Buying leather

I wanted to know how to go about buying leather And where to buy it. Iv checked amazon but I don’t know what the going price for leather is and when I checked some sight it talks about ounces and others talk about inches would love to know


Short answer: start by looking up Tandy.

Long answer: use the forum search function (magnifying glass in the upper right) and look up leather.


I don’t know anything about it either yet…I plan to wait to see the Proofgrade leather from Glowforge, and by then @morganstanfield should have finished her print and be available to answer questions. :relaxed:


To generally answer your questions, leather sold in N. America (or the US at least) is generally measured in ounces. You can then find tables that convert the ounces to fractions of an inch. It is my understanding that in Europe it is generally sold by thickness, which would presumably be in mm.

Leather that is vegetable tanned generally cuts better than leather that is tanned using chromium salts, however, you need to cut a sample to know for sure.

As regards pricing you’ll have to comparison shop. There is just so much variety out there including hide to hide variety using the same processes.

As regards buying from Amazon or similar, versus a supplier that has been in business for years, be careful you’re really getting leather and not a synthetic material. Some synthetic leather is safe to laser cut and some is not.


LOL! I had to re-read that twice before the little dim bulb above my head lit up… :joy:

If I remember what my leather worker friends said, 1 ounce = 1/16 of an inch in thickness. I’ve cut 9-10oz leather on his Chinese laser, but the edges are pretty crispy and I then sand the edges to remove most of the char. Hides also vary in thickness a bit with the same hide.


So 1-lb leather would be an inch thick?
'Cause I know that there are sixteen ozzes in a lib.


So I double checked with my leather worker friend, and he corrected me. 1oz = 1/64 of an inch not 1/16 of an inch. Sorry about that…


I found this on Pinterest. Pretty sure the original source was Tandy Leather:

*edited to add: this was not intended to “correct” you or anything, just adding the info in case it’s helpful for anyone.


We went to Tandy Leather yesterday and talked for a while with the guy behind the counter. Pretty much what we found was that the leather we would want to buy is dependent on the project that we need it for. i.e. We asked "so if I wanted to make a handbag, what cut of leather would you recommend (shoulder, side, etc…)? His response was always “it depends on what cut you want.” In other words, you kind of have to know what you want the outcome to be for them to recommend a leather for you.

The moral of the story is to have your desired project in mind, and any aspect that applies to the leather, have some idea of what you want the outcome to be. i.e. I want a leather handbag that is soft and flexible. It has to be veg. tanned because I’m using a laser, and it has to take die well because I plan on dying it red. What do you have that would be good for that?

By the way, when I said “It has to be veg. tanned because we are using a laser” his response was “why?” I answered with “non-veg tanned puts out dangerous chemicals when burned by the laser” and he responded with “oh, that makes sense”, or something along that line. Kind of funny, but each person is going to have a different experience level when it comes to the machines that manipulate their stock.

All that said, we do plan to hit up Tandy in the future, as we made one very important realization. I want to feel the leather I buy before I buy it. Two pieces cut from the same place on two animals, and about the same size/thickness will feel vastly different.


Absolutely true!

Did you go to the Tandy in Tacoma or the one in North Seattle? N Seattle guy will talk your ear off. He does know a lot, but he’ll also make stuff up rather than admit that he doesn’t know something. For that reason, I prefer Tacoma - if they don’t know, they’ll say so. It’s also a larger store.

McPhersons is good too. They’re on the back side of Cap hill, heading down to ID (IIRC - it’s been a few years). It’s a family owned shop that has been around forever. They have a huge inventory and knowledgable/helpful staff.


We went to north Seattle. Tacoma is probably closer to home, so we’ll keep that in mind for future trips!

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No worries. :slightly_smiling_face: I posted a correction just before your post - and that’s the chart my friend sent me too.

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Big shoutout for McPhersons. Before we found our Proofgrade source, that’s where we bought everything - for example, all the leather goods in the video are from there.

If anyone remembers the “but you don’t understand, I have a laser” story - that was McPhersons. :slight_smile:


The closest Tandy to us is dog friendly, so we took our Great Dane in there. The guy behind the counter was astonished and a little scared of him. Then our dog (scared of everything) started sniffing some goat skins and something spooked him and he jumped. The guy behind the counter didn’t hesitate, he jumped the counter and was immediately in the parking lot, breathing heavy, eyes as big as the moon hahaha. We all had a good laugh after he realized what really happened.