So, I really feel I should have my a post just about making lace. I cut my own oval a few weeks back. For those who want to make leather lace, an oval is a great technique for getting the most from your leather hide, while still looking uniform in width. It also helps for loading the leather lace you cut on to a reel neatly.
I really feel strongly, that I made the right decision getting some of the Tandy’s Leather Imperial Synthetic reels to see if leather braiding was interesting. If you are looking to just accomplish one project or get your feet wet before buying tools to make your own lace, please stop by the local Tandy’s Leather store or order from their page some pre-made leather lace. For me, the key chain thing looks like it will be pretty profitable too. I worked my way through Tandy’s Leather lace price scheme (Imperial Synthetic in to ProLace in to Superior Calf Lace) and actually like the ProLace a bit better than Superior Calf Lace currently. I did notice the Superior Calf Lace is a lot stronger though! I also found it unnecessary to use saddle soap shavings for the Imperial Synthetic and the ProLace. The Superior Calf Lace on the other hand when you first start the reel does not need it, but it does really help with the slipping and grips.
On to making your own:
I gave in and eye balled some of my suede leather. I found a chunk about 26″ by 23″ that I could do without. Once I trimmed the oval of suede smooth, I then started a slit of just under a half inch. Being that a half inch is the width of the lace I want and set the stranger too, this worked perfectly for starting the lace. I pulled out my australian strander by Tandy’s Leather. I used this, even as I knew it is a bit harder to do, because I want the practice and the eventual flexibility to choose my own custom widths of lace. I circled slowly and noticed my pressure on holding the leather to the strander’s guide wall really made all of the difference in if the cut came out even or not … much like the pressure used when pulling the braids together determines the ratio of leather used to the braiding’s and if they come out evenly. How much did I get from a 26″ oval of suede leather? When it was all said and done, I lost track after about a hundred feet. I am pretty sure I doubled that amount, but it was a real mess. One thing that helps is having a spool to wind the leather on to as you go along. I was stopping every so often to reel my pile of leather shaving up now and again. I do not recommend doing this while talking to someone or watching a movie while doing this stuff. It creates some pretty bad looking lace and could cut you open using the Australian Strander. You can also check out this guide by clicking here.
I found an article that was interesting from leatherworker.net for if you want to take rawhide to lace with, he also mentions several tricks for managing the mess and keeping humidity right … http://leatherworker.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=18293
…some of the better links:
Strap cutters / stranders
- Tandy’s Leather draw gauge: click here (~30)
- Tandy’s Leather cheap lace maker: click here (~8)
- Jerry’s Stripper “The Lace Maker” #3110: click (~50)
- Walk through on youtube: click here
- Lace maker stick tutorial: click here
- Australian Strander by Tandy’s Leather: click here – Harder to use, but WAY more control and settings!
- Australian Strander youtube explaination: click here
- Osborne Cutter – another strander like the australian – I’ve not looked into it. click here
- Williams Cutters: Link (~$90AU or ~$200 via midwest whip) – These are between the less expensive Tandy’s stuff and the industrial $400+
- Make your own per the guys over at leatherworker.net: Dimensions to order one Link, 2nd Link – even easier
- Schmedt Scharffix Leather Paring Device Kit: Link (~400) Fully adjustable angles and thickness … one and all tool – king of kings