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Got any great sources for leather? Tools? Machinery? Looking for sources?
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Re: Thread

#676 Post by dw » Tue Feb 25, 2014 11:45 am

das wrote:DW,

It's what you're used to I guess. I would find it awkward sewing with an overly-long bristle (nylon or boar), but especially nylon fishing line because it's got that natural slight curve to it. "Downside"?
Al,

I like that curve. There are times when I'll even accentuate it so that it more closely mimics the curve of the awl. Like heel seat stitching, for instance.
Seen some mighty slow, awkward, sewing on-line in videos, etc., and the common denominator was too much nylon fishing line sticking out, plus the other cardinal sin, letting go of threads while piercing with the the awl.
Guilty as charged although in my defense, I was trying to stitch slow simply because it was a tutorial. Stitching fast is not particularly conducive to learning...to seeing and understanding what's happening. If I were to stitch full speed my hands would be a blur. :crackup:

Also, I don't drop my threads anymore. I never learned that technique but I have accidentally tied knots in my waxed ends so many times ("dumb bootmaker" is all I can say there) that it finally came to me that dropping the threads was the primary cause. As you, yourself, well know, you really, really don't want to have to untie a knot in well waxed linen or hemp. Teklon's easier but still no picnic.

I credit you for setting me straight on keeping hold of the thread although I had to figure out how to do it myself. Might be pretty idiosyncratic.
By all means do what works for you. You just might sew faster if you'd be raised on 7-8" natural bristle. Trying to switch now would be like going from fast hunt-and-peck typing, to "proper" typing.
Well, I was "raised" on 6" boar's bristles (the Volken's sent me some that they use--4") and finally bought a kilo of 8". I think I sent you an inch thick bundle, at one point. I may have used them almost as long as nylon. And I still have a goodly supply. But I have to tell the truth, I would never switch away from nylon now...except to show off.

Like you say, it's what you're used to...I was just trying to understand why you were so shocked and nonplussed about the longer bristles.

I can't figure out how anyone can use steel bristles! :brickwall:
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Re: Thread

#677 Post by ansesi » Fri May 01, 2015 4:31 am

Hi there,

I am new in the forum and would like to know which needle thread do you recommend for the upper using sewing machine. I am thinking to buy the SATIN LINEN THREAD N°532 of Campbell's but any tip would be much appreciated.

I am based in Barcelona (Spain).

Thanks for your help.

Kind Regards,

JJ

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Re: Thread

#678 Post by dw » Fri May 01, 2015 5:35 pm

ansesi » Fri May 01, 2015 4:31 am wrote:Hi there,

I am new in the forum and would like to know which needle thread do you recommend for the upper using sewing machine. I am thinking to buy the SATIN LINEN THREAD N°532 of Campbell's but any tip would be much appreciated.

I am based in Barcelona (Spain).

Thanks for your help.

Kind Regards,

JJ
Well, perhaps they do it differently in Barcelona and I certainly cannot advise you as to what is available there but here in the US I buy thread from Trendware Goldberg

For uppers I use a size 33 or 46 bonded nylon.
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Re: Thread

#679 Post by scarpedautore » Wed Aug 26, 2015 2:26 pm

Does Maine Thread still carry the Teklon? I have been using linen for inseaming but I'm willing to try whats better.

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Re: Thread

#680 Post by dw » Thu Aug 27, 2015 10:44 am

scarpedautore » Wed Aug 26, 2015 2:26 pm wrote:Does Maine Thread still carry the Teklon? I have been using linen for inseaming but I'm willing to try whats better.
Yes. Talk to Rusty. Tell him you want the same stuff DW gets--you need to buy it unwaxed if you want to taper and bristle it and wax it using Traditional methods and Traditional handwax.
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Re: Thread

#681 Post by kpk » Wed Nov 25, 2015 12:18 pm

I was watching Andrew Wrigley's Youtube videos outlining shoe construction and he mentioned he used "1 oz" waxed thread to sew the upper pattern pieces together. What does "1 oz" mean? I searched for thread and most suppliers refer to "size xx" for thread sizes not oz.

-Kris

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Re: Thread

#682 Post by kpk » Wed Nov 25, 2015 12:19 pm

And maybe I should back up completely and ask a more general question. What is the best size and type of thread to sew a brogued leather upper together by hand?

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Re: Thread

#683 Post by dw » Thu Nov 26, 2015 7:46 am

kpk » Wed Nov 25, 2015 12:18 pm wrote: "1 oz" waxed thread to sew the upper pattern pieces together. What does "1 oz" mean? I searched for thread and most suppliers refer to "size xx" for thread sizes not oz.

-Kris
Who knows? I don't think in over 40 years I have ever bought thread in, or as, ounces. The only similar reference I have run across is wool fabric. For instance, "16 ounce wool tartan" refers to material that weighs 16 ounces per yard of a specified width. Not very useful with regard to thread. Although it may mean it weighs one ounce per 100 yards or something like that.

That said most thread companies that shoemakers deal with have their own way of designating thread depending on the type of fiber. For instance silk was always A,B,C,D,E; nylon is usually numbers such as 33, 46, 69, etc..

So the first question should be...what is the thread made of? linen? hemp? cotton? polyester? silk? nylon?

As for what thread would be suitable for closing a pair of brogues...it depends on what you want to see. A heavier thread is going to result in a rugged, more "country estate" look, and require that the SPI be smaller (stitches further apart) than with a smaller thread. A finer thread will be, well, more refined.

Look at shoes you admire even if they are machine stitched. Look at stitch frequency and weight. There are a number of different threads that might well duplicate that look given an appropriate proficiency. From silk to linen to dacron. Remember that sewing machines try (as best as they are able) to "duplicate" what hand work, at its best, achieved.

If you look at historical examples of fine work...esp. exhibition work...30+ stitches per inch was not all that uncommon. If you try to do that with a linen yarn, such as comprises...one of ten, for instance...a typical "lingel" (inseaming thread), no matter how accurate you are in spacing the stitches it's still going to look crude.

My suggestion would be to look for some silk embroidery thread (or even machine twist, if you can find it) and experiment a little till you are satisfied.
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Re: Thread

#684 Post by dw » Thu Nov 26, 2015 8:01 am

PS...a little gratuitous commentary...

Think about YouTube...with no offense intended to those posting there (their intentions are good), it's all too often people just getting into the Trade addressing those thinking about getting into the Trade.

Like all things Internet, there is a lot of false and misleading information being bandied about.

It's a poor way to get started...simply because it is akin to the blind leading the blind. It leaves you depending on notions and techniques that have no Traditional, historical or even objectively accessible provenance. It abandons the student in one cul-de-sac after another, trying to reinvent the shoe. IMO...in my opinion...after over ten thousand years of the evolution of shoes and of shoemaking as a Trade, that seems a bit misguided. If not a little arrogant.

Without that foundation, it's like inventing a new language--no one understands what you're talking about.

Given that, perhaps it is not so surprising that finding "1 oz." waxed thread is difficult.
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Re: Thread

#685 Post by kycraig » Wed Feb 17, 2016 8:43 am

Greetings forum,

I'm new to shoe making and leather work. For my first project, I'm going to make a pair of men's oxford dress shoes. I have no machines and few tools, but I'm determined to make it to the end on my first pair, regardless of how tough it gets. Most of the info I have on shoe making is from Andrew Wrigley's Youtube videos. Thus far I've purchased the leather (Naked Chromium Tanned Leather), lasts, knives, and awl. I've cut the leather pieces for the upper and will soon sew together.

However, despite several Google searches, I've yet to find a clear answer on what type of thread I should use for sewing the upper pieces together. Wrigley said in passing "1 oz nylon thread." When I search for this, I get overwhelmed with options. Can someone point me in the right direction? Does 1oz refer to the thickness of the thread? I went to my local leather store and the 1 oz thread they gave me seems much thicker than Wrigley's.

Any info is greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Craig

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Re: Thread

#686 Post by dw » Wed Feb 17, 2016 9:47 am

Welcome, Craig.

I don't know where you're at (which might make a difference in thread size designation) and I don't know what machine you're using or what needle sizes you're planning to use...so thake this with a grain of salt.

But when I came up in the Trade most most nylon threads were still sized according to silk standards. So you had A, B, C, D, E, commonly. Since then the sizing has moved to a "commercial" sizing system...which kind of makes sense but isn't always consistent with silk sizes.

I came up equating a silk size C to a nylon 46. B was a 33, D was 69 and A was too thin to worry about. That equation probably wasn't exactly correct but close enough. Over the years I came to use "commercial" sizing more and more, and that's the standard I use, today.

Most upper work...on dress shoes...can be done with a bonded nylon 46 and a size 90 needle. For heavier leather and work shoes or boots a size 69 bonded thread and a size 100 needle works fine. For lightweight leathers such as kangaroo and kid and delicate inlay work I will step down to size 33 bonded nylon and a size 80 (or provisionally, a 70) needle.

I simply don't know what is being referred to with "one ounce nylon." There is too little information. Many nylon thread manufacturers sell one ounce spools as a matter of course. Maybe in a different country and lexicon it means something specific, but here "one ounce nylon" doesn't mean much.

YMMV
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Re: Thread

#687 Post by kycraig » Wed Feb 17, 2016 10:35 am

Thank you. This sizing info certainly points me in the right direction. I'll be sewing completely by hand for this first project, so it'll take a lot time, perhaps weeks (due to my full time job, i'll only be working on shoes 30-60 min at a time, here and there).

I'm in no rush to get finished, I just want to do it "right" as much as possible and then figure out how I can improve for later pairs.

Another question I had was about dying the thread. I plan on dying the upper but I haven't settled on a color just yet. Can I purchase thread that can be dyed while dying the sewn upper? I'd still need waxed thread, correct?

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Re: Thread

#688 Post by shoemaker84 » Fri Feb 26, 2016 10:53 am

Here is my first post. I did try reading through the 'threads' thread and there were quite a handful of post mentioning Acadia #10 threads.

My two questions are:

A. Would i be making the right choice in going for these linen threads instead of the newer(polyester?) ones for making a goodyear welted ankle boots with thick leather outsoles? I am not entirely sure what the current shoemakers are using at this moment in time.

B. If I should look at a particular shoe thread that other than the Acadia ones, what would it be? The brand and type would be immensely helpful.


Pardon my lack of depth in this particular area. I would appreciate any thoughts/opinions.

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Re: Thread

#689 Post by dw » Fri Feb 26, 2016 11:37 am

Well, the Arcadia #10 is, AFAIK. a linen yarn. It is suitable for making threads (or "lingels") for inseaming with. Or perhaps for hand sewing uppers.

If that's what you're intending it for, I would make this observation: it is very Traditional but the linen yearns that we have available to us today...even those that may be vintage...are not the same strength or quality as the linen yarns that our shoemaking forefathers knew.

Such yarns are not available today, not even coming out of Eastern European countries where some of the old industries persist. And most of the great old Irish linen mills are gone now.

I myself use unwaxed Teklon--a polyester yarn, that is head and shoulders stronger and more rot resistant...period...than any linen or hemp currently available.

Some see fault in that. I, myself, wish it were otherwise simply because generally speaking Traditional techniques and materials make an objectively better shoes, all other things being equal. IMO.

That said, I employ the same Traditional techniques for preparing a Teklon thread as I was taught when making linen thread. So the materials have changed but the spirit and techniques have not. What can you do? Leather isn't as good or as tight, either, or even as available, as it was even when I began...much less a hundred or two hundred years ago, much less when shoemakers were hand stitching 30-60 stitches per inch.

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Re: Thread

#690 Post by shoemaker84 » Wed Mar 09, 2016 10:52 am

dw,

Apologies for the delay in my reply. Thank you for the clear explanation. This helps. I will add a further reply soon.

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Re: Thread

#691 Post by roy_najecki » Thu Aug 04, 2016 5:12 pm

Is it true that flax linen thread would be best for closing uppers and hemp linen thread for insoling? I think I heard this a few months ago. My understanding is that flax is a finer fiber, which is why it was used for shirts and finer clothing, vs. hemp is a coarser yet stronger fiber, thus used for trousers, tents, sails, rope, etc.

Al you may have already heard about the 30 lb bucket of pine pitch from Rauch (New Orleans). If not, a guy took a shoe making class at Eastfield Village in 1982 with Peter Oakley or Mark Sipson. Following the class he bought shoe making supplies and perhaps never used them again. He recently attended a seminar at Fort Ticonderoga and mentioned his stash of pine pitch to Shaun Pekar.

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Re: Thread

#692 Post by das » Fri Aug 05, 2016 4:50 am

Hey Roy,

Hemp was more impervious to rot, hence it's use for ships' rope, canvas, stuff that got wet, etc. It was the first choice for welt sewing and sole stitching for this reason (have a turn through Rees, or my 'AotS').

Flax was a smoother fiber = nicer threads, so used for closing uppers, not subject to same prolonged high moisture as the internal welt sewing, inside a wet shoe.

Way ahead of you on the pitch. Shaun and I have already divvied it up. It's sat around for a long time, and has lost a lot of it's VOCs, so it's mighty brittle pitch (Rausch pitch was always kinda brittle), but usable.

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Re: Thread

#693 Post by roy_najecki » Fri Aug 05, 2016 7:09 am

Glad to read you got some of that pitch from Shaun and it is in safe hands. Shaun is so busy that I thought you might not have heard, which is why I mentioned it. When Shaun mentioned the guys name I am pretty sure I knew it from the 1970's and that he belonged to one of the New York reenactment units. I wonder what other gems the guy stashed away? I hope Shaun has got all he could.

Yeah, the Rausch pitch is brittle, which is likely why the hand wax you and Lance made for me is that way. I wonder if you could 'restore' it by adding some turpentine?

Hope to see you again in late September at CW before or after the Endview Plantation event.

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Re: Thread

#694 Post by dw » Fri Aug 05, 2016 8:25 am

Back about forty plus years ago, I bought about 25-30 pounds of it. Along with a similar amount of rosin (not from Rausch). I still have 10 pounds or so of each.

It always was brittle (although it came in several different hardnesses) but I've kept it in a plastic bag all this time and it is still very usable. Turp might soften it but I've always used just a bit of cod oil when I was making hand wax. I suspect the oil is not as fugitive as the turp.

I also bought quite a bit of Vesta Pech back in the day...maybe a 50 cubes of black and 20 or so of white. Still have a lot of that as well simply because I went to making my own with the Rausch pitch. The older I get the more I liek it esp. with synthetic threads / lingles.

Neither here nor there...but maybe worth remarking upon...some time ago I started to research how to make pitch. Aside from creating a fire stack / mound, most of the recipes on the Internet start with rosin and contain rabbit manure or something like that. According to some sources that's exactly what was used to affix arrowheads to shafts and was known then, and still to day, as "pitch." FWIW.
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Re: Thread

#695 Post by das » Fri Aug 05, 2016 1:07 pm

Roy,

Better to soften the pitch, try a little "Real Smell" pine tar--just a pinch. Then mix with rosin and beeswax or whatever. Too hot here for fireplace to make or tweak any wax. Try again Dec-Jan :wink_smile:

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