If you want to be successful and totally rock leatherwork, it’s important to have the right tools. One of the biggest tools you will need for leatherwork is the working surface and it should definitely have the right amount of functionality and strength.
What are the best leather work Surfaces?
- Workbench or Table
- Poundo or Rubber Boards
- Wooden Board
- Marble Slab
Every kind of leatherwork project you’d do is a little different, but the working surface you work will not change and so picking the right kinds of surfaces will make a big difference in your leatherwork.
Here’s a list of leatherwork surfaces you’d need for practically every project you’ll set out to do in leatherwork.
1. WorkBench or Table
The workbench is usually wooden or a wooden surface with metal stands. It will basically serve as a support on which you will do all your stretching, cutting, setup some tools, materials, and equipment.
You would want to get a workbench that is spacious enough. Generally, I’d say at least about 2-4ft by 6-8ft with at least a storage unit built-in preferably beneath the surface and a bottom shelf.
The table should be high enough so that it suits your sitting posture and elbows. You wouldn’t want to slouch over your table for hours. Also, check if your seat will be a perfect fit and height for your leatherwork table.
For the tabletop, it is purely up to you. Your choice of wood could be maple although most people won’t go for it because it is priced but very durable. You can go with something less costly like pine.
The bottom shelf could be made of something cheap like plywood. As an extra feature to the workbench, you could get a piece of pegboard to install behind the table to hold some tools and materials.
As a beginner, you should probably make do with something that will fit your space since you’re now starting out and may probably not have your own leatherwork studio.
Most beginners start out using their coffee table and other living room furniture tables.
As you advance in your leatherwork, You will be able to have a much better set up for your leatherwork work area.
2. Rubber or Poundo Board
The Rubber Board will play a special role on your leatherwork bench when cutting or stamping, your leatherwork projects. You can use both sides of the rubber board.
On top of your workbench or table, you can have the poundo board fitted or have it movable. You can have anything within the range of:
- 12″ x 18″
- 18″ x 24″
- 24″ x 36″
- 36″ x 48″
The rubber board will be good for marking out and cutting your patterns.
The poundo boards are great specifically because when drawing or tracing out patterns, it holds your tracing paper or leather in place for you to make easy markings without the tracing paper or leather sliding around.
You’ll have a jolly good ride with the rubber or poundo board because it is able to take cuts will and it will take years for them to start showing any signs of damage.
By nature, the rubber board allows cutting knife to sit well on it giving you a nice clean cut.
The rubber board also reduces the amount loud noise stamping, punching tools, and mallets make.
If you’d be interested a poundo board, you can check it out over here on Amazon!
3. Wooden Board
The wooden board is more or less like a cutting board but this will help you to make all your punching. The wooden board will take all the cuts, punches, and hard knocks.
The wooden board you buy will be perfect for your drive punches, slit punches, oval punches, English points, skiving and you can use it for a really long time.
The cutting boards made out of the right kinds of wood will, however, last very long. You could have a maple or walnut wood board to serve you this purpose.
You can have it in any size range between according to your preference:
- 10″ x 5″ x 1 Inch
- 10″ x 10″x 1 Inch
- 16″ x 10″ x 1 Inch
- 18″x 12″ x 1.25 Inch
- 20″ x 15″x 1.25 Inch
4. Marble Slab
The slab is a centerpiece of all your leatherwork surfaces. Most people like to use it because marble slabs are nice and smooth and don’t mar up the leather when moved around on it.
You will set all your leather findings such as the rivets, eyelets, grommets, press-studs and a whole bunch of other leather hardware on it.
You can also do tooling or stamping on the marble slab. It is especially good for tooling because it absorbs all the blows from their mallets or mauls.
In addition, when beveling the edges of your leather or skiving, it makes a great support for that.
From experience, I have realized that most of the surfaces will have some kind of unwanted bounce and jiggle to them.
This often causes leather stamping tools not to press well or make press-studs, rivets or snaps to set poorly.
Marble slabs provide stability to enable all tools being struck, pushed, or pressed goes exactly where it needs to go.
You may not do most of the activities I have already mentioned but a marble slab is surely a nice smooth surface to work on.
You can get any size suitable for you or go with a:
- 12 x 16 inch
- 16 x 20 inch
Pro tip: Set a rubber mat underneath your marble slab to absorb all the loud noise when tooling or stamping leather on the slab.
When choosing the size of the marble slab, remember to take into consideration that, marble slabs are quite heavy so don’t by anything that will inconvenience you.
If you’re interested, you can check out this marble slab here on Amazon!
Leatherwork Surfaces Best Practices
- You should wipe off any glue or dye stains from your leatherwork surfaces
- You would want to do the right activity on the right work surface. For example, punching on a rubber board can cause your punching tools to wear-out
- Ensure your marble slab is well positioned on your leatherwork bench to avoid injury to you. You can have a permanent rubber mat placed underneath your marble slab if your slab is more than 12 x 16inches.
- Ensure your workbench is well organized all the time. Always replace all tools and materials used on the surface especially sharp and pointed tools.
The best leatherwork surfaces you need to start out in leather with are a workbench, marble slab, wooden board, and a rubber board. The working surfaces listed are basic and not expensive and will get you started out nicely.
What is a Poundo Board? A poundo board is a soft cutting board you can either put underneath a marble slab to deafen the sound when punching or stamping leather or a poundo board can be used to as a surface for cutting and marking out patterns.
Poundo boards are popularly sold by the leather veteran company Tandy leather and usually comes in black.
How do you fix a broken marble slab? You can fix a broken marble slab by:
- Use a vacuum to take up loose particles
- Clean with water and liquid stone soap using a sponge
- Allow it to air-dry.
- Mix 4 ounces of polyester resin and 4 ounces of marble dust and stir till paste-like consistency forms.
- Add epoxy adhesive to the broken part
- Pour the resin mix into the break and smoothen it out
- Allow drying for 24 hours.