As you can read in this post about the basic tool, which you need to start leathercraft, are there much more tools to discuss. To give a little insight into the leathercraft world and to widen our knowledge about leathercraft I have made an ABC of leathercraft. Since there was so much information I have parted it in two. So stay tuned for the next part as well.
Let’s start…with ABC
Awl (scratching or pricking)
An awl is kind of needle in an (often) wooden handle which you could use to scratch the leather for pattern drawing, roughening the leather to glue for example of pricking awl to make the holes, just like with a pricking Iron, but you prick a single one. Especially handy when you don’t have enough space to place the pricking iron or to hit it with the mallet because you use your own strength for this one. It should be very sharp so no big muscles needed ladies.
A little repetition about the burnisher to remind you all why to use one. A burnisher is used to create friction and heat on the edges of the leather. This causes the fibres to bond and gives you a need darkened smooth edge.
Chisel is another word for iron, or via verse, but with a diamond pricking chisel, you could separate the leather fibres instead of cutting them to ensure the quality of your leather piece. Usually, this chisel will be punched into the leather with a mallet
A design can make or break your product. If the leather is beautiful but the design rubbish it will be a waste of your time. So to be sure you have a great design, first try to make it from paper. You can still adjust the length or width but once you have cut the leather you can waste a whole hide. If a design is great or not is, of course, a matter of opinion although how the construction is made is just a matter of facts. If you did screw up in the end. Don’t worry, let your mind be creative and find a new solution, maybe it will improve the design after all.
An edge groover is a tool to make grooves on the edge, (really straight forward). But why would you want a groove at you edge? For example, when you use thicker leather and thicker thread you could make a groove and let the stitching fall into the groove to level your piece.
Even animals come in different shapes and weights. Some of them will have had a different diet which could end up with fat wrinkles in the hide. You can find these, especially in the neck area.
Animal skins or hides have of course a hair side and a flesh side. With the grain side, we refer to the outer or hair side. This also has different layers, a grain layer and a corum layer. Full grain – which consists the full layer of grain with scars, bite makes and burning marks. Top grain – the first layer of the grain is removed to remove any insect bites or scars, for example, you end up with the lower layer of the grain and the upper part of the corum (the part above the flesh). Genuine leather – The lower part of the grain and the full corum layer. The fibres of the leather are the strongest at the top and will loosen to the corum.
Sewing your leather products by hand does take some time but it will be a stronger stitching. For example, you could use a saddle stitch where you knot the thread in each hole. Besides the strong stitching, a saddle stitch gives combined with a diamond hole a very need diagonal stitching.
As you can read in my post about inspiration, inspiration is very important but also a difficult matter. Luckily inspiration can be found everywhere. Open your eyes to see the world differently or from different angles and get inspired.
Besides inspiration, a design and a great and result, you have to experience joy by making your new bag. It might take a lot of time and a little bit of sweat to finish your products. So why not enjoy it while cutting, pricking and stitching.
Leather can be cut by special leather scissors but also with knives. There are various kinds of leather knives. There is, for example, a round knives which are the most traditional saddler’s knives, skiving knives to slice (skive) a layer of the leather, a swivel knife to easy cut patterns and much more.
Leather is the general term used to describe a hide or skin where the original skin structure is still intact nor has been treated with chemical or mechanical products.
Use a mall to transfer the pattern onto the leather. I usually make these malls from thicker paper but they can be made of plastic as well as of metal which can be stamped into the leather or directly cut it with the metal mall.
This was the first part of the ABC – of leathercraft. I hope this has given you a little bit more insight into the leathercraft. If you also can’t wait for part II, sign up for the email list and you will be the first to know.