Essential Leather Craft Tools

When I started I was so confused with all the tools I need for my leather journey and I know how exhausting it can be when you have absolutely no clue what you need and what quality you should buy. I'm not going to give you exact tools and companies to buy from, but overall experience with the tools you will need and which one you should consider buying.

Sharp Knife

Sharp Knife makes the difference between super shiny clean cuts and wiggly ugly edges.

Clean and easy cutting through the leather with no problem is one of the most important thing that you as a leather crafter can do, to make your work stand out even more. The more clean and precise cuts you make, the less you will have to work with sanding papers and believe me, you better cut clean, so you don't have to sand the edges even more just because you are not precise.

Steel Ruler

Steel Ruler is something that you buy when you accidentally cut through your plastic ruler in to your finger.

Let me tell you something. When you have a super sharp knife and cheap plastic ruler, chances for blood on your piece of leather are huge. I started with a thick plastic ruler, and it was such a pain. It's so easy to cut in the ruler just because you keep your knife sharp. Buy yourself some metal ruler and your life will be much easier.

Edge Beveler

Edge Beveler rounds and bevel off edges of leather.

Edge beveler is one of my most used tool and I can't tell you how big of a difference high quality edge beveler can make in your workflow and your finished products. You don't need a super expensive edge beveler, because even the cheap and bad quality one can be sharpened and improved, but one of the benefits of the expensive edge beveler is a quality of the steel, so you don't have to sharpen it as often, and it will keep its blade sharp much longer. If you don't have one, you can use sanding papers to make the bevel, but it's much harder.

Pricking Irons

Pricking Irons are used to make even and spaced sewing holes in your leather.

Pricking irons, stitching punches, round dents, diamond chisels and much more... Some pricking irons are used for marking the leather, and then using awl to pierce through the leather. Pricking irons give you symmetrically slanted holes. Some pricking irons can go right through the leather, and you don't have to use any awl. Stitching punches cut a round holes in your leather. Round dents make round holes by piercing through the leather and pushing it to the sides. Diamond chisels give you unique diamond looking holes for your stitching. There are many more variants, but I personally prefer and use pricking irons for all my work, and I love that clean look it gives you.


Mallet, Maul or Hammer is used for stamping, marking, or cutting the leather with your pricking irons.

Never, ever! Use a steel hammer on your pricking irons. You don't need expensive poly maul for your work, but please, never use steel hammer on your steel tools. You can hurt yourself very easily. When I started, I was using a steel hammer with a ton of leather duck taped on it, so I don't destroy and mushroom my tools. If you have to hold the hammer in your hand for a long period of time, you better get yourself some good quality one that fits your need just perfectly.

Wood Slicker

Wood Slicker is used to generate heat from friction and helps to smoothen and harden the edges of leather goods.

This is pretty much self-explanatory. You can use fancy expensive one from beautiful rare wood, or you can use the cheap one. There is not much of a difference when it comes to a wood slicker. You can always modify your cheap one with the sanding papers. I'm not using a wood slicker very often because I feel like I have better control and feel in my hand with a piece of cloth. That's even cheaper! More expensive is not always better.

Sewing Needles

Sewing Needles are special leather needles that are designed to easily penetrate leather.

Do you require special sewing needles for your leather work? Well, you can use basic needles, but it's better to work with something that is designed for it. Sewing needles are really cheap and makes a big difference in your sewing. When I started I had special needles for leather work, but the holes from my pricking irons were tiny and the needles were huge, so it was a pain to work with. Get yourself some good quality needles as soon as you can and if you hate sewing, you will love it right after your purchase.

Sanding Papers

Sanding papers are used to get a shiny, clean and straight edges on the leather.

It's really important to have a bunch of sandpapers in your repertoire. You don't have to buy or use 3000 grit, but you should get yourself some 240, 400 and 800 grit sandpapers to start with and work on your shiny edges. In leather craft there is so much sanding, so be prepared for it and don't rush it. Sanding and burnishing takes practice, and it's one of the most time-consuming parts of leather crafting.

Scratch Awl

Scratch Awl is a sharp steel pinpointed tool with a wooden handle used to mark the pattern on your leather.

You can use a scratch awl for applying paint on your edges, marking a pattern on your leather, but I'm using it mostly for marking the pattern on my leather. You don't have to buy a scratch awl for it because you can use any pointy sharp nail, and it will do the same, but for its price, it's something you can buy and use for a long time with no need to upgrade.

Leather Glue

Leather Glue is an adhesive used to bond pieces of leather together.

Leather glue is mostly used for temporary bond between leather pieces, so you can sew the leather without moving, and some are used for a lifetime bond. I'm using natural temporary water based transparent glue that helps me with my sewing and doesn't leave any smell like other glues might.

Sewing Thread

Sewing Thread is used to connect pieces of leather together with a style and lifetime expectancy.

There are so many sewing threads you can use. Nylon thread, Polyester thread, Waxed thread, Artificial sinew, and much more. You just have to find out which one suits your needs and try it out. I'm a big fan of non-lubricated bonded thread because it's one of the most durable threads in the world and I don't have to worry about breaking it.

1 comment

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John E. Diaz September 08, 2022

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