Buying Leather – Leather Crafts

Buying Leather

Purchasing leather is where all of your knowledge comes together in one important decision: tanning method, thickness, flexibility, and durability.

How Leather Is Sold

Leather may be sold by measured area (square foot or square meter) or by the section of the hide from which it was cut. When shopping online, you may find that a lot of nicknames, brand names, obscure categories, and synonyms are used, which can make finding the right leather difficult. Becoming familiar with common leather terms will help you find what you’re looking for.

If you can, go to a local leather store so you can inspect the quality of the hide in person and speak to someone knowledgeable about leather, hides, and projects. Each hide is unique in its shape and markings; try to find a piece that works for your templates. Remember: the most expensive leather is the piece you buy and can’t use.

Other Search Terms for Leather

Oak leather
Oak leaf leather
Oak-tanned leather
Hermann Oak (brand name)
Strap leather
Carving leather
Tooling leather
Bark-tanned leather
English bridle
“English” bridle
English-style bridle
Western bridle
Harness leather
Finished leather
Chrome-tanned leather
Upholstery leather
Horween (brand name)
Chap leather

If you come across a term you haven’t seen before, check the Glossary for additional terminology not covered here.

Leather By the Hide

Whole hides and sides (half hides) are sold by the square foot or square meter but can vary considerably by shape and size.

Usable Area

Because of the natural curved shape of the neck, legs, and bellies, the usable area is often much smaller than the hide itself.

common Hide Cuts

There are many ways in which hides can be cut. These cuts are often priced by the piece.

best for beginners

If you can find them, double shoulders, which can be priced by piece rather than area, provide the best value for beginners.