Essential Craft Tools for Leatherworking

Leather craft or leatherwork is a great craft that just about anyone can do with some degree of success. It is a fun, fascinating, and rather addicting activity. Almost anything can be made with leather, from a leather sheath or belt pouch to full leather armor, cowboy boots, and saddles. One major advantage that leatherwork has, in contrast with many other popular activities, is that getting started is comparatively very inexpensive. Leather is not a particularly cheap material, but small pieces can be obtained reasonably. Just like any other hobby or craft, it does require a few essential tools and, if you really get into leather work, there are a lot of available leather tool accessories that will be handy and possibly necessary that can cost a lot of money. However, with only some leather and eight total pieces of equipment, you can make almost anything. Several of these items you probably already own.

Leather Supplies You Have At Home

The first item needed is a good utility knife.  Many items can be used to cut leather, but a utility knife is probably the best, cheapest way and you should already have one. If not, they are available for only a dollar or two.  The second item is a cutting board. You really don’t want to slice into leather on your dining room table – it probably won’t go over too well with your wife.  Almost anything with a reasonably flat solid surface can work.  I usually just use larger pieces of scrap wood. They are cheap and easily replaceable. A marble board is the best surface if you can get it, something like this is quite inexpensive and should be great for small projects. The third essential tool for leather work is a means of drilling or punching a hole for stitching the leather pieces together.  A good ice pick or leather awl is the ideal craft tool.  I use a dremel tool for most of my holes. A drill press is also a good option.

Leather Tools You Will Need To Buy

Leather Groover

A good leather groover is a leather tool that is needed to do a really nice job. You can get along without it, but it makes stitching much easier if you can use it. A leather groover is run along an edge where you want to run a line of stitches, leaving a small groove. This groove allows your stitching to be aligned in a nice straight or curved line and be protected from wear.

Leather Spacer Set

A leather spacer set or spacing tool is another almost essential craft tool. The spacer set is a spiked wheel set
into a handle. The tool is run along the groove left by the leather groover and it marks even points along the line
indicating exactly where each stitch should be located. It makes stitching much nicer and neater than would
normally occur.

Leather Edge Beveler

The last major tool is a leather edge beveler. The edge beveler nicely rounds the visible edge of a leather
project, giving it a nicely finished look. The leather groover, spacer set, and edge beveler are not absolutely
necessary, but make leatherwork look so much nicer and professional and are comparatively inexpensive. There are different sizes of edge bevelers designed for various leather thickness, so find out the size you will need or you may need to buy several edge bevelers for different projects.

Needles and Thread

The last two pieces needed are thread and needles. Artificial sinew or waxed thread work the best for leather stitching
and can be found at almost any craft shop or online. Heavier needles made especially for leatherworking are needed
for stitching, as regular sewing needles would probably break. These are also easily located.

You Really Don’t Need Much

If you have these leather tools, you can make about anything you desire. Really, even if you just have a
utility knife, cutting board, something to make holes, needles, and thread, you can still make many nice
pieces, they just may not look as polished and professional. Don’t let a lack of specialized tools put you off from trying out leathercrafting! You can make some very nice items with very few tools – I have done it and so have many others. Have fun with it!

Permanent link to this article: