HAND-CRAFTED LEATHER GOODS
Hand-crafted, and decorative leatherwork. How is it done? - summary
A knowledge of the characteristics of your material is necessary as well as that of the tools that are used for the manufacture of fairly simple leather goods, you also need to be aware of their limitations, before embarking on elaborate designs.
Good quality leather is by far, easier to work with than poor quality (and I'm not implying that you have to pay a high price to get it; you don't) just as you need well-made, good quality tools, to make your work less difficult.
Leather not only differs from hide to hide, but within the same hide. Not just its thickness, but the grain , the feel and the look of the leather can be quite different. I don't mean small pieces but whole hides, some 50-60 square feet or so.
Leatherworkers, in common with other craftsmen and women, with the gaining of experience, develop techniques all their own, and can produce results of a very high standard.
Simple-shaped and well-made articles clearly the product of skilled and careful craftsmanship will be a thing of beauty as well as lasting pleasure.
You do have to look after your leather of course. A lot of damage can be caused to leather (that is hides in particular) if it is not stored properly. Ideally draping it over a horse similar to those in a gymnasium would be the ultimate way. Skins on the other hand are best kept lying flat on a tabletop.
Unfortunately, for the majority of us, neither of these ideal ways is practicable nor possible. The alternative is to roll your leather into bundles, preferably with the necks to the centre of the roll and with the grain side out. This is important if the grain is a smooth one. If rolled with the grain inside it will end up with a boarded effect.
Brown paper should be rolled in with the leather so that it doesn't slide out and the bundle fastened with sticky tape. String is definitely a no-no, it will only mark the leather.
The next stage doesn't exactly fall outside what I've been calling decorative leatherwork for these past few pages, but is does involve a different kind of leatherwork; moulded work. Lots of leatherworkers never give it a thought, either considering it too much of a palaver, or seeing no need to make use of it. But it is fairly straightforward to accomplish if a little time consuming. So my opinions on how it is, or should be done, commence on the next page.