New to leatherworking

Hello everyone! I’m a complete beginner into this craft, as I’m in my mid 40’s and looking for something to do to maybe go to my local craft fair with and just piddle around and stay out of the wife’s hair :slight_smile:

I have an extra building here on our land that i can convert to a shop area, once it’s all organized and cleaned away. I’ve ordered some tools from amazon and some higher end tools from Tandy as well. I figured I didn’t want to break the bank too early.

I’m seeking advice on some book suggestions? as well as where should I shop for leather? I’m in the Chattanooga, TN area, and Atlanta, Ga has 2 Tandy leather shops there, I was thinking of making a day trip to one of them so I could pick the leather out in person. (But what should I look for in a leather?)

I’m thinking or specializing in small leather goods, such as wallets, womans purse wallets, watch bands, and maybe some holsters.

I’m really interested in knowing where bigger leather punches are purchased? Such as alphabetical punches (for initials). I have a 3d printer, so I may just make up some custom punches there, although I know they won’t last long with all the pounding they will go through (but 3d filament is cheap).

Currently seeking plans for a stitching vise that I can put together relatively on the cheap.

Thanks for such a great community

Scott. :+1:

Welcome Scott. I was in your shoes several years ago and it can be a little overwhelming. There are so many different projects you can make and all types of leather to choose from. You mentioned several projects that would use vegetable tan leather (this is the type of leather you would use for carving / stamping. It is available in multiple thicknesses (measured in ounces). The smaller the number, the thinner the leather. I am now in Missouri, not far from Springfield Leather. They are a great source for purchasing items, especially if you set up a wholesale account. Prior to that I lived near Atlanta and have shopped at both stores in that area. The one northeast of the city is better than the one on the west side of town. The folks there are super helpful and will be able to guide you to exactly what you need.

There are a wealth of books available as well. Al Stohlman was a master in leathercrafting. Any of his books will be really good. Matter of fact, I just ordered all 3 of his on bag / pouch making. They’re about $15 each. There are also a ton of youtube videos out there that will give you plenty to work with.

Here are some links you might find useful…

The links are in no specific order, but have been greatly helpful to me on my journey. Most are focused on the veg tan side of leatherwork. I haven’t dabbled too much in the chrome tan leathers much.

If you have other specific questions, I and others will be happy to assist. That’s what this community is all about.

In God’s Grace,

Pastor Bob

“While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” - Romans 5:8

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Thanks so much for the information! I’ll deffinatly have a look at these videos and take what i can from them, I’m thinking about buying some Veg-Tan leather from Tandy, with one being the thickness of 4-5oz and the other being around 3. I’m looking to make wallets and watch straps from these thicknesses.

Thanks for the reply :slight_smile:

Hi Scott,

A very big welcome to you! As I was reading though, Pastor Bob really nailed some of the best advice, and especially with him being familiar with your region and the stores there.

I’d strongly 2nd the suggestion to look at Springfield Leather. There’s also some helpful insights here: Where to Buy Leather - The Ins, Outs, and Recommendations

Veg tanned leather is very nice to start with, as it’s versatile, looks great, and takes tooling and stamping well, as well as the more basic skiving and edging. It really allows for “working” the material more directly than some other leather types.

Excited that you’re getting started in the craft, consider us all friends willing to offer help as you go.

Redfox, Welcome.

Thanks to the crafters on social media and the leather supply businesses that serve this community as a link between the tanneries and us creators, there is a ton of information available now. Tandy, as you know, is a great resource for information. Here are a couple of graphics that should probably end up in the reference section of the ILC.

Screenshot (757)