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File: bigstock-Leather.jpg (112 KB, 825x510)
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I want to get into leather working. I already messed around with a few crappy projects, simple pouches and the like, but I only got a few needles and thread for now. Any leather anons here that can tell me what tools I should at least have to go any further?
I'm not sure I want to fork over 60 bucks for a three piece starter set, but I don't really trust amazon's china stuff, either.

All other tips for beginners are also welcome, of course.
Forgot to mention, the leather I'm planning to work with is soft leather and hard leather up to 3mm.
Bump for interest. I've learned to tan but never to do anything, I just sell it.
You can buy those cheap Chinese kits that comes with a bunch of stuff and replacing them with good parts once they start breaking from use.
What kind of leather work are you talking about anon? What do you want to make?

A swivel knife is a terrific tool for many things, as is a punch. Beyond that it kind of depends on what you are doing.

I don't know if Tandy Leather stores still exist, but if they do look into them.
>Want to make a leather apron for woodworking (mostly hand tools)
>No idea what I am doing
>Buy a big-ass roll of leather at a flea market
>Find a pair of big, old, all-metal scissors at a thrift store and sharpen the ever-living fuck out of them
>Cut the leather into the shape I need and reinforce the edges with an extra layer of leather because they started curling up on me
>Used an awl to make the holes and just stitched it together with dental floss
>Use some rope for the neck loop and the waist tie
>Shit man, this thing is heavy as fuck

So, yeah, according to a family friend I bought moose leather. Didn't even know that was a thing. The seller probably didn't know it either cause I paid $30 for a roll that was 4 feet long and 3 feet wide. When he heard I cut it with scissors he thought I was joking. Apparently old Wiss shears are quite good, especially when you sharpen them like a plane iron and don't know their are better ways to do it. It was too heavy for me to work in so I sold it to a bro who does welding and forging. He quite likes it but the dental floss gave out pretty quickly in the heat so he restitched it.
>What kind of leather work are you talking about anon? What do you want to make?
Small stuff for now, sheaths, bags, pouches that look less crappy. Maybe some gloves or other small clothing once I know what I'm doing.

Incidentally, what's the best way to get a clean and even seam on soft leather?
tandy leather still exists...

and for their 100th anniversary all of their books , patterns, design sheets, etc. in their library are all free...just kind of a PITA to put them in the cart "pay" for them then download them, while having to copypasta each title for the DL....but the books alone are worth it...much less the patterns.
Part 1:

Ok I don't have my tool box in front of me, but I'll try to list off what I can from memory. This is ENTIRELY dependent on how deep you want to go into the hobby. I have a huge tool set for for leather work but a lot of them are pretty specialized and don't get used often. There's a core group of tools that'll I'll pretty much use on every project

Ok so to begin with, you'll need to get your leather cut out of your stock sheet. That will require either some really sharp scissors, tin snips, a rolling cutter (basically a pizza cutter) or my favorite, a utility knife that takes disposable blades. I especially like to make a shallow cut with a straight blade and then switch to a hook blade (the type they use to cut shingles) to finish it off. That's for pretty thick leather though.

You'll also need a good stiff straight edge, and perhaps other stiff shaped edges you can trace. My favorite is a carpenter's square so I can do fairly long straight lines and also 90deg corners. I also have a collection of round objects I can trace circles and radii with.

If I'm making something complicated I make a cardboard or heavy paper template first. A scratch awl or heavy needle will let you "draw" or trace the template but you can't erase it. Pencil or pen you can rub off may be better.

After you have your shape cut out, you need to stitch it. There are a ton of ways to do this but I highly recommend punching holes in the leather BEFORE trying to stitch it. This will help you keep your stitching even and keep from breaking needles. You can stitch thin leather by just pushing your needle through it but I find that tires out my hands and results in shoddy looking stitching. Good even stitching in leather work contributes greatly to it's aesthetic quality.
Part 2:
So for making stitching holes: there are lots of ways to go about it. I use manufactured steel awls that you hammer through leather on a small anvil. They come as a set and look like forks with diamond shaped tips. The set includes awls with 1, 2, 3 and 5 tips. The more tips, the harder to push through, but they keep your stitch line straight. You can also just use a single tipped awl and eyeball it but I like the professional look.

Once you have your holes made, you just need a couple of needles and thread to stitch. I use a saddle stitch because it is super strong and it can't be done by machine. There's tons of tutorials and videos online for how to do that.

Finally, to finish a product you'll need to be able to dress and polish the edge. This is assuming you're using stiff veg tan leather that has a noticeable edge. If you're using chrome tan leather you probably don't need this. Just like nice even stitching, a well dressed edge greatly improves the aesthetic and tactile quality of your project. Depending on the thickness of your project, you may need a edge beveling tool to give yourself a good starting point. This takes off the "corners" of your edge and takes it from a square shape to a trapezoidal shape. If your leather is thin you don't need this. Once the edge is prepped you need an edge polisher/burnisher and a polishing compound. Some people use water, or special burnishing products you can buy. I just use saddle soap because it works great and it's multi purpose for leather work anyways.

Like I said before, this is entirely dependent upon how deep you want to go, how much money you want to invest into the hobby and how much space you have for tools. Hope this helps, and keep in mind this is just off the top of my head. There are tons of other tools I'm leaving out.
Thanks for this, I'll get an awl for now and practice stitching, and maybe a chisel set when I tackle the harder leather.
>So for making stitching holes: there are lots of ways to go about it. I use manufactured steel awls that you hammer through leather on a small anvil
ive had very good results with a stitch marker and drill press
The guy I primarily learned from on youtube, Ian Atkinson (highly recommend his tutorials) says the same thing. I like the clean diamond shaped wholes I get from my awls but it's really preference.

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