If you ever worked with leather, you know how convenient it is to have something to hold your craft while stitching it. I didn't have anything but a cheap, little table-mount vise, but it wasn't easy to stich using that. So I decided to build myself a stitching pony like these. Here's just a quick explanation of how I made mine last week! It's a small project you can accomplish in a weekend, with limited tools and, overall, nearly for free, as I used recycled pallet wood and some hardware.
This project can be made
2 x M8 bolts + wingnuts;
2 x brass hinges (the only things I had to buy);
wood finish (optional).
First of all I cut three pieces from the pallet. You don't need to get mad with measures, but my pieces ended up being: 43x9x1.5 cm for the base; 39x6.5x1.5 cm for both the vertical arms; 5.5x5.5x6.5 cm for the spacer at the bottom. The two arms have to be sawn at an angle after you glue and screw the jaws onto them, so start with pieces longer than you want them to be in the end.
I sanded the three pieces to clean them from dust and dirt, but I left them rough on purpose: it's a shop project, and I find that "beaten" look adds some character to wood.
Next I drilled a 9mm hole in the center of the base and in the center of the spacer, so that I could keep them together with a bolt. Using a forstner bit I then bored a recess at the bottom of the base to host the bolt's head. I also rounded the corners of the base, to make it look a bit prettier.
Then I started working on the vertical arms: I drilled a 9mm hole at about 3/4 of their length, for the second bolt: this will allow you to tighten the jaws onto the piece to be stitched. Since I only had a long bolt, I had to add a wooden spacer I cut with a 35mm hole saw. If you have a bolt of the right length you can skip this.
I then glued and screwed two more pieces of wood to the top end of each arm, to serve as the actual jaws. To make stitching operation easier they are usually sloped, so I saw them at a 30° angle, using my jigsaw.
If you want to add some finish to your wood I suggest you to do it now, because once you assemble everything it will be more difficult to reach every part, but if you want to leave it natural, you can go on with the next step: adding the hinges. Hinging the arms to the base has two advantages: first, it will allow you to clamp even the thickest leathercraft pieces in your vise; second, it makes the whole stitching pony collapsible, so you can store it more easily. That's why I suggest not just nailing the arms to the spacer at the base.
After screwing the hinges, you are done! Now you only have to create a wonderful leather craft to stitch on your newly made stitching pony!!!
I hope you enjoyed my video, if you have any question, please ask in the comments.