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Making Leather Goods - How much space do you need?

The answer to this, especially when you’re starting out is - how much space do you have?


But the really big benefit of choosing to get into working with Leather is you don’t need any power tools, and compared to Wood / Metal working it creates virtually no mess or noise.


You wouldn’t start Wood or Metal working on your kitchen table, but you can easily do it with Leather. It’s so much more accessible as a Craft and also with a relatively small outlay in a basic set of tools, some of which you may already have if you’ve tabled in other crafts before…. for me, makes it the best craft to get into for beginners.


So lets look at your potential Work Area;


The first and most obvious is as just mentioned, a table or desk in your home, but make sure its wooden, not glass! Then purchase an A1 size cutting mat to protect your wooden top from chisel punches and dyes etc.

The only downside to this is the setting up and packing away if you need to use your table regularly.


The next choice is a dedicated table for your tools and Leathers etc.

The picture above was sent in recently by one of my past Makers, Julia, showing an area set aside in her garage where she makes her Leather Goods, Julia also kindly supplied the pics in the following Blog posts of her leather makes.


The size of table/workbench you need will be a happy medium between how much space you have and how small or large the items you want to make are.

In fact for visitors to my Workshop as well as a large central cutting table I have individual Workstations for each person to work from which are just a little larger than an A1 size cutting mat. They are actually a Butchers Block table trolley from Ikea called Bekvam. I’ve screwed on top a larger piece of ply to fit an A1 cutting mat, but you could leave it as it’s actual size of 58x50cms. and buy smaller size cutting mat. They come with a shelf for more storage and a pair of wheels to help move them around. A very handy bench that looks good in your home or a shed/garage.


If you’ll be making plenty of Leather Belts and Straps or cutting large tote bag panels then a longer bench makes life a lot easier and for storing your hides unrolled under it as well.

It makes it easier to cut your first straight edge length, so a bench in a 5 to 6 feet length would be perfect. However plenty of people starting out cut on the floor with a protective mat underneath the leather. But of course you could also do this on your kitchen table or desk and purchasing a second A1 cutting mat laid end to end will make it easier to cut full lengths and larger panels in one pass.


So in summary, there really is no reason why you can’t start making your very own Leather Goods in your home and then later expand to a larger work area if you feel the need.

Keep on Crafting!


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