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Leather Thickness, Weights, & Cuts

Once I had a bit better of an understanding about leather types, I was curious, in what ways can I buy it? In what thicknesses? In what shapes and sizes? There is a lot to know about leather thickness, weights, & cuts, here’s an overview.

Leather Thickness and Weight Measurements

Leather hides are split into different thicknesses during the tanning and production process. Different thicknesses can be used (and have benefits) for different end-products. Now we might ask, how are thickness measured, and what does it all mean?? Let’s take a look.

Leather thickness is denoted by ounces. Does it have anything directly to do with physical weight, no! 🙂 So feel free to ignore any associations with weight and just know that ounces refer to thickness. I started thinking it would be helpful to have an easy reference for all of this. Here’s an image that shows the standard leather thicknesses:

Leather Thickness Guide - Liberty Leather Goods
Leather Thickness Guide

If you’d like a copy to print out, click here to download a PDF version.

Each hide might vary slightly in thickness across the hide; leather weights are usually provided in ranges (such as 2oz – 3oz or 7oz – 8oz) to account for these slight variations.

Here is a brief video that walks through these details:

Good Uses for Different Leather Thicknesses

We know that leather comes in different thicknesses (weights), but what are they all good for? Leather thickness is one factor that influences its use for and the performance of the finished piece it is used to make. One often considers what thicknesses would be best for their project when choosing leather. For example, a thicker leather would be good for a belt, while a thinner leather might work well for a wallet. Take a look at the image below for an easy reference on what thickness leather generally works well for certain types of leather goods:

  • 1oz – 3oz – linings and inner pockets
  • 4oz – 5oz – small bags, wallets, light notebook covers, personal accessories
  • 6oz – 7oz – handbags, light backpacks, notebook covers, light belts
  • 8oz – 9oz – belts and medium bags
  • 10oz + –  holsters, saddlery, heavy bags, heavy belts

Types of Leather Cuts from the Hide

A finished leather hide has a fairly large amount of leather to choose from when deciding where to cut from the use pieces on a project. Based on the area of the hide in relation to the animal’s body, some pieces will be a little higher quality and a little easier to work with. Also when looking to order leather, one can generally choose how much, and what areas of a hide to purchase. I thought it might be help to have an easy reference for all of this to make it easier when buying, and put together this guide:

Leather Hide and Cut Guide - Liberty Leather Goods
Leather Hide and Cut Guide

If you’d like a copy to print out, click here to download a PDF version.

So when considering what leather to use for a new project, while there are so many options available, never fear, with a little knowledge it’s easy to choose the right leather thickness, weights, & cuts. With some experience, you might develop a preference for a certain leather working styles based on the type and weights of leathers you like best and enjoy the most.

Do you have a favorite leather or something to add? Leave a comment below.