I appreciate all the suggestions from the first entry. Many suggested the tool looked similar to the tool used in knitting. It did look similar but the needles in my tool were stacked rather than lain side by side.
Kaaren’s husband’s input was the most likely but I still can’t wrap my head around the explanation of how the tool would be used. Below is a photo of hairpipe. On the far lower left side, you can see holes punched into the leather. And check out that twisted fringe, like that? See below for a deliberately low key posting related to this (hint, I’m doing a class).
The hairpipe beads are first loaded onto a length of fringe. Then they’re attached via the holes. The way I’ve done it is to come up out of the holes, grab the fringe between hairpipe and bead (the ends are knotted) and back down. I’m guessing not everyone does it this way.
Off topic but kind of related (class).
Apparently, I will be doing a sewing class very soon. There won’t be another mention made of it so if you’re interested, don’t hesitate. I have an opening for one person. Okay, maybe two if it’s the right two. This is a private class to be held at my office in Las Cruces, tentatively scheduled for December 13-16. We will be sewing (and making the pattern for) a leather jacket/coat. Unfortunately, you won’t get to pick the style and probably not even the size of the jacket. You can pick any color as long as it’s black (kidding) and you can pick the leather (garment weight only, pig is suggested). Everything else, I pick. Heh. It will be a western style jacket, short, with full lining and fancy yokes. I’ve been quite fond of this vintage style for years (below). Maybe we’ll make something using these yokes as inspiration.
Actually, you’ll probably have an opportunity to make style suggestions within parameters but we’ll all be making the same one.
It won’t be inexpensive (@$500 per day), sorry, but it’ll be no holds barred, featuring some of my favorite methods I typically don’t share with anyone. This will also necessarily include instruction on production pattern making (working from a block) as well as how to draft linings, facings, bag a jacket using industrial everything ad nauseum. You will leave with a completed project and a full production pattern to use as a template for operations and SOP pattern room management. You will need a few tools, most notably pattern scissors (and no, you may not use those rotary cutters instead).
By the way, this is open to anyone who’s up to the challenge, not limited to DEs. There’s plenty of home sewers out there I’d like to have the opportunity to teach. Many (at least the ones who hang out here) are remarkably and admirably skilled. If you’re a home sewer, I can’t guarantee you’ll see a return on your investment any time soon but you’ll find plenty of intellectual loot that’ll transfer to many of your projects.