Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist

Skin in the Game

AS WITH METAL and all arts, becoming proficient in leather working is largely a matter of putting the time and practice into it. Although this design is pretty detailed, this also makes it more forgiving: there’s a lot of backgrounding that helps hide minor imperfections. Practice on scraps before working on the final project. Leather is pretty forgiving, but it does have a memory and every mark you make on it is there forever. See “Leather Tips,” page tk, for more detailed advice.


1 Many stamping tools used in metal work can easily work with leather as well. This “chart” carved into leather lists the tools I used and shows the impressions they make so you can see if any match what the tools you already have can do.

Be careful how you strike with some metal working tools on leather. Many stamps for metal working have shallower impressions than tools for leather and could leave a shadow effect. Also, leather is more pliable than metal.

2 Here are some of my tools. Fanned out on top are, left to right: swivel knife, #3 edge beveler, edge slicker, antler tip, ball ended tool, spoon tool, stylus, deerfoot tool. Along the bottom is a safety skiver.


3 Measure your wrist and modify the pattern larger or smaller until it fits with at least a centimeter of overlap. Transfer that to a stiffbit of paper to form your pattern and trace the design on your film. Lightly spritz the leather with water, wait until it’s been absorbed, and lightly trace out your pattern.

Find the halfway point where you want your cab to be; I pierced the leather in the dead center with an awl so I could find it on the back. Trace around the

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