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Thread: Mission Completed.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Central London
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    7,988

    Default Mission Completed.

    I have now made my remaining belts, probably the last for this year. The sterling buckles are gently curved and have centre cross bars.
    One was made from strip and filed to shape. The other was made from round wire, faceted in the mill and then swaged.

    There is little more to say about the metal work, so I thought I would introduce you to some of the tools I used on the leather. Donít read on if you know all this already.

    I am still an abject beginner at belt making, being mostly self-taught, with some advice from suppliers and suggestions from ps_bond for finishing the edges.
    Starting on the left in picture 3:

    The skiver is used for thinning the leather from the back, particularly where it is folded over the cross bar. It has very sharp disposable blades. By cutting on a sheet of glass it saves the blade from too much damage when it inevitably slips off

    The tool with the wooden handle is a beveller, which is used with a pushing action to remove the sharp angles of cut edges. It litters the floor with fine leather laces.

    The dark wheel with a hole and a grooved edge is a slicker. You are meant to run it along the slightly wetted edge of the belt to achieve polished finish. I have never previously had much success with it. This time it occurred to me to mount it on the spindle of my Proxxon grinder polisher. That was much more effective, particularly when I used bees wax as a finish.

    The dividers are there to show that accurate marking out is essential. The rivets are set with the large concave punch, so as not to damage their heads.

    The hole punching pliers suit me fine, although it seems that professionals prefer separate punches.

    Mission completed. Dennis
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Bbs1 Belt 2.jpg   Bbs 2 Belt 3.jpg   Bbs 3 Tools For Leather.jpg  

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    440

    Default

    Very elegant belts - and interesting info on tools and methods. One life just isn't enough to do all the things I fancy doing... I'll just have to ignore the urge to take up leather working.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Romsey
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    They look really good, Dennis. Are you moistening the edges of the leather before using the beveller? It depends on the leather a bit (chrome tanned leathers tend to be less responsive) but it can make the cutting a bit easier.
    I usually burnish edges using some gum tragacanth - dabbed on and allowed to dry a little then burnished to a shine. Again, depends on the leather.

    I have both an assortment of individual punches and pliers - and I usually end up grabbing the pliers if the hole can be done with them.

  4. #4
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    Dec 2009
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    Central London
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    Thank you Peter, I have tried Edge Kote, but gave it up because it is difficult to stop unsightly dribbles. I presumed gum trag would have the same problem, so I have just used water, let it dry and then beeswax leather polish.

    I have always been envious of the beautiful finishes on Italian belts, but I can find no one in London who is into that.

    Thank you Alan. Regards, Dennis.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Romsey
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    I'm not a huge fan of Edge Kote, although it's not too bad for masking scuffs on high heels. I usually apply gum trag using a fingertip, it doesn't need a thick coating, just enough to moisten the leather before burnishing. Tends to dry out quickly too.

    I know a guy who teaches leatherwork in Kent if that's of interest?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
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    440

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    Quote Originally Posted by ps_bond View Post
    I know a guy who teaches leatherwork in Kent if that's of interest?
    Too far from Pembrokeshire for me, though I might keep an eye out for something closer to home. But my problem is getting enthused by too many different things and not really focusing on anything long and hard enough to get really good at it. I should learn to just stand back and admire other people's good work while resisting the temptation to take it up myself...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Shropshire
    Posts
    56

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    Lovely belts Dennis I started working with leather earlier this year and have managed to accumulate a load of tools in that short time, have found leather work as steep a learning curve as silver work, and almost as expensive! Latest tool was a Barry King edger, which was a bit dear with postage, but so glad I got it as it cuts like a dream. I've tried various edge paints, lotions and potions, but have settled on burnishing with water and saddle soap with glycerin, then a coat of wax, which gives a nice result and no peeling! Not quite a glass edge but I live in hope.

    Am really struggling at the moment to find a supplier of good quality pre-dyed veg-tan in a warm brown colour. If you have any recommendations of suppliers would be gratefully received

  8. #8
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    Jul 2009
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    Romsey
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    Abbey Saddlery do pre-dyed butts.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Shropshire
    Posts
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    thanks - I ordered some samples of the sedgwick bridle shoulders from them this morning Now just got to hope that the leather will do what I want it to, unsure as keep reading that bridle leather doesn't stamp well? But then maybe it will with a press, guess will soon find out!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    Romsey
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    Normal process with tooling is to stamp the leather (preferably slightly damp), then dye it; if the leather is dyed first then it strips some of the oils out, drying and stiffening it.
    It's not generally part of traditional British leatherwork - well, mostly bridlework; the norm for decoration would be to line in the edge, which is sometimes done using a heated creasing iron.
    Decorative stamping was more a Western leatherwork thing FWIW.

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