Category Archives: Crafts

Making Balms and Salves

You will need the following equipment:

  • stainless steel stock pot minimum of 10 litres, 2 off
  • stainless steel stirring spoon
  • stainless steel steel fine sieve
  • stainless steel ladle
  • digital scales
  • cutting board
  • brown glass or good plastic jars with lids

You will also need the following materials:

  • virgin olive oil
  • beeswax, organic if possible

Now, its time to start

  • collect your plant material, essential oils etc
  • strip all leaves from stems
  • place leaves/essential oils in one of the stainless steel stock pots
  • cover with olive oil, pressing down and stirring with the spoon
  • gently warm on the stove or fire, do not boil
  • let cool and sit for 24 hours
  • zero the scales with the second pot
  • strain the oil into the second pot on the scales and let drain for 12-24 hours or until no more oil running off
  • note the weight
  • place the oil back on gentle heat source, making it just hot enough to melt the bees wax
  • shave bees wax to ratio of 1:5 for stiff balm, 1:8 for soft, quick melting balm
  • allow the oil to cool, and ladle into the containers

Hand Stitching Versus Machine Stitching

What is the difference between machine sewing and manual hand stitching (Saddle Stitching)?

One thread vs. two threads

When you use a machine, that sewing line uses two separate threads that lock around each other in what is known as a “Machine Lock Stitch”.

A hand-stitched line uses a single thread with needles on both ends. The thread runs back and forth on either side of the leather in what is called a “Saddle Stitch”

Difference in Construction

Technically speaking, the hand-stitched piece that uses the “saddle stitch” provides a stronger and more durable construction than the machine sewn piece that uses the “locking stitch”.

A locking stitch by a sewing machine has two threads running the length of the material on opposite sides, if one thread were to snap at a single point, the entire thread could unravel along that side of the material thereby allowing the material to separate.

However in a hand-stitched piece, should the thread snap at a single point, it could not easily unravel the length of the item since it’s passing on both sides of the leather. More importantly, it’s easier to repair the line of stitching.

Difference in Aesthetics

Saddle stitch results in an elegant line of slightly angled stitches when used with a particular set of tools. Decisions like stitches per inch, size and type of thread, and how we set the holes (e.g. pricking iron, diamond chisel) all play a role in the design of a piece.

Machine lock stitches usually look pretty straight on the top and the bottom side would be a usually visibly thinner thread to complete the lock stitch.

Leathercraft Workshop

My new setup is now operational and starting to churn out products for locals and tourists alike. New stamps and leather recently arrived so the range of images on products greatly increased. A new supplier of kangaroo leather has been found, so now many new products in the pipeline.

To see what is now available, visit shop from the menu.

Come back and visit often as product line grows and changes all the time.