Reddit Reddit reviews The Art of Hand Sewing Leather

We found 15 Reddit comments about The Art of Hand Sewing Leather. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

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The Art of Hand Sewing Leather
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15 Reddit comments about The Art of Hand Sewing Leather:

u/JVonDron · 9 pointsr/Leathercraft

They're 2 different tools and are manufactured very differently.

Pricking irons are not meant to penetrate all the way through the leather - people do it, but they're not designed for that. They're only meant to initially space and angle the stitching holes so you have a good guide to fully puncture the leather with an awl. They "prick" the leather. The points are usually filed and cut very precisely out of high quality steel to last a lifetime - using it improperly as a punch risks bending and breaking a tooth. They generally have 8 or more teeth to lay out long stretches or 2 teeth to go around corners.

Diamond punches are lower quality tools that are stamped and ground to shape. They're meant to go all the way through thinner leathers and into a cutting surface. If you break or bend a tooth, no worries, they're easily replaceable. They can be used as a poor man's pricking iron, but stitching wheels are better for that job. They have 4, 2, or 1 tooth variations, as more teeth would be harder to punch through and remove. The main downside is you get a 1 size fits all big damn hole.

And don't use a lacing chisel for stitching, where the slits line up in the direction you're going. The thread falls into the hole and you'll have an ugly space between every stitch. I see way too many people on this subreddit doing it, and it needs to stop.

Pricking irons were mainly developed in Europe and England, where tight stitches of 8spi and higher were common and prized as quality craftsmanship. Western style leatherworking mainly relied on stitching wheels and awls at 3-8 spi. Saddles have a lot of curves, where a pricking iron would be useless, and larger threads with fewer spi is just as strong if not stronger with heavy leathers. Diamond punches are kind of a recent invention from the crafty side of the trade.

Basically, I sew Western style, with a stitching wheel and a diamond awl. If you want to learn how, there's only one book to get - Al Stohlman's Art of Sewing Leather. With an awl, you can vary stitch length and hole size at will to fit the project, thread size, and leather thicknesses. If the leather is too thin or floppy for an awl, I sit down with a glover's needle and a big damn thimble I made for myself. My punches are rusting somewhere, and if you want them, you can have 'em.

u/MDWaxx · 5 pointsr/Leathercraft

I'm just beginning myself, but Al Stohlman's The Art of Hand Sewing Leather is pretty much the go-to resource for learning how to hand stitch.

u/Giving_In · 4 pointsr/Leathercraft

First I'll list what I bought and then I'll discuss what I have or what I'd have done differently.

Not listed are an xacto blade/utility knife, cork-backed ruler, and steel square. These were purchased at Harbor Freight.

Awl Haft

Diamond Awl Blade

The awl haft and diamond blade (E42) are great. I like the combo I bought. The handle has a chuck instead of some I saw which need the blade pressed in to the chuck.

Channel Groover

The channel groover I bought is nice. The chuck, similar to the awl haft, is very convenient for quick adjustments.

Overstitch Wheel

Doing it again, I probably would have bought some diamond chisels over the overstitch wheel, but so far it's worked alright. I will be buying the chisels eventually.

Edge Beveling Kit

I had no idea what edge beveler to buy with so many sizes and never having touched leather, so I'm really happy with the one I bought. It comes with 5 sizes.

Harness Needles

I bought 3 sizes of harness needles. Probably overkill but they were $3 a pack and I didn't know what size I needed. I've been using the medium ones and they are working well with the thread I got.

Cutting Mat

The cutting mat is nice. It's a bit thicker than the ones I found locally at Michaels.

Lacing Pony

The lacing pony is probably my biggest regret that I was forced to buy. I don't have access to any woodworking tools so I was stuck purchasing one. I should have had a coworker do it for me in his shop at 1/5 of the cost. It comes in two pieces and the holes in mine didn't line up at all. I ended up having to drill a hole for the screw.

Art of Hand Sewing

The book comes highly recommended from everyone. I've flipped through it but I learned my basic technique from youtube videos. As I try to do more I'm sure I'll reference it.


I bought .035" waxed cord from Maine Thread. I have nothing to compare it to but it seems to work okay.


And finally the leather. I'm still not sure if I made the right purchase, although buying a shoulder of leather seems to be a popular beginner suggestion. Already I'd like to have more variety, but I think I'm going to a Tandy Leather this weekend so maybe I'll pick up some other random stuff.

Things I didn't buy that I should have:

Contact Cement

Gum Trag

Burnishing Tool


Leather finish

I actually made a decent stitch I was happy with on my second try. I didn't buy these items because I planned on doing lots of practice on scraps but because I feel good about my initial work I'd like to try to make something. Without those few items I'm kinda stuck for the moment.

u/stay_at_home_daddy · 4 pointsr/Leathercraft

That is why I always suggest people pickup a copy of The Art of Hand Sewing Leather. If you're going to do it you might as well do it right.

u/artearth · 2 pointsr/Leathercraft

The Art of Hand Sewing Leather by Al Stohlman has directions for building a stitching pony. I haven't built one but it seems to be well regarded. If you don't have the $11 to buy the book (also well regarded) you may be able to find the plans out in the webs.

No plans, but there is a walkthrough of a guy building a variation on Stohlman's pony.

Edit: also found these plans in an older book. A little hard to read, and I'm guessing they require some skill as a carpenter.

u/Landholder · 2 pointsr/Leathercraft

The art of hand sewing leather says that if you're stopping one section of stitches due to running out of thread, you tie an overhand knot around the outside of the work, and start sewing the next length of cord back a stitch or two (so you're sewing atop the existing stitches) and cut the thread at the awl hole once the new stitching has passed the overhead stitching.

When I'm sewing linen, I'll usually end my stitching by backstitching a few holes, then passing my needle and thread between the two layers and cutting it off below the level of the leather.

If I'm sewing with nylon, I just backstitch a few holes, cut the threads on the backside and melt the ends of the cords with a lighter, then mash the molten nylon down with my thumb.

TLDR: Saddle stitch is a very strong stitch and you don't really need to tie it off to keep it from unraveling.

u/TwoToedTerror · 2 pointsr/Leatherworking

The Art of Hand Sewing Leather by Al Stohlman is a superb guide from beginner to expert. Depending on the projects you are looking into starting, you won't need any other reference for a long time.

u/GrumpysWorkshop · 2 pointsr/Leathercraft

Double sided belts are usually just 2 pieces of leather, 8-9oz sewn back to back. Adding a third layer would add bulk, but almost no strength, and it might cause unsightly buckling as the outside leathers aren't as thick. If all you need is a belt, single thickness belts of 12oz+ would be much easier, and you can still opt to sew up the working end for some practice. Generally, it's advised to start with smaller projects like card holders, so you can get the practice and it's not a big deal if you screw up. Backed belts are hundreds of stitches, so unless you're really determined, it's not a starter project.

When it comes to stitching, Al Stohlman's Art of Hand Sewing Leather has all you need to know about western saddle stitch. No chisels, just 2 needles and an awl. You'll get decent results just fine with a bit of practice.

Other things you'll need:

  • Diamond awl
  • Groover
  • Oversticher/ spacemarker
  • Harness Needles
  • Thread
  • Beeswax
  • Contact cement

    SLC has a decent starter kit, but other recommendations are out there too. For thread, I use Barbours Linen 6 Cord and wax it myself. You'll need a pony or sewing clam, but I made mine, so I can't help you there. I only use a punch when I'm hand sewing very thin or flimsy leathers.
u/PrancingPudu · 2 pointsr/DIY

I haven't had the chance to start my own project yet, but I purchased this book and think it's an AWESOME reference. The internet is a great resource, but I'm a really visual person and like to flip through a book instead of clicking on a screen when I'm working on a project. This one is very useful too, though it has more details on working with fur.

u/Stevieboy7 · 2 pointsr/Leathercraft

If you're at all interested in handsewing leather, this is literally the handsewing + beginning leatherwork bible

u/Clickercounter · 1 pointr/Leathercraft

I read The Art of Hand Stitching Leather and this saved me a ton of time. I built the horse mostly to the specifications in the book and it is really helpful. Hand stitching takes about a third of the time for me now. A good awl and good technique in punching the leather made a huge difference in the quality of my stitches as well.

u/barwaleathercraft · 1 pointr/Leathercraft

Depends on what you want to do.

I like Valerie Michael

On stitching leather, get Al Stohlman

u/halfmoonleather · 1 pointr/Leathercraft

Its hard to really judge since the leather and the thread are the same color, but the thread looks too thick IMO. Keep working at it and if you stitch in a contrasting color you will really be able to see your mistakes, helping you improve.

Sewing just takes practice, keep at it and watch this vid if you haven't already

This is also a really good book

u/doomsday_solforge · 1 pointr/knifemaking

Not to endorse a specific vendor, but I just ordered this:
and made a sheath from it today.

Having done this a few times, my best recommendation to you is to get 6-7 oz leather of whatever color floats your boat.

What kind of stitching do you do? I use an awl with two needles, per the instructions in this book: