DIY: Leather Stitching Wheel




About: I enjoy building things and being creative.

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

. 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 4: Shaping the Wood and Aluminum Rod

Using a belt sander, round off the 3/8" aluminum rod and deburr

Then, shape the wood, I shaped mine to comfortably fit my hand

Step 5: Completing the Lower Part

Using JB weld steel stik secure the star washer to the 1/4" aluminum rod. This should be a snug fit.

Allow time to dry, then cut the brass rod to length, insert the rod through the recently completed star washer assembly and 3/8" aluminum rod and peen brass rod. Check to make sure the brass is properly peened and uses a belt sander to remove any extra brass.

Then trim the 3/8" aluminum tube so that it will properly fit in your handle.

Check to ensure it fits in the handle.

Step 6: Finish the Wood

Using the finish of your choice, finish that handle.

Step 7: Epoxy the Two Together

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!

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    19 Discussions


    5 years 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?

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years 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!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    AKA Jagging Tool used by old tyme sail makers on board old tyme sailing ships.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I'll have to keep my eyes open. I probably already have one of these kicking around someplace.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    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!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    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!

    2 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    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 angelis

    7 years ago on Introduction

    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! :)

    1 reply

    7 years ago on Introduction

    "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 $$$.

    3 replies