Which sewing machines are best for thick leather

So I had the same problem you’re currently having. In fact, I joined the Makerspace specifically for access to Thor when I can get trained. Your best bet for the thicknesses that you’re describing is a stitching pony, a hand drill, and a very tiny drill bit. That’s what I used for my really thick stuff. I made a gun belt and holster. Used 13oz leather.

As you can see, that’s 3 layers of it with the fold and the welt. Worked out beautifully in my opinion. I don’t think you’ll find a machine that’s tough enough to stitch 3 or 4 pieces of 9oz without spending quite a lot of money sadly.

I made four stitching ponies for DMS: they are in the top of the right-hand cabinet.

I’d be glad to share plans for making them: it’s pretty easy and does not require much in the way of materials:

  • 6’ 1x4 Board (I used red oak from Home Depot)
  • 1 door hinge with screws
  • 2 bolts with nuts (exact size escapes me, but I’ll re-measure mine and update)
  • 3D printed knob (I have the OpenSCAD source and STLs available.
  • 2 4x4” scraps of leather to pad the jaws
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If you have them handy, I’d love to see what you did. I’m working on a design that can clamp on my desk (I’m pretty heavy invested in the multi-use resources just because of space) so I’m interested to see what design decisions you went with and maybe learn a thing or two…

A couple of C-clamps would hold Mike’s design to a surface.

I’m just going to leave this lying here…

And put a $1.00 next to it that says Mike has updates to add…

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It’s actually designed to be straddled. A stitching horse is a chair with a leather clamp built in. The “pony” is smaller and more portable: the base goes under the legs an the clamp comes up between the legs to a comfortable working height while seated.

I use it in a chair or even on the couch so I can stitch while watching TV.

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I’ll try that with this Tandy stitching pony I have. I wondered why it was so tall…

What I was thinking for my design was something that I could clamp to the desk. It would give me something to do while waiting for a compile at work. (I work from home so it’s convenient.)

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The link that @jast dug up covers it pretty well. I’ve made a couple of these for my own use and some for DMS and the Fort Collins Creator Hub as well. The design works fine. I added a 2nd hole to the lower crosspiece on mine which allows it to be removed and bolted to the side of the moveable arm for storage/transport. Other than that, I’ve not needed to make any significant improvements.

The repeated tightening/loosening while under tension will eventually wear the upper bolt - I had to replace it once on my home pony. Perhaps the use of a Grade 5 or Grade 8 bolt could be justified here instead of a standard carriage bolt.

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Nice view!

No mask needed there!