Creating handcrafted leather work requires patience, focus and a steady hand. Leatherworkers use stamps to design patterns over belts, jackets and leather bags. Leatherworkers use leather stamp tools to finish the leather, after cutting out the desired shape. Leatherworkers use a mallet to drive stamp tools into a piece of leather, adding grooves, patterns and detail, which raise the value and craftsmanship of the leather piece.
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Leatherworkers choose mallets based on the desired effect. They use mallets with small heads for detailed, precious stamping and heavy, wide heads for deep stamping or to cut shapes from larger pieces of leather. Manufacturers of mallet heads use rubber, rawhide leather, plastic, steel and brass. Dead blow mallets have a special design that minimises the leatherworkers' arms from reverberation during heavy blows.
Carving Stamp Tools
A cast metal face attached to a striking shaft compose carving stamps. Leatherworkers create intricate patterns and backgrounds on leather, depending on the shapes and sizes of different stamp faces. Common stamps include bevelling stamps, camouflage or fan tools, geometric stamps and border tools.
Pictorial Stamp Tools
Mallets drive pictorial stamps into leather to produce patterns and images. Pictorial stamp's faces are bigger to allow for more complete pictures and scenes cast out of metal. Popular pictorial stamps include natural scenes, letters and numbers, heads, animals, flowers and well-known or important symbols, such as sacred Indian symbols or a fire brigade's insignia.
Leatherworkers use wood, metal and plastic for stamp stands. Stamps fit face up into slots for accessibility.
Leatherworkers use mallet dies to stamp shapes from leather. Mallet dies have open-ended steel faces attached to striking shafts. Dies include basic shapes, such as squares, rectangles, ovals and stars. Leatherworkers use dies to make hair barrettes, belt buckle inserts and key chain accessories.
Hole punches, which come in many sizes, make clean-edged holes in leather. Common punches range from 1/8-inch to ½-inch in diameter.
Thronging chisels function like hole punches but can simultaneously set multiple holes close together. The number, shape and size of holes can vary. Leatherworkers then string thread through the holes for decorative or functional use.
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