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flashpoint

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I was thinking about making some small leather items such as pouches, ball bags, etc. Being it is not likely I will be purchasing a sewing machine, does any one have any advice as to how to stitch up the leather? Long ago there used to be something called a "Speedy Stitcher" that you would sew by hand. I don't know if they are around anymore or there is something better that would do a good job? Also, what kind of strong thread should I use and how heavy should it be? Cotton? Linen? Waxed? Thanks much.
 

flashpoint

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Waxed linen in a speedy stitcher. Still made. Great device for sewing leather. Use it all the time.

ADK Bigfoot
Wow, you're fast on the trigger tonight ADK. Thanks for the info. I will definitely check it out
 

kje54

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Hmmm kje54. What is a stitching pony??


They come in all sizes, some rotate and cant (lean). They can run from $20 something to well over a hundred bucks. There are videos on how to make your own.
 

flashpoint

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Thanks JKE54. That looks like it would make things a whole lot easier. I appreciate it. Now to get some leather.
 

Eterry

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I was thinking about making some small leather items such as pouches, ball bags, etc. Being it is not likely I will be purchasing a sewing machine, does any one have any advice as to how to stitch up the leather? Long ago there used to be something called a "Speedy Stitcher" that you would sew by hand. I don't know if they are around anymore or there is something better that would do a good job? Also, what kind of strong thread should I use and how heavy should it be? Cotton? Linen? Waxed? Thanks much.
I bought 2 of them several years ago at The Sportsman's Guide. I gave 1 to a friend, used the other last month. Check them out.
 

Artificer

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I got suckered into buying Tandy's "Speedy Stitcher" or what they now call their "Sewing Awl kit" back around 1972 when I was first began leather work.

What a huge waste of time and money!!!! As soon as one single loop stitch wears or breaks, the whole line of stitches UNRAVELS on you. No serious leather worker uses this device for that reason. Back in the 1970's, I got a LOT of practice repair hand stitching leather holster belts of Law Enforcement Officers that were machine sewn the same way.

"Saddle Stitching" is not only the correct way for the period of this forum, but it is not difficult to learn. Further, what makes this stitching really stand out is you can cut every fourth or fifth stitch and it will still hold the leather together. Heck, I had no one to teach me how to do it in the early 1970's and pretty much had to figure it out on my own, so it can't be THAT hard. GRIN! However, today it is very easy to learn as there are many videos on learning it on YouTube.

Our dear departed forum member, Chuck Burrows aka La Bonte on this forum, was a REAL professional leather worker who served an apprenticeship to do it. He suggested video's by Neil Armitage as excellent ways to learn. Here is a great one to learn hand stitching:


My advice, don't waste your money on that (Ahem) device and learn to do it the better way by hand.

Gus
 

zimmerstutzen

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I agree with Gus about the limited utility and better stitching, but for a few jobs they do come in handy. FYI the speeder stitcher or a clone is available at Harbor Freight. I don't do much leather work any more but they are handy to keep around when just a few stitches are needed. Repaired nylon dog collars, tack, boots etc.,
 

oldwood

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Try the Leather Unlimited website catalog. They have everything to do w/leather. They have bargain bundles of different leathers , and informational stuff on different "weights of leather". Might even have a real "hold-in-hands catalog..............oldwood
 

flashpoint

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Thank you everyone for the great advice and where to look for what I need.
 

Pietro

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I was thinking about making some small leather items such as pouches, ball bags, etc.

Being it is not likely I will be purchasing a sewing machine, does any one have any advice as to how to stitch up the leather?

Also, what kind of strong thread should I use and how heavy should it be? Cotton? Linen? Waxed? Thanks much.

If I'm after a smoother look to a pouch/bag, hiding the stitches, I hand sew the subject bag inside-out, then reverse it when finished stitching.




I mark the stitching line with a spacer wheel, then make the holes wide enough to sew with an awl




I use a needle at each end of some heavy duty waxed thread in a dark brown or light tan color, depending on the color of the bag leather, that's long enough to do about 3"-4" of stitching, then tie off that section of stitches before going on to the next section - working around the bag/pouch.


 

Stony Broke

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I've been doing a lot of leather work over the years, just as a hobby. I've done loads of shooting bags, holsters, knife sheaths, etc..... I've found that the little awl type of tool has been my most efficient tool. Actually just a hand full of tools will do a wide variety of leather work. I sit down at a bench and do the basic cutting and whatever of the leather, and then generally just sit down in front of the tv and do my stitching on my lap while watching Gunsmoke or one of my favorite shows. I'm not very talented with a camera, but I tried to get a couple of pics of a few of my sheaths....I seem to have accumulated a lot of them over the years. I also have a number of holsters that I've made for some of my unmentionable guns...but they will remain hidden.
The stitching with an awl is about as easy as leather work can be, and very tough as far as wear on the finished product.

 

flashpoint

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I've been doing a lot of leather work over the years, just as a hobby. I've done loads of shooting bags, holsters, knife sheaths, etc..... I've found that the little awl type of tool has been my most efficient tool. Actually just a hand full of tools will do a wide variety of leather work. I sit down at a bench and do the basic cutting and whatever of the leather, and then generally just sit down in front of the tv and do my stitching on my lap while watching Gunsmoke or one of my favorite shows. I'm not very talented with a camera, but I tried to get a couple of pics of a few of my sheaths....I seem to have accumulated a lot of them over the years. I also have a number of holsters that I've made for some of my unmentionable guns...but they will remain hidden.
The stitching with an awl is about as easy as leather work can be, and very tough as far as wear on the finished product.

Stony, your work is really beautiful and creative. Every sheath looks like it would last a lifetime and then some. I particularly like the way you double stitched and the basket weave design; and you are a pretty good photographer to boot. Is there a particular awl size I should get and would a hardware store carry them? Thanks
 

troy2000

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I got suckered into buying Tandy's "Speedy Stitcher" or what they now call their "Sewing Awl kit" back around 1972 when I was first began leather work.

What a huge waste of time and money!!!! As soon as one single loop stitch wears or breaks, the whole line of stitches UNRAVELS on you. No serious leather worker uses this device for that reason. Back in the 1970's, I got a LOT of practice repair hand stitching leather holster belts of Law Enforcement Officers that were machine sewn the same way.

"Saddle Stitching" is not only the correct way for the period of this forum, but it is not difficult to learn. Further, what makes this stitching really stand out is you can cut every fourth or fifth stitch and it will still hold the leather together. Heck, I had no one to teach me how to do it in the early 1970's and pretty much had to figure it out on my own, so it can't be THAT hard. GRIN! However, today it is very easy to learn as there are many videos on learning it on YouTube.

Our dear departed forum member, Chuck Burrows aka La Bonte on this forum, was a REAL professional leather worker who served an apprenticeship to do it. He suggested video's by Neil Armitage as excellent ways to learn. Here is a great one to learn hand stitching:


My advice, don't waste your money on that (Ahem) device and learn to do it the better way by hand.

Gus
I've never had a stitch break on anything I've sewn with a Speedy Stitcher, so I don't see the problem; waxed linen is some strong stuff. I think it would take years of wear or serious abuse for that to happen. I have a tooled leather purse my father made for my mother in 1949, the year I was born. The clasp broke after fifty years and she stopped carrying it, but the stitching was still going strong. And it looks like waxed linen to me...
 

oldwood

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I'm far below being even an amateur stitcher. I work on my own stuff , mostly modifying new basic store bought shot pouches to suit my whims of what a shot pouch should provide. Running long seams like on pouch flaps , the 2 needle approach works best , for me. I pre-punch one piece of the seam , and as i sew , I punch the 2nd pc of leather and use the 2 needles, that way the stitching isn't puckered. . I know little about thread , just so it doesn't break , and the color isn't ugly. I'll never be a leather worker , and think I'll stick to stocking m/l's...oldwood
 

Artificer

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My experience with competition shooting in period attire, living history, re-enacting and skirmishing since the early 70's have caused me to at least bring to such events an awl, linen thread, beeswax, and four needles (you might break one or two needles working on heavier leather, so that's why I learned to carry at least four in a very small wooden case) to repair machine sewn and "speed stitcher" sewn articles.

I also carried this basic repair kit, plus a few more tools and some leather when taking the kids to what is more recently called "Gymkhana," but others might know it as Junior Rodeo - again to repair machine sewn and speed stitcher sewn or repaired articles. Quite often I had the repairs made before someone found where the speed stitcher had laid in the bottom of a equipment box and of course with a better saddle stitch repair than a Speedy Stitcher can do.

So I have no use for those speed stitcher things.

Gus
 

Stony Broke

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Stony, your work is really beautiful and creative. Every sheath looks like it would last a lifetime and then some. I particularly like the way you double stitched and the basket weave design; and you are a pretty good photographer to boot. Is there a particular awl size I should get and would a hardware store carry them? Thanks
Tandy's or maybe Hobby Lobby would carry them. If you go online, you can pick up that stuff for very little money. If a guy picks up a hole punch...I sort of like the 4 hole version best...an awl and a roll of waxed sinew, you're basically ready to sew most stuff.
Years ago, I had a friend that sat down and gave me a quick demonstration of how to use an awl...and that's the basis of the only education I ever got about leather work. Most of it is very simple and you only need a few tools to build a lot of things !
 

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