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Need help upping my hand sewn game

Discussion in 'Sheaths & Such' started by kossetx, Oct 9, 2019.

  1. kossetx


    Apr 11, 2017
    Morning Folks,

    I made my second sheath yesterday. The first didn't come out so great. I used a 4 pin punch to make the holes and getting it out of this 9/10 leather was a chore. On this sheath I decided I would drill the holes. They came out OK, but needs to be better. The back side isn't so strait. I also am not entirely happy with the thread set. I tried to make sure I evenly tensioned the thread but they are slightly different in depth.

    I knowledge I'm missing or do I need to just shut up and build more sheaths?

    Thanks, Pete

  2. rtmind


    Mar 8, 2013
    Pete, After 5 years of strictly hand stitching, I have come to the realization that there will always be some variation on the back side. When we compare our work to Dave or Paul, who are using machines, it won't ever look as great. Just keep practicing. Remember to always start from the same side, ensure you have a good stitching groove on the front, ensure even tension, then last of all tap down the threads at the end to even stuff out. To me, that stitching looks pretty good. rtmind/randy
  3. bonafide

    bonafide Leather Sheathmaker, JouFuu Leathers Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 20, 2013
    You just need more practice.

    Machine stitching is for convenience .. it does not look better than a well done hand stitch.
  4. Bigfattyt

    Bigfattyt Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 23, 2007
    I tend to groove the leather on each side. I hand stitch with an round awl punch. One hole at a time. Punch from front to back. I punch into a cutting board, or other firm backing. Make sure to check the hole placement before enlarging the back side. If the hole alignment is a bit off, you can back the punch out, and adjust angle.

    I'm no pro.
    Hengelo_77 and Alberta Ed like this.
  5. kossetx


    Apr 11, 2017
    Randy, thanks for the affirmation. With what do I tap the threads down?

    Bona, the plan is I'll practice more...

    BFT, I did go FTB into a piece of pine so I have that part right. I guess I need to make sheaths for knives that don't need them. Making one or two a year for knives I do isn't enough.

  6. rtmind


    Mar 8, 2013
    Pete, The ideal thing for tapping down the threads is a polished hammer, for a long time I just used my plastic "bone creaser" from Tandy to protect the leather from my maul. rtmind/randy
  7. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    Might consider an overstitch wheel too.
  8. kossetx


    Apr 11, 2017
    Ouch..phew...I didn't think someone of your talent would hit below the belt like that. I used a pair of high quality dividers to set spacing. IMO I don't see any problem with my front side spacing. It was the back I didn't like.

    Oh well, It takes all sorts...
  9. lessismore

    lessismore Enjoy Every Sandwich Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 29, 2010
    Are you here for affirmation or advice? Horsewright gave sound advice, based on your own comment about your stitches being at different depths, a wheel would help.
    duramax likes this.
  10. kossetx


    Apr 11, 2017
    Perhaps an explanation of how a wheel would help set depth would help instead of just saying "consider one". I understood an overstitch wheel sets spacing. By different depths, I meant some stitches are a little deeper than others. Doesn't tension set that?

    I really saw no sound advice. It was a statement. No explanation. No reasoning. You know... just like your response. I, was asking for help.

    ...and ya, what's wrong with a little affirmation? Randy felt like doing it.

    Thanks again Randy...
  11. lessismore

    lessismore Enjoy Every Sandwich Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 29, 2010
    If I answered these two questions, would you listen or would you rather I just agree with you?
    Salolan and duramax like this.
  12. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011

    An overstitch wheel can be used two ways. Its the second way that I thought would help ya some. Most folks think about an overstitch wheel as only being used to mark the spacing. But thats not really its true purpose. Consider its name. After you are done stitching, run the wheel back over the stitching, (overstitch). It uniforms your stitching, gives it a very finished look and will help with the tension some by placing each cross of thread in the center if done from both sides. With care this can be done on the back side too, particularly with your sheath as its very even and straight on the back side. If done from the top only it will still help set your depth uniformly. They are available in different sizes such as a #5, #6 and #7 which corresponds to how many stitches per inch. For sheath work a 5 or 6 would probably be bout right. Honestly I think your stitching looks pretty darn good, in fact, particularly the backside. Especially since its only your second sheath. Yeah do lots more.

    I do apologize, I was not intending to be short and I should of explained an overstitch wheel and its use. As someone else mentioned I don't handstitch and haven't for 25-30 years. Back then it was all needle and awl and there are better ways now, particularly for sheath work. I have no experience in these methods. So I don't generally comment much in these handstitching threads and leave that for others who do have more to share. If ya want to up your game on the rest of the sheath I can sure help ya with that.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2019 at 9:55 AM
  13. Macan


    Apr 7, 2014
  14. Salolan


    Feb 27, 2013
    Dave, my hat is off to you. Your graciousness and dedication to helping others is commendable. Especially when it is shown to those being less than appreciative. We could all stand to learn more from you than just leather. Thank you.
    Dave owed you no such thing, or me, or anyone for that matter. He gives as freely of his time to help others on this forum as anyone, likely even more so. He gave a short and specific response that directly answered your question. Nothing harsh, beligerant or even a critique at all. Instead of being so hasty to get offended, maybe you could have taken 2 minutes to research his suggestion, let alone to deduce the definition of "overstitch".
    Frankly the response more than just annoyed me, I was mad by the time I had finished reading this post. I have seen masters of their craft quit sharing and participating in groups and forums altogether for situations similar to this. Run off by individuals who have yet to even learn enough to know what they don't know.
    In the last 2 days, I've written a response 3 times only to decide them heated and largely unproductive and to delete. My apologies to those who still deem this unproductive.
    Thank you again Dave, Paul, Dwayne and the rest of you who have helped us all along the way.

  15. Lorien

    Lorien Moderator Moderator

    Dec 5, 2005
    I've been following this thread for my own education as well, and will echo the disappointment expressed by others. These threads can be informative and super helpful. I was going to add a few hard fought amateur leatherworker tips and hacks of my own, but can't see that being worth even the time it took to type this out
    duramax, usmc0341 and Salolan like this.

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