Vegetable-Tanned Tooling Leather

Also referred to as "Veg-Tan", these leathers have an open unfinished surface suitable for carving, tooling, stamping and dying to your desired color. We currently offer five varieties of tooling leather.

Tooling Leathers

Each leather offers a particular set of thickness, "body" (stiff to drapey) and "hand" (crisp to buttery soft). Selection of tooling leather depends upon the nature of the project as well as personal taste and preference. All of our tooling leathers are easily cut with a standard pair of scissors, and can be skived if desired.

Thickness of Veg-Tanned Leathers

Euro-Veg Tooling Cow

Weight: 2 oz*
Average Thickness: 1mm or or .038" or <1/16"

— [Range: .03 - .042"]

This leather is similar to our usual Tooling Cow, and sometimes can be hard to tell the difference between the two. As with our standard Tooling Cow, Euro-Veg easily takes carving, stamping and dye colors. It is a good choice for Traditional Scale western saddles, and what we consider it interchangeable in our Saddle Kits.

Tooling Cow

Weight: 2-2.5 oz*
Average Thickness: 1.1mm or or .045" or ~1/16"

— [Range: .03 - .049"]

Made from mature cowhide, this leather easily takes tooling and stamping. It has an overall crisp and substantial feel to it with some softness, and is not as prone to stretching or warping when worked as the tooling calf. It is a good choice for Traditional Scale western saddles, and what we usually include in our Saddle Kits.

Tooling Calf

Weight: 1.5-2 oz*
Average Thickness: .9mm or .035" or ~1/32"

— [Range: .025 - .038"]

Made from younger cattle, this leather is trimmed to be thinner. It also has a very buttery hand and has a supple soft body with some drape, compared to Cow or Euro-Veg. This leather tends to warp a bit more when carved or tooled, but it also is easily formed and shaped.

Our tooling calf also tends to have some blemishes, even among the best pieces. (usually oddities in the coloring, but sometimes a bit of texture, creases, etc). This leather does tend to be a lighter color than our other tooling leathers.

Black Kip Leather

Weight: 2 - 2.5 oz*
Average Thickness: .9mm or .036" or >1/32" — [Range: .032 - .040"]

— [Range: .025 - .038"]

Vegetable-Tanned and drum-dyed black, this Kip leather is a dyed tooling leather. Drum-dying ensures the color goes all the way through the leather... and thus, as a vegetable-tanned tooling leather, it can be carved and stamped as-is.

This black leather is fairly dense and averages a little less than 1mm thick. It has semi-matte finish with a fine, smooth top-surface grain, with a little stretch limited to across the grain. It is in the middle between firm and drapey, with a relatively soft feel to the surface. Black Kip is extremely smooth and consistent, and can be skived.

Available only in black color, this leather is suitable for western or english saddles and tack, harness items, costume items and more.

Available in 5x6" and 10x6" pieces.

Black Leathers

Fine Tooling Goat

Weight: 1-1.5 oz*
Average Thickness: .6mm or .024" or <1/32"

— [Range: .020 - .028"]

This very thin tooling leather made from goatskin has a very stiff and crisp body, yet has a somewhat buttery hand to the touch on the surface. Skilled artisans can carve this leather, and it takes stamping well considering how thin this leather is. It is also dense for its weight with a tight, fine surface grain.

This leather is suitable for Bijoux saddles, as well as larger sized projects such as saddlebags and cases, scabbards and more, where a thicker leather would be too bulky. This fine Tooling Goat does tend to have some surface color imperfections, which can be mitigated with tooling or dyes.

Please note that the color and shade of vegetable-tanned leather varies from batch to batch, as well as with age, and exposure to light and air.

* — some leather pieces or portions thereof may be a little thicker or thinner than noted. Color may vary slightly.

Leather Size Comparison Chart

Tooling Leathers
Part No. Description Price
TOOLING COW — 2-2.5 oz. / 1.1mm / .045" / ~1/16"
LT2Tooling Cow Leather, 8.5x 5.5" piece$12.00 each
LT4Tooling Cow Seconds, 8.5x5.5" piece
pieces have obvious imperfections, as available
$5.75 each
LT3Tooling Cow Scrap Bag   See Odd Lots Page
EURO-VEG TOOLING COW — 1.5-2 oz. / 1mm / .038" / <1/16"
LVT18Euro-Veg Tooling Cow Leather, 8.5x 5.5" piece$9.75 each
LVT21Euro-Veg Tooling Cow Seconds, 8.5x5.5"
pieces have obvious imperfections, as available
$5.00 each
LVT26Euro-Veg Leather Scrap Bag   See Odd Lots Page
BLACK KIP — 2-2.5 oz. / .9mm / .036" / <1/16"
LKIP2Black Kip, 5 x 6" piece$4.00 each
LKIP4Black Kip, 6 x 10" piece$8.00 each
LKIP6Black Kip Scrap Bag   See Odd Lots Page
TOOLING CALF — 1.5-2 oz. / .9mm / .035" / ~1/32"
LCT8Tooling Calf Leather, 8.5x 5.5" piece$8.00 each
LCT13Tooling Calf Seconds, 8.5x5.5" piece
pieces have obvious imperfections, as available
$4.50 each
LCT6Tooling Calf Scrap Bag   See Odd Lots Page
FINE TOOLING GOAT — 1-1.5 oz. / .6mm / .024" / < <1/32"
GTF7Fine Tooling Goat Leather, 8.5x 5.5" piece$5.00 each
GTF12Fine Tooling Goat Scrap Bag   See Odd Lots Page

Information about Tooling Leathers

Thickness & Weight
Leather weights indicate approximately how much 1 square foot of leather weighs. Generally speaking, the lighter the weight, the thinner the leather. However, in actuality, the thickness can vary due to differences between animals, tanning batch, type of animal the hide comes from and a variety of other factors.

Surface Marks & Imperfections
It is important to note that cattle aren't known as the smartest critters on the planet, and due to that fact, as well as leather being a natural product, there may be some minor variations in surface texture, coloring or small mars or blemishes here and there. Tooling/carving and dying usually renders most minor imperfections undetectable.

Tooling leather comes in "natural" color... which is a buff or light flesh-colored tone. Please note that tooling leather (as well as other vegetable-tanned leathers, such as Skiver) will darken or develop a darker "patina" when exposed to light and air, due to effects of oxidization. This is a normal and natural process. If you wish your leather to remain very light colored, store it covered, and away from exposure to light. Applying a leather finish coating on your finished projects can help slow or stop this process.

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