Need some leather working advice.


Well-Known Member
Want to start making leather sheaths for my knives. I have some leather and thread but that is it. I am broke as heck so want to start off with just basic tools for now. Diamond hole punch’s. If you were to get just two which ? 6&2?
Groover what size? Mallet what weight? Cutting board? Size needle? Leather finish? Also for a light stain brown satin what color is that? Also how to a natural color? Can you use Oil? Thanks guys.
Check out Chuck Dorset on YouTube. He works for Weaver Leather and does some pretty informative videos. I started with a really cheap Amazon kit, most of it I didn't use so I wouldn't suggest that. I've also replaced most of the bits from the kit that I do use!
He has a video on drilling holes. Watch it. Do that. Skip the punches for now, but get a good interchangeable awl. Fiebings Pro Oil dyes. Cheap green cutting mat from Hobby Lobby. Interchangeable wheel over stitch groover.
I started with a couple of basic tools I bought at Hobby Lobby on their weekly 40% off coupon - Basketweave and a border stamp. And some heavy duty needles and waxed cotton stitching thread. I used an old fork for marking equal distance line for holes and a nail in the drill press to make the holes.

I saw somebody on FB the other day who was making their own unique stamps by grinding and shaping the ends of chunks of re-bar. Get creative and make your own... grind the tip of an old phillips screwdriver flat to make a criss-cross stamp... or use an acorn cap for a texture tool...

For a mallet, any hammer will do... really just have to control how hard you hit. I've used a small ball peen hammer and the yellow mallet that HL sells. The wooden ones don't have enough oomph.

Watch the videos as suggested above. Also Dennis's tutorials on this forum in the sheathmaking thread.
I'll second the suggestion to watch and study Dennis Morland's tutorial, it's excellent. Also, here's a YouTube sheathmaking video by a guy whom I've really come to enjoy. He keeps things simple while still emphasizing good quality. As for tools, I'd get a groover, edge beveler and overstitch wheel in addition to needles and thread. If you have a drill press, hand drill, or Dremel, just figure out the right size bit and use that for your sewing holes. There are tricks to keeping your holes straight, but DeMo and others have documented those in threads on this board.

I got all my stuff at a Tandy store; told them I was a beginner on a budget, and the salesman didn't try to oversell me at all. That's how you get repeat business from me, and they have.

Good luck!
Thanks. Looks like I need a #2.
I started on 2 and 4 prong, I never use #6. You can find cheap cutting boards and mallet on ebay or harbor freight. I can send my #6 chisel and rubber mallet not being used, just pm your address and I will cover postage.
Kentucky fisher man that link does not work.

scherf68 wow thanks for the offer. What not use the 6 prong?
1. Keep it simple.
2. For hand stitching a Tandy leather stitching wheel is a must. Its got various sized wheels for varying stitch lenght.
3. A single hole leather punch is basic. Just don't punch to deep. 6 prong stitching tools are fine for long straight runs but when you get to curves it doesn't work. If you try and drill holes .. go slow. Go too fast and the hole gets burned rather than cut through. That creates sharp edges that can cut your thread or wear your thread, resulting in it breaking at the least opportune time.
4. A good rawhide mallet will last a life time. One from Tandys is like 30$. Mine's instead 40 years.
5. Finishes are varying. I personally like the Fabrings mahogany oil paste with a covering of their acrylic leather sheen. Use a cloth to rub it on, light fir a tan heavier for darker colors. Allow to set for a short time the buff with a soft cloth and apply sheen. The sheen provides some water resistance. Ive also used plain saddle soap and mink oil.
Good luck
This has been mentioned elsewhere, but I'll emphasize the suggestion on using your drill press for the holes after using your stitching wheel or fork to layout the holes. But instead of a small drill bit, which will remove leather, just chuck a larger sized stitching needle in your drill press and use that to poke holes while the press is running.