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What are the Essential Tools for Leatherworking?

It always helps to have the right tool for the job. For those of you contemplating taking up the craft of leatherworking, the right tools may be entirely unfamiliar to the uninitiated. So we're going to introduce you to some of the essential tools you'll want to purchase, so you're ready to take on any type of project. Ask some experts and they may tell you to make it easier on yourself and just pick up one of those starter kits. Before you decide to do that, consider that they can be costly for the amount of implements you're given, many of which you may never actually use, particularly at the beginner stage.

To save you some time, money, and frustration, we're going to review the absolute necessities required to embark on your first foray into leatherwork.

Utility Knife

Leather is a tough fabric; one that isn't cheap, either. So when the project demands the best tool to get the job done properly, you must start with a retractable utility knife or box cutter. The blades are sharp enough to make a clean cut through your material and will look much better than if you use scissors. X-Acto knives might not be the best option because the blades aren抰 always sturdy enough and the handles are too slender. That will depend on the type of leather material with which you are working. In most cases, opt instead for a thick handle made of aluminum instead of plastic, which can crack easily.

Cutting Board

Anything will pretty much suffice as a flat surface on which to cut your leather. You can go with a wood cutting board or plastic, you can even use one you already have in the kitchen that you might use for cutting meats and vegetables. Be sure, however, that it's clean so you don't mess up your leather. If you want a board that is exclusively used for your leatherwork, buy a self-healing plastic mat that will last longer and serve you well every time.

Hole Punch

You are going to need this one in your box of tools because punching holes is one of the basic foundations of leatherwork. Since this tool will be getting so much use, buy one that is well-made and won't bend or break down under the stress of constant use with penetrating thick leather material.

Leather Groover

After the cutting and punching comes the stitching. To do it right the first time, you're going to want to add a leather groover to your toolbox. This tool is used to create a small groove for your stitching so it's properly positioned in a line or a curve. The resulting groove also helps to maintain the condition of your stitches and prevents them from getting worn out in time.

Needles and Thread

If you want to stitch, you need needles and thread. When you're working with leather, you're going to want something tailor-made for the job. The stuff you'll find in a standard sewing kit won't do. These needles come in various sizes and are built to penetrate leather without bending.

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