Tooling and Carving Leather

Tooling and Carving Leather Here is a pattern I drew out with a pencil that is the shape of this saddle skirt I used a saddle makers awl saddle makers awl to transfer this pattern to the wet leather (which has been cased) draw that on there like that then come
back with a Barry King swivel knife (swivel tool) This is the swivel knife I use it has a 1/4″ hollow ground blade in it 1/4″ instead of a 3/8″ This is a solid brass Barry King swivel knife with a heat treated steel blade swivel knife I lay the dry skirt right on top of the wet skirt the wet saddle skirt using a cobblers hammer I will tap off the design onto the wet and cased leather to transfer the leather design make sure that it is lined up Tooling and carving leather with Bruce Cheaney cutting the leather design into the wet leather with a swivel knife now I am going to use a Craftool A888 for the background matting tool The bevelers I will be using are Craftools B802 and Craftool B803 available from Tandy Leather Factory in Ft. Worth Texas Craftool B802 medium size beveler the one background tool I will be using the most is a Craftool B803 I like the crosshatch on the bevel tools it is somewhat course and I really like the look it produces on the leather design somewhat course but looks great! and then this is a vintage leather tool called a pear shader similar to a Craftool P207, P209 or P215 Craftool pear shader with straight lines that I will be coming in here to detail these leaves out with I will mash that down and bruise the ends to give the tooling and carving some rich detail and depth the first thing I do is to bevel around all the stems leaves and flowers with the craftool b802 and b803 bevel round everything and then come
back then shade and bruise my leaves then come back with my swivel knife and put my decorative cut marks on the flower leaves and stems and then do the background work with the Craftool A888 that little matting tool with the crosshatch Craftool a888 stamping the background with the craftool and a leather maul that weighs 22 oz. detailing and backgrounding to give the tooling and carving depth Tooling and Carving with Bruce Cheaney Thanks for Watching You are Welcome to subscribe to my YouTube Channel…I would appreciate a Thumbs Up! A picture of my leather tooling and carving and stamping tools leather mauls I use You are welcome to watch my other leathercraft and leatherworking videos


  • what kind of leather is used in this video?

  • Wish I could make those smooth graceful cuts in either direction—I have to rotate the leather as I do them in sections and one direction is easier for me than the other.

  • Thank you so much for sharing your videos with us…your work is so stunning…

  • Hey guys.
    I am new into the hobby of bookbinding, and was wondering what sort of leather you are using? I guess it have to Not be so thick, so you can fold it properly around your bookcover, and also, it have to be some sort of leather, that can be embossed with leather tools 🙂
    I hope you guys notice this message, and would be so kind, as to reply it 🙂
    Looking forward to give my first book a proper and nice looking (hopefully) book cover.
    Already put the book together, just need the leather ^_^

  • hollo  I  like your  leather I have many  idea and I  want  to  learn about leather
    I  live in  thailand

  • Thank you for uploading this. I've been researching ever since i found this video and just realized i have 2 Tandy leather stores here in my city. Come payday I'll be picking some tools and getting started.

    Total inspiration.

  • Sir, you are indeed a craftsman.  This is really, really nice work.

  • Mr Cheaney, when you tool leather in this way does it have to have a certain stiffness to it or can you achieve results like this with leather which is fairly supple?

    My aim is to make myself a motorcycle seat with a basic seat pan, foam and saddle stitched leather top and bottom. I bought my first piece of veg tan leather last week. It averages .08" to .095" thickness and is quite supple, I'd prefer almost .125" but this piece was a bargain. I figured it would be good for the underside of the seat, or practice if I make a mess of it, since it has some branding marks I thought might tool out, lol, only cost me 6 bucks for apiece almost the size you're working in this video.

    My swivel knive arrived today, sharpened it some with 400 paper, it cuts ok on dry leather but I've ordered some rouge so once I get to cutting designs I should do some decent cuts once  I wet it out… but will it stamp ok with tools like this?  I don't want to wet it yet and test it until I'm ready to put time into working with it.

    When ever I see people work leather like you are here it seems quite stiff even with water moisture added. If my leather is too soft will I fall flat when it comes to tooling with a mallet? It was sold as molding and embossing, and I'm sure it would mold/emboss so it should be ok to tool aswell? Sorry for the essay but I wanted you to have as much information as possible so you could answer accordingly. Thanks for putting a great channel on youtube, learned a lot and subscribed. take care.

  • you have a great eye for flow and symmetry, 2:28 look at that! So good and so nice and evenly balanced… your lines all agree with each other so well. I'm curious to know if when you cut the second half of the design with your swivel, are you looking at the first half you did or just following the imprint of your tracing? I can hardly see any tracing. I'm sure your view affords you a better view of your stylus marks than I can see on my TV, this almost looks like freehand work… but still, do you just follow the lines and cut if your pattern was good or do you refer to the cuts already made? Hope I make sense. thanks.

  • one more question if I may… have you ever heard of a swivel knife having two blades? So when you cut, instead of doing one cut line it cuts two parallel lines? I feel sure I've seen it somewhere but I can't find it again. I may be confusing myself with an edge creaser or something.


  • Hello Bruce, I really enjoy your videos & all your tips, techniques, helpful advice & your work. It all comes in handy when I'm working on my own leather projects. Thanks & keep up the great work!

    Respectfully Yours :

    Shawn W. Bell

  • This is like folk art on leather. Wonderful you are an Artist. Love it. x

  • I am speechless, this is beyond beautiful. What kind and oz. of leather are you using sir, it looks like HermanOak, if it is then I'm not buying anything else from now on buy that. thank you for the video, a true craftsman.

  • What is the definition of "leather carving" vs. "leather tooling"?

  • Thanks, that's what I thought. With all the videos I watch I needed to know. I only hope that I can someday be a fraction as good as you.

  • I have a hard time carving deep enough into the leather. In your video, it looks like you are not really pressing that hard and the knife is just gliding smoothly, but still making deep cuts. Do you have any tips for that? My swivel knife blade is pretty sharp (I think, but how do I know if it is sharp enough?) but if I press down hard to go deeper, the knive gets kind of stuck and is hard to pull. I've tried with the leather wetter or drier or cased overnight, etc. Thanks for any advice…

  • Beautiful work Bruce. I like your background much better than the standard Sheridan style background tools people use.

  • I love this stuff, Where can i buy thick leather if you would happen to know would be awesome i want to make a wallet but out of thick leather

  • so… AWESOME!

  • amazing

  • super workıng

  • Beautiful art works.Tq

  • OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG>>>WOW>>>>WOW>>>>MASTER…Im like "dude you gottta stop this" TALENT. Gorgeous.

  • That's some skill!

  • Bruce Good! what did those forms (holes) in the middle of the flower?
      You are a great artist!
    Thank you

  • Very beautiful. I'm thinking of doing custom leather work in my truck, all bespoke and handcrafted. Similar to that of the likes of Rolls Royce, or a Bentley. In fact if i become as good as you are, hopefully start my own company and install custom leather into client's vehicles. I'm fed up with all the plastics and fake leather that comes factory standard in most vehicles. For an interior with leather as fine as this, you have to spend upwards of $200,000 for a vehicle.

  • can you tool on a saddle that already put together?

  • Absolutely one of those master classes, wow such beautiful craftsmanship and stunning detail. Thank you for sharing your amazing skills.

  • Absolutely gorgeous! Well done sir!

  • Best regards from Oxford, UK, lovely craftsmanship, thank you for sharing your artwork with us.

  • Bruce, you are a master but I have a question –
    At :48 you said "3/8" blade…" Is that 3/8 or 3/16? I'm learning so I have questions.

  • When you stamp and bevel, is your leather wet or dry?

  • Bruce would have been nice to see you working with the camera in front of your hands, so we can see the way you work your magic. Just a thought. Lloyd.

  • At the end of your video you show the 6 tools you used. Can you tell me their names? I want to get into leather working and didn't want to buy a generic starter kit. I want to do specific patterns similar to what you did in this video. Thank you!

  • on a scale of 1-10, one being tapping a nail in and 10 being chiseling stone. how hard are you tapping your tools into the leather

  • Serious respect Sir! I know that it takes great patience and skill to do what you're doing. I've been trying to get some tools together to start into leather carving.

  • Always enjoy watching a craftsman at work. Excellent!

  • you are amazing at this sir

  • Great video, thank you. You are an inspiration to those of us new to the craft.

  • I was doing a reinforcement for my shoulder holster and I changed the dimension of my piece after tooling it, how can you prevent that from happening?

  • what kind of leather is it, its very thick..

  • Brilliant

  • Love it thanks for sharing

  • Very nice Bruce. You've got me beat LOL Picked up a few really nice tips. Thanks!

  • amazing craftsmanship, attention and focus.

  • Waw peace of art

  • Are there any dvd's you'd recommend for a beginner? Or how should I go about getting started?

  • wow fantastic work. all i want to do is make a diary cover hahaha. i dont even know how you get wet leather or how to even begin. please make a tutorial

  • Awesome… like your job and I'd like to learn leather crafts specially after your video

  • You are amazing! I have learned so much from your videos, thank you for your willingness to share your craft ❤️. I have wanted to try this for a long time. I've made the rounds for practice and just made my first dog collar, it's not perfect, but I learn each time I make something. Please continue making your videos! They really are helpful to beginners like myself. God Bless.

  • stunning !!!

  • Hi, Bruce! Can you tell me why you prefer a Barry King Swivel Tool over Tandy's? I'm learning the art myself and love it! Would love to make saddles, but the only custom saddler I knew went back to Texas.

  • Howdy there Bruce. Do you tilt you back ground stamp down in the bevel when back grounding where you have beveled around your carving? I like you like the cross hatch bevel but when I back ground it covers up my cross hatch bevel. That was the reason I ask you yesterday if skipping beveling would matter where you have to back grounding. It looks to me that it does the same to you. Great videos that do help. Only wish I was the artisan you are with it. Excellent work.

  • Beautiful beautiful work but difficult to hear what you are saying…?

  • Bruce. I'm hoping you can settle the controversy I keep hearing on the use of olive oil on veg tan leather. Some say it is OK, others say it harms the leather. If you use it, do you top coat with resolene?

  • Thank you Bruce. As always I appreciate your insight and advise.

  • Excellent!

  • Love this. So useful.

  • Where did you buy those stamps?

  • Very nice, you have a very calming and relaxing style Sir. Now ive got to watch all of your videos ?

  • Is it possible use salvage leather for carving? Do I need to harden the salvage leather before I decide to carve in it? "most salvage leathe that have are all soft and worn"

  • Awesome video. Very interesting and informative. ?

  • Hi Bruce, tanks for your tutorials.

  • Beautiful

  • Bruce, if I sent you a bag pattern could you please tool it for me? I really love your work 🙂

  • Great job !

  • Watching you work is a pleasure and very informative. I was very reluctant to attempt carving since it appears very difficult, but after watching the beginner videos, I feel confident trying my hand at it. Thank you for passing on the knowledge!


  • Unfortunately i can't use the swivel knife because i have no stability with my right hand. It's possible to use another type of knives? Like a x-acto or a curved knife ?

  • Beautiful! Just curious, are you left handed?

  • Come to Scotland and teach me you can stay with me the wife and kids 🙂

  • good

  • I am new to the leather work and really love to watch your videos . Your work is excellent and I am learning a great deal. Thank you very much. God bless.

  • one of my childhood memories is laying in bed waking up it might be 2 or 3 in the morning
    to the sound of my dad tapping on leather, he was also a great leather carver.
    Your work has to be the closest i have seen to his extremely sharp and clean.

  • This is so incredible! So satisfying to watch a master at work 🙂 great job Bruce!

  • ময়ূর নকশা

  • I couldnot do that but i love to see .tq

  • Absolutely stunning work.

  • Wow I was shocked at the price of the granite/marble slabs ? the rest of the tools were very affordable. I was lucky enough to find a decent sized piece of pink marble in my local cemetery, looked like it was once a base/stand for an urn maybe.. 24"×18" and 2" thick. If you're just starting out have a look in your local graveyard and you may get lucky too ?

  • Bruce, I would like to know what edging tool you used on this design.

  • Bruce, I meant Border tool.

  • I'm start to doing my video blog, welcome to look my art work please!

  • what do you wet the leather with

  • worth every penny!

  • Thank you so much for your videos. I just make a leather holster and added some basket weave and other tooling to it and for my first try at tooling leather it looks pretty darn good. Thanks again.

  • If i don't have a swivel knife would an exacto blade work?

  • This video should’ve been far longer. I would’ve loved to see it slowly come together.

  • I wonder what this guy's name is? Lol kidding I love the vids Bruce!!


  • Beautiful work. ???

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