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Leather tools

auscraft

Henry Arthur Readford
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TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT USED IN LEATHERCRAFT

Straight Edge: For creating a straight cut when using knife or similar cutting too; Heavy duty ruler is perfect for this.
Cutting Mat: To protect table from cuts and other markings. Often has a pre-printed ruler on it.
Marble Slab: Used as an anvil for stamping.
Cutting Tools
Rotary Cutter: blade is very sharp, and has a protective guard. Often found in craft and fabric shops
Knife: knives and Utility Knives are the most common types.
Round Knife: Semicircular blade with attached handle. Useful for cutting and skiving .
Scissors: Heavyduty to cut leather.
Skiver: Used to thin leather pieces.
Strip and Strap Cutter: Used to make long even cuts in leather. Often has a gauge to make parallel edges. Used for straps, fringe, lace, and thongs. Has adjustable blades to make a variety of widths.
Swivel Knife: Designed to make cuts around curves in designs. Used in carving and decorating.
Splitter: used to split/thin leather
Punches: Makes holes and or removes a portion of the leather. These include hole punches and strap punches.
Thonging & stitching Chisel: Makes small square holes, but does not remove leather like a punch; Different styles have 1, 3, 4, and 8 evenly spaced prongs. Thonging chisels are used to make evenly spaced lacing holes. Stitching Chisels are used for stitch spacing and marking without the use of awl and marking wheel.
Overstitch Wheel: Marks stitching line on leather.
V-Gouge: Used to make folds in box type leather items. The cut allows the leather to bend easily at 90 degrees.
Beveler:[/B] Used to shape and smooth the edge of leather items. Often overlooked by amateur leatherworkers.
Groover: Adjustable tool that leaves a groove in the leather parallel to the edge. Good for marking stitch lines and borders.
Stamp: Tool to imprint a picture or design into leather. Hit with a mallet or hammer. Multiple stamps can be combined to form complex pictures.
Mallet: Hammer with rubber or rawhide head; used to strike stamping tools and imprint the leather; preventing damage to the stamping tools.
Modeling Tools: Used to shape leather carvings without removing any leather.
Embossing Wheel: Imprints a repeating pattern on the leather.
Setting Tools : used for attaching hardware like snaps, rivets, eyelets and so on
Glue and Cement: Different types are used for different applications such as temporally fixing to permanent attachment
Sewing: Either hand sewing or machine sewing . You just need to purchase the correct threads and needles
Awls: for making holes for sewing or lacing.
Stitching Pony: used to hold work in place keeping hands free for stitching.

I am sure there are a few more that could be added but most I think will be more specialty tools but if I have forgotten any I will add to the list. Please note this is not a basic tools list, You do not need all these tools to create and do leather projects.
 
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Jacko

Les Hiddins
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Nice list Auscraft, you have it very well covered, a comprehensive list.

I have many of the Tools on the list and most fit in a 6' x 4' Tin. I keep the Tin full of Tools, a cutting Mat and my Round Knife in a Haversack. I carry all the Tools I need and enough Leather for 2 or 3 projets like Knife Sheath's ,Armguards, Pouches etc in the Haversack to Work so I can create usefull objects during my Lunchbreak or like this weekend at an Archery Tournament in the downtime I worked on a new Armguard. I have a piece of a broken 1' thick Kitchen Stone Benchtop that I stamp on. A thicker piece would be better but you gotta make do with whats available.

I use a home made Round Knife and have made usefull Awl's from Jewelers Screw Drivers and Slit Punches from small Flat Head Screwdrivers. A piece of Hardwood with a thick Dowell for a Handle makes a handy Mallet for Stamping. You really do not need to spend a lot of money to start Leathercraft, just a little ingenuity to make your own Tools.

For any aspiriing Leatherworkers it's always best to track down an experienced Leathercrafter for advice but if no one lives local can I suggest you have a look at http://leatherworker.net/forum/index.php?act=idx , a very handy Website, lots of tips. Consider the Range of Al Stoleman Books. They are a little expensive, $35 or so if you source them locally, half that if you buy them from the USA. You can buy a Stoleman Book to cover just about all aspects of Leathercraft, from how to Hand Stitch and Fancy Lace your Projects to how to make patterns. Sadly like many things in Australia it is cheaper to buy specialty Tools from the USA, even including postage but EBay often have good used Tools very cheap. Keep an eye out at Markets, Op Shops or Garage Sales for Tanned Hides or old Leather Bags that you can cut up for cheap Leather. I also use a lot of the much cheaper Vegetable Tanned Belly instead of the Shoulder for my Tooled Projects, yes they don't look as perfect as if I used shoulder but I still end up with a highly durable good looking finished project.

I also keep a sharp eye out for 2nd grade chrome tanned Kangaroo hides at my local Leather Shop, they sell for $5 to $10 and are perfect for many projects like Possibilities Bags or lining Knife Sheaths, Armguards etc

regards Jacko
 

auscraft

Henry Arthur Readford
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Jacko your right to start off does not cost much at all , and depending on what you want to make it does not take alot of tools either.
 

auscraft

Henry Arthur Readford
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A little of tans of leather commonly found in OZ and a few of thier uses. Jacko also made very good point Chrome leather is alot cheaper than Veg depending on thier use you do have choices.
Chrome Tanned Leather
Chrome-tanned leather is tanned using mainly chromium salts. It is softer and more supple than vegetable-tanned leather and does not discolor or lose shape as drastically in water as vegetable-tanned leather. Chromium-tanned hides tend to be more receptive to color and retain more of their elasticity.
Uses : bags & Handbags, Personal Leather goods.

Vegetable Tanned Leather
Vegetable-tanned leather is tanned using tannin and other natural ingredients found in trees and plants. The result is leather that has greater body and firmness than chromium-tanned leather with little or no elasticity. Vegetable tanned leather tends to have much higher tensile strength than chrome-tanned leather.
Uses: Perfect leather for tooling, embossing, molding, dyeing & oiling. Uniformly absorbs dyes and oils. Dries to a firm, long-lasting shape.

Knife Sheaths
Almost exclusively made with vegetable tanned leather with the exception being the lined area's that do not come in contact with metals. The chromium salts used in chrome-tanning can corrode some metals over time.

The descriptions and basic use info came from Web some time ago and did keep record from where and haven't found again. There is a fair bit more info on leather choices but won't confuse now
 

Bezerker Viking

John McDouall Stuart
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I'm just starting out, though my lady has been doing leather work since her teens, this is very useful to me thank you auscraft :D
 

New man

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Where does everyone buy there leather? I was looking at Tandy but I feel ripped as all the prices are much more in aus then america and our dollar is strong!
 

auscraft

Henry Arthur Readford
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Either tan myself or buy from locals or direct from tannery
 
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AussiePreppers

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Can you use bankline as your stitching thread? I have some coarse and fine waxed poly thread, just wondering what people have used to bring the cost down.
 

gelandangan

Rüdiger Nehberg
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Banklines are great for leather stitchings

OTOH for their ornamental value some would like lighter color stitches.

I have stitch leather using cotton, poly, braided, monofilament, sinews and a plethora of other threads.
They all works, its just some would work better than others on special circumstances.
 

AussiePreppers

Richard Proenneke
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Cool thanks - as long as you can 'generally' use it with leatherwork thats what I was after. I don't care about how it looks, just if it will come undone easy or have some other weird side effect. I was thinking of bankline, being tarred, would be good as it would be more sticky than normal thread and maybe even help with waterproofing.
 

gelandangan

Rüdiger Nehberg
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IMO the leather, being organic material might breakdown sooner than the tarred nylon bankline.
OTOH there are a lot of way to cure and reinforce leather, so your leather may outlast nylon..
 

Howling Dingo

Richard Proenneke
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Can you use bankline as your stitching thread? I have some coarse and fine waxed poly thread, just wondering what people have used to bring the cost down.

I used 550 paracord inner thread before...What you my find if you need to wax the thread with beeswax's.But worked fine had a really high breaking strain.
 

Templar

F. C. Selous DSO
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I use linen thread, either the pre-waxed stuff or I buy linen thread used for making lace work and wax it myself... dental floss works well too and it the same material as the artificial sinew material with a wax coating as a bonus...
 

BjornJ

Mors Kochanski
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+1 to dental floss
Made a sheath a couple of years ago and did not have any linen thread
The dental floss worked a charm
 

Dusty Miller

Alexander Pearce
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Nylon line seems to be very durable. I left some brickies line (braided nylon line) extended in a sunny position in a paddock for several years. Then it got caught and wound up in some machinery and every metre of the 50 or so was quite strong, although looked a little faded. UV and rain seemed not to have a great effect on it and you still couldn't break it by hand.
 

apsilon

Mors Kochanski
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A little of tans of leather commonly found in OZ and a few of thier uses. Jacko also made very good point Chrome leather is alot cheaper than Veg depending on thier use you do have choices.

A little off the original topic but I may as well ask here about something I've been wondering about - full grain leather.

Full grain is said to be the highest quality and ages beautifully. My understanding is full grain is the full unsplit hide with the natural top surface and grain still intact (where in most cases this has been removed and the grain presented on most leather, including a lot of sides, is actually an artificial grain) but how do you know what's full grain when you're ordering? eg looking at the Tandy link, which if any are full grain leathers? For that matter how do you work out which is slightly lower top grain and the ones below that? They only ever seem to mention the tanning method.
 

Bernoulli

Les Stroud
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Where does everyone buy there leather? I was looking at Tandy but I feel ripped as all the prices are much more in aus then america and our dollar is strong!

http://www.eastcoastleather.com.au/site/

I just came across these folks by accident. They are quite close to where I live. They have an instructor that comes in once a month - $20 for 2+ hours. The next one will be 9 March. I'll be there. I have no illusions about becoming a leather worker, but I would like for my few projects to look a little bit better. They have (literally) tons of leather there and sell off cuts for $7.70 kilo. I know nothing about leather prices, so I don't know about how their's stack up, but they supply saddle makers to hobbyists, so I imagine they are competitive.
 
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