anhaga said: I’m really curious because it’s something I’ve always wanted to try but never known where to start—how did you get into leatherworking??
Initially it was mostly just conditioning and polishing leather, with a lot of cluelessness on how to do more. I was dating a seamstress for some years and picked up a lot of hand sewing, pattern drafting, and other completely random theatre costuming and wardrobe skills from her - yet there was a gap in knowledge with leatherwork that we always had problems with. Randomly in late 2009 I took a course that gave me the very basics and really started it all. It ended up being taught by people I had talked to back in 2003 about leather and while it was a simple course I managed to get all the questions I had at the time answered and started collecting tools and experimenting.
From there my learning has been a combination of investigating what others have done, what internet forums like leatherwork.net suggest, and trying out things for myself. There’ve been a lot of failures, many many more half successes, and it’s been a slow skill to cultivate; 2010 I hardly did anything and my work area was rather cramped and small and disorganized. Now I have likely thousands of dollars in tools, materials, um five-ish work benches, many shelves and bins, and things hanging all from the rafters (even stock on hand for craft shows and the like).
All that aside, for just starting out and where to find things, most major cities in North America have a Tandy Leather Factory which carries most of what you need to get going. Many will also have some manner of classes here and there. There are often times other leather / tack / farrier / tanneries / leather related stores in bigger cities or cities that are closer to the cattle farming and ranching.