to show you the ins and outs.   
Title: Re: Leather
Post by: MinUph on October 24, 2017, 07:53:37 PM
My newest seamstress worked at in factories in NC for many years. Her work is very good. She had lots of tools at her disposal in the factories. Guides, folders, skivers etc. Plus that is all she did was sit and sew. They do so many of the same things and these things are all ready for them placed, skived, and glued in some cases and the sewers sew away. If you do this for 8-10 hrs a day 7 days a week you get very proficient at your machine. We may be pretty good after years of experience but never will be the same as a dedicated factory sewer.
Title: Re: Leather
Post by: Mojo on October 24, 2017, 08:33:56 PM
I know the one person who has gobs of experience with leather is Darren. Hopefully he will chime in. I believe he used to make ortho shoes out of leather. I think he sewed on post bed machines.

Also, Bob Kovar belongs to a leather / upholstery site but I cannot remember the name. It is loaded with saddle makers and such. You might want to google the forum.

Mojo
Title: Re: Leather
Post by: Darren Henry on October 25, 2017, 06:45:57 AM
Short of buying a kit from Tandy with all the special tools, does anyone have any suggestions?

Tandy has some nice toys, but they are more gheared towards leather carving etc... not sewing chrome tanned leather.The one thing that would be nice from there is a marble slab although a square foot of 1/4"plate glass works just as well. You'd be better off talking to a ocal shoe maker or shoe repair person and find oujt hwerer they get their shoe findings. You'll need a tina knife and and a quart of cement. I prefer Helitin or Renia but even Barge will work for booking those edges.

Whether post machine or  flat bed the biggest difference in machines for sewing that close to the edge is the foot.Any machine I've made shoes on had a rolling foot. It is a wheel just to the left of the needle instead of a conventional foot. This allows you to see the needle and the edge with nothing in rthe road. I'll try to upload a picture of mine from photobucket when I have a chance. In the meantime try using a zipper foot.

Gonna be late for work. See you tomorrow.
Title: Re: Leather
Post by: brmax on October 25, 2017, 04:00:58 PM
Theres no doubt with the wheel taking place of the rear presser some great work can be accomplished. Many boot makers use this method.
From looking at some extreme leather workers they will or are setup to use Skiving machines. These machines can be had from Bob as one supplier of Cowboy leather sewing equipment, Steve at Cobra leather machine co. Also another is Gregg at his shop Keystone in PA.
And some of the old giant names as Cambell Randall.
In some accessories the skiver would have a part called a shoe many times; this can have machining that puts pressure on the leather piece. Simple eh! well anyway it can use this function to remove very thin leather material “ in patterns” like a V, or a wide U shape and most used to edge taper from the thickest to paper thin so to fold over. The leather forum site mentioned and also where these above dealers daily look is both a regular and face book access. I can easily say it is worlwide with many different leather workers. Last i looked over 60,000 people. It was the second site i found interesting when i started This being the first that i daily look at. Without further bothering you.
http://leatherworker.net/forum/

Good day
Floyd
Title: Re: Leather
Post by: Darren Henry on October 25, 2017, 09:30:31 PM
Hopefully this is a FB pic of a tina knife.

(http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e216/djh_64/th_tinaknife.jpg) (http://s40.photobucket.com/user/djh_64/media/tinaknife.jpg.html)

that was cool! here is a pic of my 31K20 with the rolling foot

(http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e216/djh_64/th_31K20needle.jpg) (http://s40.photobucket.com/user/djh_64/media/31K20needle.jpg.html)

Title: Re: Leather
Post by: Darren Henry on October 25, 2017, 09:58:54 PM
there is also another method of skiving leather without of buying a skiving  machine that was $3000 back when I apprenticed in early 90's. You can sand the edge. I've had to do that with deer hide (too stretchy), split pig skin ( too weak), etc.. You aren't going to go out and buy a finisher, obviously, but I have done it on a number of sanding devices. Here is my portable finisher.

(http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e216/djh_64/th_SAM_2080_zpsybeil8cm.jpg) (http://s40.photobucket.com/user/djh_64/media/SAM_2080_zpsybeil8cm.jpg.html)

I have also clamped a belt sander into a workmate and used one of those bench mounted belt/disc sanders. Simply hold the project on a flat semi flexible surface like a piece of 1/4" plywood or a leather half sole and draw it up against the rotation of the sander on an angle a few times until you have your skive.
Title: Re: Leather
Post by: 65Buick on October 26, 2017, 02:39:21 PM
What have I gotten myself into??
That rolling foot looks neat.
I wondered if I might get away with a magnetic guide. The hardware store has some of those new neodymium magnets in a rectangle. I could try that.
Or maybe I should find something less complex. In a book I found a simple(r) project making a key holder. I could then stamp my logo on it.
Thanks for the advice, everyone.
Title: Re: Leather
Post by: brmax on October 26, 2017, 04:07:12 PM
Some leather needles can be a good option and some have an angle or straight result.
If you can find a skiving knife you like for now you got it under control. The Knife Darren mentioned the Tina is something to measure others up to. A task in keeping them sharp is important, im just trying to find or pick up some of these leather tools. Its a really really interesting craft. With Darren’s help as always a good lead, I also found a neat book that is kept at the ready.
Leathercraft Tools by Al Stohlman
Its a pictorial of these tools and how and where they are typically used. Includes some sharpening tips also.
I assume after your last post you may have seen some prices : ) get your checkbook out hehe
Just admiring them leather stamp punches Darren had on his bench, they dont give them away thats for sure.

Good day
Floyd
Title: Re: Leather
Post by: MinUph on October 26, 2017, 04:13:35 PM
65, There are many ways to guide the needle to sew a straight line. WaWak has a magnet that we use and it works well. http://www.wawak.com/Magnetic-Seam-Guide. There are also feet for the sewing machine that have a little guild that run in the seam so you can do top stitching straight. There are right hand ones and laft hand ones if the piece has to be run the same direction. These can be found on ebay. These also work very well.
Title: Re: Leather
Post by: Darren Henry on October 26, 2017, 06:32:28 PM
In a book I found a simple(r) project making a key holder. I could then stamp my logo on it.

---Or gold press, or screen printing, or ??

I don't want to jack your thread. How about you PM me your phone number, and we talk about what your goals is and what your thinking? then I could jump back in here. I don't pay for long distance from home, but I'm in Manitoba so two hours later than your time.

get your checkbook out hehe
Just admiring them leather stamp punches Darren had on his bench, they dont give them away thats for sure.

Thanks for the kind words Floyd. You are not lying about the cost of this craft. Each of those stamps in the background cost me $9-19 back in the late 90's. then you add in all the other tools.---It adds up quick. that is why I was suggesting he kept things simple.

Title: Re: Leather
Post by: 65Buick on October 26, 2017, 06:59:35 PM
I'm going to put this project on the back burner. Taking too much time away from upholstery and it's not like you can learn leathercrafting overnight.
I will look into getting a special foot for top-stotching, though. That's probably worth the time