Factors to Consider When Choosing Mauls

From tried-and-true to modern, there are many materials to choose from when selecting a maul. To help make sense of it all, we talked to Jeremiah Watt, a custom saddle maker with over 30 years of experience on what to consider when making your next maul purchase. Below are his suggestions.

In general, what are some factors I should keep in mind when selecting a maul?

“The handle, the head, and finally the balance or weight distribution are all important and to be considered in your purchase.”

What options do I have when it comes to maul heads?

“I love the look of those old mauls made up of compressed layers of rawhide. They last for years with a little careful use, mainly being sure to keep turning the maul to even out the wear pattern. If they have a downfall, it is that they wear out and finding a replacement head is difficult. Today’s modern designs are made up of mostly nylon-faced mauls, lathe-turned, and actually replaceable if sent back to the manufacturer. Some of these nylon heads are smooth, while others have radial grooves running around them to reduce slippage when striking tools. As time passes, I think we will see far fewer of the rawhide-type heads and many more heads made from newer materials. Both types have proven highly functional.”

What about maul handles?

“I guess if we go with the traditional old standard, then the stacked layers of oak bark tanned leather would come first. These are still made today by many of the contemporary maul makers throughout the USA. They are attractive, comfortable to use all day and take on a rich patina from the user’s handling over time. They require little to no maintenance that I’ve heard of. Then, there are the highly-figured and attractive wood handles that many maul makers opt for. I think as much to make their product attractive as anything. Then, there are mauls that have adapted to more modern technology and make use of high density rubber for the handle. I was a skeptic, but bought one to try and the 65-2332 Maul Master is my favorite maul today.”

What weights do I need on my bench?

I have about five mauls located throughout my shop. At my carving bench, I have three that I use every day including a 1.5 pounder for those basket and geo block stamp jobs of a larger nature. Then, I have a 1 pounder for most borders, smaller baskets, and much of my floral work.  I also have a 10 oz. maul made as a custom tool for me by an Aussie bloke. I am thinking of finding a new maul even a little lighter, in the 6-8 oz. range for very small borders and finer floral work. For stamping out parts such as rosette buttons, latigo carriers, etc., you will be happy to own a maul around 5 pounds with a good heavy head…or maybe the 65-3075 Master Tools Hand-Operated Clicker if it’s in the budget.”

With so many options at both higher and lower price points, you’re sure to find the right selection to meet your needs at a price to fit your budget.

Choosing Between Nylon and Polyester Thread

Starting with the right materials for the job is the key to quality, beauty and durability of a product. When it comes to choosing between nylon and polyester thread, we asked our thread supplier to share a few tips to help you make the right decision for your project. While filament nylon and filament polyester are both good products, each has their own specific benefits that may make you go with one over the other.

Nylon Thread
Nylon thread has the best sewability. It is also a bit stronger than polyester and resists abrasion better than any other fiber. As a result, nylon thread is great for use on products that are subject to abrasion including shoes, bags, boots, furniture, footballs, saddles, etc.

Polyester Thread
Generally, polyester thread has better ultraviolet (UV) resistance than nylon which is why it tends to be used for outdoor applications like tents, awnings, outdoor furniture, boat tarps and other products that are likely to get long-term outdoor exposure.

At Weaver Leather, we use nylon thread exclusively because of its excellent sewability. Anything that causes sewing problems is costly and one area you don’t want to skimp on is thread. Inferior thread could cost you more than you save in the long run. Before your next project, evaluate the benefits of each type of thread to make an informed decision that will impact the life of your product.

The Impact of Discernment in Your Life and Work

What is Discernment?

Seeing and understanding people, things, and situations clearly and intelligently.

How Will Discernment Affect My Life?

Life is full of choices — some of them momentous, such as deciding on a career path, choosing a life partner, or having children. Other situations are not as major, but they are significant because they impact our lives and the lives of our families, co-workers and friends. Our decisions shape who we are and who we are becoming. Having discernment will improve your life by elevating the quality of your decisions. Discernment helps to reduce distractions so that you can be thoughtful, intentional and wise in your decision making. Discernment minimizes regrets and frustration and multiplies respect, fulfillment, and success in your life and associations.

Why Use Discernment When Cutting Leather?

Whether leatherwork is your business or your hobby, you soon discover leather is the most expensive part of most any project you undertake. As a result, using discernment to cut every piece of leather that lands on your cutting table is essential to maximizing your leather’s yield potential. At Weaver Leather, we utilize discernment not only to save money, but also because we respect the animal that the leather came from and try to utilize every square inch that we possibly can. Following are a couple tips to keep in mind next time you cut leather to be sure you maximize the leather’s potential:

  1. Before cutting into the leather, be sure to examine the leather’s surface to find all brands and scratches. Try not to use the brands or scratches on anything where strength is a major factor because it may compromise the integrity of the product. You can, however, use brands in places where strength is not an issue and doing so makes for a truly unique, one of a kind piece.
  2. Check the back side of the leather for butcher cuts and work around these because they will also compromise the integrity of the leather.
  3. Save scrap pieces of leather. Try to come up with ideas to use even the smallest pieces of leather. Anything from keychains to leather washers to Christmas tree ornaments are great ways to use up smaller pieces of leather.

Practicing discernment is important when cutting leather because it has an immediate effect on you, your wallet and your products. However, it is even more important to practice discernment in all aspects of life because it will affect the decisions you make, the friends you keep, and the overall quality of the life you live.

-Marcus Miller

The Popularity of Leather Goods

For products that stand the test of time and get better with age, leather is still the material of choice. A recent search on Etsy, an e-commerce website where people from around the world buy and sell unique goods, delivered 1,092,774 results for the search term “leather.”  From economical to high end, a full range of products are available from budding leather crafters to experienced artisans.

Jewelry – Artists are designing a wide range of jewelry from leather including wrap bracelets and necklaces. Oftentimes adorned with beads, spots, studs, nameplates, and more, jewelry making is a great way to express your unique style.

Handbags and Luggage – There is something luxurious about carrying a well-made handbag or piece of luggage handcrafted from leather. Whether you take pride in your precise stitching or intricate tooling designs, these items are the perfect canvas for your skills. Try your hand at crafting personal accessories and adding special details that cannot be duplicated in today’s mass merchandise society.

Belts – Perfect for your own use or as a special gift, handmade leather belts are coveted not only for their beauty, but also for their longevity. Compare the life of a leather belt to that of a mass produced belt constructed from man-made materials. There simply is no comparison. From simple and sleek to highly detailed and decorated, belts are always a popular project.

Pet Collars – The demand for items for our four-legged friends is growing year after year. Making collars is a fun way to utilize your talents. Tooling, conchos, spots, spikes, specialty hardware, hair-on hide inlays — the options are limited only by your imagination.

Garments – Maybe you’re interested in the latest fashions? If so, making wearable art can be very fulfilling. From classic apparel to unique costumes, garments made from leather are always in high demand.

As you can see, there are numerous projects to consider when you want to utilize or expand your leather crafting skills. Check out what others are working on for inspiration and pick something a bit out of your comfort zone. This is a great way to challenge yourself and hone your craft in the process.