Written by Lew Amicone
Essential Leatherworking Tools
Anvil: An anvil is a heavy, solid object that provides a firm work surface for hammering, punching, shaping, etc.
Awl: This sharp tool is used to punch small holes or draw guidelines in leather.
Chisels and Pricking Irons: These are used to make small holes for stitching or decoration.
Creaser: As the name suggests, this tool puts a crease in leather to help it fold or for decoration.
Creaser/Folder: This smooth tool, often made of bone or horn, helps work open stiff pockets and other touching pieces of leather.
Cutting Board: A board or mat protects the work surface, and specialized boards with measurement grids makes crafting and cutting easier.
Deglazer: Leather deglazer removes wax and other products from leather.
Edge Slickers and Burnishers: These tools help give leather products a finished, smooth edge after cutting.
Edgers: An edger cuts a smooth, squared edge.
Gouges: These tools cut grooves for folding and stitching lines.
Hand-Press: Used for stamping and sometimes with leather dies, this tool uses a lever to apply extreme pressure to a specific area.
Knives: Knives are used to cut leather into the shapes needed.
Leather Dies: Shapes with a cutting edge, these metal designs function much like patterns or cookie cutters for individual pieces in larger leather projects.
Leather Dyes: Dyes and stains give crafters power to change the look and color of leather.
Leather Wax: Wax adds an attractive finish to leatherwork while locking in dye and providing a smoother surface.
Mallets, Hammers, and Mauls: Specialized hammers and mallets for leatherworking work with stamps, awls, and more to mark, cut, or pierce leather.
Needles: When individual pieces of leather need to be sewn together, specialized needles large enough to hold waxed thread come in handy.
Punches: Punches are sharp tools used with mallets or hammers to cut specific shapes out of leather, often for rivets.
Rivets and Setters: Rivets are tiny pieces of metal used to link pieces of leather together. They are often used as decorative studs as well. Setters help set individual rivets in place.
Rotary Cutters and Scissors: These serve the same functions as knives but work for larger cuts.
Rulers and Squares: These tools help crafters measure, mark, and make correct cuts.
Sewing Machine: Some types of leather are soft or thin enough for a sewing machine with a powerful motor to stitch them, and these machines can save a lot of time and effort.
Skiver: This tool helps to thin out leather for folded areas, like the end of a belt that folds into a loop to hold a buckle in place.
Spacing/Overstitch/Pricking Wheel: This tool marks where to make individual stiches or punches by lightly perforating the leather.
Stamps: Used to imprint and image or cut out certain shapes, stamps work with hammers and presses.
Stitching Horse: This tool holds separate pieces of leather together to make them easier to sew by hand.
Strap Cutters: These tools can be set at different widths to cut long straps out of large pieces of leather.
Stitching Groover: A groover cuts a narrow trough along lines that need to be stitched so the thread doesn’t stick out.
Thickness Gauge: This tool helps crafters tell exactly how thick a piece of leather is and measure accurately while working with tools like a skiver.
Wing Divider or Compass: Like a ruler, this tool helps measure leather pieces. Unlike a ruler, it measures and marks circles and arcs.
Workbench: A quality workbench with a sturdy surface that isn’t easily damaged is essential to leatherworking. A workbench with storage space for all of the necessary tools is a bonus.
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