The picture at the top of the "stitching leather" post you just made shows what looks like a slit in the leather and a strap pulled through it. Is there anything special you have to do to cut a slit like that? Do you have to worry about it tearing (like, widening the slit, if you see what I mean), afterwards, or is the leather too tough for that to be a problem?
Ya! The tool is called an oblong punch, or a slot punch, and they are very handy. Here’s a pic of the Fili bracer laid out flat to make the slots easier to see:
It’s a clean, professional way of attaching straps so that the end is not visible from the top side, and it’s also stronger because it changes the direction that the stress is applied to the attachment point (usually a rivet, but in the Fili bracers I worked it into the stitching instead). Veg-tan leather heavier than like 5 oz is very, very unlikely to tear, and the rounded edges of the slot punch distribute any stress.
Some more examples:
(On the silver Loki shoulder, the strap runs through a slot in the top piece but is riveted to the bottom piece.)
Oblong punches come in a variety of lengths and they’re one of the more expensive leatherworking tools (like, the good ones run $30-$50 apiece). I have, over the years, eventually sprung for the nice ones in most sizes:
The two black ones are 1/2″ and 3/4″, from Tandy – the silver one is a 3/8″ that I had to order off eBay because Tandy doesn’t carry that size. The cheap ones look like this:
They’re much more likely to get clogged up, and the edges I think are flimsier and wear down and get hard to punch quicker.
But, good news, if you don’t want to buy a slot punch you can substitute with a hole punch and a utility knife:
Which is cool, because you need slots not just for hiding the ends of your straps, but also for buckles (as shown above) and also to use in place of round holes for locking buckles (this is what I originally bought the 3/8″ slot punch for):
So that is the slot punch, THE END!