Monthly Archives: October 2016

The Challenges in The Leatherwork Industry

The leatherwork industries are faced with several difficulties or challenges. Experts in this area must know the challenges so as to devise means of arresting them. The discussed challenges in this article, however, have been dealt with appropriate solutions.

1. Problems of Material Acquisition

The leatherwork industries are faced with the problem of material acquisition. Materials for the production of articles are usually in scarcity. The means of obtaining some of them is very difficult since there are no or few local producers of them. The majority of the materials for leatherwork productions is imported from foreign lands into the country. This makes them very expensive, resulting in high production costs and exorbitant prices for the products. This has seriously affected the patronage and sales of them.

This problem can be curbed by the establishment of more local industries who would produce these materials for leatherwork productions. This would invariably reduce the cost of them and the cost of the products produced from them resulting in higher purchase and patronage. Also, if some of the materials would be imported, the government should reduce the import duty on them to enable customers to be able to purchase locally made leather products.

2. Lack of customer confidence in locally made leather products

Some leather craftsmen fail to use good materials in their productions, but they also impose high prices on their products. Some are very dishonest. They lie to their clients that they’ve used natural leather for their productions while they have used synthetic leather. This has waned the trust that buyers have in local leather craftsmen. They now prefer to buy foreign leather products which have quality as its hallmark unlike the locally produced items which is not durable.
A remedy to this problem is that leather craftsmen should be honest with their clients and speak truth to them. They have to also use good or quality materials for their leather productions. This would bolster the patronage and purchase of the products.

3. Compliance with hallmarking requirements

Most leather craftsmen fail to comply with the hallmark requirements in the leatherwork sector. These include quality control, finishing, packaging, etc. This may be as a result of the deficiency in skill acquisition. This has accounted for the low patronage for locally made leather products.

All leatherwork enterprises should be made to join the professional leatherwork association in a bid to remedy the situation. The association should enforce the hallmark requirements for all leatherwork enterprises. The penalty for infringement of the requirements should be meted out to defaulters to serve as a deterrent to other leather craftsmen.

Also, training should be offered to leather craftsmen on how to maintain these hallmark requirements. Workshops, seminars, forums and talks should be periodically offered to leather craftsmen to abreast them with modern production techniques, finishing etc. Moreover, lectures should be given on work ethics, moral and human values, attitudes etc. If these measures are taken, all leatherwork enterprises in the country would meet the hallmark requirements.

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Description of Marking, Measuring, Cutting and Sewing Tools in Leatherwork

There are several tools used in the field of leatherwork. Most of these tools are locally made while others are bought from shops that sell imported leather tools. The tools used in leatherwork are very many and varied. Therefore, for purposes of easy identification and study, marking tools, measuring tools, cutting tools and sewing tools are described in this article.

1. Marking Tools-
This category of leather tools is used for marking purposes. They are used for creating lines to serve as a guide before sewing, cutting, thonging or stitching is carried out. Examples of tools under this category are:

Edge Creaser- This tool is usually dragged along the edges of leather products to create a creased guideline for sewing and thonging purposes.

Edger- This is a marking tool that is used for creating lines along the edge of leather items to assist in sewing.

Leather Marker- This tool is used for marking out lines as a guide for cutting and designing purposes.

Tracing Tool- It is used for marking and tracing out lines of templates or patterns before sewing.

Spacing Wheel- This tool is used for marking equivalent spaces on leather before punching holes for sewing.

Stitching Groove- It is used for marking lines to serve as a guide when stitching.

Edge beveller- This tool is used for beveling and neatening the edges of thick leather.

Edge groover- This is a metal tool with a round wooden handle. It has a snub end with an adjustable screw recessed into the end, and the groove cutter extends out from the tool on a metal shaft that can be adjusted in length by means of the recessed screw. It is used to produce a shallow groove on the surface of leather into which the thread is recessed below the leather surface.

2. Measuring Tools-
These are tools that are responsible for ensuring straight and accurate routes for stitching, cutting, thonging and decoration. Examples of measuring tools used in leatherwork are:

Dividers- It is used for measuring, creating small intervals for stitching and the setting of circles for the cutting of strips and thongs.

Metal Ruler or Straight Edge-It is used for measuring. It also serves as a guide when creating straight cuts of leather.

Measuring Tape- This is a long rubber tape used for taking accurate measurements.

3. Cutting Tools-
This group of leather tools is used for general cutting purposes. They are used for cutting patterns and pieces or parts of leather. Examples of cutting tools for leatherwork are:

Shears or Scissors- This is a paired sharp cutting tool used for the cutting of cards and papers for use as templates and for the cutting of light leather, linings, foams, and fabrics.

Skiving Knife- This is a sharp knife that is used for removing the bulkiness of leather by thinning. This technique is commonly referred to as skiving.

Strap Cutter- This cutting tool is used for cutting long straps of leather used in making handles of bags, belts etc.

Swivel Knife- It is used for making light cuts or beveled lines to aid in the folding of leather.

Head Knife- This knife is used for cutting and trimming thick pieces of leather.

Gouge- This cutting tool is used for creating grooves to make folding and creasing easy in leatherwork. V-Gouge- This type of gouge is used for creating ‘V’ grooves. U- Gouge- This type of gouge is used for creating ‘U’ grooves.

Bevel Point Knife- This cutting tool is used for cutting leather at right angles.
Glass or Zinc plate-It is the surface on which the leather is placed for cutting.

3. Sewing Tools
These tools are used for sewing pieces of leather together to form the article. Some of the tools in this category help make thonging and the making of decorative stitches very easy. Some of the sewing tools used in leatherwork are:

Needles: There are various types of needles used in leatherwork. While some types like the lacing needle are used for sewing pieces of leather together, others like the Glovers and Harnesses are used for sewing thongs at the edges of leather articles.

Thimble: This is a protective metal tool worn mostly on the index finger as an excellent aid for sewing.

Sewing Machine: This machine assists in the sewing of pieces of leather, foam, and other leatherette materials.

Loop clamp: This is a tool used for holding small belt loops in the stitching clamps when sewing them closed. The jaws are small enough to enter the loop and the clamp can generally be held in the jaws of a pair of stitching clamps.

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Importance of Paper Designing in Leatherwork

Designing is an important step that ensures the success of any article.The truth is that the leather material for the production of items are costly and as such, a leather craftsman cannot just experiment with it, thus, paper is used to test the feasibility of a particular design before it comes to life using leather. Detailed merits of paper designing prior to actual three-dimensional production in leather sounds professional and advantageous for many reasons,some of which have been dealt with in this article.

1. It helps us to generate various unique and original designs from which articles can be produced- Designing takes several phases or stages in their development which some designers’ term as idea development. This systematic development ensures that original designs which are not already in existence are created.

2. It helps designers in incorporating client’s preferences into the design of the article- When articles are carefully planned and designed, it gives designers the opportunity to include the taste of customers with respect to colour, shape, form, etc. in the design. This deepens the trust that clients have in the leather craftsman, paving the way for commissioned future projects.

3. It helps designers to visualize the final outlook of the product- Designing of products before they are actually produced help designers to first preview how the product to be produced will look like. Thus, when shown to clients saves designers from unpleasant surprises from clients.

4. It helps us to make corrections before the preparation of templates and the cutting of leather- If designs are first generated before actual production, corrections can be conveniently made before it’s too late. When designs are made and shown to clients before actual production, the changes the client wants the designer to make can be easily carried out.

5. It saves time and resources- All the toils and difficulties that result in the production of articles is mainly due to the failure of leather craftsmen in taking ample time to plan and design the article. However, all the efforts in designing is time worthier. This is largely true because the time and resources that would be wasted if a mistake is committed would be far greater than the time that was spent in designing.

Owing to the enormous advantages of designing products before their actual production, the author of this book is advocating that a product in leatherwork must not be produced if the paper work (design) is not carefully and properly carried out.

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