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Re: Tools of the Trade

Posted: Thu Dec 05, 2013 9:32 pm
by dw
Duncan,

Very nice find! I'm jealous.

I might have to go looking myownself--I like the possibility of it sitting in your lap.

Re: Tools of the Trade

Posted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 8:20 am
by Arttu
I'm a beginner hobby shoemaker and I realized I needed some specific shoe making tools. I live in Finland, and shoe making tools are hard to come by, and buying them online would have ended up costing too much. So, I decided to make them myself. These are made of old broken tools and scrap materials. The wood parts are mostly from broken furniture (chair legs etc.) The hammer is carved with an angle grinder from a round solid tractor part that my dad found in a ditch, the knife is made from a dull hand saw, the feather knife is made of a broken chisel, awls are old allen keys or chainsaw files, fudge wheel is a cog from a broken drill etc. The only thing partially pre-made and bought are the lasting pliers which started their life as 10€ sheet metal pliers with very wide jaws. I shaped them with and angle grinder and attached the hammer part (made from an old bolt).

I know these are far from perfect, but they all work well enough to get me into shoe making. And they cost me a total of 10 euros (well, another 10 for wax ingredients).

Image

Re: Tools of the Trade

Posted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 8:34 am
by dw
Nicely done. To be a shoemaker in this day and age you dern near have to make tools. Looks like you've got a head start on most of us.

Re: Tools of the Trade

Posted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 10:53 am
by lancepryor
Arttu:

Nice work! Those look like a pretty good start.

You might also decide to try to make some 'stitch pricks'/stitch markers in various specific stitch lengths. I believe I posted some pics at some point of some that I have acquired. These can substitute for fudge wheels are are a lot easier to make.

The other thing I would say is that ebay can be your friend. I have seen some very nice tools on ebay France. Shipping across the ocean can be expensive, but perhaps postage within Europe wouldn't be so bad. I would imagine there might also be tools on other ebay sites within Europe, but I've not searched them, aside from the UK.

For France, I would search for "(cordonnier,bottier) (outil,outils)" -- this search often yields some pretty good shoemaker tools.

Finally, you may find with the awls to be difficult to find the correct temper -- either too soft or too brittle. It is pretty easy to snap awls when first learning shoemaking, particularly if they aren't correctly tempered.

If, as you get into things, you find the awls to be problematic, I could likely spare a few for you to use.

Lance

Re: Tools of the Trade

Posted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 5:41 pm
by fclasse
Arttu,

Very nice! I like the turned handles. I also have a cache of heavy duty inseaming awls that I can help you out with if you have need. They do break occasionally, and I can imagine the frustration with stopping to make a new tool in the middle of a job...!

I also noticed that you didn't have any square awls - are those the next project? =)


Francis

Re: Tools of the Trade

Posted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:18 am
by Arttu
Thanks for the offer Lance and Francis, if I get absolutely frustrated with breaking awls and can't find good ones on ebay, I'll be in contact. I still have to make square awls (I have one made from a screwdriver, but It's not very pleasant to use, because of the handle). I also started on a few edge irons, we'll see how those turn out.

About the stitch markers, the tool on the far right uses cogs from a broken clock. I found 3 cogs with different stitch lengths and sharp "teeth". They can be easily changed by removing a small allen screw.

Re: Tools of the Trade

Posted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:57 am
by amuckart
Arttu wrote:Thanks for the offer Lance and Francis, if I get absolutely frustrated with breaking awls and can't find good ones on ebay, I'll be in contact. I still have to make square awls (I have one made from a screwdriver, but It's not very pleasant to use, because of the handle). I also started on a few edge irons, we'll see how those turn out.
Hi Arttu,

I'm highly impressed with your tool making! For making awls, Al Saguto posted here about his process for shaping and hardening them.

I haven't had too much trouble tempering them, but I'm strictly an amateur so I've never used awls as much as Al. It can be done either on an electric stove, or by heating something like a thick file or small sledge hammer head in a fire or with a torch. A firebrick could also work. Basically you want something that'll get up to a few hundred degrees and stay there long enough to heat up little bits of steel. Place the tang of the awl blade on the hot thing and watch it discolour.

The colour should creep along the blade towards the point. As soon as the point goes a straw colour, dump it in water to quench it. That should give you a reasonably tough tang and a point that will hold an edge.

For awl blade material, if you can find music wire or piano wire (same thing) in a model shop that is good steel for awl blades. It usually comes in 36" lengths (because it's made in America). It's not a cheap way to buy spring steel when you consider the cost/weight but it's awfully convenient and you don't have to buy tens of kilos of it at a time.

I have made fairly successful straight awls out of masonry nails, which are hardened steel as well as from allen keys, but 1/4" music wire is a better starting shape. It comes hardened though, and works a lot easier if you can anneal it before you try working it, which can be tricky with small pieces.

Re: Tools of the Trade

Posted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 7:58 am
by dw
Alastair,

I don't suppose you could be persuaded to do a photo essay on your tempering technique? Pretty please?

I think I understand everything except the bit about putting the tang on the hot surface....just the tang?

I've got such a mental block about this whole subject...I thought that to temper a piece of steel you wanted to anneal it, then polish it, then re-heat until a certain colour was achieved, depending on the degree of hardness you want. I don't know what degree of harness the straw colour will bring but there are other colours that a person might want to look for, aren't there?

I really don't know....

Re: Tools of the Trade

Posted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:14 pm
by fclasse
"I thought that to temper a piece of steel you wanted to anneal it, then polish it, then re-heat until a certain colour was achieved, depending on the degree of hardness you want. I don't know what degree of harness the straw colour will bring but there are other colours that a person might want to look for, aren't there? "

I'll let Alasdair comment in full, but I belive that the quenching process is crucial to ensuring that the microstructure of the steel is tempered properly. Hardened blades are often quick-quenched for this purpose, whereas letting it cool normally results in a softer metal.


Francis

Re: Tools of the Trade

Posted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:34 pm
by dw
fclasse wrote:I'll let Alasdair comment in full, but I belive that the quenching process is crucial to ensuring that the microstructure of the steel is tempered properly. Hardened blades are often quick-quenched for this purpose, whereas letting it cool normally results in a softer metal.

Francis
No, you're right...and I know that...I just didn't get that far with my question. AFAIK, quenching is absolutely essential to the hardening process...it's just the colour that one quenches at, that makes a difference.

From what little my brain has remembered, "letting it cool normally" is annealing...

Re: Tools of the Trade

Posted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:32 pm
by farmerfalconer
If Im correct, if you heat it past the "Curie Point" (where it becomes non magnetic, It looks cherry red at this point.) and then simply allow it to cool you are only normalizing the steel. While this does soften it, truly annealing it almost makes it file like butter! To anneal it, you heat it past the Curie Point (see above) and then bury it in something that is super insulative such as clean ashes or vermiculite. This way it cools super super slowly and becomes nice and soft. On thicker peices of metal I usually do this 2-3 times to really be sure its as soft as its going to get. The one problem I have had with burying small awl blades in ashes is that they are dern hard to find afterwards!

As to the question about the straw color... The hardness of the final temper depends on the oxidation color you see. That said blue or straw or any color does not mean the same thing for all steels. You can bring mild steel to the Curie Point, Quench it to harden it, and then temper it to a whatever color you choose (say blue) but it will have little effect. With High Carbon steel on the other hand it would be springy. The higher carbon the steel, then the harder it is at the given colors. Straw is the color I usually put on the edge of a blade made from old files and the "spine" of the blade is blue/gray. That way you have a knife that will hold a good edge with out constant sharpening but is still flexible.

Take a few pieces of the steel you plan on using and temper each one to a diferent color. Then just test them for hardness/ springyness and decide what you like for your steel.

Whew...

Hope this helps!

Cheers,
Cody

Re: Tools of the Trade

Posted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:41 pm
by johnl
This is for W1 tool steel.
Hardening: Heat thoroughly at 1425° to 1500° F. Hold for 30 minutes per
inch of section, and quench in water (brine).
Tempering Data
Tempering Temperature Typical Rockwell C Hardness
As Hardened 66-68
300° F 64-65
400° F 62-64
500° F 58-59
600° F 54-56
700° F 50-51
800° F 46-47
Annealing: Heat to 1375° to 1400° F and soak until uniformly heated,
approximately 30 minutes per inch. Furnace cool 50° F per hour to 975° F,
and then air cool to room temperature. Hardness will be approximately
200 Brinell (Rockwell B93).

If you go to MacMaster Carr under tool steel, they list the different tool steels and the methods of harding and annealing. They also have crayons that you paint on the steel that melt at the correct temperture

Re: Tools of the Trade

Posted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:42 pm
by farmerfalconer
Cool! I dont have all the furnaces etc. to do it that exactly so I just use the ashes.

Those cayons sound interesting. Ill have to get some!

Cody

Re: Tools of the Trade

Posted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 5:30 pm
by amuckart
Hi DW,
dw wrote:I don't suppose you could be persuaded to do a photo essay on your tempering technique? Pretty please?
Certainly, but not until I've got some more music wire and set up the bits & pieces I need to make awl blades.
dw wrote: I think I understand everything except the bit about putting the tang on the hot surface....just the tang?
Yes, the idea is that you apply heat to one part of the blade and let the heat conduct through the metal towards the point. You dump it into water to stop the conduction process.

There certainly are other colours people might want. Light straw is probably too hard for awl points, and a darker straw is more likely to give the desired combination of spring and hardness.

The website at http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/tempe ... _1530.html has a dandy little chart showing the colours.

The Wikipedia page on differential tempering also has some really good descriptions and pictures.

The problem with awl blades is that they have very little thermal mass. This means heat conducts along them quite fast, but can also make them difficult to anneal. Many high carbon steels will harden upon cooling in air if the piece is very small because of the speed at which it'll cool. You won't get full hardness, but it makes them annoying to anneal. Heating to nonmagnetic in an ash bed then burying while the surrounding ash is also hot can help.

Please note that, as with shoemaking, I am merely an interested amateur when it comes to working hot metal. Actual blacksmiths or engineers may have much better ideas.

Of course, the other option for making awl blades is to just start with hardened high speed steel. It's a bit of a pain to work but you can get it red hot without losing hardness so grinding it is a lot easier.

Re: Tools of the Trade

Posted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 5:43 pm
by amuckart
If you don't want a differentially tempered blade, this looks like it would be a good technique.

http://www.ctmuzzleloaders.com/ctml_exp ... ering.html

It also has the advantage that you can do it with more than one blade at a time. Obviously adjust the temperature according to the needs of the steel you're using, but I think closer to spring hardness than knife hardness is good for awls so somewhere around 260-271oC according to this chart

Re: Tools of the Trade

Posted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 6:39 am
by dw
amuckart wrote:Hi DW,
dw wrote: I think I understand everything except the bit about putting the tang on the hot surface....just the tang?
Yes, the idea is that you apply heat to one part of the blade and let the heat conduct through the metal towards the point. You dump it into water to stop the conduction process.
Don't you end up with a hard tang as well? And don't you want the tang to be softer and more resilient?

Thanks for the links.

Of course, the other option for making awl blades is to just start with hardened high speed steel. It's a bit of a pain to work but you can get it red hot without losing hardness so grinding it is a lot easier.
So, you're saying you just cut and shape and don't need to do any normalizing / tempering at all?

Re: Tools of the Trade

Posted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 6:42 am
by dw
This is a very interesting and helpful discussion. Thanks to everyone.

I am, as I mentioned above, out of my depth here and even with this information still feel a little bemused. Much of this I've read from other sources in the past but it didn't stick. I need to see it and do it to get it locked in my brain.

I am looking forward to the photo essay.

Re: Tools of the Trade

Posted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 9:14 am
by farmerfalconer
DW,

You may be interested in the book, 50 Dollar Knife Shopby Wayne Goddard. It a great book on how to forge and temper knives with scrapyard materials. But it all applies to awl making too.

I think Alastair was saying that you heat the blade at the tang and allow the heat to travel towards the tip. In this way the tang goes through all the temper colors (and therefore back to "normal") by the time the tip reaches the desired color.

Cheers,
Cody

Re: Tools of the Trade

Posted: Sun Nov 02, 2014 11:31 am
by kevindeleon
Hey guys..I have a pretty large lot of Geo Barnsley & Son (and a few other brands) of brand new tools (and a few used) that I am trying to unload. I have them listed on eBay (not sure if it's allowed to post the link). I bought them all from Edwin Hale and have just not had time to use them. I'm honestly just in need of the cash right now and unloading things I don't have time for. I hate to let them go, but you know the drill. If interested, let me know and I'll either post the link to the lot in here (if that's allowed) or I can send the link to you through email (private message). If you want to make me an offer off of ebay...I'll be more than happy to do that as well as long as no one has bid on the lot on ebay yet (once that happens, it has to stay on ebay).

The lot includes a hammer, lots of barnsley awls, irons, pliers tacks, etc... Paid quite a bit over $1000 new...will entertain any reasonable offers...I do NOT want to break up the lot...so please keep that in mind.

Re: Tools of the Trade

Posted: Sun Nov 02, 2014 5:39 pm
by homeboy
Couldn't find them......you can pm me if you want.

Thanks, Jake

Re: Tools of the Trade

Posted: Sun Nov 02, 2014 6:25 pm
by kevindeleon
homeboy wrote:Couldn't find them......you can pm me if you want.

Thanks, Jake
Sent you a PM Jake. Let me know if interested.

Re: Tools of the Trade

Posted: Mon Nov 03, 2014 12:31 pm
by kevindeleon
homeboy wrote:Couldn't find them......you can pm me if you want.

Thanks, Jake
Figured I would go ahead and post an image of the tools listed on eBay so you guys could decide more easily if it's something you would be interested in.

Image

Re: Tools of the Trade

Posted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 4:24 pm
by BobFitz
I recently acquired an assortment of tools and included is this tool. What is it and how do you use it?
The makers mark says "W.H. Horn & ???"
Thanks,
Bob

Re: Tools of the Trade

Posted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 6:04 pm
by dw
It's a welt knife or some call it a rhan knife. It can be used in several operations.

It can be used to chamfer the channel...if you're into that.

It can be used to level the heel seat.

It can be used to take the edge off of the welt after stitching.

What else? Sometimes I use it to thin the vamp side of the outsole in the waist on a boot.

I'm sure it has other uses that I don't know about.

W.H. Horn is a classic brand.

Re: Tools of the Trade

Posted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 8:35 pm
by BobFitz
OK Thanks for the response. It is different than the welt knives I am familiar with having a curved lip on the end.
Bob