Leather for Leathercraft – The Ultimate Guide (2021)

Leather for Leathercraft – The Ultimate Guide (2021)

Leather for Leathercraft – The Ultimate Guide (2021)

Leather for Leathercraft – The Ultimate Guide (2021)

Leathercraft has become increasingly popular over the last few years, and it’s no surprise that Covid-19 encouraged more people than ever, to take up leatherwork.  Here at Abbey, we saw a 22% increase in leathercraft sales during this period and it’s easy to see why. Leathercraft can be a fulfilling hobby or a prosperous career. However, for anyone new to the game, picking the right leather for the job can be a daunting task. It’s a financial commitment you do not want to get wrong. To prevent this from happening, we have detailed our top choices of leather for leathercraft, so you don’t have to deal with the hassle.

Choosing the right leather for leathercraft

When choosing leather for leathercraft you must first consider the project in hand and what work the project will entail. Ask yourself a set of simple questions; What do I want to make? Do I want a pre-dyed leather or do I want to dye it myself?  Will I use wet-moulding for the pattern? You can then establish which leather is most suitable.


Generally speaking; vegetable tanned leather, (also known as veg tan leather for short) is the best leather for leathercraft. It’s easy to cut, easy to burnish and natural vegetable tanned leather is easy to dye using Fiebing’s leather dyes. It can also be wet moulded giving you lots of scope for any leathercraft based project including wallets, belts, structured bags, tooling belts, knife sheaths, notepad covers and other similar items.


The next plausible question, is what thickness of leather should I use? Take a look at our quick guide.


  -  2.5mm and under: wallets, clutch bags and iPad cases and sleeves, knife sheath.

   - 2.5 – 3mm: belts, messenger bags, knife sheath. 

   - 3.5mm and above: work belts, wider style belts 38mm +.

Dyed Leather

At Abbey we have a great range of leathers used across multiple industries and below, we list our top leather for leathercraft which is available from Abbey England.


The Sedgwick 1900 Collection is a pre-dyed vegetable tanned leather available in thicknesses 2.3mm and 3.2mm. Because it’s a veg tan leather, it is easy to cut and burnish giving your edges a lovely smooth finish. It can also be wet moulded meaning you can manipulate the leather into what ever shape you desire.


It’s suitably sized for smaller based projects reducing waste, but it can also accommodate for larger based projects such as messenger bags. Sizes range from 8 sq ft – 15 sq ft and you can specify this when ordering.


If you don’t want the complexity of dying your leather then the Sedgwick 1900 is an easy choice. Choose from a wide range of rich colours from Sacramento Green to Crimson Red, midnight black and more.


If you’re still not sure, then check out the video below from Nigel Armitage.

Review of Bowden Leather of the Knutsford range made by Sedgwick's.

An alternative pre-dyed leather suitable for leathercraft is our Italian Bridle. It’s a veg tan, full bridle waxy finish leather ideal for leatherworkers who are transitioning to bridle leather. It’s a high-quality leather, with a lasting glossy finish when buffed.


Due to the thickness of this leather (3.5- 4mm) it is mostly suitable for making men’s and women’s belts and general strap work.


Undyed Natural Leather

If you enjoy dying leather then we would recommend our natural veg tan tooling shoulder. It’s ideal for leathercraft projects, particularly when making knife sheaths, wallets and decorative inlays.

Thicknesses range from 1.8 – 3.2mm and sizes vary from 10 – 15sqft and like the 1900 collection, it can be wet moulded.


It’s the perfect match for leatherworkers who want to show off their creative leathercraft skills.


If your project requires a larger piece of leather, then you might want to consider our Hermann Oak leather. It’s a premium natural veg tan russet hide from the USA and measure approximately 20 sq. ft. This leather is a full bovine side which has been cut down the spine to include the neck, shoulder and butt. The undyed leather will accept oils and dyes with ease (we recommend the Fiebing’s pro dye) making it the ideal leather for leathercraft projects including gun holsters, knife sheaths, wallets, belts and general western style leathergoods.


Available in thicknesses 2-2.5mm, 3-3.5m and 4.8mm.


17 days ago
Posted in: Leather