I started with round punches at tandy leather’s shop. Using their upsized needles. I call them that because there’s some characteristic in the making / measuring of american saddle needles that means the english version is thinner per measurement. You shave a whole .020103891 mm off the width of the needle in the English version, apparently. I’m making light of the measurement, but if you buy american needles and the size just doesn’t seem to be working that’s probably why.
So as far as I can tell chisels are the layman’s hand sewing/stitching tools. Once you decide to stitch more, they are the first step you buy to decide if you really enjoy or would use them that much. They are the first improved tool that neatly do your stitching by hand. Without fancy two needle & some extra circle loop tricks…they save time in that aspect.
After chisels you transiting to pricking irons. The general idea being a pricking iron will not go all the way through the level. Instead an awl goes the last distance and then a pair of needles (one from each direction) pulls the threads through. Don’t mistake the “Diamond Chisels Pricking Irons” ads…most of the time if you see diamond – it’s not a true pricking iron. There’s even a Portmanteau or reverse irons for punching on the opposite facing if the leather is extremely thick.
Magic Tools chisels is a pretty cheap & basic brand along with standard Tandys. Joseph Dixon, Osbornes ($25.99), Tandys fine tip chisels ($60), Kyoshin Elle / Seiwa ($20), Abbey Saddlery get mid to high grade. The Osborne(609),Muxi/Chong ($80), Elfita, doldokki_/c.mason/cmdachong, Vergez Blanchard (avg $150) are amongst the top.
I need to brush up on with awls/needles/thread combinations look good so that’s to follow at some point…
At 9SPI you’ll probably have to drop down to 0.6mm Tiger, but that’s readily available– keep in mind 207 machine thread is ~0.5mm. Generally 7/8SPI uses 0.8mm and 9/10SPI uses 0.6mm.
#04 – 4 Stitches per Inch – Dist. between teeth 6.75 mm
#05 – 5 Stitches per Inch – Dist. between teeth 5.4 mm
#06 – 6 Stitches per Inch – Dist. between teeth 4.5 mm
#07 – 7 Stitches per Inch – Dist. between teeth 3.9 mm
#08 – 8 Stitches per Inch – Dist. between teeth 3.4 mm
#09 – 9 Stitches per Inch – Dist. between teeth 3.0 mm
#10 – 10 Stitches per Inch – Dist. between teeth 2.7 mm
♦#11 – 11 Stitches per Inch – Dist. between teeth 2.45 mm♦
#12 – 12 Stitches per Inch – Dist. between teeth 2.25 mm
#13 – 13 Stitches per Inch – Dist. between teeth 2.07 mm
#14 – 14 Stitches per Inch – Dist. between teeth 1.92 mm
Please, look at the detailed photos. It will help you to choose the correct item.
- 5-7 spi ~ 1mm thread ~ bags, holsters, etc.
- 7-9 spi ~ .8mm thread ~ wallets, accessories, etc.
- 9-11 ~ .6mm thread ~ accessories, detail stitching on projects.
- 3mm (~8spi) – .8mm or .06mm thread
- 5mm (~5spi) – 1mm thread
- 3mm spacing for watch straps and delicate wallets with .6mm tiger thread.
- 4-5mm spacing and .8mm Tiger Thread or .030 Maine Waxed Polycord with larger, chunkier wallets.
- 5-6mm spacing for briefcases and computer bags with .030 -.040 Maine Polycord.
More recommendations on needles & thread:
…get some john james needles. you can find tiger thread much cheaper on etsy (egyptianleather or leatherwurx – he sends free needles to match the thread).
Japanese measurements are nonstandard – but a good deal:
Japanese pricking iron measurements by Ian Atkinson
If anybody is wanting to buy the pricking irons from Goods Japan to try the measurements are a little confusing as they’re metric, I thought this might help people as a reference.
Can be bought here:
The Seiwa and Kyoshin Elle irons are measured as distance between the points, i.e. the stitch length.
They don’t use a width for the iron, they use a number of prongs (1, 2, 3, 4 or 6).
These are expressed as a x b mm on the shop, so 3x5mm means 3 prongs 5mm stitches etc.
The stitches per inch = 25.4 / stitch length:
3mm ~= 8.5 stitches per inch
4mm ~= 6.3 stitches per inch
5mm ~= 5 stitches per inch
6mm ~= 4.2 stitches per inch
The Craft Sha irons are measured as distance between the prongs. These are half the distance of the ones above, so
1.5mm ~= 8.5 stitches per inch
2mm ~= 6.3 stitches per inch
2.5mm ~= 5 stitches per inch
3mm ~= 4.2 stitches per inch
Again with the Craft Sha the first number is the number of prongs, so 10×1.5mm means 10 prongs giving 8.5 stitches per inch etc.
Saddle stitch in detail – Link