By JOHN T. HUMPHREY.
Since the papers on "Boot and Shoemaking," in vol. i. of Amateur Work, illustrated, I think nothing relating to the leather trades has appeared in it; and as there must be many among the readers of this magazine who have a desire to dive deeper into the art of manipulating leather into the various articles of utility made from that material, I will endeavor in the series of articles of which this is the commencement to furnish them with the necessary instructions which will enable them to do for themselves many things which now are left undone, or else have to be conveyed miles to some town where the particular business, or something akin to it, is carried on. To the colonist and those who live in out-of-the-way districts, it must be a matter of great regret to observe articles of use, where the material is in good condition, rapidly becoming useless owing to the inability of the possessor to do the necessary repairs. Again, it may be that the article is completely worn out, and the old proverb that "a stitch in time saves nine," will not be advantageously applied if carried out. In that case a knowledge of making new what we require, whether in order to replace something already worn out or as an addition to our store, must prove beneficial to the thrifty amateur.
My object in writing these articles is not to deprive the mechanic of any portion of his legitimate occupation, but to assist those who live at a distance too great to be able to employ him, and who necessarily prefer any makeshift to the inconvenience of sending miles, and being without for days, an article which might possibly be set right in an hour or two.
The old-fashioned carpet bag (Fig. 1) is still unsurpassed by any, where rough wear is the principal thing to be studied. Such a bag, if constructed of good Brussels carpeting and unquestionable workmanship, will last a lifetime, provided always that a substantial frame is used.
FIG 1. - THE CARPET BAG.
Next in order comes the brief bag (Fig. 2), more extensively used than any other. For business purposes it is in great favor with bag users, being made in a variety of shapes, but all belonging to the same class. Here we have the shallow brief, deep brief, eclipse wide mouth, imperial wide mouth, excelsior, courier, and many others; but to know how to make one will be sufficient for all, the only difference being in the cut or style in which they are constructed.
FIG. 2. - THE BRIEF BAG.
The cricket bat bag (represented in Fig. 3) is made on the same principle throughout as the carpet bag.
FIG. 3. - THE CRICKET BAT BAG.
Frames and all necessary fittings required in making bags may be purchased of dealers.
Care must be observed in choosing all the pieces necessary for a bag from the same pattern carpet, otherwise it will present an unsightly appearance when completed. There may be some who would prefer American cloth; this is thoroughly waterproof, and has a good appearance for some time, but, like all articles of imitation, it has only cheapness to recommend it. If cloth is to be used (I mean American cloth), let it be the best that can be bought, that which is called "double-twill duck," if possible. As the making is the same whether cloth or carpet be used, it will be understood that the instructions for making apply to both.
The following tools, which are few and inexpensive, will be required: A pair of clams (Fig. 4), cost 1s. 6d.; knife (Fig. 5), 6d.; half dozen awl blades, ½d. each; three or four boxwood handles, 1½d. each; 3 foot rule, 1s.; hammer, 1s.; a packet of harness needles, size 4, cost 2½d. (these have blunt points); a bone (Fig. 6) will also be required for rubbing the stiffening into place, cost about 3d.; and a ball each of hemp and wax for making the sewing threads - hemp 2½d., wax ½d. For making holes in the bottom where the nails or studs are fixed, a large sewing-awl will be required; this will probably have to be bought at a saddler's; the other tools can all be obtained at any grindery and leather seller's.
FIG. 4 - Pair of Clams. FIG. 5 - Knife. FIG. 6 - Bone Rubber. FIG. 7 - Method of Measuring Registered Frame: A to A, Top of Sides; A to B, Top of Gussets. FIG. 8 - Pattern of Bottom, Showing Place of Nails. FIG. 9 - Side Pattern Folded. FIG. 10 - Gusset Pattern Folded. FIG. 11 - Pattern for Gusset Stiffening. FIG. 12 - Handle, Showing Distance of Rings.
The awl blades mentioned above are of two kinds, and either may be used for this work. Those generally used are of a straight diagonal shape, making a perforation the shape of a diamond, <> ; the others are perfectly round, tapering gradually to a fine point. To fix them in the boxwood handles, place the blade in a vise, leaving the unpolished part above the jaws; hold the handle above this, and commence driving it down, taking care that the blade is penetrating the middle of the handle. Continue tapping the handle until the ferrule reaches the polished part of the blade; it will then be in far enough.
A good serviceable pair of clams may be made by taking two staves of a good-sized barrel, and cutting about 10 inches off the end of each. Screw together with three screws (as in Fig. 4), and shape the uppermost ends so that the outsides meet in a sharp ridge along the top; this will give a flat surface within the mouth, by which a hold of the work may be obtained. A two-inch screw will be long enough for the bottom, which must be turned in as tightly as possible; the others must not be less than 3 inches, as there will be a space of 1½ or two inches between the staves at the part where they are inserted. Screw these just tight enough to give a good sharp spring to the mouth of the clams when they are pressed open; this will insure the work being held firmly while being sewn. Sandpaper them over to give a smooth appearance, and these will be found as useful as bought ones.