Using a Pricking Iron – Leather Crafts

Hand Stitching: Using a Pricking Iron

The fork-shaped pricking iron is a specialized hand punch for cutting evenly spaced stitching holes. Pricking irons have many different names, and come in a variety of sizes and shapes to fit different projects. Single prongs are for corners and curves.




Stitching groover

Multi-prong pricking iron

Single-prong pricking iron


Techniques Used

Hand Stitching: Using a Stitching Groover

1 Cut a Stitching Groove. Using the stitching groover, cut a stitching groove on the finished surface edges of the leather to be stitched together.

Be sure to choose the best pricking iron for your project. The prong spacing and shape determines the number of stitches per inch, thread thickness, needle size, and awl size, which will all vary with the thickness of leather used.

2 Start the line of stitch holes. Position the multi-prong pricking iron at the end of the marked guide line, spacing it from the edge one stitch prong width. Hold the iron vertically with one hand, and strike the top with the mallet to start the line of stitch holes.

3 Reposition the iron. Reposition the iron on the guide line with two prongs overlapping the previous punch holes to make sure that the line will stay straight. This also ensures regular spacing and orientation. Strike the top of the mallet to continue the line. Continue to the end.

4 End the stitch line. If the multi-prong pricking iron spacing does not come to an evenly spaced conclusion with the last corner hole at the end of the guide line, drop two stitch holes and use a single prong iron in its place.

As you become more experienced, you can re-position the pricking iron on the stitching groove with just the first prong in the last hole of the previous punch.

Using a Pricking Iron on Curves

If stitching on a curve, switch to the single prong pricking iron, being sure to space each hole the same distance as the prong width.