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How to become a Leather Craftworker

leather craftworker careers

What does a Leather Craftworker do?

Leather craftworkers create a variety of leather goods for different sectors. Products include fashion accessories such as hand bags, belts, purses, pouches and suitcases, together with shoes and sandals for the clothing sector; some craftworkers specialise in leather products for the equine sector, making and repairing saddles, bridles and harnesses; some produce finishes for books, boxes, chests and tableware; and some concentrate on clothing and equipment for historical re- enactment organisations.

Craftworkers use hand and machine tools to carry out work, including punches, cutting and paring knives, edge shaves, pricking frames and awls. Work can also involve computer-aided design (CAD) if developing patterns, particularly when making bespoke products.

Typical tasks include working from patterns to measure and cut leather sections; putting together sections by hand- or machine-stitching, or by using solvents; fitting linings, handles buckles and eyelets; and applying finishes such as stains, waxes and polishes.

Different materials and finishes are used to make products, including cowhides, nubuck, chamois, shagreen and suede.

What's the working environment like working as a Leather Craftworker?

Leather craftworkers work 37 to 40 hours a week. Overtime may be required to meet deadlines. Craftworkers work in small factories, workshops or from home.

Leatherwork involves sitting at a workbench for long periods. Strong smelling polishes, solvents and preservatives are used in the industry, so work areas are well ventilated and protective clothing may be necessary.

If working in a rural area, a driving licence will be required.

What does it take to become a Leather Craftworker?

To be a leather craftworker you should:

  • have an appreciation for fine detail
  • have an aptitude for practical work and design
  • be able to concentrate for long periods
  • be able to measure and cut pieces precisely
  • have good eyesight, particularly for close intricate work
  • have a knowledge of CAD packages if working in pattern design
  • have good customer care skills
  • be aware of health and safety issues.

Leather Craftworker Career Opportunities

There are about 5,500 leather craftworkers in the UK, mostly working for small firms producing a variety of leather goods. If working for a company, there may be options to take on supervisory duties or specialise, for instance, in pattern design work or sales and marketing.

Many skilled and experienced leather craftworkers set up as self-employed, often working from home or from their own workshops.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Leather Craftworker that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

The Society of Master Saddlers
Green Lane Farm
Stonham
Stowmarket
Suffolk
IP14 5DS
Tel: 01449 711 642
www.mastersaddlers.co.uk

Countryside Agency
www.countryside.gov.uk

Leather Connection
www.theleatherconnection.com



Courses to help you become a Leather Craftworker