A leatherworker produces so many interesting things. When considering hobbies or career paths, this could be an excellent one to pursue.

A leatherworker is a person who designs, creates, repairs, and restores items that made from leather. They generally work with a specialized set of tools in a leather workshop. Most often, they producing goods including bags, cases, clothing, upholstery, footwear, and personal accessories.

A career as a leatherworker can be challenging, exciting, and fulfilling. Let’s explore more about what they do.

 

What is a Leatherworker?

A leatherworker is a person who works primarily with leather, crafting leather goods. They acquire a unique set of skills, usually through years of practice, then apply those skills to the crafting of leather goods. Since leather is used in so many types of goods, across industries, leather workers will generally specialize in a particular type of leather crafting. This is the most basic leatherworker definition.

Leatherworker Sewing Leather - Liberty Leather Goods
Leatherworker Sewing Leather

For example, cobblers focus on making shoes and footwear. Bookbinders focus on creating the leather covers for books. Saddle and tack makers Focus on creating items used on and around horses. Each specialty usually has so unique this is where years of experience help the leather crafter yield higher-quality results. Sometimes, a leatherworker Will be more generalized, working to produce custom items based on customer requests.

Leatherworkers typically perform work in a workshop. This can be as small as a room in the house, or a larger production setting with many workers. Average a leather worker earns $27,550 per year. Income can vary based on their specialization, and size of their customer base.

 

What Does a Leatherworker Do?

Leatherworkers typically have a workday that consists of either designing or producing leather items. For example they might spend time sketching out or are cutting sample pieces for a new design, laying out how do I can be produced in volume. If they are actively crafting leather goods it will utilize a set of tools in their workshop to cut, shape, mold, sew, stamp, punch, join, and create finished pieces.

There work day, generally in larger production shops, can run in a typical 9 – 5 workday. Independent leather workers, who run their own shops, often work hours that very based on their personal preferences, personal schedules, and clients and business needs.

Some leatherworkers only focus on production, wholesaling their goods to others for retail sale. Other other leather workers both produce and sell their own items. Yet other other workers Service particular businesses such as cobblers that may work in a shoe store helping to adjust and repair footwear that customers bring in.

Leatherworker Skiving Leather - Liberty Leather Goods
Leatherworker Skiving Leather

 

What Do You Call a Leatherworker?

Beyond the leatherworker name, there are some other common leather worker synonyms often used to refer to those who work with leather. These include:

  • Leathersmith
  • Leather Craftsman
  • Leather Craftsperson
  • Leathercrafter

Generally, most will be familiar with these terms and okay being referred to as any of them. However, some individuals may have an individual preference and prefer one over the others.

 

How to Become a Leatherworker

As with most career paths, becoming a leather worker can follow several different routes. Can be based on level of personal interest, financial resources available, learning-style preference, and the amount of time available to dedicate to learning. Let’s explore some of the most common paths when learning how to become a leatherworker.

Self Taught

Self teaching is a great option for those liked the flexibility of learning at their own pace. There are many resources and videos online that they can follow to learn basics in advance their skills. This is often the least expensive approach with the most flexibility. If you are curious to see if you enjoy the craft are looking to make it a hobby, self-teaching is a great place to start.

Online Course Training

For those that enjoy a little more structure to the approach, online course training can be excellent. Typically, these courses are taught by professional leatherworkers, And go step-by-step from basic through more complex leatherworking techniques.

Leatherworker Chiseling Leather - Liberty Leather Goods
Leatherworker Chiseling Leather

Classes/Certification

For those that prefer in person construction, leatherworking classes and certifications could be an excellent path. Often, these are taught five professional leather workers. Classes typically run from a day or two, to once a week over several months depending on the depth of the course material. Some classes have multiple students which allows for social interaction and learning from each other as you go through the class material.

While these are more expensive than online options, they provide hands-on experience with professional guidance, and in many cases they provide the tools and materials as well. This makes it a convenient and powerful learning option for those who prefer in-person instruction.

Apprenticeship

If one is very interested in making leatherworking into a career, an apprenticeship might be the best approach. On this path, an apprentice typically works for an with a professional leather worker. This engagement could last anywhere from months two years, Allowing the apprentice to be fully immersed in the craft and learn all the various skills necessary to perform at a very high level on their own.

Often, apprenticeships are focused on a unique specialty such as cobblers or saddlesmiths. Mainly, this is because each area of leatherworking often has its own unique skill sets that require time to learn. An apprentice well trained in a specialized skill will be able to provide that service to customers, and as they gain more experience, enable them to teach other apprentices in the future.

 

Common Leatherworker Tools

Great benefit to becoming a leatherworker is that it often requires only having a few basic tools. While there are surely a number of specialized tools that can help, These can be acquired over time, and with experience. Let’s take a look at some of the basic tools that most every leatherworker will have in their shop.

Leatherworker Tools - Liberty Leather Goods
Leatherworker Tools

Knife

A knife is the most common of leather tools. There are many shapes, Sizes, and thicknesses of knives. They are most often used 2 cup leather from larger pieces, trim them for assembly, and in some cases for finishing.

Hammer/Mallet/Maul

A hammer, mallet, or maul is a tool used to provide striking force onto other tools. For example a hammer may be used to strike a punch resulting in a hole in the leather.

Punches

Leather metal tools with sharp, pre-shaped cutting edges. They are used to cut the shapes into leather, Such as an additional hole in a belt, or the round end of a leather strap. They are typically struck with a hammer or mallet to provide the striking force driving the punch through the leather material.

Edgers

Edgers are great tools used to remove the square edges from leather material. This helps make leather goods more visually appealing while also more functional is the rounded corners generally make for more enjoyable day-to-day use of leather goods.

Burnisher

A burnisher is used to smooth and seal leather edges. When leather is cut, the internal fibers are exposed. This can lead to the material frame, or deteriorating quickly. A burnisher uses heat and friction to bonds those fibers together and result in a smooth surface. This helps protect the leather underneath while also making it look more visually appealing.

 

Leatherworker Job Description

A leather worker is a person who is generally engaged in the design, crafting, repair, and restoration of the leather items and leather goods. These goods can include shoes, clothing, armor, hats, upholstery, custom items, personal accessories, and generally anything made from leather.

There workspace usually consists of a large flat surface with other material can be worked, cut, and shaped. Their tools are often within arms reach, or for larger workshops, located within the same room or nearby rooms. Larger workshops can also include a lot of mechanized tools use for faster working as well as higher production volume.

Work hours can vary based on the type of employment as well as personal preference. Salaries can also vary by region and specialty of work. Depending on the type of leatherwork one prefers, I leather worker might require on some training for basic skills or years of training as an apprentice to eventually become a professional. There is generally always demand for leather goods and thus leather workers will likely always have work to do.

Leatherworker Hand-Stitching Leather - Liberty Leather Goods
Leatherworker Hand-Stitching Leather

 

Leatherworker Salary

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, professional leatherworkers earn on average, $27,550 per year. Some can make more or less depending on the region they working, Their specialty, level of experience, and demand for work.

Some leatherworkers will be employed by others, while some leather workers are self-employed and also spend time marketing their own business. Yet others, build her own brand and thus have potential to earn more than average if they produce exceptional work and find a strong customer base.

 

Leatherworker Career Outlook

The leatherworker trade has been around for thousands of years. Despite the development of synthetic materials over recent decades, leather hasn’t will likely always the material that people enjoy owning and working with. Thus, leatherworkers generally have a stable career once they find their niche.

In the United States, there are approximately 7,180 professional leather workers. Most of the workers is themselves unemployed in the area of personal goods and household goods creation repair and maintenance. Those in the shoe industry, known as cobblers, often see the highest wages earning approximately $34,700 per year. As interest grows in personal and handmade goods, There is potential for demand for leatherworker services to increase.

Let’s explore some additional detail about leatherworker careers. for you in further information, click here for the leather-focused page at the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

 

Leatherworker Jobs and Salary by Industry

Industry AreaNumber of LeatherworkersAverage Income
Household & Personal Goods2,52027,250
General/Other Leather Products1,65026.460
Footwear (Shoes/Boots)86026,940
Natural Hide Tanning & Finishing67031,700
Shoe & Related Stores36034,700

 

 

Metro Areas with the Highest Concentration of Leatherworkers

Metro AreaAverage Income
Jefferson City, MO Metro25,570
Lancaster, PA Metro21,940
Nashville, TN Metro31,050
Milwaukee, WI Metro24,260
Fort Worth, TX Metro26,820

 

Leatherworker Cutting Leather - Liberty Leather Goods
Leatherworker Cutting Leather

 

States with the Highest Concentration of Leatherworkers

StateNumber of LeatherworkersAverage Income
Maine30028,840
Missouri56030,600
Texas1,24025,860
Idaho7029,890
Tennessee23028,060

 

 

Leatherworker Top Paying Industries

Industry AreaNumber of LeatherworkersAverage Income
Cobblers/Shoe Stores36034,700
Tanning & Finishing Workers67031,700
Leather Goods Wholesalers6030,140
Household & Personal Goods Repair & Maintenance2,52027,250
Leather Apparel Manufacturing6027,040

 

 

Setting Up a Leatherworker Shop

For those interested in setting up a leatherworker shop, It is generally a straightforward process. Smaller shops can utilize a flat workspace at home, such as a desk. Larger workshops might take up several rooms and include numerous pieces of specialized machinery that make higher-volume production leather work much easier and faster.

Leatherworkers in a Workshop - Liberty Leather Goods
Leatherworkers in a Workshop

Some basic tools are needed as well as a source of material. With customer requests, or ideas for leather goods, the leatherworker can begin production and creating inventory with which to sell. If they’re focused on services such as repair or maintenance to existing leather goods, they will need to ensure they have a supply of customers to provide them business.

A leatherworker shop can be a full-time business for a part-time business. Mainly, it depends on the preference of the leather worker and the amount of work they have to do.

 

How to Find a Leatherworker Near Me?

Sometimes, we’ll find ourselves curious, how to find a leather worker near me? We might have a bag or item of footwear that needs repair or something as simple as a favorite belt that needs another hole added to it. A local leatherworker can make quick work of these common fixes and often perform the service at a fair price.

The best places to look are generally shoe stores and saddle shops. While dedicated leather shops are usually rare, shoe stores often have or no cobblers as there is a consistent need for shoe repairs. Similarly, saddle shops often source of their goods from saddle makers or have one on staff to produce their goods. Thus, if these stories do not have a leather worker on staff, they can likely recommend a good one to you.

 

Popular Leatherworkers

As in most trades, there are exceptional leather workers that have been practicing the craft for years and really help define what makes for quality leather work. Below is a table listing some of the more popular and recognized leather workers in the industry. Certainly, there are many great leather crafters and leathersmiths beyond this list; these are just a few great examples to start from.

 

LeatherworkerDescriptionLink to Site
Charlie TrevorEqqus Leather – Based in United Kingdom, his YouTube channel shares very high-end work in an incredible workshopLink
Ian AtkinsonBased in the United Kingdom – His YouTube channel demonstrates great project work, tool reviews, general advice, and how-to guidesLink
Christian Xian MarshHe produces very high-quality chop seats and handmade leather goodsLink
Nigel ArmitageIn-depth tool reviews, technique demonstrations, and DIY leather working guidesLink
Parker LichfieldStock & Barrel – Based in Ogden, UT, USA, his YouTube channel features great advice and examples of producing high-quality, fine, leather workLink

 

 

It can be exciting to think about the leatherworker trade and pursuing it as a hobby or career. With some experience you might find it is an incredibly fulfilling, creative, and rewarding path for you. If you’d like to learn about the tools a leatherworker uses, click here for my leather tools list overview.

 

 

Related Questions

How Much Does a Leatherworker Make?

On average, a professional leather worker makes about $27,550 dollars per year. This can vary by specialty, for example, cobblers earn on average $34,700 per year. Income can vary greatly based on level of skill and customer demand.

 

How Long Does it Take to Become a Leatherworker?

While basic leatherworking skills can be learned in just a few weeks, it usually takes a few years of dedicated practice for those looking to become a professional. In higher-skilled specialties, this is often done through an apprentice program.

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