leather shapes leather shapes



Preparing to position your lacing slits

1 To prepare for positioning lacing slits scribe a light guide line ⅛" from the edges of the project to be laced, with a pair of wing dividers.

2 Begin by punching all corners slits with a single prong chisel at right angles to the corners. Hold the chisel in position on the leather, straight up and down, and strike sharply with a wooden mallet. Always punch on a rubber board to prevent damage to the chisels.

3 After punching the corner slits, begin the next slits with a multi-prong chisel. Space the first slit from the corner the same distance as between the prongs of the chisel. If you are using a ⅛" chisel, the first slit after the cornet should be ⅛" from the corner slit.

4 To properly align succeeding slits place the first prong in the last slit punched and punch once more. Continue to punch up to the next corner. When punching through several layers of leather be certain all the dges are aligned and that the chisel is held upright, or else you might punch through the edge of an individual piece.

5 If all the slits do not come out evenly spaced at the next corner, adjust the spacing very slightly by using the single-prong chisel.

6 When going around slightly curved areas you may find it useful to place the third prong of the multi-prong chisel over the last slit. Turn the chisel slightly so the last prong is on the guide line and tilt it so the last prong makes a faint impression. Repeating the process until reaching a straight area when you can punch the impression with a single-prong chisel.


Straight slit buck-stitching

Ideally for buck-stitching the wider the lace the better, certainly not less than ¼". Running over it with some beeswax prior to fixing it in your needle not only helps it run more easily through the slits, but also stops it fraying. Additionally, before starting, cut a short slit in the lace at the opposite end to the one the needle is attached to because when you begin your stitching threading the lace through this slit is what holds it in place.  You can see this in the first illustration. Bear in mind that for this type of lacing you require a length of lace at least 1 times the distance you intend to lace, to which, erring on the side of caution, I usually add another 9" - 12"!

illustration of buck-stitching

1. Pull the lace through the first slit, flesh side uppermost. Go on through the next slit and then through the slit in the end of the lace, as shown in the illustration. Keep the lace turned as shown.

2. Pulling the first stitch tight locks the end of the lace. Now bring the lace back through the third slit, flesh side uppermost. The figure between two and three shows the back view of step two depicting how the end is locked.

3. Continue on lacing through the slits with the grain side uppermost coming out of the back, and with the flesh side uppermost when coming to the front. Each stitch must be pulled tight as you proceed.

illustration of buck-stitching

Looking at the spiral illustration above may help to explain this stitch. It keeps the grain side of the leather outward on both sides of your project.

4. Carry on stitching to the end of your project, lacing through the last two slits as shown leaving loose loops. Run the end under loop. Twist loop so that the flesh of the lace is against the back of your project.

5. Pull the loop to tighten loop and the end should have its flesh side against your project. See the back side view of step five showing the lace properly turned.

illustration of buck-stitching

6. Now pull on the loop to tighten up the loop.

7. As shown in step seven pull the end to tighten loop and note also the twist in loop, thus completing one row of straight slit, in-line, buck-stitching. When not lacing all the way round a project (Fig 8), begin your lacing between the leathers in the second slit in the back. Next come up through the first slit in the back, through the slit in the end of the lace and through the first slit in the front. Lace through the second slit, for the second time, and continue to lace as usual.

Ending single-thickness buck-stitching

The way to end single-thickness buck-stitching is slightly different from that shown above where the illustrations are for decoratively joining together a double thickness of leather.

illustration of buck-stitching

illustration of buck-stitching

To begin the single-thickness ending, follow the stitching in the illustration above, going through the first and second holes. Follow the second illustration, pulling the ends of each beginning and ending lace, before cutting off the excess.

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leather shapes leather shapes