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Hand Stitching Leather with an Awl and Two Needles

hand stitchingHand stitching Leather with an awl and two needles is a “must-have” skill set for any aspiring leather craftsman.  This method allows for maximum efficiency when it comes to having to hand stitch any project.

There are many ways to accomplish the same goal, and hand stitching is not any different.  Many people prefer to use a dremel tool with a small drill bit or a set of pricking irons.  These tools work for making the holes when hand stitching, but in my opinion they do not save any time nor create as pretty of a stitch.

In this video, Hand Stitching Leather with and Awl and Two Needles, I show you what I know about hand stitching leather the traditional way.  I prefer this method not for maintaining traditional skill, but more for its efficiency and accuracy when hand stitching leather projects.  This method allows for the best possible stitch and for me I find it to be the quickest method.

When it comes to traditional skills that we as craftsmen should have, I believe that proper hand stitching techniques are mandatory.  Even if you prefer to use a dremel tool or pricking irons, I would suggest that you give this method a try and see if you find it useful.

For sewing supplies used in the video, visit our friends at Maker’s Leather Supply.

And if you have been hand stitching leather and would are interested in getting your first sewing machine, then be sure and check out this recent video we did, “Cobra Sewing Machine Options with Maker’s Leather Supply,” where Aaron and I visit about the different machines Leather Machine Co. offers and which one is the best option for your first sewing machine.

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What is the Best Leathercraft Work Surface?

Thumbnail for a a video on the best Leathercraft work surface

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding the best Leathercraft work surface is a quest that I find myself still on today.  I began my leather work career cutting leather out on my bed in my apartment and doing all my work on a 2×4 bench that I made to fit by my desk.  My roommate wasn’t particularly excited about my late night basket stamping sessions.  Fast forward to today, and some of my benches are much more nuanced when it comes to the Leathercraft work surface that I work on.  Some of them are still hodge-podge assortments of materials that simply work… nothing more.

You can get lost in trying to find the absolute best material to work on.  Different leather craft techniques and processes requiring different types of material to work on.  The important thing here is to find something that works for you and go with it.  When you are a famous leather craftsman someday you can worry about how pretty your work tables and benches are.  For now, the only thing that matters is you being able to accomplish your work effectively.

In this video, I go through all of the different Leathercraft work surfaces that I use in my shop.  Why I use them and for what purposes.  These are the best materials that I have found for completing the different tasks in my work.

I did some research to find the company in San Antonio that made the plastic cutting board material on my cut bench.  I did find a company, but since I have never done business with them I didn’t feel comfortable recommending them here.  I will continue to research a good source for this material and when I find a reliable source I will update this video.  I do suggest doing a google search in your area and I bet you can find someone near you that has this material in any size you may need.

For more videos and blog post about the wild world of LeatherCraft, visit our website:  https://dgsaddlery.com

All the paints on my paint table are from Angelus Paint and here is their website:  https://angelusdirect.com

You can also find these paints and anything else you need for your Leathercraft projects at Maker’s Leather Supply:  https://makersleathersupply.com

How to Tool a Cluster Flower Pattern – Video 2

In this video series, I show you the complete tooling of a cluster flower pattern.  The goal of these videos is to show you my complete tooling process when stamping leather tooling patterns.

This video covers the following tools and the order that I use them in:

-Barry King small thumbprint – horizontal lined

-Old Pear Shader (prob an old McMillan)

-Craftool long and thin smooth pear shader

-Barry King small mules foot

-Craftool Wiggler

-Seed Burst

-All Undercuts (Lifters) again to re-lift

Here is the first video, How to Tool a Cluster Flower Pattern – Video 1, so that you can follow along with both of these to tool this pattern.

There is a FREE PDF for this pattern that you are welcome to download by Clicking Here, just enter your email address to confirm access to download a copy to use so that you can follow along with us!

Here is a link to the first video series we did.  Watch this series for more information on some of the tools and uses:

https://dgsaddlery.com/how-to-tool-floral-leather-tooling-patterns/

Here is a link to a video that we did where I go through my tool roll.  I explain the stamps that I use and what type they are:

https://dgsaddlery.com/my-leather-floral-carving-tool-roll/

Links for tools and supplies:

https://makersleathersupply.com

https://www.barrykingtools.com

The sewing machine that I use is the cobra class 4 from https://www.leathermachineco.com

Your LeatherCraft Productivity is Being Killed by Multitasking

Are you under the impression that having multiple jobs or projects going at one time is more efficient for your leathercraft productivity than focusing on one one project at a time?

Have you been told and/or taught that it’s better to cut out all your jobs for the week or month at one time and get them all going?

Are you finding at the end of the week or that month that you haven’t finished anything?  But you have 47 things started!    

I use to be this way, and oftentimes still am.  Truthfully, I still fight this battle everyday.  For years we have been told that multitasking is a skill that the best and most efficient Craftsmen do.  This is what makes them successful and productive.

Multitasking is not as efficient as people once thought.

“Highly successful people attribute success to the ability to focus on one specialized activity. They don’t rapidly switch around from one interest to another — they start a task and then they reliably follow through with it. Instead of just “getting it done,” they achieve mastery or create something truly complete.”  -Article by Forbes Magazine in 2018 “Is Multitasking An Asset Or A Liability?” Continue reading

How to Get Paid in the Leathercraft Business

When I started my leathercraft business, I really didn’t have a “Store Policy” on custom orders.  At that time we were dealing with mostly local folks and I was pretty trusting of them.

Customers came into the store and wanted to get a belt made.  I spent 30 minutes or so with them designing their belt.  The question that followed was usually, “Do I pay now or when I pick it up?”

At the time, I was hungry for work and wanted to make a good impression on our new customer.  I would reply with, “You can pay for it when you pick it up.”

This worked out well for the most part… For a while.

Eventually the items waiting for “pick up” began to grow and money tied up in finished products began increase.  I soon realized that I had built many items using shop money that might not ever get picked up and paid for.

We then started taking a deposit of 50% of the job.  This worked well to ensure that the customer would be back in the store to pick up their items.  As well as to pay us the rest of the balance.

But this became somewhat difficult to handle from an accounting standpoint.

Over the years I have developed our store policy on custom orders into what works best for us.  We take all the money up front on all custom orders. Continue reading

How to Make a Doctoring Saddle Bag

If you have been dabbling in leatherwork for a short period of time, or have been cutting your teeth in the leather industry for decades, then you have had someone ask you to make a doctoring saddle bag before.

These bags are fun at times and other times they can be a very challenging project to complete.  This is mainly due to the particular requests from the dayhand cowboy that is ordering it.  Every cowboy is unique and particular of how his gear is arranged in the tack room, how his horses handle, and how his doctoring bag is designed.  No two cowboys are alike and that can pose a challenge when designing one of these bags.

In this Quick Tutorial Video on our Youtube channel I show you how I approached this particular request we had this week in the shop.  This is by no means the only way to make this type of doctoring bag, but it is how I took a sketch and turned it into a useful tool for my customer.

Check out this video and see if this is something you would like to try and make.  If you like the design that I created here, then you can purchase the pattern pack that goes with this video by clicking HERE. Continue reading