4 Main Types of Leatherwork. How many do you know?

Leatherwork is a very wide word. In fact there is not a unique way to do leather working.To become a real artisan in this art you should know as much as possible. 

We have found 4 types of leather work. How many do you know?

  1. European traditional leatherwork

  2. American western leatherwork

  3. Tooling

  4. Primitive leatherwork 


European traditional leatherworkThe European traditional leather working methods are obviously based on European styles that saddlers had been using for hundreds and  hundreds of years.

This type of leatherwork uses the saddle stitch and generally pricking irons too, that give the stitches that unmistakable trademark and refined appearance.

This type of leatherwork also uses linen thread instead of synthetic thread.
The European method differs from the American western method especially for the tools used to create the stitch marks.
In the European method pricking irons are generally use to a stitch mark on the leather.
Pricking irons do not pierce the leather all the way through.
During saddle-stitching, a diamond point awl is used to create the actual hole for stitching.
This method requires more practice and skill to get to a level where the work looks professional and neat. 


American LeatherworkThe American Western leatherwork also uses the saddle stitch but it can have a more straight stitch appearance and sometimes the tool used creates little circles instead of slanted holes.

This is what sometimes gives it more of a straight stitch appearance rather than the slanted stitch appearance of traditional leatherwork.

Using these tools instead of pricking irons also is what change between European and American method.

Using stitching chisels or punches both creates the stitching mark or placement and the stitching hole in the leather.

Western types of leather goods also tend to use thicker thread, synthetic nylon or polyester thread.



Tooling is the 3rd main type of leatherwork.

ToolingIt's a bit different from the previous methods, because tooling refers not to how an item is stitched or constructed but more to the decorative elements that the leather is treated with.

We decided to add this to the leather working methods because a lots of people focus on this part of leather working and make incredible designs on their leather goods, so we thought they deserve a mention. 

Usually leather tooling is done in conjunction with American western style. Leather tooling refers to decorative patterns and designs that are stamped using metal tools and hammers into vegetable tanned leather.

Vegetable tanned leather is the only type of leather that can be tooled.


History_1The last type of leatherwork, which we' ve added because  this is the base, where all came from.

These are leather goods that are made with function and utility in mind first and foremost. These leather goods often are made with rough cuts of leather and constructed with simple running stitches using a thread and needle.

There are no special tools or methods required.

The person making something with this method might use some non-specific tool to make holes where a thread could be sewed through.

These items, while they often do not end up looking like a luxury or professional leather goods like European and Western leatherwork, they do have their own merit in terms of simplicity, utility and functionality. 

Do you know other types of leather working? if not, which one are you using? 

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