Getting ready to try leather for the first time. What are some useful accessories/tools to have when working with leather? Things like needles, thread/lacing, stuff to treat the cut edges, work holding, etc? I’m completely new to this. Bonus internet points for Amazon links
Let me pull up a chair, I will also be taking notes.
If you have a Tandy store nearby, I’d stop by there just to get a first-hand view of all of the leather tools and accessories. They have a lot of dyes (with samples so that you can get a real idea of what each dye will look like on leather). They also run some pretty good sales from time to time, so it might be good to sign up for emails. Check out http://www.tandyleatheroutlet.com/ for some online-only deals. I bought a large amount of veg leather remnants from them for pretty cheap (http://www.tandyleatheroutlet.com/p-402-economy-veg-remnants-10-lb-box.aspx). I’m no expert, but luckily @Drea and @morganstanfield are!
One of the things I need to pick up is a stitching pony, but I’ve managed ok without one so far. I’m still a newbie with leather, but I’ve already starting experimenting and even managed to complete a small project. Good luck!
I’d encourage you to visit www.leatherworker.net and create an account on that forum. There’s a ton of helpful information and really cool people too.
If you have a resale license Tandy will sign you up for a free business account that gets you half off pricing on most things and no tax on consumables
@pdobrien the tools you’ll need depends a lot on what you plan to make, but here’s a short list of basics for hand sewing:
- a revolving punch (I prefer the cheaper Harbor Freight or
Amazon version to Tandy’s)
- an awl
- a sewing awl (yup, it’s different)
- heavy waxed nylon thread
- leather needles, at least two if you want to saddle stitch (these are not like fabric sewing needles)
- edge burnisher and gum tragacanth
- edge beveler
- finger protection until you grow calluses
bizarrely cheap kit has a lot of the basics including 5 colors of waxed thread for $17.99.
I wouldn’t worry about a stitching pony until you’ve tried out saddle stitching and decided you really like it and want to do lots of it. (It looks really cool but for the sake of time and fingers I prefer to machine sew leather.)
There’s a ton of other tools for rivets, skiving, adhering, embossing, dying, painting, carving, forming, etc. If you want to elaborate on what you plan to make I can give you more details.
Good find on that kit from Amazon. That is a really good deal!
Thanks for the vote of confidence
Lots of info here, but honestly, I think the best way to get started is just to go to your local Tandy (or whatever leather store) and just ask them to set you up with a very basic starter kit. Better yet, go in with a specific project in mind, and ask for help gathering supplies for that project.
You can drop a ton of money on leather craft supplies (I know, I’ve seen me do it) but that shouldn’t be necessary if you’re just dipping your toes in the water. You may find that you loathe the smell of lasered leather, and never wish to touch it again.
Hopefully that’s not the case, but it could happen. FE, I dropped a chunk of change on acrylic (+ time plotting out designs) only to learn that some kinds make me violently nauseous. Not something that I’ll be working with again, no matter how clever my ideas were.
I would skip the punch, awl, and sewing awl until you try it without. Since your Glowforge can cut the holes for you, a big part of the challenge is gone - we don’t use them at the office, and we do a lot of leather sewing.
Note also that my 9 year old daughter has taught new employees how to do it… it’s really, really easy when the holes are precut!
Are you guys going to offer that pony in the catalog? (I think it was called a pony.)
Working on it.
Fantastic! I need one of those!
Doesn’t every female get one of those on her 9th birthday? Or was it 6th…
Dude, you have a Glowforge, make one.
Hah, that’s a good point. I need to see if I can find some designs.
I use one of these for grommets:
It’s what I used for the no-stitch leather bag I had at MFNY.
While you could use a press or a hammer for grommets, my wife discovered grommet pliers when she was building a corset and they’re handy as heck. We got ours from a local falconry supply shop.
Bonus: It’s just as easy (if not easier) to cut holes for grommets, rivets, eyelets, and the holes of any strap you’re going to pass through a buckle as it is to cut holes for stitching. For those of us who don’t like stitching and prefer other fasteners
That looks like a nice one. (And the bag is gorgeous with the two colors.)
Fair points. I included the punch for those times “shoot I forgot to design a hole here” (my non GF laser has zero camera alignment capabilities). The awl for encouraging too small holes to be a little bigger - such as for rivets and grommets. Some of my chrome tanned leathers would shrivel and shrink where lasered. Awls are also handy for getting multiple layers lined up, like a registration pin
I will say when I tried to use the GF to punch through my wife’s stirrup straps it couldn’t, so ended up getting a punch (they’re so cheap). But engraving the leather was amazing, and everyone wants their leather stuff engraved now at the stable…
I’m looking for the best RIVETS for dog leashes and collars. Since it’s a big deal if they fail, I want ones that are strong and still look nice.
Thanks for all of the other good supplies tips.