There are many crafts that you can try out if you’re trying to nurture your artistic side. Leather working is just one of them.
No matter how much artistic ability you feel you have, you can create many beautiful works of art with leather, if you have the right tools.
What tools are used in leather working? The beginner should start with the basics: a needle and thread, a cutting utensil, a cutting board, a tool to hold the project in place, a groover, a spacer, and a beveler.
If you start off with the right tools, you will eventually be able to work your way up to more complex projects.
However, in the beginning, you should start simple and use only the most basic tools for basic projects.
What Tools Are Used in Leather Working?
There are a variety of tools that a novice in the world of leather working will need in order to get started.
This list will differ slightly from person to person, as different people will have different leather working projects in mind. Nevertheless, a list of basic tools is a good place to start.
Of course, a professional will want a more comprehensive collection of tools. However, if you just want to focus on starting out, keep reading to get a better idea of the basics.
Needle and Thread
A couple of basic tools that you will need for leatherworking are a needle and thread.
You should keep in mind that the needle and thread that you would use for regular embroidery or to stitch clothes will not work here.
These could easily bend and be rendered unusable quickly if you try to use them on leather a few times.
You’ll need a heavyweight needle that can feasibly be used to stitch leather.
You should also select a more durable thread, usually a lacing or waxed thread. Synthetic thread is a better option than natural thread since it’s less likely to biodegrade over the course of time.
I recommend the Hekisn Professional Large-Eye Leather Stitching Needle.
They are durable and have extra-large eyes, making them capable of threading through leather easily and using the type of sturdy thread you would generally need for a leather project.
Cutting Utensil and Cutting Board
A big part of leather working is going to be cutting the leather.
There are many different options out there, so it’s probably going to end up being whatever you prefer.
Each of the options available will give you a different experience while you are cutting leather.
Some people use box cutters or Exacto knives. Others prefer a round knife, standard utility knife, or rotary cutter.
If you have a cutting utensil, it’s going to be important that you keep it sharpened. A dull knife is not going to effectively cut through leather.
Additionally, the dull knife can be dangerous to you if it ends up slipping and cutting your skin while you’re trying to cut the leather.
Stitching Clam, Pony, Clamp, or Horse
These are basically used to keep your project in place.
Technically, you can work without one of these, but having on will make the job a lot easier. They hold your projects still and can alleviate a lot of frustration.
These are generally wooden tools with two arms that you use to hold your leather project securely in place while you are stitching.
They are connected in the middle with an adjustment screw. You can change the settings so that the distance between the arms is less or more, depending on the size of your project.
The stitching horse and stitching pony are big enough for you to sit on and are meant for this purpose.
The stitching clam (or clamp) is somewhat similar, although it just slides under one leg. The stitching clamp will just clamp to whatever work surface you are using.
Personally, I enjoy the sturdiness and quality of the Stitching Pony by Fasttobuy.
A groover is a leatherworking tool that is used to cut grooves into leather. You can also use them to mark lines.
Leatherworkers can make light lines in the leather or deep lines that create a channel for stitching.
They can also use a groover in an area where they want to make a fold line in the material or simply cut grooves into it for the sake of decoration.
I use Knoweasy’s Groover a lot because this one multi-purpose tool can perform seven different jobs, so it really is a space saver in my workshop.
A spacer is a tool that you can use to measure an even distance between each of your stitches.
This will allow you to mark your stitches, and then actually make them neatly and symmetrically without much hassle.
A beveler helps you round off any uneven edges on a piece of leather. This will give your project a more professional and streamlined look.
Rounded edges on leather are also generally considered more pleasing to the eye. They’ll also make it easier for you to seal the edges if you end up painting or burnishing the item.
A lot of the time, projects end up with an inconvenient, even dangerous, sharp edge which can easily catch on other items or scratch the user. A beveler will eliminate this issue.
Bevelers, also known as edgers, come in different shapes and sizes. Typically, they include a metal tip that is attached to a wooden handle.
As you acquire more expertise in the field of leather working, you might realize that a different beveler is better for your needs.
You might even want a set of bevelers so that you can use a different one for different projects that you are doing.
It’s often more economical to go this route than purchasing individual bevelers one by one.
This video shows another way a beveler can be used to deepen a pre-existing cut.
What Are Some Beginner-Level Leather Working Projects?
Now that you have a better idea of the tools that you will need for leather working, you might wonder what to do with them.
Maybe you already have a project in mind, or you might be looking for some inspiration. Consider the following beginner projects to help you get your feet wet.
- Cup holder.
- Roll-up case for tools, pens and pencils, etc.
- Valet tray.
- Case to hold credit cards, passport, business cards, etc.
- Eyeglass case.
When you are starting out with leather working, just make sure that you don’t use any heavy-duty tools that can end up injuring you.
It would be a good idea to look at tutorials online for the specific projects that you are pursuing. If you know any experts in the field, ask them for advice as well.
When you are starting out in a new craft, it can be tempting to bite off more than you can chew, so to speak.
You may want to take on all sorts of complicated projects and get all these complex leather working tools to do them.
However, if you do this, there is a good chance that you will end up overwhelmed and end up scrapping your involvement in the craft altogether.
It’s always preferable to start slowly and work your way up.
If you get involved in leatherworking, you are opening yourself up to a great world full of wonderful artistic creations.
You can follow existing sets of instructions in order to create basic artwork, and then once you become more familiar with the craft, you can put your own spins on these projects.
If you have the right set of tools, you will have the option to do whatever you want when it comes to creating leather crafts.