Best Hammers For Leather: A Detailed Guide With 6 Examples!

Best Hammers For Leather

The Leather hammer has a lot of uses in leatherwork. No matter the kind of leatherwork projects you would do, whether purses, wallets, saddles, cases, bags, etc, you will need a very good leather hammer. So what are the best leathers for leather?

The best hammers for leather in no particular order are;

  1. The French Hammer – (Best Shoemaker’s Hammer)
  2. The Body Hammer – (Best Leather Hammer For Everyday Use)
  3. The Saddler’s Hammer – (Best Leather Hammer for Saddle Making)
  4. The Cobblers Hammer – (Best General Purpose Hammer)
  5. Harness Hammer and
  6. Riveting Hammer

What is a Leather Hammer?

The leather hammer is very similar to your regular everyday hammer but is specially made for various applications in leatherwork. The leather hammer normally will have a face for hitting on one side and a chisel-like heel, a ball peen, a square, or round side on the opposite end. The head of a leather mallet is always mounted or fixed on a wooden handle.

Leather hammers come in a wide variety of shapes, designs, brands, and sizes tailored to meet both specific and general needs of a crafter in terms of hammers.

Leather hammers are the very robust tools you will buy for your entire career if not just a hobby in leatherwork. So knowing the best types and choosing the best of the best is key to owning a durable leather hammer that you can own for Years and years.

What is a Leather Hammer Used For?

The leather hammer generally has specific purposes and uses some of which include riveting, fixing tacks, beating down glued edges, beating down seams, threads, smoothening leather surfaces, used as a slicker, and many other novelty activities you may find helpful to you.

You will on the contrary find other types of leather hammers that serve more general purposes or are a bit multi-purpose than others. The onus simply lies with you to choose what’s best for you and your needs.

Details on The Best Hammers For Leatherwork

Having had a general background at this point on what a leather hammer is, what it’s used for, here’s the details on the best hammers for leather.

1. The French Hammer – (Best Shoemakers Hammer)

The French hammer has two ends; a round flat hitting face on one side and a chisel-like duckbill heel shape on the other side.

Also known as the French shoe hammer, it’s a really common tool you can find in crafts and local shops. The French hammer was originally designed for shoes but are also great for a number of leatherwork activities such as saddle work.

It’s really a great shoemakers hammer because it it’s ergonomically designed to help shoemakers to pull leather materials over shoe lasts while using the French hammer to tack and smoothen the leather around the last.

With this tools design, shoemakers can set up and work in any position they’re comfortable in and the French hammer will still be very comfortable to use.

The French hammer apart from it’s huge role in shoemaking is a great tool for molding or forming or smoothening leather over a flat surface because of its mirror-faced finish which is very smooth.

The broad chisel-like heel of the French hammer is also very useful and handy. It’s perfect for making crease lines on leather or smoothening really tight corners for a really nice crease.

The French hammer is a really great tool for leather work especially if it’s of great quality like the C.S Osborne no. 65 French Shoe Hammer from Amazon, you will be nicely setup with a great ergonomic tool you will love and discover a lot more about.

2. The Body Hammer – (Best Leather Hammer For Everyday Use)

The leather body hammer is your typical everyday-use kind of hammer tool. Solid, durable, easy to handle with an adequate amount of brute force on it.

The leather body hammer is a classic style hammer which has T-shaped head with a flat square face on one end and a round-shaped face on the other. You can use this type of leather hammer as a perfect tool for driving nails, making punches, saddle stamps, etc.

The leather body hammer is tough and durable but has a really smooth surface you can use to smoothen and pound glued leather surfaces together nice and firm without leaving any hammer marks or scratches on the leather.

It’s called a body hammer because it’s popularly used on body works or shape dents on metal sheets. So you will find that this tool is not only used in leatherwork alone.

The leather body hammer has other applications in other disciplines apart from leatherwork. It’s used in metal smithing, jewelry, general DIY and a lot of hobby projects across various fields.

An ideal weight you could possibly get for this type of leather hammer could be anywhere between 11 ounce and to 16 ounce.

The leather body hammer is a very common hammer and you can find them in almost every local hardware stores near you. But if you like to shop online and are interested in getting it for your leatherwork shop or studio, check out this leather body hammer on Amazon! by Wuta leather.

3. The Saddler’s Hammer – (Best Leather Hammer for Saddle Making)

The Saddler’s hammer is a traditional tool for making saddles. It has a very tiny hitting head and a chisel-like heel. Although this tool has a tiny head, it serves a really great purpose.

This is because the saddler’s hammer is uniquely angled on the top, with a very small head, and a good amount of weight on it so that when you’re working on tight angles or hard-to-reach places, you don’t really have to swing it very hard to drive a small nail or tack with it.

For example, it’s a really handy especially if you would have to work on tight areas on the saddle like the gullets and other areas where the sides of your regular everyday body hammer will not fit.

It also has a long heel on the other end that’s great for forming, creasing leather, working in details on leather, etc. When making saddles, it’s long heel is a perfect remedy for seating a special kind of binding underneath the saddle being made. It’s very easy to use this tool because it has a lot of reach to help seat it perfectly.

Using a saddler’s hammer is great because it tends not to leave huge ugly hammer marks or stamps on the leather due to it’s tiny head size.

So if you’re into saddle making or have just started out building saddles, get one like the C.S Osborne no. 55 French Saddler’s Hammer on Amazon if you want to and you will never have to buy one ever again as nothing will ever happen to it because it’s manufactured with head and walnut handle forged in one piece, and highly polished.

4. The Cobblers Hammer – (Best General Use Hammer)

The cobblers hammer is a standard hammer you will have to get if your path is shoe making or shoe repair. You will find this type of hammer in most cobbler shops. While the cobblers hammer has a larger face on one end, the shape and use of the opposite end may vary depending on the manufacturer and brand you go for.

Some may come with a ball peen end, while others may come with a large chisel heel or a pointy little chisel end or a long chisel end.

The large flat face of the cobblers hammer is perfect for beating down glued leather edges together, smoothening out rough spots on leather, or beating down seams for easy stitching. If you get a cobblers hammer from C.S Osborne’s cobblers hammer on amazon, you can also use its fine polished air face like a slicker to smoothen your leather out nice and easy.

5. Harness Hammer

The harness hammer has a small head, slightly bigger than the saddler’s hammer. The harness hammer and the saddler’s hammer have similar functions and both are mainly used for hitting tacks. Both the harness and the saddler’s hammer may generally be referred to as tacking hammers but practically, these two are different and play different roles and functions in leatherwork.

The name harness makers hammer doesn’t only mean this hammer is used for making only harnesses but it’s also a great hammer tool for setting rivets with it’s small size head.

6. Riveting Hammer

The riveting hammer has one face and chisel-like heel on the opposite end. The flat face is for hitting small and large rivets and tacks while the chisel end can be used to remove or readjust tacks from leather.

The riveting hammer as the name implies is a hammer you will use to set all types of rivets including larger rivets. It can also be used for anything from press studs and a lot of other fitting and fasteners.

All you need is a really durable riveting hammer like this no. 4 C.S Osborne riveting hammer. With a few taps you should be able to set all types of rivets on your leather projects like a pro.

While most leather hammers will be able to set rivets just as the riveting hammer would, the general rule of thumb will be to get a specific leather hammer that does a specific task: in this case riveting perfectly.


Leather hammers all have specific purposes and while you may be able to apply one type to two, three or more leatherwork activities, it’s best to have one doing one type of job.

But to be honest, it may not be necessary for you to buy a whole bunch of hammers when you’re just starting out. What helps for beginners is getting at least one or two hammers, preferably the one’s that are kind of general use or multi-purpose like the once highlighted in this article and buy more specific one’s as you go on and are willing to invest more into tools.

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Hi! I’m Kwabena, the owner and founder of Favored Leather. I’m a huge Leathercraft enthusiast and I’ve been that for almost 13 years now. I'm excited to share my experiences and all the new stuff I learn each day about leather craft, leather cleaning & care, and everything in-between!

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