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February 24, 2016 3 min read

Starting To Peak Your Interest?

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Scratch Awl
Marks leather, as well as transfers lines and traces patterns. Quite indispensable because of the extremely thin scratch it leaves behind, which makes for extremely precise measurements. Can also be used to poke small circular holes.
Stitching Chisel / Pricking Iron
Punches stitching holes in consistent intervals. Comes in many varying SPI (stitches per inch) that will change the look of your stitching, as well as what size of thread to use. Also comes in a diamond hole shape (stitching chisels) or a slanted slit shape (pricking irons). I highly recommend you start your search for the right type of irons by watching Nigel Armitage's videos reviewing many different types and price ranges of irons.
Wing Divider
Looks like the compass you use to draw circles, but both tips are pointy. Marks a line a consistent distance from the edge of your work and helps keep your stitching straight and even. Shorter legs are stiffer and will mark more consistently, but at the beginning, that isn't something to worry about too much.
Edge Beveler
Cuts off the sharp 90o edges after cutting leather, and makes burnishing veg tanned leather edges much easier and better looking.
Sand Paper
Use sand paper to smooth your edges after beveling, sharpen and maintain tools, and square edges that have been layered together. I typically use 400 grit sandpaper for smoothing edges before burnishing. Experiment with different grits, papers, and blocks yourself to find out what works best for you. For maintaining tools, 800 grit and above will take you anywhere from a nice matte finish to being mirror smooth. Be advised, a good set of whetstones is better than sand paper for tool sharpening and maintenance.
Burnisher / Slicker
A wooden stick with multiple grooves of different sizes that will assist you in burnishing vegetable tanned leather edges after you bevel them.
Hole Punch
Use for making holes for rivets, making oblong holes for buckles, making belt holes, and for anything else that needs a hole. As a side note, you can also buy punches as individual tools, but they are more expensive upfront.
Rivet Setter
Comes with a stick and anvil for setting rivets.
Soft Mallet
When smacking your metal tools, a soft faced mallet will not damage them and mushroom the ends. Avoid solid rubber mallets, as they have too much flex to give a solid strike.
Contact Cement
Bonds materials together with a flexible and permanent bond. Perfect for layering leather and attaching linings.
Glue Spreaders
Reusable, easy to maintain, and cheap. These are much easier to use than bristle brushes when applying contact cement.
Smooth Jaw Pliers (Optional)
Helps you out when you least expect it, especially when saddle stitching and the needle is hard to pull through.
Rotary Cutter
In addition to the utility blade mentioned in the previous guide, a rotary cutter can by extremely useful when working with thin and floppy leathers because you don't drag a blade through the material causing it to flex and warp (especially those wing tips at the very end of your cuts). Rotary cutters even work well in thicker veg tanned leathers as long as the blade can reach all the way through the material. When looking for a rotary cutter, buy one with the largest blade possible. A larger blade means more cutting surface, which in turns equates to longer blade life since you won't be going over the same part of the blade as often when cutting. It also helps you cut through thicker material if needed.

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