Stand: 26.05.2024
Leathercraft is one of the oldest artistic crafts known to men.
  • Shorten/hem pants
  • Measuring Belts
  • Setting Rapid Rivets
  • Setting Machine Rivets
  • Setting Dome Rivets
  • Upholstery for a Chair Seat
  • Working with Handtools
  • Professional Work with Machine Tools
  • Attaching Decorative Rivets and Plates
  • Glueing Leather
  • Hardening Leather
  • Book Binding
  • Tooling Leather
  • How to make a Stiching Horse
  • Shorten Leather Pants
    Often Leather Pants are longer than needed. This is intended by the manufacture. Leather Pants are individually fit. For this you must wear your shoes, so one can determine, which length is the best.
    Glue Hem:For somewhat thinner leather this is possible. The pants are trimmed longer than desired with about 2-3cm extra length and then glued under to form the hem. A good adhesive for this purpose is the contact glue KÖVULFIX. If another adhesive is used please be aware that this is a garment piece and that the glue must remain soft and pliable after drying.
    Trimming: The pants can be trimmed after they have been worn for a few days. Sewing or glueing a hem is not necessary due to the fact that leather does not fray. Rule of thumb is to trim the bared threads after trimming (TIP: with a lighter burn the ends of exposed thread and then mash them flat with your finger, in doing this the thread ends are welded together. Leather does not burn!). Afterwards, one should close (photo), this can then be sewn with the hand.
    Measuring Belts
    The ideal belt length is the same as the waist circumference.
    Minimum length: Belts are made also without holes, as we have in our product list for purchase. This is possible when for example a special tip is not needed. The belts are then fit to the desired size. For this only the minimum length is from importance.
    The ideal belt length:  The ideal belt length: measure from the inside edge of the buckle to the comfortable hole. New belts utilize the middle hole.
    Setting Rapid Rivets
    Rapid Rivets can be set without the use of special tools, a hammer will do the job.
    The Length of the Rapid Rivets should be at least 2mm longer than the thickness of the material, somewhat more length works as well.
    Rapid Rivets are comprised of 2 parts, the cap and the rivet, or also known as upper piece and bottom piece.
    To prepare for riveting the material is prepunched with a hole of the size of the rivet shaft. Insert the rivet through the hole and set the cap on the rivet shaft. A simple press with the hand will make the initial set of the rivet.
    The 2 parts are set firmly then with the help of a hammer by pounding the base piece hard upon a firm surface, for example a steel plate, an anvil or an iron vise. To offset possible scratching of the cap, it is possible to set the rivet by hitting it from the back side. A typical heavy mistake is the use of a soft base, for exampel a piece of leather.

    For professional results one can use a rivet press with the proper tool set. The tool set consists of an upper stamp and the bottom anvil, or an alternative is both upper and lower anvil inserts.

    See also:
    Rivet Press
    Setting Machine Rivets
    In general machine rivets consist of one piece. In comparison Rapid Rivets as mentioned have the upper and lower parts.
    The Length of the Machine Rivet should be 2 mm longer than the material is thick. The rivets are very sturdy, in that they can be pressed through many layers of hard leather material without pre-punching holes.

    To set the rivet one utilizes a
    Rivet Press (Hand Press) or a Foot Press in conjunction with the applicable Rivet Press Inserts The tool sets are designed according to the individual rivet and consist of upper and lower stamp.
    Setting Dome Rivets
    Domed Rivets can either be set solitary manual, or utilizing a Rivet Press equipped with the proper tool set.
    As Pre-Requisite an exact location for the setting should be pre-marked with a (Silver Pen). If for example a row of rivets is to be set a proper alignment is assured by drawing two parallel lines with the width of the rivet in mind (15mm or 18mm) marking the location of the prongs of the rivet. This line then acts as guide for the setting prongs to puncture the leather.

    Setting Dome Rivets with the hand require a pre-cut of the slits for the prongs is required. This can be done with a small slot punch or even with a small sharpened screwdriver. After insertion of the prongs through the cut slits the prongs are bent to the middle of the rivet from the underside utilizing a tool for example a wooden dowel or a plier to do so.

    Machine Set of Dome Rivets is possible with the proper tool set which consists of a magnetic upper stamp and bottom stamp. Pre-punching the slits is no longer necessary. The rivets are set in one motion.
    Upholstery for a Chair Seat
    A chair seat can be done without much exertion as long as the seat element can be disassembled.
    Acquire Material
    1.) Upholstery Leather, Dimensions of the seat element plus a minimum of 10 centimeters on every edge
    2.) Foam to spruce up the padding of the seat is often required; Dimension is the exact size of the seat with a minimum of 2cm thickness. 3.) a very solid stapler with staples or upholstery tacks. Preparing the Project
    1.) Remove the seating element from the chair frame
    2.) Remove the old upholstery, all nails or staples should be removed with a set of pliers, wear gloves to protect yourself.
    3.) Check the frame of the seating element and repair if necessary.

    Upholster the Seating Element
    1.) Apply new foam on top of the old foam
    2.) Upholstery Leather should be cut leaving the applicable edge amount on all sides
    3.) Tack, starting in the middle of every side by inserting a staple or tack, insuring that the new upholstery is stretched. Then alternating evenly from the middle out to the corners tack the remaining upholstery to the bottom of the seating element (Compared to: Tightening Lugnuts).

    Decorating with Upholstery Nails
    The position for decoration should be pre-determined and pre-marked exactly. The nails should be held using pointed nose pliers on the shaft of the nail and then set by using a synthetic headed hammer.
    Working with Handtools
    Leathercraft can be achieved without machines by only a few good handtools.
    We use for dark or light background material a
    Silver Pen, whose mark is easily erasable.
    Removing the markings is done with a simple pencil eraser or even with rubbing with the finger.

    Cutting with Knives
    Important:  Always cut away from your body!
    Very usable for Cutting is the Leather Knife with exchangeable Special Blades of 0,4 mm Thickness. As alternative one can utilize a typical carpet knife: please insure, that the blades seat firmly in the knife. When cutting keep an ample supply of new, sharp blades handy.

    Hole Punching
    To punch holes a good quality
    Hand Punch is used. If the hole is to have an exact diameter: please remember, the hole punch spreads the leather slightly when punching the hole, to test the size and to insure it is the exact size required it is better to test the hole first on a scrap piece of leather. Holes can also be drilled using a regular hand drill, if for example a hole is to be punched in the middle of a larger workpiece.

    Setting Grommets
    The leather is pre-punched withe the proper hole diameter. The Grommet (Type 50) is inserted in the hole and then the wide edge is placed on the small anvil of the
    Grommet Tool. With a hammer and the help from the Grommet Tool the setting of the grommet is achieved. To strengthen the grommet, a ring (Type 050) can be used.

    Leather is glued with contact adhesive. KÖVULFIX for example is very good for this.
    The to go area is smeared on with the help of a spatula or a scrap piece of leather, then allowed to dry till tacky and pressed together.
    The Pritt-Roller with permanent adhesive strips is ideal for smaller areas or glued edges.
    Sewing with the Sewing Awl
    It is best to use waxed thread
    Professional Work with Machine Tools
    The most important and common field for the use of machine tools is the setting of rivets as well as grommets and snaps.
    The Rivet Press or the Foot Pedal Lever Press is ideal to use when setting rivets, grommets, snaps as well as pre-punching holes or simply pressing the leather flat. For every use the proper Tool Sets are required. These can be afixed universally in the rivet press, foot press, manuel hand tool and used as well with other machines. The upper part of the tool set is made with a screw head for securing in the hub of the press. The bottom part is made with a 12mm shaft for securing purpose. Quality tool steel is used in the manufacture of these implements.
    Attaching Decorative Rivets and Plates
    The leather metal applications are for decoration purposes. In general there are two given types: one type is with a hole where one uses a rivet to secure the decoration and the second type is with an integrated rivet post.
    The applications consist mainly of die cast solid material. On the back of the rivet plate a molded rivet pin exists.
    To attach one pre-punches a hole on the correct position and inserts the rivet pin through the hole. The application lies flat on the surface of the leather and the pin extrudes slightly from the backside (min. 1mm). A cap is then placed on the rivet pin and then seated with a hammer. A pad of scrap leather serves best as pounding surface placed under the metal plate.
    The maximum leather thickness depends on the length of the rivet pin, the limit is circa 3-4 mm.
    Glueing Leather
    Glueing leather is a general way of binding leather.
    The glued areas remain flexible and are waterproof, ideal for glueing moveable pieces as in garments.
    In addition to leather rubber, felt, cork, pasteboard, foam, metal foils, wood, veneers, plastics and more can be glued.

    Rubber Lotion
    For connections that can also be seperated again.

    Glue Roller
    Preferred application for fixing of edges or hems, for example prior to sewing or riveting. Glued areas are lasting and solvent free.
    In addition to leather paper, cardboard, plastic and comparable can be glued.

    Hardening Leather
    Leather can be hardened through respective techniques. To do this one must understand, that one is dealing with an organic material. This means each piece can react differently and that one should determine the proper procedures for the individual piece to insure the result. In the case that the result acquired is not the result desired do not let yourself be disheartened. Hardening leather cannot be seen as a routine operation.
    Part I:  Boiling or submersing in water,
    as is written in the following procedures. It can be formed or brought to a prepared profile. Possible is also the pressing between a positive and negative form. In this procedure it is dryed, so that the leather becomes hardened and keeps its form. The drying process can be enhanced with the use of heat (baking oven temp. 50°C, hair dryer or sunlight)
    We recommend also to practice first on a scrap piece to understand the result of this procedure, depending on the type of leather and its natural attributes. Following the hardening procedure, the formed piece can then be dyed or oiled.

    Part II: Hardening Leather with Wax

    • E. Wax
    • An additional possibility to harden leather is, when you take a previously formed piece and place it in an oven heated to 200º C. Then take melted wax (Bees Wax is the traditional Method, Candle Wax has achieved great results). Please note all safety measures - melted Wax is very Combustible / Flame Hazard!!! Heat the wax in a pot till it melts.
      Then take the leather from the oven and using a brush and brush the wax on till it soaked full. Continue to brush the wax on till the leather has cool, reheat the leather and continue to brush on melted wax till it is soaked full (a good tip is when the leather takes on a uniform color). Let it cool, it is extremely hard.
      NOTE: when you heat the leather as prescribed in the above process, you risk the chance that the leather shrinks and hardens.

    Part III: Additonal methods for hardening leather

    Due to many inquiries in closing we would like to direct you a continuing discussion:

    Book Binding
    Bound books make a joyful gift as Wedding Book, Magic or Fairy Tale Book, as Diary or just as a simple personalized present.
    First we need to plan the outer design. Should engravings or Script be involved, then it is recommended to do this prior to binding the project. Other than embossing or tooling techniques it is possible to decorate with the help of miniature tools to carve the leather, by lighter leathers it is possible to design with a wood burner or soldering tool. The leather does not have to be specially prepared prior to the project, more necessary is it that the intended leather is from the first proper for the project.
    Open the book and lay it on the intended leather and mark the edges. An additional centimeter of leather is planned in order to close the book properly. The corners are cut with a crisp 45° angle so that they converge when we lay the corners later together. The binding is then glued with leather glue to the outside of the book. A spatula made from cardboard works well for the application of glue. Please work quickly in this step. You can also do the glueing in steps. The inside corners are then cut to an angle of 90°. Beforehand an interior lining can be glued to the inside of the book cover front and back.
    The use of Decorative Rivets requires a hole (ca. 3mm) on the intended placement to be pre-punched. In case you do not have the special tools, an electric drill can be used to make the hole or holes. The decorative rivets are then mounted from the front and on the back rivet pin you place the rivet cap. The caps are then hammered with a hammer, where the decorative rivet rests on a firm mat (scrap leather or comparable).
    Tooling Leather
    Leather Tooling is a technique, to emboss leather with decorative elements in relief style.
    By tooling one embosses the leather surface in the desired areas with patterns or designs. For this process it is best to use vegetably tanned Leather in natural colour. These patterns and designs can then be dyed or painted.

    Following items are required for Tooling:
    Stamps Craftool
    - very firm tooling board
    - Tooling Hammer, for example wood, recommended is rawhide
    - water in a bowl with a sponge

    Basic Tooling Instruction:
    The backside (flesh) of the leather is coated with water from the sponge, the moisture then seeps through the whole leather and draws to the front. All tooling should be performed on a firm tooling board/ work surface. Take the tooling hammer firmly in the hand and strike the tooling firm whereas the pattern or design is embossed in the surface of the leather. If a tooling iron is used over and again to achieve a pattern insure that the pattern is evenly embossed.

    The tooled and finished article must then dry. You can then use
    Leather Dye as desired.
    How to make a Stiching Horse
    The stitching pony serves to hold the leather project firm when stitching with the hand.
    These plans have been lovingly provided by a customer. How to make a Stiching Horse

    Mike's comment:
    Personally I like the stitching jig more. It functions on the same pricipal as the stitching pony. Looks like an upside down capital letter ‚T' and is held firm by the stitchers thighs by sitting on it. A wing bolt is utilized to apply the pressure in securing the leather project.

    D-2 steel (German material number 1.2379)
    D2 steel is a first-class, stainless steel blade with a long edge retention and good sharpness properties.
    The steel is stainless and has a very high Rockwell hardness. The edge retention is very high for stainless steels and above average compared to other stainless steels. It achieves a hardness of up to 61 HRC. The regrinding is relatively easy and also for beginners with a little practice possible. For grinding, it is best to use a diamond plate or a ceramic grindstone.

    Technical composition of D2 steel:

    • Carbon: 1.4-1.6 %
    • Mangan: 0,6 %
    • Chrom: 11-13 %
    • Nickel: 0,3 %
    • Vanadium: 1,0 %
    • Molybdän: 0,7-1,2 %
    Editor(s): Stefan Giese

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