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Select Leather for Your Craft

May 7, 2008
People purchase leather for an assortment of reasons. The most common basis for purchasing leather is to complete various crafts and arts in leatherworking. If you are working on a leatherworking project, it is imperative that you make certain when selecting leather that is right for the task that you wish to complete. Here, you will find many useful guidelines on how to select leather.

The most important factor that you should settle on when selecting leather is exactly how much leather will be considered necessary for your leatherworking project. It is important to understand that most leather is sold by the square foot. Of course, if you purchase leather from a thrift store, or a flea market, or ebay you may find that it is sold by the hide rather than by the square foot. You should also settle on the weight of the leather that will be necessary for your project. Choosing the wrong size and thickness of leather can make or perhaps break your leather craft job.

There are definite types of leather that are referred to as vegetable tan. This type of leather is valuable for leatherworking projects that require the leather to be stamped. If the leather needs to be tooled, this is the type of leather that you should select for your leatherworking project. This oak type of leather makes a wonderful selection for projects such as book covers, belts, and leather purses with designs. Vegetable tan is often natural color leather and makes a great type of leather to select when choosing to dye the material.

If you are looking to select leather that is sturdier and makes a great type for the larger projects, such as saddles or various types of furniture, you should probably go with oil leather. Selecting this type of leather gives you flexibility and a type of material that is stiff all in one. This is tanned leather that is usually darker in color. You should select this type of leather if you are looking for a smooth and wax-like appearance in the leather you require for your leatherworking project.

Chrome leather is a good selection if you are creating a simple leatherworking project and prefer to select leather that is relatively inexpensive. It is important to understand that this particular type of leather does not hold dye very well. The products that are used to create the leather are low in quality and are not suitable for dye. In addition, it is often white on one side of the leather, and various colors on the other side. If you want colored leather that you do not want to have to dye yourself, this is the type of leather that you should select for your leatherworking project.

There are several types of leather that you can select; however, you must make sure that the type of leather that you select matches the needs as set forth by the leatherworking project that you desire. By making the correct choice, you will end up with an excellent leather project that will give you pleasure and durability for many years.

The following is a average weight and use guide for light weight leathers. 2 to 3 oz. (.8 - 1.2mm) A lighter weight leather ideal for lining, wallets, personal leather goods and in a softer temper for use with garments. 3 to 4 oz. (1.2 - 1.6mm) This weight is suitable for wallet backs, linings and gussets. In a softer temper this weight leather is ideal for vests, chaps, handbags or shoes. 4 to 5 oz. (1.6 - 2.0mm) A medium thickness leather perfect for chaps, hats, straps and shoes or boots. 5 to 6 oz. (2.0 - 2.4mm) This middle weight leather is ideal for straps, lace, tool pouches, hats and boots. Here is a standard description for heavy leathers and their uses. 6 to 7 oz. (2.4 - 2.8mm) An ideal weight for handbags, belts, straps, tool pouches and sheaths. 7 to 8 oz. (2.8 - 3.2mm) This leather thickness is perfect for belts, sheaths, holster, collars, straps and saddle bags. 8 to 9 oz. (3.2 - 3.6mm) Ideal weight for wider belts, sheaths, holsters and motorcycle bags. 9 to 10 oz. (3.2 - 3.6mm) A heavier leather for wide belts, saddlery and harness items. 10 to 13 oz. (4.0 - 5.2mm) A very heavy leather perfect for belts, collars, saddles, stirrups, reigns and bridals.
About the Author
Leather expert and knowledgeable Ethan O. Tanner explains the various selections of Leather the process forselecting leatherfor your project.
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