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Leather Working Tool List

Discussion in 'Sheaths & Other Leather Projects' started by Griff, Jan 2, 2021.

  1. Griff

    Griff Active Member

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    Hello all, and Happy New Year!!!!!

    Since there are a bunch of experienced and talented leather workers on the forum...I figured I would be a cheeky B’stard and just piggyback on all your years of accumulated knowledge for a list for this complete Leather sheath making noob!:D

    I have several knives here to make sheaths for, and since my garage is not heated, I figured leatherwork would be the best way to keep busy.

    Can you give me some ideas on what the must have tools are to get started? Quality brands, I’d rather get good stuff upfront. All for ‘by hand,’ of course, and also what oz leather you recommend?

    Thanks in advance for you help and advice...


  2. dancom

    dancom Dust Maker Best Shop Tool

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    I am certainly no expert in things leather, but can contribute some ideas on what I use. I feel the following gear is needed to make a professional looking finished product, although many get by with much less.
    • Pencil, ruler, paper, masking tape for pattern transfer.
    • Fresh blade in utility knife
    • Clean cutting board
    • Skiving blade - for thinning sections of leather when folding and stacking.
    • A groover with edge guide - for making stitch grooves and decorative lines.
    • Stitching chisel - Tine pitch about 1/8" to 5/32" is good.
    • Rotary hole punch for popping holes for rivets, snaps etc.
    • Edging skiver for chamfering edges before burnishing.
    • Darning needles - I like the bigger 2" long ones with large eyes, not sure the number size.
    • Smooth jaw needle-nose pliers - for gripping the needle
    • Wooden mallet - for tooling
    • Optional slab of marble or other hard surface for stamping.
    • A bordering stamp & camo stamp.
    • Any burnishing tool, old piece of antler, hardwood dowel etc.
    • Squirt bottle with water
    • Lighter - for singeing frays and rough edges.

    To make stitch holes I use stitching chisels (forks) to pilot the holes and then drill with a 1/16" bit in the drill press. You probably already have a drill press.

    For tooling, I made my own bordering stamps. http://dcknives.blogspot.com/p/diy-leather-stamps.html A stamp that I think is really handy is the camo for fills around the borders. I have never had a problem with Tandy's tools, so I'd suggest their starter kit as a good place to go to when getting your basic tooling setup. Then you can add on more specialty stamps as you go.

    • Leather 7 to 9 oz. veg tanned. Last time I bought a shoulder it was on sale for about $50.
      Note: Leather weight is in 64ths of an inch so 8 oz = 8/64" or 1/8" thick. 7 to 9 range is common. It's a range as there will always be some variance in thickness when you buy larger pieces.
    • Sandpaper
    • Contact adhesive
    • Synthetic sinew/waxed thread
    • Leather dye
    • Gum tragacanth
    • Neatsfoot oil/beeswax/Dubbin

    John Noon offers adhesives, dyes, tools and high-end stamps too.

    I was super fortunate. Some years ago I put wanted ad on Kijiji asking for any old leather working tools. I lady called me and I took a huge bag of stuff off of her for ridiculously cheap. It was her Dad's and he had since past on. She was so happy to have someone to putting it to good use.

    Good luck, stay warm.

    Last edited: Jan 2, 2021
    Nieman Knives and Griff like this.
  3. Griff

    Griff Active Member

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    @dancom Exceptional! Thank you very much Dan, it is greatly appreciated :beer::beer:

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