You used to have to be a business in order to buy from Weaver unless something has changed. I used to buy quite a bit from them, theirs is "TR" grade so it's hit and miss on the quality. If you are buying a few sides and ask they do seem to do a better job of picking you some good stuff. I still buy a lot of my supplies from Weaver, they have most of what you need.
I buy almost exclusively Wicket and Craig leather anymore. USA leather that is worth the price.
If you have a Tandy in your area that is your best bet if your just starting and need to get just one or two pieces. Getting to hand pick the piece yourself is a big plus. Look for double shoulders for knife sheaths, they are the best bang for the buck since you dont have the waste in the belly.
Would you please explain to a dummy like me what you mean by double shoulders? Also, to buy from Wicket and Craig do you need to be a dealer?
The double shoulder is both shoulders or the front part of the two sides. When you buy the shoulders you don't have the belly area to worry about which is where most of the waste is. I don't know if you have to be a dealer or not to buy from them. I do know they don't have minimums, they'll send me out one side or ten when I call.
Wickett and Craig generally only have sides, you can buy the side with the belly removed for an additional charge per foot. I just get the whole sides and figure in the waste. I cut belts out along the length of the back and then use the rest of the side for holsters, sheaths, or whatever.
A really good cut is a double bend which is the back of the cow, basically the top of both sides from the shoulder back. Not everyone offers them though, Wickett and Craig hasn't had any in a long time and I was told the only time they do is when a large order is place for it from someone.
Couple things here... do not soak stingray. Yes the nodules are tough but any razor knife will go through easily. I cut it with leather shears for the best result. Exotics are a majority of what we do.Chuck,
Josh is right. You just gave us THE GOODS on leather and leather related stuff! Can anyone give me some advice on working with Sting Ray skin? One of the guys down at Tandy said that all of the little bumps on the skin are filled with calcium and are bone like. He said that he recommends soaking it in a 50/50 mixture of white apple cider vinegar and water for about 2 hours and then using an old knife that you don't mind throwing away afterwards to cut the stuff. Does this jive with anyones experience or do y'all have better methods? Do any of the above noted suppliers carry exotic leather such as crocodile or ostrich that is veg tanned for sheaths? I have gotten my hands on some elephant skins and some rattlesnake that I'm itching to try out. I need to get a stitch marker that is tighter than the ones that I have which may be 6 holes per inch - any suggestions? I also want to experiment with some lined sheaths and need to save up some $ to buy some light weight leather so I can use two pieces back to back. If I'da known knife making was gonna cost this much I might just have kept collecting only - nah, it was no where near as much fun!!!