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Leather is not simply the skin of a dead animal. It is a produced through a multi-step process by skilled tanners practicing a craft that goes back thousands of years. In the ancient world, formulae were whispered from father to son, and the trade guilds of the European Middle Ages protected the secrets of the process. Tanning is not a task to be undertaken lightly. It takes experience, as well as a dedication to quality to produce the kind of leather that true craftsmen desire.
Leather is one of the most versatile materials known to man. As a raw material, it is extremely durable, strong and absorbent. These are the properties which make it well-suited to a wide range of treatments. One of the oldest industries known, leather making today is a complex process. The same basic production stages will be common to all leather manufacture. However, the individual skills, experience and techniques of the world’s best leather makers can greatly influence the manufacturing process and add value and quality to the end product.
As one of the oldest industries known to mankind, our earliest ancestors used skins to protect their body, hands and feet. Leather is made from the skin of any animal, reptile, bird or fish through a process known as tanning. This process preserves the skin that would otherwise quickly decay. No two hides are exactly the same. Characteristic marks of the hides’ natural origin are healed scars, neck growth marks, veins, abrasions and areas of different fibre density or hair pore structure. In the first few weeks of use, the leather will acquire perfectly natural creases and wrinkles. However, leather improves with age. Staying soft and supple, it will develop a rich patina over the years.
What is the best leather for carving with?
The only type of leather suitable for carving is vegetable tanned, full grain leather. This is because the vegetable tanning process allows the leather to absorb water, which is used to soften the leather before the carving process, and the grain of the leather is necessary to allow the leather to hold the shape after the carving process is complete. Other leathers lack these two essential qualities.
What is tooled leather?
Tooled leather is leather which has been worked in some way to be decorative as well as functional. The designs on tooled leather range from the simple to the ornate, and they are part of the artistic tradition of many nations. Collectively, things which have been made from tooled leather are often known as leather crafts, in a reference to the craftsmanship which went into their construction. Numerous examples of leather crafts can be found for sale around the world, ranging from Italian boots to Western saddles.
So what about tooling leather, what does that mean? It refers to a type of leather. Leather hides can be processed and tanned in different ways. Tooling leather is often vegetable tanned leather, as this process makes the leather a bit soft and easy to work with. Tooling leather is often also cut thick to use as leather items like leather collars, leather saddles and leather saddlebags. The color is often white or pale brown so you can use leather dye on it to make it whatever color you want. Often tooling leather is glued together like plywood to make even thicker leather. Because you cut and dig into the leather when making designs and patterns you need a thick leather. Leather saddles can have many layers of tooling leather glued together.
Tooled leather is leather which has been worked in some way to be decorative as well as functional. The designs on tooled leather range from the simple to the ornate, and they are part of the artistic tradition of many nations. Collectively, things which have been made from tooled leather are often known as leather crafts, in a reference to the craftsmanship which went into their construction. Numerous examples of leather crafts can be found for sale around the world, ranging from Italian boots to Western saddles.Leather is an animal hide which has been treated so that it will resist decay. Once treated, leather can be cut into various shapes, or treated with additional substances to be hard, soft, waterproof, and so forth. Designs can also be imprinted into leather through leather stamping, leather carving, leather burning, and dyeing or painting. Objects like metal and gems may also be attached to tooled leather. Often, multiple tooling techniques are used on a single leather project, as many of these techniques complement each other when used well.
A tooled leather belt made by tooling leather tools
Industrialization has allowed companies to create tooled leather with the use of machines, making it much more affordable for consumers. Tooled leather belts, shoes, and jackets are very common, along with mass produced saddles, upholstery, and similar leather goods. It is also possible to purchase tooled leather which has been worked by hand, although it is generally more expensive. Hand-tooled leather goods can truly be works of art, especially when they come from the studio of a talented leather worker.
People who are interested in tooling leather can find the basic tools at many craft stores and in shops which specialize in leather working. Leather working classes may also be offered in some communities, so that interested people can learn the basics of the craft. Many artisans learn leather working as part of their artistic training, ranging from people who specialize in movie props to saddle makers.
Tooling leather tools or Leathercraft tools
Finally what is tooling leather tools? I guess the more common name is leather tools. It takes specially shaped and designed tools to cut and make nice designs in leather. Those tools are called leathercraft tools.
I made an article recently about embossing leather using embossing tools. Embossed leather is a type of tooled leather using tooling leather. However embossed leather is normally stamped leather. Normally when you talk about leathercraft tools they mean tools that cut or scrape leather, taking little pieces of it out to form beautiful designs. There are dozens of specially shaped leathercraft tools you can buy that all do different functions.
So to recap; tooled leather is any piece of leather that has been cut or in some way worked on to make a design or pattern in it. Tooling leather is a type of leather, usually vegetable tanned leather, that has been processed to make it easy to work on. Leathercraft tools are the tools specially made to cut and work on leather.
Check out Leather Crafting detail at wikipedia.org Leather crafting