The preparation represents the main part in the manufacture of a leather accessory. Sometimes this step can even represent up to 90% of the finished product. For me, preparations are all the steps that I have to carry out between the moment when I cut the pieces of leather or the roll of fabric and the moment when I assemble these pieces together.
The thickness and rigidity (or flexibility!) Of the material is a problem that must be analyzed and managed with each change of leather and each change of assembly. Some leathers can be 0.5mm thick while others are as thick as 4 or even 5mm!
The trimming machine, or skiver, is one of the main machines and is essential for preparation. It is used to thin the edges of leather pieces, either to facilitate sewing, or to refine the appearance of the edges. Without skiving, many of the following steps would be impossible. The skiver is adjustable and there are a multitude of different trims depending on the desired result.
This same thinning process can be applied to an entire piece of leather and is called splitting. The machinery for splitting is much larger, the piece of leather is then thinned with an accuracy of one tenth of a millimeter. This precision is essential since the accumulation of different thicknesses of leather and textile can quickly cause a problem during assembly. Splitting is very useful for smoothing leather or simply removing excess thickness.
All the machinery is used almost daily and requires maintenance. For example, the sewing machine should be oiled and cleaned of leather lint regularly, and the blade of the paring machine should be sharpened with each use. When you work alone in your workshop, you quickly become resourceful and versatile. Adjustments and small repairs are frequent, although sometimes I still have to call a professional for more serious problems. For a leatherworker, his machines are the key to his work and I treat mine with great care.
In the next text, we will still be talking about preparations! Gluing and protection of leathers among others!