Tools and Equipment 3. Basic Tools for Beginners

Many tools are being used in leather crafts. But in hindsight, there are many things that are not necessary. As there’s more than one way to skin a cat, you may be able to work without the tools.

For example, skilled person can do cutting and hand skiving by only using one knife. As such, it seems that it is possible to do crafts even if all the tools are not equipped.

But, there are other tools that are either very useful or efficient.

Among the many tools, I will let you know some useful tools which beginners can use and are not expensive.

Before I write this article, I just scribbled some.

Surprisingly, there are not many essential tools.

If you are not a businessman for leather craft, I think the following lists will be enough for you.

Here are lists of leather craft tools for beginners.

Pattern, cutting: Cutting board

30 degree blade cutter knife

Graduated metal ruler

Bonding: Glue for leather craft

Bottle which can take some glue


Griffing: Griff



Punching board

Round shape awl

Diamond shape awl

Stitching: Thread for leather craft

Needle for leather craft

Edge coat: Edge coat liquid

Magic block sponge

If you have the above tools, you can make a cycle from A to Z of leather craft.

There are some tools that are not necessarily required, but will make craft more sophisticated. I will briefly introduce them later.

The beginning of the leather craft is to make patterns.

At this time some people use scissors instead of knife when cutting.

Although if you are not familiar with the knife, it is recommended to use knife since the quality is much better than scissors. You can cut the leather more vertically with knife.

Stop using scissors on the leather craft.

You can use section paper or plain paper to make a pattern.

When you use a knife, you need to be careful not to make scratch on your desk.

So you need cutting board.

If you want to be an expert, you’d better to purchase cutting film that can cover the whole table.

There are many kinds of knives.

Cutter knife will be easier to manage for beginners.

But it is recommended to use cutter knife that the front blade is inclined at 30 degrees instead of general cutter knife.

Cutter knife made in Japanese NT company is used a lot, but domestic one is also good. So you may choose one of them.

And you need a cutting ruler to cut a straight line.

Italian ruler for cutting is about KRW 70,000 depending on the length.

It is quite expensive, but it protects the blade.

Actually I don’t understand why there is no place to produce this knife in Korea. I think it looks so simple to make.

One of my students bought this expensive ruler, making her wife angry. The world of leather crafts could be their own league.

If you buy normal metal graduated ruler at the stationary store, you won’t make your wife angry.

It is still two-dimensional plane to make pattern and cut the leather as it is.

In the reality, we need front, back, side and base which can put the things on it to make three-dimensional bag.

To make two-dimensional into three-dimensional, we need to combine the leathers.

In this step of bonding, the most important thing is glue.

You can buy glue for leather craft.

Glue can be broadly divided into oil-based ans water-based.

It is good to put the glues in a small container every time you use it since glues are easy to dry.

In this case, you’d better to use glass bottle to make glues less dry and to use it for long.

You may make your mother angry by using glass bottle your mother cherishes, so you’d better be careful.


Please open the window to let fresh air in when bonding.

Otherwise, you will make your mother more angry.

There is a plastic stick that can apply the glue evenly and it is called Hera.

But I think there is slight difference between cheap one and expensive one.

Glue can be crumpled up if you use it incorrectly and it makes you have a hard time when stitching. So it is recommended that you spend a few thousand won more when you buy Hera.

The next step is to make holes in the leather for stitching.

This is called griffing and the tool used is Griff.

Perhaps one of the most expensive of leather craft tools is this Griff.

And there are big gap between cheap one and expensive one.

So some people say that the expensive Griff is over priced.

That would mean that the difference in price is not so great as the difference in actual griffing.

Well, anyway, if we should Griff to express such sensitivity, we should bite the bullet.

I think that sensitivity is the problem.

Griff I recommend for beginners is made in Japanese company, Koyshin Elle.

It is not that expensive and you can express the feeling of hand stitching sufficiently.

These days, the domestic griff is also good.

And we draw a marking line to make this griffing correctly. At this time, you’d better to use the divider.

It looks like a compass.

You also need a hammer to hit the griff.

If you use metal hammer, it will ruin the blade of griff.

You can buy a hammer with silicone for about KRW 6,000.

You must be careful since the red hammer in the photo is made in France and costs about KRW 60,000, ten times expensive than normal one.

But the difference of works is not ten times as much.

It is recommended to purchase a punching board to protect the crack on the desk as well as the blade of griff.

By the way, you’d better to be careful about echoing if you don’t want your neighbors angry.

For me, In case of making small goods, I just hit the half of griff on the top for the sophistication of back stitching, and I like to use an awl that looks like one blade of griff, called diamond shape awl.

You also need round shape awl in addition to diamond shape awl for marking some points on leather.

I will explain about stitching now.

It is good to use dedicated needles. It has a dull blade tip compared to a normal needle. So it is sharp enough to go through the holes that have been made before with griff.

Some students sew the leather by making new hole, not using the hole made before. They said it is because of presbyopia, but I think they are too strong to do it.

You must also use a dedicated thread for leather crafts.

It is the last one.

This is called edge coat and if you apply this solution when you finish the cross section of leather, durability and aesthetic can be improved.

One unusual thing is that when you apply this solution, a variety of tools are used.

I use a magic block sponge which is a cleaning supply.

I prefer it because the solution is not crumpled, it can be applied evenly and the force can be adjusted.

If you haven’t used it yet, I recommend you to experience it.

However, you’d better to add a small amount of water to use the magic block. .

And I use Verze giffs and a diamond awl and a Tina Knife.

It is good to have various sewing for more precise work. And it is also good to have a gauge to measure this thickness.

Some of these additional tools will allow you to work more precisely.

But if you don’t have these tools, is not it possible to work?

No. You can just trust your sense. If you don’t have tools, you can develop your sense.

I recommend the second silver stick on the right side of the photo the most as the additional tools which is good to have.

It is called as Thread Job. In general, when we arrange threads after stitching, we cut it with scissors and finish with a lighter.

This is a very good tool to do this work at the same time.

Of course, if you are a smoker, you will have lighter always. But if you are not, you need a little courage to endure the world’s prejudices to carry it. Especially, if the letter of lighter is suggestive, you will get additional misunderstanding from others.

The price of this thread job can be a bit expensive. But once you use it, you won’t forget its usefulness. So I recommend it as a must-have item for leather craft.

I’ve tried to purchase it for several years, but it was difficult to buy in Korea. Recently, it is available in Sinseol-dong market, so you’d better to try it.

In addition to this, the following lists are the tools that are great.

- Block sandpaper

- Stick sandpaper

- Sponge sandpaper

- Edge Beveller

- Paraflui

Those tools are also expensive, making us surprise.

If I have a chance, I will explain about tools and equipment that the expert need to have next time.