There are several tools used in the field of leatherwork. Most of these tools are locally made while others are bought from shops that sell imported leather tools. The tools used in leatherwork are very many and varied. Therefore, for purposes of easy identification and study, marking tools, measuring tools, cutting tools and sewing tools are described in this article.
1. Marking Tools-
This category of leather tools is used for marking purposes. They are used for creating lines to serve as a guide before sewing, cutting, thonging or stitching is carried out. Examples of tools under this category are:
Edge Creaser- This tool is usually dragged along the edges of leather products to create a creased guideline for sewing and thonging purposes.
Edger- This is a marking tool that is used for creating lines along the edge of leather items to assist in sewing.
Leather Marker- This tool is used for marking out lines as a guide for cutting and designing purposes.
Tracing Tool- It is used for marking and tracing out lines of templates or patterns before sewing.
Spacing Wheel- This tool is used for marking equivalent spaces on leather before punching holes for sewing.
Stitching Groove- It is used for marking lines to serve as a guide when stitching.
Edge beveller- This tool is used for beveling and neatening the edges of thick leather.
Edge groover- This is a metal tool with a round wooden handle. It has a snub end with an adjustable screw recessed into the end, and the groove cutter extends out from the tool on a metal shaft that can be adjusted in length by means of the recessed screw. It is used to produce a shallow groove on the surface of leather into which the thread is recessed below the leather surface.
2. Measuring Tools-
These are tools that are responsible for ensuring straight and accurate routes for stitching, cutting, thonging and decoration. Examples of measuring tools used in leatherwork are:
Dividers- It is used for measuring, creating small intervals for stitching and the setting of circles for the cutting of strips and thongs.
Metal Ruler or Straight Edge-It is used for measuring. It also serves as a guide when creating straight cuts of leather.
Measuring Tape- This is a long rubber tape used for taking accurate measurements.
3. Cutting Tools-
This group of leather tools is used for general cutting purposes. They are used for cutting patterns and pieces or parts of leather. Examples of cutting tools for leatherwork are:
Shears or Scissors- This is a paired sharp cutting tool used for the cutting of cards and papers for use as templates and for the cutting of light leather, linings, foams, and fabrics.
Skiving Knife- This is a sharp knife that is used for removing the bulkiness of leather by thinning. This technique is commonly referred to as skiving.
Strap Cutter- This cutting tool is used for cutting long straps of leather used in making handles of bags, belts etc.
Swivel Knife- It is used for making light cuts or beveled lines to aid in the folding of leather.
Head Knife- This knife is used for cutting and trimming thick pieces of leather.
Gouge- This cutting tool is used for creating grooves to make folding and creasing easy in leatherwork. V-Gouge- This type of gouge is used for creating ‘V’ grooves. U- Gouge- This type of gouge is used for creating ‘U’ grooves.
Bevel Point Knife- This cutting tool is used for cutting leather at right angles.
Glass or Zinc plate-It is the surface on which the leather is placed for cutting.
3. Sewing Tools
These tools are used for sewing pieces of leather together to form the article. Some of the tools in this category help make thonging and the making of decorative stitches very easy. Some of the sewing tools used in leatherwork are:
Needles: There are various types of needles used in leatherwork. While some types like the lacing needle are used for sewing pieces of leather together, others like the Glovers and Harnesses are used for sewing thongs at the edges of leather articles.
Thimble: This is a protective metal tool worn mostly on the index finger as an excellent aid for sewing.
Sewing Machine: This machine assists in the sewing of pieces of leather, foam, and other leatherette materials.
Loop clamp: This is a tool used for holding small belt loops in the stitching clamps when sewing them closed. The jaws are small enough to enter the loop and the clamp can generally be held in the jaws of a pair of stitching clamps.