Leather Working Tools

Written by timothy sexton
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Leather Working Tools
It takes the right tools to make your own leather belt. (Isolated leather belt. image by Saskia Massink from Fotolia.com)

Some of the tools needed for working with leather can be found in a hardware shop or hobby store, but once you get really good you may want to order quality tools from a leather supply store. Speciality tools are made for leather workers who want to make sure the job is done efficiently and well, but you can make do with something similar to the tools described here until you are ready to get serious.

Leather Creaser

A leather creaser consists of a blunt-edged blade and a rounded wooden handle. The leather creaser is used to mark a line on leather. The blade marks a dark line on leather mainly for decorative effects. According to "Tools and How to Use Them," a darker line can be produced by heating the blade on a leather creaser.


The awl is a simple and ancient tool that comes in various specialities, such as a scratch awl or bridal awl. A straight cylindrical awl is enough for most leather workers because its primary purpose is for piercing leather to cut out thread holes. If you are working on softer and more delicate leather pieces, you may wish to invest in a stabbing awl that has a very fine point and a very sharp nose.

Leather Working Tools
An awl for leather working. (old awl image by Stepanov from Fotolia.com)

Utility Blade

One tool that you can buy in any hardware store that is perfectly acceptable to use with leather working is a simple utility blade. A retractable razor blade that is kept sharp can cut a piece of leather just as well as an expensive dedicated leather knife. Don't skimp on the utility blade, however. Be sure to buy one of high quality that lets you easily replace blades.

Leather Working Tools
The utility blade is must-have for the leather worker. (a sharp utility knife image by timur1970 from Fotolia.com)

Round Knife

The round knife is a very useful tool inside the leather worker's shop. It is immediately identifiable by its large, half-moon-shaped blade with a diameter up to 6 inches. This versatile tool can be pushed forward or drawn backward to cut leather pieces. It can also be used for skiving, the term for reducing the thickness of the hide according to "Tools and How to Use Them."

Saddler's Hammer

The saddler's hammer features a long wooden handle and a T-shaped steel head. It is similar to an upholsterer's hammer and is used for shaping leather items. You can drive tacks into furniture you've upholstered with leather or you can mould leather loops if are making a belt or clothing.


Punch is the name given to a group of tools used for punching holes. The lever punch can be used to create holes in leather, but keep in mind that it is also used for creating holes in sheet metal. The saddler's hollow punch can be used with a wooden mallet for driving holes into belts, while the wad punch is used to punch larger holes or even to cut out an entire small disk of leather from the hide. Stitching can be done with the appropriately named stitching punch, while the thonging punch creates larger holes for stitching larger pieces.

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