Once you've decided on your leather
craft project, you'll need the right tools and room
to do the work. Being prepared ahead of time will make
your task more enjoyable and give you a sense of satisfation
when you're done. If you're like most of us you'll probably
be working on more leather craft projects over time,
so creating a designated area is probably a good idea.
What to Cut On
Regardless of the project, you
will need to cut your piece of leather. Choose a flat
surface protected with a rubber mat. The latter will
help protect your tools and prevent them from becoming
blunt. Alternatively, you can purchase a self-healing
cutting board that comes with a grid work. Any cuts
made in the board seal up. This product is readily available
at such shops as Staples.
Marking the Cut
Use a ruler or yardstick and
a pencil to mark the cut. Just make a light mark with
the pencil. A rounded edge will help if you are cutting
a curve. Then place a metal straight edge along the
line you have drawn. Using the tip of an X-acto knife,
cut along the line, keeping the knife against the metal
Trimming the Edges
If you want to trim the edges
of the leather, lay the piece out on a flat surface.
Make sure the leather is damp, and keep it so by using
a spray bottle full of water.
You will need what's called an
edge beveling tool to smooth the cut edges. The two
prongs that form its V shape need to be positioned so
that they are facing upward on both sides of the edge.
Keeping the tool at a 45 degree
angle, with your index finger on the top of the tool,
push it away from you along the cut edge, holding the
leather craft piece firmly with your other hand.
As you work, small strips of
leather will come off. It's a good idea to practice
on small scraps of leather before using the leather
craft beveller, so you feel comfortable with it and
what it can do.
Tools to Use
* Cutting board, preferably self-healing
* Ruler, pencil, metal straight
edge, rounded edge
* X-acto knife
* Leather craft edge beveling
* Use a cutting board
* Mark where you want to cut
before you cut!
* Dampen the leather when trimming
* Butt the knife against a straight
edge or a curved edge for more control
More on Tools
For working in leather crafts,
consider the basics: an awl and spare point, a retractable
X-acto knife and spare blades, a retractable knife with
a break-off blade and a rotary punch.
In addition, you will need needles,
a lump of beeswax and some waxed linen thread. As well,
a pair of pliers to pull the needle through the leather
is a must, and scissors you can use for cutting the
Then there are edge slickers
and bevellers that are used to finish the edges, drive
punches for bigger holes and thong cutters for making
laces. A T-square, compass and yardstick are essential
to ensure that your leather craft piece is measured
If you're just starting out with
leather crafts, you might not want to spend a lot of
money on tools. Once you have worked with the basic
set and completed a few leather craft projects, you
will have a better idea of what tools work best and
what you use most.
At that point, a little research
and some comparative shopping can lead you to acquiring
better quality leather craft tools that will enhance
your work. Of course, even the most expensive tools
won't help if you haven't taken the time to develop
and perfect your skills.
If you do your very best with
what you have, it doesn't matter if you can't afford
the most expensive leather craft awl or the latest knife.
Quality will show anyway.
* Start with a basic leather
craft tool set
* Buy better quality tools once
you have completed some projects and have a better idea
of what will enhance the quality of your work
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