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  • Writer's picturePeter Smith

What thickness of leather do I choose?

You may have read my other article about leather weight. This talked about thicknesses of leather (weight).

In this article I will dive a little bit more into what thicknesses I use for different jobs.

Apart from the weight of leather I also decide on what type of leather I use. For example, I might choose English Bridle Hide to make handbags. On the other hand I might choose undyed veg tanned hide to make a handbag. Then there is the part of the hide I want. For those heavy jobs, like wide belts, saddles and chairs I will choose butt as this is the strongest part of the hide. For a bit of subtleness I will choose shoulder, which is more pliable and softer yet still very strong. I use shoulder on my guitar straps for example. These decisions are based on what finish I want in my end product.

The thickness is the next decision point.

I will use leather that is less than 1mm thick for lining inside boxes or gun cases. I use 1mm upholstery leather for desktop and writing slope inlays. For saddle bags I will use anything thicker than 3.5mm.

This table below lists some of the uses for the various weights of leather.

Weight in Ounces


1 to 2

Watch bands, thin wallets, lining.

2 to 3

Wallets, Thick Watch bands, Thin Purses, Liners, Bookmarks, Shoes, Small Pouches, and Light Upholstery.

3 to 4

Thicker wallets, Molding and Embossing, Small Bags and Purses, Thin Notebook covers, Standard Upholstery.

4 to 5

Notebook covers, Small Knife Sheaths, Keychains, Small bags and purses, Light Chaps, and Aprons.

5 to 6

Notebook covers, Small Knife Sheaths, Key chains, Thicker Pouches, Cases, Chaps, Small Purses and Bags, and Light Aprons.

6 to 7

Guitar Straps, Large Notebook covers, Knife Sheaths, Key chains, Thicker pouches, Carved purses and bags, Heavy Chaps, Cases, Thin Belts, Thin Scabbards, and Thin Armour.

7 to 8

Large Notebook Covers, Knife sheaths, Light Slings, Key chains, Pet collars, Scabbards, Bags and Purses, Cases, Belts and Light Straps, Heavy Aprons, Small Holsters.

8 to 9

Heavy Notebook covers, Knife sheathes, Slings, Key chains, Scabbards, Bags and Purses, Armour, Saddle Bags, Pet collars, Belts, Straps, Holsters.

9 to 10

​Knife sheaths, Slings, Key chains, Scabbards, Large Bags and Purses, Saddle Bags, Pet Collars, Armour, Cases, Heavy Belts, Straps, Holsters.

10 to 11

Heavy Knife Sheaths, Heavy Holsters, Belts over 1-1/2″ Wide, Slings, Key Chains, Heavy Carrying Cases, Light Saddles, Thicker Armour.

11 to 12

Heavy knife sheaths, Heavy Slings, Heavy Saddle Bags, Thick Pet Collars, Thicker Armour.

12 and above

Tack, Saddles.

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