Decorative and Protective Tools in Leatherwork

Leatherwork tools are relevant to the production of the item and largely influence its forming as well as final outlook. Therefore, a leatherwork artist must know the distinctive and usage of each of these tools especially the controversial ones such as the piercing, decorative, and protective devices.

1. Piercing Tools-
These tools are used for creating holes in leather articles before stitching or thonging. Examples of thonging tools are:

Thonging Chisel: It is used for making slits for thonging.

Snap Setter: This tool is used in punching to prevent rivet caps from getting damaged.

Thonging Punch: This tool is used for creating several holes at a time before stitching. It is also used for making and spacing slits.

Drive Punch: It is used in punching round single holes in leather.

Revolving/Rotary Punch: This is a six-way punch that rotates or revolves. Its revolving wheel is fitted with six nipples. It is used for creating holes for fixing eyelets, press-studs etc. in leather articles.

Eyelet Pliers/Setter: This tool is used for the setting and fixing of eyelets in leather articles.

Cobbler’s Hammer: This hammer is used in driving nails and punches into leather items to create holes for sewing and thonging.

Awl: This tool is used for piercing holes in leather before stitching.

Mallet: It is used for driving punches into leather articles to create holes for stitching.

Pliers: It is used for steadily holding nails and pins while hammering.

Fid: This is a slim metal rod with a pointed edge fitted into wooden / plastic /rubber/fiberglass etc. inserted in a handle with a metal band to strengthen it at where the metal is fitted into the handle. It must be stored with the sharp metal point pushed into a thick rubber, wax, or soap. It must be sharpened on a whetstone, sand paper or oil stone.

Lacing Nippers: This is a handy tool that looks like pliers but is used for punching slits at areas of a leather article that cannot lie flat.

Overstitch Wheels: These tools are used to mark spacing holes especially in saddle stitching.

2. Decorative Tools-
This category of leather tools helps in improving the general appearance, hand, and attractiveness of leather articles. Examples of decorative tools used in leatherwork include:

File: This tool is used for smoothening the edges of freshly cut leather pieces by sanding.

Texturing Nail: This is a special nail with various textures or patterns on its head. It is used for stamping decorative patterns on leather articles as a form of decoration.

Modelling Tool: This tool is used for creating designs on the surfaces of leather articles.

Press stud Tool: It is used for fixing press stud fasteners.

Dresden Tool: This tool is used for creating fine modeling on leather.

Ball Tool and Flat Modeller: The ball tool is used when a high relief is required and is usually used from the underside of the leather.

Stamping tool: It is like the texturing nail. It is used for creating relief patterns on the surfaces of leather articles.

Sanding Machine: This is an electronic sanding device with sandpaper glued to it. It is used for sanding and smoothening the fleshy parts of leather.

Stippler: This device holds templates in position while they are being traced onto the leather surface.

Computer: This is a modern technological device that is used in creating varieties of designs as well as in choosing harmonious colour schemes for products in leatherwork.

Burnisher: This is an all-purpose tool used for burnishing the edge of leather as well as holes and slots.

Bone folder: This is a smooth flat but slightly rounded tool made of bone. It can also be made of aluminum metal, bamboo, rattan, wood, toughened plastic. It is used for making lines and pressing down folded edges of leather. It is also used for burnishing leather and for creating folds, pleats etc. on leather.

3. Protective Tools-
These tools ensure the protection of the individual as well as the tools and devices for leatherwork. Examples of protective tools are:

Nose Mask: It is worn on the nose to prevent the leather craftsman from inhaling toxic chemicals and dyes that are harmful to one’s health.

Apron: This is worn on the body of the leather artist to prevent him from soiling or staining himself and his apparels from liquors and other colouring mediums.

Wellington Boots: These are special boots worn to protect the feet of workers in the leatherwork industries where small pins and metals could cause injury.

Hand Gloves: These are worn to protect the hands from harmful chemicals and other dangerous solvents.

Oil stone: This is a stone with oil on it used for sharpening the blades and edges of other tools in leatherwork.

Tool Box: It is a special box in which leather tools are kept for safekeeping.