Where to get single strand thread

This is the stuff you want for making up your own threads.

This is the stuff you want for mak­ing up your own threads.

A ques­tion I get asked fairly fre­quently is where to find single-strand thread for mak­ing tapered waxed ends for sew­ing.

It’s hard to get really good stuff these days because there isn’t really any­where doing prop­er long-staple lin­en any­more but you can still get work­able stuff.

The stuff you want is ‘num­ber 10 shoe thread’. It is dry spun single-ply lin­en. Dry spun is import­ant, because wet spun doesn’t take wax nearly as well.

I haven’t used any of these sup­pli­ers, I bought 250 balls of vin­tage 1940s thread from an ebay seller a few years ago so I don’t really need any more.

Leffler leath­er in Mel­bourne sell it
http://www.leffler.com.au/saddlery/threads.htm#
http://www.leffler.com.au/saddlery/thrsinlin.htm

Anoth­er place to get it is here:
http://www.packerdirect.com.au/Products/Threads—Needles/Single-Shoe.aspx

If you come across any oth­er sup­pli­ers, please leave a com­ment and I’ll add them to the list.

Anoth­er thing you can do is use polyester/dacron thread. That might seem heretic­al for medi­ev­al work but it’s func­tion­ally identic­al to lin­en, easi­er to source, and will nev­er rot out and it’s bet­ter to be mak­ing stuff with imper­fect mater­i­als than not mak­ing stuff at all.

You can get pre-tapered lengths for hand sew­ing but they’re all pre-waxed with par­rafin wax, which is com­pletely the wrong stuff. You can soak that off in ker­osene though and re-wax them with code to get nice locked up stitches.

DW From­mer, a boot­maker who I admire greatly has a photo essay on taper­ing dac­ron thread on the Crispin Col­loquy. The same pro­cess works with lin­en.

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