In the ABC of Leathercraft – Part I we have seen already a lot of information on leathercraft, though there is more, much more. (click here if you missed the first part) Let’s continue where we left and finish our ABC of leathercraft to the end.
There are various types of leather needles. Ones for the sewing machine but also many for hand stitching. They differ in thickness, length and shape. You can buy curved ones or straight ones depending on your project. But most of them got a triangular sharp tip to part the leather fibres apart instead of cutting through them. You can also use blunt needles if you have already made your sewing holes with for example a diamond chitsel.
The thickness of leather is measured in ounces. One ounce is about 0,4 mm or 1/64 inch thick. A hide is not everywhere equally thick so overall when you buy a hide they will give you a range of thickness, for example, 6-7 ounces. Each project may require another thickness of leather. As a comparison you can use a quarter coin of 4 oz. or a standard belt of 7 to 8 oz.
As with many hobbies, crafts or jobs, you will often have to practice a lot before you master a skill. For that, you will also need a lot of patience and you shouldn’t be disappointed when your first tries don’t work out the way you want to. I have been practising now a little over a year by now and I learn from every piece a make a little because of the flaws I make or just because I try something new. Challenge yourself, again and again, be patient and practice, practice, practice.
The small triangular piece of leather used between the fingers of a glove.
A rotary cutter is a leather knife with a completely round blade. With a rotary cutter, you can continue for a long cut because the blade rotates while you’re cutting.
Always use a sample when you try something new. It would be a shame if you have a new piece of leather and ruin it at the first try. You would not be the first one…
There is just like needles a great variety of thread available on the market. I haven’t tried them all but due to their features, you can choose one for your project. It might be a pre-waxed flat woven thread or one you wax yourself. It can be made of linen or polyester.
In short, it is leather without any coating on it to make it waterproof for example. The hide is still porous and open for absorbing liquids and may cause therefore stains.
There are different ways of tanning leather. Vegetable-tanned leather is tanned with organic materials instead of chemicals.
If you want to make your edges waterproof and close your edges for dirt and other liquids, you can use wax. Most often people use beeswax, which you can buy in blocks or melt yourself.
X – stitches per inch
Either if you stitch your leather projects by hand or by machine you will have to choose how far you want your stitches apart. The most often just measurements are 7-8-9 Stitches per inch (SPI). Depending on the project you might want a smaller stitch (think of leather gloves) or a wider stitch (for a more masculine look).
Of course, probably if you read this, you have chosen to make a project yours. You are in charge of the design, type of leather and the finish of your final project.
Waterproof leather. Zug leather originates from the famous tannery of the Swiss town of the same name. The innovative, thrifty tanners of the area utilised a milk chocolate syrup in much the same manner as the Scots of Islay. The chocolate imparts the characteristic dark brown colour and natural waterproofing of Zug leather.
The ABC of Leathercraft
We have reached the end of our ABC of leather craft. I hope you have learned a lot, as much as I did making this post. It even makes me want to do some more research… Well, we will see, maybe in the next year!