Saddle making

Four Popular Leather Types and Best Uses in LeatherCraft

There are four main types of leather that we use in leathercraft and saddle shops.  These are Veg Tanned Leather, Chap Leather, Harness Leather, and Latigo Leather.  

In this video, I give a quick run down of each as well as the products and applications I use them for in my shop.  There are many more types of leathers on the market and many more uses for them.  This is just a summary of the main four types that I keep in my shop.    

Leather is the most versatile material on the planet.  There are great variances in tannages as well as applications, so experiment with as many as you can and see what types of leather work best for what you are doing.  

If you are looking for a good source for leather here are some links to some of my favorite suppliers: 

 https://makersleathersupply.com 

https://lewisleathersales.com 

https://panhandleleather.com 

http://www.hermannoakleather.com

 

Hand Stitching Leather with an Awl and Two Needles

hand stitchingHand stitching Leather with an awl and two needles is a “must-have” skill set for any aspiring leather craftsman.  This method allows for maximum efficiency when it comes to having to hand stitch any project.

There are many ways to accomplish the same goal, and hand stitching is not any different.  Many people prefer to use a dremel tool with a small drill bit or a set of pricking irons.  These tools work for making the holes when hand stitching, but in my opinion they do not save any time nor create as pretty of a stitch.

In this video, Hand Stitching Leather with and Awl and Two Needles, I show you what I know about hand stitching leather the traditional way.  I prefer this method not for maintaining traditional skill, but more for its efficiency and accuracy when hand stitching leather projects.  This method allows for the best possible stitch and for me I find it to be the quickest method. Continue reading

Cobra Sewing Machine Options with Maker’s Leather Supply

cobra sewing machineSelecting a Cobra Sewing Machine or any leather sewing machine can be challenging whether you are a first time buyer or have years of experience.  Doing the proper research to insure that you get the best possible machine to do the job you need it to do takes time and patience.

When I was in college doing leather work on the side, I hand stitched everything that I made.  Hand stitching is a valuable and necessary skill that all LeatherHeads should take the time to learn and master.  But there does come a point for most of us where a leather sewing machine becomes a much needed piece of equipment for our business.

There are so many different brands, sizes and styles of machines out there.  Selecting the best machine for your needs can be daunting.  The great news?  There is tons of information on the internet as well as helpful and knowledgeable people waiting to help with any questions or concerns that you may have when making the upgrade from sore fingers and long hours to powered sewing machines. Continue reading

One Piece Saddle Swell Cover

I have had a ton of requests to do a video on how I put on a one piece saddle swell cover.  This video is a quick rundown on how I put mine on.  I am working on another video that will show the amount of prep work that goes into getting one of these put on successfully.  I wanted to break it into two separate videos and this one is just putting it on and hopefully it will help to show how these are put on.

The swell I am covering in the video is an Olin Young with leg cuts at a 12.5″ width and a 7.25″ gullet height.  Sometimes these go on easily and sometimes they don’t… this was a time that it went pretty easy.

For more articles and videos from DG LeatherCraft, be sure to subscribe to this channel as well as dig through the archives of our blog here.  Don’t forget to sign up for the LeatherCraft Newsletter.  We are also on facebook and instagram.

Should I turn my hobby into a full time business and quit my job?

One of the most common questions that I get asked from younger craftsmen is, “When should I turn my hobby into a full time business and quit my job?”

This is a question that I do not feel qualified to answer.  Outside of college, I have never had a job.

This usually gets a chuckle in response… but it is the truth.

After I graduated from college I began doing contract work for the man I did my apprenticeship with.

I use the word apprenticeship without a complete understanding as to what a true “apprenticeship” might look like to others in the craft. But more on that in the future.

After some time he offered to sell me the shop and I began my dance with banks to make it happen.

Fifteen years later, years of trial and error, and piles of debt taken and paid off, here we set.

So when someone asks me if they should walk away from a secure career?  Walk away from a steady paycheck?  Maybe even walk away from health insurance, dental, not to mention their own parking spot… I say maybe not.

I once heard an ole boy say, closing his business and getting a job was like “coming in out of the cold.” Continue reading

How to Cut Parts from a Leather Hide

In this video, I show you how to cut parts from a leather hide for many types of different projects.

Choosing the right leather and the right spot to cut the parts on the hide, is crucial to creating the most functional and beautiful piece that you can.

If you are new to leatherwork, then cutting into a brand new full side of leather can be daunting.  But in this video I help to clarify some of the mystery and hopefully help you to feel confident that you are utilizing the resource to the best of your ability. Continue reading

Sanding Tools for the Leather Shop

When it comes to getting the best possible edges in your work, sanding tools are one of the most important areas to focus on.  Without a well sanded edge on your leather project, you won’t be able to get the smooth finish you are looking for.  Even the best possible cut piece of leather still needs sanding on the edge to prepare the leather to be burnished.

There are many different ways to accomplish the same thing in leather work.  Sanding is no different.  There are antique line finishers, who’s sole purpose is to sand and burnish any leather edge to a high gloss finish… particularly on shoes and boots.  But these machines are heavy and take up a lot of room in a workshop.  There are cabinet finishers that take up much less room and do just as good of a job.  But finding one of these on the used market can be difficult… most folks won’t part with them.  There are even other “powered” machines used in other industries that can accomplish your sanding needs. 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 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