A Practical Illustrated Sourcebook Of Techniques And Projects

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What people say about the book

My partner loves this book and he’s busy making all sorts of little leather things.

An easy to follow, concisely written book which no doubt I will refer back to for many years ahead. I struggled with the Saddler’s stitch until purchasing this book and look forward to trying the projects listed as Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. Great book!

This was a birthday present for my husband, he absolutely loves and refers to it all the time.

I think this book is first class!

A very useful guide to a first-time leather worker. It shows how to finish pieces professionally
and has some very nice project ideas – clearly illustrated and explained.

Was sent straight away I think this book is good value for money a technical book written well with lot of tips and clear instructions for making your bags etc.. Look finished and professional. Love the personal touch being signed by the author to.

Parts & Chapters

What Is Leather?

Leather is not simply the skin of a dead animal; it is a material made by a tanner.

The Workshop

It is essential that you have a place to work. A light, well-ventilated workshop is ideal.


Threads, Dyes, Leather dressings and polishes, Adhesives, Linings and Reinforcements.

Metal Fittings

In order to close bags and cases and to attach straps or handles you will need to use a variety of metal fittings.

Designing and Pattern Making

Designing leather goods is not difficult as long as you aim for functional simplicity.

Dyeing and Finishing

If you cannot obtain pre-dyed leather in the colour you want or if you plan to use decorative techniques, it is possible to dye natural russet yourself.

Edge Finishing

Neatly finished edges will improve the aesthetic appeal of an item as well as protecting and strengthening it.

Paring or Skiving, Splitting and Channelling

The word paring is commonly used for skins, while skiving is used for hide, but both words describe the same process.


The most versatile adhesive is leatherworking grade PVA adhesive.

Hand Stitching

Before you attempt to make any of the projects in this book you must master one, vital technique – hand stitching.


In Chapter 5, which discussed the basic steps in designing, the need to decide on an appropriate style of gusset at the design stage was emphasized.


It is important to keep pocket designs simple and to a minimum or your bag will become too heavy and impracticable. A well made hide bag will outlast even the best zips so only use one if you must.

Attaching Locks, Buckles and Studs

The function of these fittings is to provide secure means of closing leather goods or of closing and attaching straps and handles.

Straps and Handles

The style, the length, width and method of attachment should all be thought about and decided on at the design stage.

Moulding and Surface Decoration

An important and potentially creative characteristic of vegetable tanned leather is its ability to maintain a moulded shape.

Beginners’ Projects

The first three projects involve using the basic skills, and they require only the minimum tools to complete.

Intermediate Projects

These three projects have been designed to develop the skills already learnt – cutting out, saddle stitching and cut-edge finishing.

Advanced Projects

The final four projects are all different. Each introduces the experienced maker to techniques that build on and extend the skills already known and practised.

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