Great Leather Craft Books

Walt Disney is quoted as saying “There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates’ loot on Treasure Island. And best of all, you can enjoy these riches every day of your life.”

Leather working may be an old art form but it has embraced modern technology. Since the inception of YouTube people have posted how to videos on every subject imaginable, including leather craft. There are some good and some not so good videos out there, but I wanted to talk about some of the great leather books.

Craftool Tech-Tips by Al Stohlman

One of my favorite books is a simple book called Craftool Tech Tips by Al Stohlman. This book (more of a large magazine type format) is only 22 pages but packed into those pages were hundreds of tips and techniques from Al Stohlman on floral and figure carving as well as stamping with geometrics. In addition to showing how to use the stamping tools there are side notes about proper use of the tools. When I was just starting out this simple book was a treasure trove showing me how to use the tools I had and teaching about tools I discovered I needed.

Flower Carving in leather with a veiner tool
Using the veiner on flower petals.

When I first started working with leather by main interest was in carving and I used to spend hours going over this book to learn the techniques. I can still pick up pointers from it to this day and I consider this to be one of the best books I own. I was fortunate to pick up a copy early in my leather carving career.

This first book has been around a long time (it was first published in 1969) but my second favorite book is much more recent.

Leathercraft by Nigel Armitage

Leathercraft by Nigel Armitage is a much newer book, published in 2020, and its a much different book from the first one. While the first book talks all about carving leather this book talks about basic construction techniques, particularly hand stitching leather. It is written by a master leather worker with over thirty years experience and it gives a really good insight into English leather working techniques. Since my early education in leather craft had been focused on carving and stamping, this book was a catalyst to improving my construction skills, refining hand stitching and improved pattern making. It is a well written book that is easy to follow and understand and will improve the skills of any leather crafter. It has exposed me to techniques and skills that I did not know about and it has broadened my capabilities as a leather crafter. I can’t say enough good things about it.

These are both excellent leather craft books that will serve you well during your journey to explore leather crafts and arts. I highly recommend adding both of these books to your library! And check out many of the other books out there. Some of them were written over 50 years ago but they contain descriptions of techniques that sometimes aren’t documented any where else. With so many leather craft books out there you can find something that informs you on the areas of leather crafts that interest you and will enhance your skills.

Where to get these leather craft books?

Leathercraft by Nigel Armitage is available through Amazon or Barnes and Noble, or through your local book seller. Craftool Tech Tips was published by Tandy Leather but as of this writing seems to be unavailable through their website. You can find copies available on both Amazon and eBay but you might also be able to find a copy at a brick and mortar Tandy store if you get lucky. Hopefully this book will be available again soon on the Tandy site.

3 thoughts on “Great Leather Craft Books

  1. I have found some wonderful old books to help me, the laether crafters manual is old as dirt but the information is timeless.
    Small easy to follow book. It has blk and wht illustrations along with practice sessions and later, practice patterns.
    Plain white book with plain lettering and no illustration on the cover. Unassuming.
    I bought mine at Tandy.
    Al Stohlmans book ; the art of leather sewing is another go to book that I use.
    His Book of letter patterns is handy to have.
    I appreciate all the help you provide for those of us who struggle.

    1. Those are great books and I have all of them. The Leather Craft Manual was one of the first books I had and I worked through most of it. Everyone should have that book to when they are starting off! I’m glad I was able to help you some!

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