Leather 101: Beginner’s Guide to Leathercrafting
Leather 101: Beginner’s Guide to Leathercrafting
Looking for a new hobby? Look no more, we have the right one for you! Blending physical and mental focus, leatherworking is the perfect hobby. Pairing both artistic and industrious requiring, it appeals to creatives as much as to the more down-to-earth kind and it is a relatively accessible hobby to pick up, too. Hooked, yet? This guide will help you understand everything you should know before getting started with your first leather project.
There are three major types of leather cuts: full-grain leather, top grain leather, and genuine leather. The full-grain leather is the highest quality leather you can find. Because the grain is not removed from it, full-grain leather is stable and durable with an unmistakable smooth touch. Second-highest leather in terms of quality is top grain leather. More common and, thus, cheaper, top grain leather is recognised to have better resistance to stains. Genuine leather is the by-product of full grain and top grain leather. Prone to tear and damage, this cheap leather contributes to mass-production of affordable leather products.
Now that you’ve got acquainted with leather types, you need a basic understanding of leathercrafting tools. Although the required tools may vary based on the project you choose, we have made a selection of basic tools every beginner leather craftsman should have.
A knife is the essential leather working tool. Leather knives come in so many variants that it can be difficult to choose the right one. For beginners, craftsmen usually recommend either a Shoemaker’s knife, in its straight or curved variants, or a precision craft knife, perfect for small projects, the ones you should start with.
Scratch awls are relatively common tools for leatherwork. Used on both thinner and thicker types of leather, besides piercing holes, they have lots of other uses. The holes awls create can be used for stitching, for example, while their rounded point can lightly mark the top of your leather as you trace the patterns of your project.
Sewing is a chore skill of leathercrafting, this is why every leather craftsman tool kit needs to have harness needles and thread. Since leather can be a sturdy material to work with, harness needles are a specialized, blunt tip sewing needles with firm eyelets, which help steer the thread without marking up the leather, while remaining strong enough to support it. Thread comes in many variants: while linen thread, composed of natural fabrics crafted from cotton, is good enough for beginners, many craftsmen recommend using wax thread, which is more durable.
Other sewing aids are pricking irons, used to label the place where the holes are to be stitched on the leather. Pricking irons are available in various sizes, depending on the tooth count: the single ones are mainly used for tight corners and round stitches, while the multiple ones make the stitching straighter.
Leather mallets serve a number of activities, mainly stamping and tooling. A mallet is essential if you mean to use scratching awl and pricking irons on your project.
To finish off your project, you will probably need a burnisher to polish and reinforce the leather edges. Normally used to seal the edges with water, wax or gum, a burnisher is composed of different sizes channels based on different leather thickness.
The tools listed above are basically useless without a cutting board. You want to make sure your tools cut and punch through the leather hitting something underneath that doesn’t damage them or whatever surface you are working on. For what concern cutting boards, the craftsmen advice is: the thicker the better.
Other miscellaneous tools you might need for your first projects are glue, ruler and sandpaper. With only the tools listed above you can take on a life-long hobby or a rewarding business.
Now that you know the ropes of leathercrafting, just stroll into your local hobby or craft shop: you will probably find the majority of these entry level supplies there. However, our suggestion is to do some planning first. It might be a good idea to choose an initial project or direction you are interested in pursuing which will help you narrow your focus – and budget – on a few leather working tools instead of being overwhelmed by them all at once.
If you are still not sure if leathercrafting is for you or not, a good trial run could be our Leather Craft Kits. Fun and easy to use, .Ar:ti|sans Kits include everything you need to start out: vegetable tanned leather with refined burnished edges, thread, needle and simple, yet beautiful, projects. Designed to ignite individuality and self-expression, these kits are a perfect way to move your first steps into leathercrafting as well as great gifts to self, family and friends for all occasion. The three designs currently available –
>>> Crafted By: Anna Soressi<<<