There are hundreds of different tools available for working with leather. Some leathercrafters have their preferred brand or make their own customisations to tools. It can be better to spend a little more on a decent set, and it doesn’t hurt to chat with other people to see what they recommend. I built up my own toolkit piece by piece based on the techniques I was interested in learning about. Below is a list of the most commonly used tools every leathercrafter should have in their toolkit. I’ve broken it down into basic tools to get started and other tools for more advanced techniques:
Shears – Like scissors but for cutting leather. I use upholstery shears which I bought from Spotlight. I get so much use out of them, it is worth investing in a good pair.
Hole punch – These babies are much more heavy duty than their paper punch cousins and they need to be to get through that tough leather! Most hole punches comes with a variety of hole sizes which you can adjust depending on what you need to do.
Marble Slab – This is exactly what it says – a slab of marble. This is your surface for stamping, tooling, riveting etc but more about that later. You may be able to find one at a tile outlet store.
Mallet – These are made from rawhide or plastic and are used for hitting things like stubborn press-studs for example. Never use a metal hammer or you will damage your tools!
Cutting Mat – These are like magic! They self heal after cutting so you can use them again and again. These can be found in most craft stores.
Setting Tools – There are many different kinds but they generally include a tiny anvil and setter for applying press studs, rivets and other metal components to your leather. These can be purchased from any good leather retailer.
OTHER TOOLS (FOR VEG TAN LEATHER)
Stamps – These are metal stamps you can use to imprint onto veg tan leather. Anything from alphabet stamps, to bevels, flowers and basket weave motifs.
Carving tools – these include your swivel knife which you use to cut into veg tan and a moulding spoon to smooth out your cuts.
Edge Beveler – Shave off the edge of your leather with this tool for a smoother finish. Also paired with a burnishing tool, to burnish and smooth your leather edges.
Strap Cutter – Allows you to cut a straight line through leather in various thicknesses.
HAND STITCHING TOOLS
Stitching Groover - Use for hand stitching. Makes a trench in the leather which protects your thread.
Overstitch Wheel - Marks where your thread stitches will sit in your trench.
Stitching Awl - Creates holes in the leather that you can sew through.
Leather Stitching Needles
Next, I’ll share some resources and links for further reading on leathercraft, including suppliers.