I came up with this idea when I was not really happy with my leather stitching. I looked around for stitching wheels and being cheap and resourceful, I decided to build my own! This project took around 2 hours and was from mostly recycled materials. Enjoy!


chunk of wood
3/8" aluminum tube
1/4" aluminum tube
1/8" brass rod
star lock washer
2 part epoxy
your choice of wood finish
JB weld


band saw
small files
drill/ drill press
belt sander
sand paper
3/8" drill bit
1/8" drill bit
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Step 1: Materials

Gather your materials and check for good fitting between your star washer and aluminum tube.

Step 2: Making your cuts

Safety first! Make sure you are using the proper safety gear for the tools mentioned.

Now, measure how much room you need to make the star washer fit in the aluminum tube. Mine was around 1/8"

cut you wood to length

trim the 1/4" aluminum tube to fit in the 3/8" aluminum tube

Step 3: Drilling and deburr

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. Now that the slot is cut you need to drill the 1/8" hole for the brass rod to fit in and the 3/8" hole in the wood.

Take the file and straighten the cut up and remove any burrs on the 3/8" aluminum rod.

Step 6: Finish the wood

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Using the finish of your choice, finish that handle.

Step 7: Epoxy the two together

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Using a two part epoxy (or other strong glue) attatch the 2 parts.

Allow time to dry

Step 8: The completed tool & thoughts

Congratulations! You just made a fine leather working tool!

This turned out great and I will likely make a few more.
However, the two main complaints I have about this tool.

1. The wood I used for the handle was still green and did not take to the stain well. (Still functions and looks good though)

2. The spacing on the star wheel is a little tight; I might trim every other prong.

Overall I really love this new tool and i'm sure it will serve me well for many years!
brightpuma11 months ago
I'm making this, right now. could you please tell me, why is the brass rod diameter so much smaller than the aluminum rod/star washer assembly? doesn't this cause the tool to be quite loose, in the vertical plane?
desertsniper (author)  brightpuma11 months ago
I used a hollow tube to fill the gap. I was just using what I had on hand, if you have a rod of a thicker dimension I suggest you use that. Please share pics of your completed project!
bamboo jim2 years ago
good idea!
Dr.Bill2 years ago
AKA Jagging Tool used by old tyme sail makers on board old tyme sailing ships.
pfred22 years ago
This looks like a good idea. Whenever I stitch anything my stitches do not come out very even.
desertsniper (author)  pfred22 years ago
It works pretty good too! thanks, Please vote/rate as you see fit!
I'll have to keep my eyes open. I probably already have one of these kicking around someplace.
bruce50002 years ago
(removed by author or community request)
desertsniper (author)  bruce50002 years ago
Two different washers would be nice for different spacing, good luck and post a picture when you finish! Please vote/rate as you see fit!
kz12 years ago
I wonder if you could use a flat washer ground to a sharp edge, then mounted the same as this to use as a rotary cutter? A better grade of steel would keep an edge longer but a washer would do in a pinch, right? Great idea by the way!
desertsniper (author)  kz12 years ago
Theoretically you could quench the washer (non galvanized) in a used motor oil bath and it will absorb some carbon. It’s do-able, give it a try! Just make sure to grand a perfect center line.

Yeah I was thinking about thinking mounting the washer on an arbor for a Dremmel tool then use a fine stone to shape the bevel. Would be nice to have a jeweler's lathe, eh? Great idea tempering in oil.

ade angelis2 years ago
This is a great idea! I'm sure the next time I will have to sew some leather I'll copy it! My stitchings too aren't so good (I'm a noob in leather working), and I was looking for one of these tools... many thanks for sharing! :)
desertsniper (author)  ade angelis2 years ago
Thats exactly why I made it, thanks for the kind word, and you're welcome!
rimar20002 years ago
Very clever!
desertsniper (author)  rimar20002 years ago
CementTruck2 years ago
"The spacing on the star wheel is a little tight; I might trim every other prong."

It looks like the spacing is right to me. I would go to a hardware store and find a bigger lock washer and make a second tool before I trimmed this one.

I was going to buy something similar for a holster project I'll be doing soon, and then I saw this 'ible. Thank you for saving me some $$$.
desertsniper (author)  CementTruck2 years ago
Yeah thats kind of what i was thinking! hey, your welcome, please rate/ vote as you see fit, thank you.
Why couldn't you have posted this before I went out and bought one, LoL
desertsniper (author)  hjjusa2 years ago