Leathercraft Tips

Top 5 Essential Tools for the Beginner in Leathercraft

Leathercraft can be intimidating to the uninitiated.  The tools for the beginner can be hard to decide upon and even more difficult to find.  Since leatherwork is not a common trade skill, many of these tools can not be purchased from local hardware stores.

In this article I hope to give you some assistance in this area.  If you are new to leathercraft and are searching for the most essential tools to add to your workbench, then my hopes are that this blog post is for you.

Here are the Top 5 tools that, I believe, are essential for anyone beginning their leathercraft journey.  No, these are not the tools you will need to accomplish all aspects of leatherwork.  The size and scope of tools for different areas of the craft are vast and almost never ending.  The majority of tools used in leatherwork are subject greatly to personal choice and preferences.  Instead, this is a list of 5 tools that I think are foundational in every aspect of your work.

These tools are simply the tools that a craftsman, at any level, will need on a daily basis to work in this medium.  Some of these tools will seem arbitrary and may already be in your collection.  But this does not lessen their importance.  If you have never worked with leather, then you may not be aware of the attributes of the material, and you will find that these will be the tools most helpful in all of your projects.  Or in the very least, the most used tools on your bench. Continue reading

Quick Tip on Leather Hole Punches

Leather hole punches are an absolute necessity in any leathercraft shop.  No matter the size of your hobby or business, hole punches are a must have. In this video, I give you my recommendations on style of hole punches that I like as well as sizes.  You don’t need to go out and invest a huge amount of money buying all the available sizes of hole punches.  I recommend, and use daily, three sizes and I will show you what those are and why.

The brand of tools in this video, both squeeze punches and drive punches, are all C.S. Osborne tools.

https://www.csosborneleathertools.com/

Our website

https://dgsaddlery.com/

Your Dollars Should Work to Strengthen Your Business

For the majority of us in Leathercraft, we absolutely love what we do.  But, if you are like me, you probably don’t love working on the financial side of your business.  If you want to strengthen your business, then the financial aspect of the business has to be discussed.

Tell me if this sounds familiar to you in your life or your business:

You have been working hard on a big project and you are wrapping it up.  Oh boy, now time to have it picked up and get that big check and feel the relief of cash flow coming into your business.  Time to pay yourself and payoff those material bills that you have been piling up over the course of this project. Happy Days!

After the customer leaves with his beautiful project in his hands and his check in your hands, you feel a sense of accomplishment. You know that you have lived to fight another day and your shop thanks you.

After the deposit is made into your bank account and all the checks to your suppliers are written and mailed out, you now look to see what great amount you will be “taking home” to enjoy.  

Suddenly you realize looking at your account and books that you have very little, or none, left for yourself.  WHAT?  How can that be?  

“I bid the job correctly… I think.”

“I didn’t buy more material than I needed for this job… did I?”

“I should have more money than this, what happened?” Continue reading

How to Make a Clutch Wallet

In this video I show you how to make a clutch wallet.  These wallets are a great item for rookie leather craftsmen as well as the experienced.  There are many variations that can be made from this simple design.

I walk you through my entire process of creating one of these popular wallets.

These are great gift ideas for the woman in your life or to offer to your customers who are wanting to give that special everyday carry gift.

Continue reading

“Daily Rituals” by Mason Currey Book Review

I have another book review this week and if you are interested in Daily Rituals then this book is for you.  Have you ever wondered how artists work?  What routines and disciplines do successful artists put into place to insure that they are as productive as they can be each and every day?

Daily Rituals by Mason CurreyIn “Daily Rituals” by Mason Currey, he catalogs the daily routines and rituals of many successful artists from past and present.  We get a glimpse into their lives and how they maintained a consistent and productive work schedule despite the pressures of normal daily life.

I have to be honest, I have listened to this book probably six times on Audible while working in my shop.  I tend to listen to a lot of books during the workday.  I get bored easily just listening to music, so Audible is a very important part of my sanity throughout the hours and hours of working alone in the shop tapping away on leather.

Oh sure, Freddy is there with me the majority of the time but he listens to his music in his headphones and doesn’t waste time chattering away the day with me… although I enjoy being able to focus on my chores, I do miss conversation at times. Continue reading

Price Your Product to Increase Profits

Price Your Product Introduction

Learning how to price your product to increase profits is a valuable skill set and a must-have if you want to start and/or grow a successful business that is both fulfilling and prosperous.

You have designed and created a product… now how do you price your product so that you can maximize your profits? 

If you sat down and visited with five different saddle makers or leather craftsmen, you would certainly get five different methods to accomplish the same goal.  Some of them would be good ways to go about this and some would be not so good ways.  There is always more than one way to skin a cat… or maybe here, skin a cow… or use a cow’s skin… you know what I mean.

When I started my shop in 2004, I was a kid fresh out of college with many hours of science and chemistry on my transcript but not one business class.  This whole world of entrepreneurship was very new to me and pricing was not my strong skill set.  I read a lot about pricing strategy and proper accounting to maximize profits in a business.  I also talked with many different craftsmen about their pricing formulas and the feedback I got was all over the map.

Over the last 14 years or so, I have bump along learning from my mistakes in pricing and am currently using a system that I feel is a great starting place when I am pricing goods and services in my shop. Continue reading

Leather Sewing Machine Best Practices

Sewing leather is by far the most common task that we have in our leather shops.  Whether you are hand sewing everything, or using a leather sewing machine, you will have to sew leather on just about every project.  In this post, I share the first of a three part video series on leather sewing machine best practices with the hopes of helping you become more efficient and safe while using an electric sewing machine.

When I started doing leather work, I didn’t have a leather sewing machine and spent many hours hand sewing my projects.  Though this is not the most efficient way to complete projects, I do believe that it is very important to become proficient at this skill.  So if you are still in the hand stitching stage of your leatherworking journey, don’t fret!  You are at a very important stage and learning this skill will serve you well for the rest of your leather career.  But when the time comes when you can upgrade to an electric sewing machine, I would highly recommend adding this piece of equipment to your shop. Continue reading

How To Make a Wristlet Purse

Our newest video on our YouTube channel shows you How To Make a Wristlet Purse.  I have had many questions about some good projects for using up the piles of scrap leather that we all generate in our shops.  Whether you are a hobbyist or a professional saddle maker, you probably have leather pieces in a box under a workbench that you saved for that special project.

Well, here is that special project!  I am the farthest thing from a professional bag/purse maker, but in this video I show you a simple wristlet purse that I designed that I believe is fairly simple to assemble and has a lot of potential.  I have found that when it comes to making purses, options and coordinating different colors, leathers, exotics, fringe, conchos, etc is key for them to sell well. Continue reading

How to Slick Edges on Leather

I have already written an article here on how to slick edges on leather, but in this blog post I want to share a video that I did that goes a little more in depth on slicking edges on leather.

If you have done any amount of leather work at all, then you have experienced the chore of finishing your edges on your various projects.  If you find this task time consuming and boring, then you are not alone.  This is probably the one task in all my projects that I do not love (actually dislike) the most when it comes to making anything out of leather.  But, at the end of the day, if you are going to do leatherwork and want to have a professional look about your work then you must properly slick and finish your edges. Continue reading