Inexpensive way to sew thick stuff

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Sclass
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Re: Inexpensive way to sew thick stuff

Post by Sclass » Mon May 08, 2017 12:42 pm

Hi JP. No, that knife is really sharp. It'll go right through wax. It gets honed two times on average during a meal.

The original milk jug scabbard started to drive me nuts because it sucked. Nothing like seeing something you made everyday that happens to suck. Milk Jug Scabbard REV 2. This is hot off the bench.

I was first thinking I should drill some holes in the scabbard and loop some zip ties through along the blade's edge. Or maybe use some aluminum pop rivets. But then I thought I already have plastic strips in the milk jug. So the idea was to make some slots just along the blade and loop some milk jug material through then sew it down with the stitching far away from the blade - protected from the razor edge. I wanted some ideas with tough milk jug armoring, here it is. Conceptual model here. I noticed in my real leather knife sheaths, the center ridge in the sheath not only stops the blade tip, it distributes the load of the knife over the length of the sheath so the pressure at one support point isn't too high. Kind of like sleeping on a bed of needles. So I put these straps through at three places.

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Now to harvest some material. I just finished off a jug this morning making lattes. I cut the center and then use an iron to flatten things out a bit. It is alot like working leather.

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Cut the pieces from my pattern. I used a rotary cutter. Amazingly it went right through. The plastic is slippery unlike leather or fabric so you have to hold it down while not cutting off your finger tips. I'm still on my first cutter blade. I'm still blown away by the thing. It's like cutting pizza.

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Now I tape everything down to my cutting pad. My new favorite cheap punch is a T pin. I made some registration holes to locate the straps. They have to be precisely placed so the blade comes to rest on all of them simultaneously. I don't want one strap getting the first stab as I sheath the knife. Once I know where everything goes, I can make little slits with a craft knife.

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Setup the machine tension. This one will be a little tricky because it has to handle two layers of milk jug then instantly transition to four layers without skipping a stitch. Looking good.

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And here it is. I wavered a little on the stitch. That milk jug is slippery. But it will work! Now I just need to trim it up.

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Hey, now this is an item I don't mind seeing and using everyday. Satisfactory.

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George the original one
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Re: Inexpensive way to sew thick stuff

Post by George the original one » Mon May 08, 2017 8:43 pm

Nice!

That's weird (and cool) to see the knife inside the sheaf.

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Sclass
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Re: Inexpensive way to sew thick stuff

Post by Sclass » Thu May 11, 2017 12:15 pm

Another broken Keen sandal. Too expensive to toss. Wow, how does this stuff happen?

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Bring out the tools. Sewing awl. Nylon upholstery thread. I like Nylon's flexibility for applications like this. Polyester is great for strength and sun resistance. Nylon has some give to it. My feeling is it won't garrote the leather stitching holes. Thimble. Lighter for melting thread. Scissors.

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One dozen well placed stitches and voila.

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Done deal. Saved another pair of sandals. The first one in this thread got left at a hotel pool. Go figure. Buying long lasting stuff doesn't solve theft or loss from negligence. :roll: :roll: :roll:

Ahhhhh. Spending money averted.

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Sclass
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Re: Inexpensive way to sew thick stuff

Post by Sclass » Sat Jun 03, 2017 10:16 am

Horizontal carry swiss army knife sheath.

I recently acquired this Victorinox Champion. It's pretty big and I don't like the feeling of it in my pocket. I feel it makes my pocket sag given its weight. I thought of a belt case but they are vertical mounting. Looked uncomfortable while sitting. Also looked like Batman.

This is a fat "pocket knife". Not easy to carry in my pocket.

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So I made this out of recycled couch leather. Things you cannot buy are good candidates for making. It's a little thin so I lined the case with milk carton plastic to stiffen it up. I sewed it a little loose so I soaked it in water overnight then dried it. I'd say it shrunk 5% which was all it needed for a snug fit. It rides on my belt nicely and doesn't bother me while I'm sitting or driving. I'm not a big fan of big swiss army knives but I'll try this awhile.

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Learned how to press in a snap. It was easy and cheap. They cost pennies each. I was thinking of all these alternative hooks, clutches and buttons to hold the thing closed but I couldn't come up with anything more convenient and foolproof than a good old fashioned snap. It really is a great invention. The internal spring clip on a snap will last a lot longer than a button hole that wears.

suck in my gut for a nice photo.

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enigmaT120
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Re: Inexpensive way to sew thick stuff

Post by enigmaT120 » Mon Jun 05, 2017 1:05 pm

That's cool. I used to have a Swiss Army knife called The Scientist, it even had a little magnifying glass. And wasn't huge. But I lost it somewhere. Now I just have Gerber and Leatherman multi-plier tools.

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Sclass
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Re: Inexpensive way to sew thick stuff

Post by Sclass » Tue Jun 06, 2017 7:55 am

enigmaT120 wrote:
Mon Jun 05, 2017 1:05 pm
That's cool. I used to have a Swiss Army knife called The Scientist, it even had a little magnifying glass. And wasn't huge. But I lost it somewhere. Now I just have Gerber and Leatherman multi-plier tools.
Wow. That is one you don't see anymore. Very collectible knife. Rare.

http://www.sakwiki.com/tiki-index.php?page=Scientist

I love my leatherman wave but it is soooo heavy. Probably a good candidate for a horizontal carry belt case.

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Riggerjack
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Re: Inexpensive way to sew thick stuff

Post by Riggerjack » Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:57 am

OK, I just caught up with this thread, and have a suggestion.

Boiled leather is an ancient way to make armor. Boil leather in wax, then form it around the wearer. It is how we made things before we had plastic.

This works very well for scabbards. Cut leather to shape, soak in melted wax, form around blade, sew up the back after it cools. This gets you a form fitting scabbard, that you SO won't be able to reverse.

If you don't like the stiff plastic feel of the waxed leather, you can soak leather in acetone, form and allow to dry. Similar but faster than soaking in water, and you don't have to worry about rusting your blade.

You can sew waxed leather, but it is easier to sew first, then soak.

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Re: Inexpensive way to sew thick stuff

Post by Sclass » Tue Jun 06, 2017 9:54 pm

Boiled leather huh? Sounds interesting and easy to do in the garage. Thanks RJ. I'll read up on it.

Maybe I can have that leather scale armor I've been dreaming of.

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Re: Inexpensive way to sew thick stuff

Post by Riggerjack » Wed Jun 07, 2017 7:36 pm

There are enough SCAdians and LARPers to attract commercial solutions. Check out:
https://theringlord.com/cart/shopdispla ... and+Medium

If you want scales, go for the shiny ones!

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Re: Inexpensive way to sew thick stuff

Post by Riggerjack » Wed Jun 07, 2017 7:43 pm

But I was thinking of this

https://www.etsy.com/listing/500272286/ ... ref=market

Hard, water resistant, moldable, and sewn. In keeping with the theme on your thread.

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Sclass
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Re: Inexpensive way to sew thick stuff

Post by Sclass » Wed Jun 07, 2017 8:05 pm

I may need some thicker leather. The upholstery leather is a little thin. Hey, maybe it's worth boiling a scrap in wax. I was wondering how people make those nice form fitting holsters for handguns. I assumed it was water...but now I think of it, my old "Hunter" brand leather holsters had a waxy feel to them like they'd been soaked in beeswax.

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Riggerjack
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Re: Inexpensive way to sew thick stuff

Post by Riggerjack » Wed Jun 07, 2017 8:30 pm

You are in Northern Cali, so you should have ren faires down there. There are always examples of handmade boiled leather in the merchant section of those places.

And yes, beeswax is what I have seen used for treating the leather.

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Sclass
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patch rat hole

Post by Sclass » Thu Jul 13, 2017 11:44 am

Just thought I'd post this up. Not exactly sewing, but it reminded me of upcycling sheets of discarded materials.

Rats have made a hole into my home. I sat around watching them go straight up the wall into this gaping hole they carved out. I stuffed in some bubble wrap last night and it was gone this morning. Doh! I got to hear the parade all across my attic. These guys won't take my traps baited with peanut butter, chocolate Nuttella, corn chips, cheetos etc. I watched them and realized why. They live in my house but they make a B line to my neighbor's fruit tree for food. Smart rats.

I needed some screen to cover the hole but I didn't want to spend money on diesel to drive up and down the mountain or on high priced wire cloth at the corner hardware store.

So here is the material I scavanged.

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Yep. Just use flashing shears and open up an old can into a big rectangle. Cut out patches and screw them to the eaves.

Yay!

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Now I have the bastards trapped in my attic. Yay? :? Hopefully they'll get less picky about the bait on my traps. We will see.

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Re: Inexpensive way to sew thick stuff

Post by Sclass » Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:24 pm

Groan...I discovered another hole. A rat actually poked his face out. I'm going to need more than soup cans.

Edit - one rat in the trap today. Wow, hot weather and dead rats don't mix. Yuk.
Last edited by Sclass on Sat Jul 15, 2017 8:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Inexpensive way to sew thick stuff

Post by Sclass » Sat Jul 15, 2017 8:16 pm

Put a new panel into my car seat. I got tired of this hole. My car looked like this but this isn't my exact car...just an example. I forgot to take a before photo. I was afraid I'd regret trying this so I didn't want a before photo to weep over after I ruined my seat. I've never tried auto trimming before. This was a first doing a complex shape like this. My intent for buying the walking foot machine was to do repairs like this. So I finally did one.

I had a bad hole in my bolster. Kind of like this one, but this is not an image of my car. I forgot to take a before photo.

An example of what my seat kind of looked like. Not my car. Bad bolster.

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I stripped the cover off the driver's seat.

Once I got the stuff off I cut the panels apart with a razor blade. I learned from a Youtube vid I saw about converting an interior from cloth to leather. I took the panel and cut another piece of vinyl out. Mercedes OE vinyl is $75 a yard including shipping. Too much. Crazy stuff costs as much as leather. I got some camel tan naugahide on ebay for $6 a yard. BTW, you don't need an industrial sewing machine if you want to do cloth seats. A home sewing machine works great on cloth.

For now I just wanted a patch or a replacement panel. So I sewed in a single bolster on my driver's side. You can see the slight difference in color. It isn't a perfect match and there is a pebble grain on the faux leather.

So here are the photos. This is my actual car and my work. You can recognize the panel I replaced by its lighter color. It wasn't a perfect match but heck for $6 it beat a glue patch or one of those "miracle vinyl repair goo kits" that used car salesmen use to make a car pretty before selling it. Also I'm not too fond of those add on covers people put on rotten seats.

Here it is after my panel is installed.

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A little wrinkly. Hope this sorts itself out in the sun. Ahhh...now I know what scrim foam backing is for. A few mm's of foam on the back of the vinyl keeps it from wrinkling up.

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Re: Inexpensive way to sew thick stuff

Post by Sclass » Tue Jul 25, 2017 11:29 pm

Some updates.

The wrinkles never came out of my seat. :| oh well. I have a lot to learn about auto trimming. I struggled with the sewing machine skipping a stitch (i.e. Making a long stitch every now and then). It was annoying because I had to stop and start over to sew over the spot again. This doesn't work well on upholstery leather or vinyl because the holes are there for good once you punch them. The skips were caused by the shuttle hook missing the loop at the eye of the needle.

A few days of setting the timing of the machine left me mentally drained. It turned out some combos of thread, needle and material just don't work. This is true with fabric sewing. But I've found empirically that everything is much more sensitive when sewing leather by machine. There is a very narrow functional space where everything works and you get good looking stitches like those on luggage and car seats.

On another note, today I bought the Harbor Freight Tools Sewing Awl I mentioned here. I needed a gift for a frugal friend of mine. Being able to make heavy sewing repairs is a great money saver.

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=4582&p=65111&hilit= ... ool#p65111

It's funny because the one I bought from HFT in 1993 for $15 was a Speedy Stitcher made in MA. Now they sell this Chinese copy for$5.99. I used their 20% off coupon and it came out to $5. I was a little shocked at the low quality. Though the tool is lower quality it still works. Well enough. The advantage of the Speedy Stitcher and this HFT copy is you can use standard 135x17 industrial sewing machine needles. They can be bought with leather points, textile points for canvas etc. for only $1 ea in single quantities shipped on eBay.

The Tandy sewing awl uses a less common 2.5mm(very large) needle shank that is harder to obtain. You can use 793 size industrial sewing machine needles but they are less common and slightly more expensive. Not available in singles. Tandy gouges on replacement needles.

So the HFT awl isn't really BIFL like a Speedy Stitcher. But it works and it's cheap. I think my friend will like using it.

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Re: Inexpensive way to sew thick stuff

Post by Riggerjack » Wed Jul 26, 2017 11:27 am

Rats are amazing,defeating them will require more effort.

To eliminate rats, train them. Currently, the way you are using traps is training them to avoid traps. Think about it,peanut butter is pretty tasty, but whenever I see some, there is a smashed rat with it. Probably ought to avoid peanut butter, then...

I hadn't dog go blind, years ago, from diabetes. To help him find his way around, my mom thought it would be a great idea to smear some peanut butter on the dog doors, and in the garage, etc. Nobody knows how I got rats.

In any case, I bought a dozen rat traps (big, angry, finger breaking rat traps, not mousetrap.) and baited them with peanut butter. Then I placed them, without setting them. Each day, I went around, adding more peanut butter. I did this for 2 weeks. Then,on a friday night, I set all the traps. And waited.
Snap! Go check my traps immediately. Find the one that was tripped, clean it up, and go wait again. The point is to never leave a trap signaling an association with death and bait. Clean the trap before reuse, or just toss rat and trap. After all rats are gone, go back to leaving baited, unset traps to ensure that the problem is resolved. Then fix the access issues.

I still have a baited, unset trap in my garage. I check it every other month or so. No return of rats in the last dozen years, though they are still in the neighborhood.

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Re: Inexpensive way to sew thick stuff

Post by Sclass » Wed Jul 26, 2017 4:38 pm

RJ, good suggestion. I looked all over the Victor website and they had that suggestion about baiting unset traps. I just didn't get it till now. I was thinking, okay, but if they eat out of the unset trap, why not spring it on them and catch them? I get it. You want to catch ALL of them. So you need to get them confident that the trap is a peanut butter dispenser.

I caught two using my naive trapping technique. I also located two more holes near the eaves. Got them covered up. I came up with this crazy way to get the second story holes. I use a can lid slathered with Liquid Nails and hoist it up using a long section of electrical conduit with a Sonicaire Toothbrush magnet fastened to the end. I fix the tacky lid to the hole and then pull the magnetized rod back. Works well since I only own a 6' stepladder.

There is something funny about my rats. I don't think they're eating in the attic. There's no food up there. Healthy and smart guys they are eating my neighbor's plums. They go into my house for refuge. We have urban predators. Last night was the first night I didn't hear skittering. Fingers crossed.

I fought rats for five years at my mom's. We were always seeing rats running around the house. As a kid we had them in the attic and basement but this was the first time they actually ran across the counter and up and down the curtains. The caregivers were pretty nonchalant about it. My brother set traps within reach of my mom...he's a freaking idiot. Nothing happened thank God. She seemed to know what they were and avoided them. Finally I realized it didn't matter how many we killed, it was a matter of excluding them. So I searched and searched and found a plumbing pipe in the kitchen that never got drywalled in by mom's thieving handyman. I sheet rocked the hole and the rat highway was closed. No more rats in the house.

Ok, but today we're sewing thick stuff again. I needed a case for my used needles. Sewing thick stuff wears out needles. I got some new needles and my machine is singing now. No more skips. It's a shame because the old needles are dull or a hair bent but they are still useful in a hand sewing awl like the Harbor Freight Tools version. Since I'm generating a pile of discards I thought it would be nice to store them conveniently and safely. I have this nightmare vision of sitting or stepping on one.

So here is what I came up with.

Milk carton again. Start recovering material and prepping for cutting.

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Square up the edges with a rotary cutter and cutting mat with square lines.
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Nice clean square pieces. Time to sew.

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First evenly perforate the needle carrier by sewing without thread. I learned this on YouTube from people trying to make evenly spaced stitch holes in steering wheel covers. If you double up the material the holes will perfectly register with each other.

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Now stitch down the needle carrier to the case back. Test it out with a discarded needle. Perfect fit.

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To close my case which is kind of a matchbook design, I'll cut out a little semicircular tab using a nickel.

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And there it is.

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Some appropriate labelling. :P

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Not bad. Used milk jugs. Love them.

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Riggerjack
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Re: Inexpensive way to sew thick stuff

Post by Riggerjack » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:59 pm

Nice! That is a clean looking case. How do you store your sharp needles?

Are you labeling with a p-touch?

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Sclass
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Re: Inexpensive way to sew thick stuff

Post by Sclass » Wed Jul 26, 2017 11:03 pm

Sharp needles come in little cardboard envelopes from Organ Needle or plastic cards from Schmetz. I wanted to separate new from old.

The skipping problem I had was primarily coming from dull or slightly bent needles. I tried to get cute and grind the burrs and resharpen and the skipping got worse as I destroyed the needles' symmetry. Thick/tough material is very sensitive to slight bends or lopsided grinds on the needle. I've learned the hard way. Fabric is 100x more forgiving.

Yeah that's an old p touch from 1998. It's a great organizing tool.

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