February 23, 2016

 So You Want To Start Crafting Leather

Hide & Valor - Prospective Leather Crafter Tools

These are some of the essential tools that you'll need if you have absolutely zero experience with leather crafting. Some of the tools below could be used for other projects but there are some that are specific to leather crafting. 

Cutting Mat
Dahle makes 5 layer heavy duty cutting mats for very good prices if you don’t already have a mat. Rotary cutter mats work in a pinch, but are usually thinner and do not take abuse from heavy knife pressure and cuts as well.
Snap Off Utility Blade
Cut your leather until the blade dulls, then simply swap a fresh sharp blade in or snap off the worn section.
Steel Ruler
Steel straight edges and won’t get damaged by knives when using it to guide straight cuts. Be careful with aluminum rulers, as they can be damaged by steel cutting blades. Rulers can be used to evenly space stitching holes in lieu of an overstitch wheel or stitching chisels/pricking irons.
Diamond Awl
Pokes diamond shaped holes in the leather for hand stitching. The diamond shape helps your stitching lay in the classic saddle stitch zigzag pattern. This is different from a scratch awl, which you don't need at this point.
Harness Needle
Strong, blunt tipped needles for hand stitching. Blunt tips help keep you from piercing a hole where you don't want one because you've already made holes with your diamond awl. Also help to prevent damaging the thread when you pass the needles by each other when using a proper saddle stitching technique. John James harness needles are considered to be some of the very best needles for hand stitching, and they are also one of the few items that are relatively cheap for getting the best you can buy. For about $10 shipped, they are absolutely worth the extra money over the Tandy and other cheaper counterparts.For 0.8mm (0.030") thread and larger, size 2 is appropriate, and for 0.8mm (0.030") and smaller, size 4 is what you want.
Waxed Thread
Nylon, polyester, and linen are all common thread materials. Be sure to pick them up pre-waxed or have a block of beeswax handy to run the thread through to help the thread glide through the holes while hand stitching.
Modeling Spoon (Optional)
Can be used to help wet form leather when making slipcases and other projects, and smooth out unwanted marks that you've made accidentally. This is VERY optional, and you can get more than by without this.

 

Remember that this is the bare bones list of tools that you'll definitely be needing if you're working with leather. I find it difficult to get away with not having any of the tools listed above, even if you're building something simple.

Thanks for reading!


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