What tools do I need to get started with leatherwork?

How do I get started with leatherwork?


If you follow my blog, you’ll know that I’ve been writing more about leatherwork. This is one of my hobbies… or should I say obsessions.

Sometimes, usually on my Smith Bros Instagram account, or as part of the Smith Bros Ultimate Leatherwork Fundamentals Mentorship people want to know how to get started.

If you’re interested, here’s a partial answer below but also click the link here for a PDF checklist that you can download and tick off.

Download QuickStart Checklist

The Smith Bros QuickStart tools and materials list

If you’re interested in how to get started with Leatherwork, here’s a list of what you’ll need in terms of tools and materials.

This is the “Must Have” quick-start list but I’ve also got a “Nice to Have” and “Pro List” as well.

If you’ve got everything on here, you’ll be able to get underway. Having said that, not every project will use every tool here.

Also when you’re starting out it’s fine to go with some of the cheaper options so you can get underway quickly.

This is better than spending hundreds of dollars on expensive tools but then failing to get started.

Tools and materials

Ok… here’s the basics of what you need. Some of these you might even have lying around your house, office or workshop.

  • Pencil and pen
  • Steel ruler
  • Notebook
  • Thin card for pattern making
  • Sharp craft knife
  • Cutting mat
  • Mallet with nylon head (or a leatherworker’s maul)
  • Edge beveller
  • Burnisher or slicker
  • Saddle soap
  • Beeswax
  • Contact glue
  • Pricking irons (Stitching chisels)
  • Leatherwork needles
  • Waxed polyester thread
  • Lighter
  • Stitching pony or clamp
  • Round punch
  • Leather

Getting a starter kit on Amazon

Rather than buying all of your tools separately, Amazon sells starter kits for leatherwork.

I haven’t bought any of these myself, so if you are looking at one, in particular, please let me know and I’ll see if I can help you.

Here’s one example that looks pretty good as it includes the clamp that you’ll need. Click the image to see more detail.

And here’s another good option, although you’ll need to get the clamp – otherwise known as a stitching pony, separately. Again, click the image for more details.

Here’s a cheap clamp or stitching pony if you need to buy separately. Click the image to see more.


Author: Graeme Smith

Education, technology, design. Also making cool stuff...

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