Once you start leathercraft, often there is no way back. Whether you took classes or taught it to yourself, just like me, you are continuously looking for other techniques and tools to improve your work. When you just started you will be totally fine with just the beginners’ tools, as described in this post. Actually, all you really need, is something to cut the leather with, something to make holes with, some leather needles and thread. This can be a half-moon leather knife or a regular Stanley knife, a diamond pricking iron and a mallet or an awl and your two hands.
So many tools…
Maybe you have been checking out the DIY’s page and saw the list of necessities. Don’t worry you do not always need it all because you could, of course, use the items you’ve got already at home. Most of you will have a ruler, a mallet, a cutting board and needles so just a small investment can be made for the rest of the products. But I have to warn you all, it’s addictive!
I have been practising leathercraft for almost two years, wow time flies when you’re having fun! Over the years I have been collecting more and more tools, so let’s update the leathercraft tool list with a second part.
There are a lot of possible techniques to skive, making the leather thinner, although if you want a short term and most of all affordable option, you can buy a skiving tool. Also, a pretty convenient detail about this tool is, it is a safety skiving tool. This will prevent a big bloody mess. The only rule is, you will need to keep your knife sharp! Not just your kitchen knives but also your leather knives. This includes this skiving tool! In this case, you can sharpen the razor blade but you could also buy a new blade (often sold in larger quantities). I use this tool for skiving the leather edges, for example when I make a turned edge.
The next tool might seem to be only for decoration but there is more to it than what meets the eye. With the edge creaser, you create a small crease near the edge of your leather piece. Not only for decoration, but this will also reinforce the edges. Due to the compression of the fibres, you create a firm edge and will prevent fraying of the leather fibres. You can also heat the tool up for a darker, emphasised line. For decoration purposes, you can also add a double line for a more sophisticated look.
Japanese skiving knife
A Japanese skiving knife is a tool I have wanted for quite some time. Ever since I started with the box stitching in this post, I realised I was in the need of a skiving knife… Since a 45-degree angle is quite difficult to make with a Stanley knife or the skiving knife I have mentioned above. There are really pretty and expensive skiving knives out there but since I didn’t have any experience and wanted to practice a bit, I have bought a more affordable one but with a sharpening wet stone. I read the reviews of this product the sharpening was not perfect. With this knowledge and eagerness to practice my sharpening techniques, I have bought them both.
Wet sharpening stones
Well, as read online to make a knife perfectly sharp it might take months or years to master this technique. Before I used those standard sharpening tools you can buy in kitchen shops but that might be ok for your food, but for leather… no way. There are, again, a lot of options to sharpen your leather knives, wet or dry etcetera… I have chosen for the Japanese technique since I also had a Japanese skiving knife hahaha. Maybe I will master this technique over a few years but at least I can skive the leather and haven’t ruined my knife yet… More on sharpening your tools in a future post!
I have used the diamond shaped pricking irons in many of my DIY posts. But if you want just one hole or can’t punch it you might want to invest in a diamond awl. It actually is a really sharp little knife which makes perfect diamond holes. You will often buy the handle and the sharp little knife apart for each other so you can endlessly combine them or replace them if you can’t sharpen them anymore (or broke it for example…).
The next and last tool to discuss is the hole punch. You might have spotted it in the perfect festival bag posts and in the luggage tag DIY since I use it very often. I also have a standard hole puncher although if you want a hole in the middle of your piece of leather you won’t be able to reach it these with those pliers. Therefore… a hole punching set with nine different sizes, the perfect investment!