There are many different surfaces you can use in leather work. Some are better for beginners, while others are more suited for professionals.
In this article, I will address all the questions you may have about leather work surfaces. I’ll talk about the pros and cons of each type of surface so that you can make an informed decision about which one is best for you, no matter your level.
What Are Leather Work Surfaces?
The Leather work surface is a general term for any type of surface you do Leather Work on.
Leather work surfaces will generally include surfaces of tables, countertops, stone slabs, mats, floor, and any other type of flat surface.
Depending on your situation, any of the above-mentioned surfaces can serve as a good workspace for your leather crafting.
If you have a lot of space, then a large table or countertop would be ideal. If you are working in a small space, then a mat or floor might be better suited for you.
There are also different types of materials that you can use as a leather work surface. The most common type of material is wood.
Wood is a great surface for leather work because it is sturdy and easy to work with. However, it is important to note that wood can be susceptible to damage from water or other liquids.
Others may include stone, polyurethane, or even metal. Each type of material has its own set of pros and cons that you should take into consideration before choosing a surface.
Things To Consider When Choosing A Leather Work Surface
There are a few things you should keep in mind when choosing a leather work surface. These include;
- Flat Surface
- The Size
- The Type of Material
- Sitting Height
- Open Surface
It is important that the surface you choose as your leather work surface is flat. This will allow you to work more easily and accurately.
Any bump or unevenness can make it difficult to stamp, cut, or sew your leather. Another thing is that a flat surface will also help you avoid accidental cuts.
As far as the size of your leather work surfaces goes, you will want to make sure that it is large enough to accommodate all of your leather work needs.
If you are a beginner, you might not need a very large surface. A simple 12 inches by 12 inches surface will be more than enough to get you started.
In all honesty, 12″ by 12″ is the smallest you should go as far as your leather work surface goes, as anything less than that can be quite constricting.
A standard 24 inches by 24 inches will see you through a lot of your leather work needs and is a great size for most people.
Of course, if you have the space, you can always go bigger. A 36 inches by 36 inches or even 48 inches by 48 inches surface will give you plenty of room to work and is great for larger projects.
As you become more experienced, you can upgrade to much larger surfaces if you find that you need more space to work.
If you plan on doing a lot of large projects, then jump right ahead and get a table or countertop that is at least 24″ by 36″.
This will generally make work a lot easier and more comfortable for you in the long run.
The Type of Material
When it comes to the type of material, there are a few things you need to take into consideration.
The most important thing is that the surface is sturdy and won’t move around while you are working on it.
Wooden surfaces or blocks are generally the most sturdy and can absorb all of the poundings that come with working with leather. The only downside is most wooden surfaces could get water damage or stain easily.
Stone surfaces are also very sturdy and won’t be damaged by water. Polyurethane surfaces are another option that is both sturdy and easy to work with. However, they can be more expensive than other surfaces.
How sturdy your leather work surface is is very important. You don’t want a surface that is going to move around while you are working on it.
You want your leather work surface to be sturdy enough to absorb all the pounding, cutting, and stitching that you are going to do.
This is very important in addition to your leather work surface being flat and of sitting height.
If you’re using a surface that is light with a support that is not very sturdy, all of the force from your leather mallets and hammers will not be properly absorbed–causing the surface to break down over time.
A good sturdy surface will help to absorb some of that impact and will help your surface last a lot longer–and will ultimately allow you to do good quality leather work.
For example, if you’re cutting or hitting something over your leather work surface that is not sturdy, then this could result in inaccurate cuts, wrong punches, and bad stitching.
All of which will show in the final product of your leather work.
When choosing a leather work surface, you will want to make sure that it is of sitting height.
This means that when you are seated, your arms should be at a 90-degree angle so that you can work comfortably.
If your surface is too high or too low, it can cause discomfort in your arms and back after extended periods of time.
If you decide to go with a professionally made leather work surface, you can find many different types of adjustable surfaces that will allow you to set the height to whatever is comfortable for you.
When you are working with leather, you will often have tools and materials that you need to leave out on your surface.
This way, it is easier to continue from where you ended last time, and you don’t have to search for your things or pack and unpack your tools and materials.
Not only that, but you also want to have an open surface area so that you can lay out your leather and pattern pieces while you plan or before you start cutting.
You want to be able to see all of your materials and have easy access to them so that you can work efficiently.
A Good Lighting
In addition to having a good sturdy surface, you also want to make sure that your work area is well-lit.
This is so that you can see what you are doing when you are working with small pieces or doing detailed work.
If your work area is not well-lit, then you may find that you make more mistakes or that your work is not as precise.
There are many different types of lights that you can use in your work area, and you can even get creative with how you set up your lighting.
You can use natural light, overhead lights, lamps, or even string lights. The important thing is that you can see what you are doing when you are working.
What Are the Different Types of Leather Work Surfaces?
There are many different types of surfaces you can do your leather work on. Here are a few of the most common ones;
1. Crafting Table
If you’re just starting out or do not have a lot of space, then a crafting table is a great option. You can find these at most craft stores, and they are usually very affordable.
A crafting table will give you a flat surface to work on and usually have a shelf underneath where you can store your tools and materials.
The only downside to a crafting table is that they are not very sturdy, so if you’re going to be doing a lot of pounding or cutting, then this might not be the best option for you.
2. Coffee Tables
This is where a lot of us started out doing our leather work. If you don’t have a lot of space or money, then using an old coffee table is a great option.
While you can, from time to time, convert your home coffee table into your leather work surface when you need it, you can also have a sturdy coffee table at thrift stores or garage sales for very cheap.
The downside to using a coffee table is that they are not very large and, in most cases, not very sturdy to withstand all of the pounding or cutting.
Another downside is that they are usually low to the ground, so if you’re going to be doing a lot of sitting, then this might not be the most comfortable option for you.
3. Kitchen Tables
Your kitchen table can also double as your leather work surface. The great thing about using a kitchen table is that they are usually very sturdy and large enough to give you plenty of space to work.
The downside to using a kitchen table is that they are not always the right height, and you might have to put something underneath your seats.
In addition, your kitchen table is probably not going to have any storage, so you will need to find another place to store your tools and materials every time you finish working.
Your kitchen stone, wood, or tile countertop can give you a very large and sturdy work surface. The great thing about using your countertop is that it’s the perfect height for most people and usually has storage underneath.
The downside to using your countertop is that it’s not always the most comfortable place to work, and you might have to put something underneath your seat or be ready to stand.
In addition, you would have to clear your countertop every time you do your leather work on them.
5. Dining Room Tables
While this may not be the best for hitting and other heavy-duty activities, you can certainly carry out most of your small leather work projects on your dining room table.
The great thing about using a dining room table is that they are usually very large enough to give you plenty of space to work, and they are the perfect height for most people.
The downside to using a dining room table is that you will have to clear it every time you finish working.
6. Office Desk
If you have an office desk in your home, then this can make for a great leather work surface. The great thing about using an office desk is that they are large enough to give you plenty of space to work, and they are usually the perfect height.
Office desks are usually not durable or sturdy enough to withstand hammer and mallet strikes, so that would have to be done on another surface.
7. Patio Tables
Another viable alternative for a leather working surface is a patio table. Patio tables, because they are often made of weather-resistant materials, tend to be very durable and sturdy.
Most patio tables are also a good height for working, and they usually have large enough for any size of the project.
The downside to using a patio table is that you might have to move your projects inside if the weather turns bad.
8. Short Book Shelves
Last but not the least, if you have a good size bookshelf or two, you can use the top of it as your work surface.
The great thing about using bookshelves is that they come in all different sizes, so you can find one that’s just the right size for your needs.
As you can see, there are many different types of surfaces that you can use for your leather work. It really depends on your creativity, personal preference, and what type of project you are working on.
If you are a beginner, I would recommend starting with a smaller surface like a kitchen table or countertop. If you are a professional, then you might want to consider something a little larger.
Whichever route you choose, make sure that you have a comfortable and sturdy surface to work on. Your leather projects will thank you for it.
Q: What is the best surface to cut leather on?
A: A cutting mat is the best surface to cut leather on. A cutting mat presents a stable surface to cut on and will also protect your countertop or tabletop from sharp knife blades. It also protects your knives and blade from becoming dull quickly.
Q: What is the best surface to stamp leather on?
A: A hard, flat rubber or poundo board surface is the best for your leather stamps. It gives you a solid surface to hit with your mallet, and it protects your stamps from becoming damaged.
Q: What is the best surface to dye leather on?
A: A plastic sheet or tarp is the best surface to dye leather on. This protects your work surface from spills and stains and makes cleanup a breeze.
Q: What is the best surface to sew leather on?
A: A good, sturdy sewing table is the best surface to sew leather on. It gives you plenty of space to work and keeps your leather projects from sliding around.