Ask Kevin- How Many Rabbits?

Another customer question for Kevin!

I plan on making my grandfather a pair of rabbit fur mittens. I was wondering if the rabbit hides you sell are real and if they are the same color as wild rabbit? Also I’m not sure how many hides I’ll need for this job. I know how to do this, but any advice you can offer is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Here’s what Kevin had to say:

Hello Aaron,

Our rabbit hides are indeed real, and we have ones called “natural” which are the color of a rabbit in the wild.                

Keep in mind that the actual skin of the rabbit is very thin, and not tough at all.  It might be difficult to make a durable pair of mittens from it.  You might have to make the mittens out of cowhide that are lined with rabbit…. In any case, you’d need no more than 4 at the most.

Thanks,

Kevin

Ask Kevin- Which Sewing Machine??

Here’s another great customer question for Kevin!

I am wanting to purchase a sewing machine and am not sure which would be best. I make some totes, shoulder bags, and smaller leather goods (pocket knife slips and journal covers) using leather that rarely exceeds 4/5 oz. (thus the sewing thickness is usually two layers of 4/5 oz leather). I will probably put only five hours of time on the machine per week.

Do you have a suggested machine that would do the trick?

Thanks so much!

Mike

Here’s what Kevin had to say:

Hi Mike,

For me, it would be either a Cobra Class 20 or a Class 26.  The 26 is a a bit more versatile because of the cylinder arm, and if I could have only one machine, that would be the one that I’d have in my shop.  The class 20 is a small bit less expensive, but in my opinion the 26 is it! 

If you need more info, let me know and I’ll get it to you.

Thanks,

Kevin

Ask Kevin- Edges Be Slicked?

Often we get great questions from customers. The web based questions are directly from customers to Kevin, he’s always happy to answer! Check out one of the most recent inquiries below:

Hi Kevin!

I would like to have this cleared up so I want to know if the crazy horse leather edges be slicked? I have seen some debate whether this is possible or not. Some say only Horween Chrome XL can be burnished.

I would love your expert opinion

Thanks,
Kelly

Here’s what Kevin had to say:

Hello Kelly,

Yes, it can be slicked, but only with the right stuff.  Various paints can work, and there are other products as well, but they’re not commonly available as yet.  We have several shipments on the way to us from Japan and China  that we intend to add too our line for that very purpose.  I’m expecting to have things in hand within about 10 days.  But as I said, the answer to the question is yes, it can be slicked.

Thanks,

 Kevin

I have a project to recover padded bar stools and would like your opinion of using the Kangaroo skin. I use the lace to make my braided leather accessories because it is soft and durable. Before I buy a whole skin, I would appreciate your professional opinion if the Kangaroo skin is a good choice.

The kangaroo would probably work pretty well, depending on the tannage of the hide itself.  A hide tanned for lace might be a bit crisp, depending on the style of the bar stool.  A softer tannage, like for boots, would work just great, but it would be expensive. Good choice tho.  I think I’d probably gravitate toward upholstery cow just because of the cost.

Hello, I’m looking to re-wrap a couple motorcycle seats. Any recommendations on type of leather to order? or weight? I have been looking at oil tan, really like the colors… but looks kind of heavy for this application. Let me know what your top recommendation is, and also if oil tan is appropriate for this. Thanks for your time.

Hello! You’re right about oil tan being a bit too heavy usually, and also it’s just doesn’t seem to work well for that application. Your best bet is upholstery
leather, or leather that is known as “biker” leather.  2 ½ to 3 oz is usually best.  

Do y’all cut belt strip for a charge or is that offered when buying leather?

Generally, the only times we would offer to cut belt strips is when we are selling the leather in belt strips, which we have a wide offering of. If you would like the leather cut into belt strips, that is usually a possibility. The charge depends on the leather – size, type, amount etc. If you would like something cut into belt strips, split (skived) or even leather shapes call us at toll free at 800-668-8518 or 417-881-0223 and ask about those services while ordering your leather. 

I am wondering what is a good seal/finish to finish bag leather such as on purses and wallets. Something to seal it from getting as scratched and torn up when it bumps into a sharp corner. Also something that maybe will harden it up a bit?

There are lots of great finishes that you could use, the choice you end up making will depend on how hard you want it to be, how shiny you want it to be and how much abrasion resistance you’re after. 

I’ll preface this by saying that leather gets scratched, that’s just a fact. You won’t totally be able to protect it from little harms that may come along the way. If it’s an item that will be seeing a lot of heavy use, you may consider using a leather that is more naturally abrasion resistant first and then sealing it well. 

Now, there is a post all about finishes coming up soon, so we’ll try to keep this answer as simple and specific as possible.

An acrylic finish is what we suggest. It will keep your work flexible and give you some abrasion resistance, as well as seal in any color you may have added. You can build the acrylic up for a thicker finish, but you’ll want to do it in thin layers to avoid cracking and peeling. 

If you’re looking for more hardness, you might try a polyurethane based finisher.   It is also relatively thick and will stiffen/harden your project considerably – the degree depends on the ratio/product you’re using.    

Oil based sprays like Master’s Quick Shine will give you a high gloss finish and an excellent seal, but won’t do much in the way of protecting your work from scratches. Lacquer will give you similar shine but can also be susceptible to scratching. 

What is the best leather to make moccasins?

Really, there is no “best”, as the right leather depends totally upon your end goal. Popular moccasin leathers tend to be soft, pliable and strong. That’s why many people lean toward bison or soft veg tan. Personally, I like elk or buffalo, depending on the style, and in some cases, I’d even prefer an oil tanned cowhide. The best way to find what’s right for you is to settle on the look and feel you want for your moccs and do some research on different leathers. Some will offer more stretch than others, which some might be more abrasion resistant. Happy hunting.