New tools and new projects

After a lengthy hiatus, I managed to get some new leather and some time back into my busy life, so I’ll be posting some new projects over the coming weeks. First up is another knife scabbard, this one for a dagger from my SCA kit. I’ll be stitching it tomorrow, so pictures will come soon.

On the subject of new leather, I’ll say it again, or maybe for the first time, or something…: buy leather in person. I lost about $24 in shipping inferior product back to the internet seller. They were cool and refunded me, but I would have saved the shipping both ways plus about 2 weeks of delay had I just gone to my local shop first.

Okay, on to the tools. I was digging through the Tandy catalog the other day and saw that the Al Stohlman super-froofy swivel knife was on sale for about the same price as they normally charge for a blade, so I snagged one.

Swivel knife comparison

Yes, the decoration is a bit over the top, but let’s face it: so is 99% of most Western-style leather carving. On the practical side, this knife is both larger and heavier than your standard swivel, and the finger rest is more filled-out and comfortable. The rest is also adjustable, but unless your hands are much larger than mine, you’ll never adjust it. All this comes together to make a smoother cut.

The next tool is a stitching groover. On the right we have the standard model, which has the cutting tool on the adjustable arm, requiring you to twist the whole tool into the work during use. The new one, however, reverses this and puts the cutting head in the centerline and makes the arm be the spacer. It also has a nice big, easy to use grip chuck like your drill instead of the little tiny slot-head setscrew in the tip of the old one. Bonus: you can lose the spacer arm entirely and groove freehand.

Stitching groovers comparison

Lastly, I picked up one of their wooden edge finishers. I’ve been switching between a nylon edge slicker (I ran a screwdriver bit through it and spin it with a power driver) and an old-school chunk of canvas.  So far, the wooden tool seems to require less work to finish the edge and gives a better result.

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