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Mulligan31

Is there a reasonably priced leather supplier recommendation

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Might be an idea to tell us where you are.

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In addition to your location, if you give us more information on what you are doing with this leather, and what kind of leather you are looking for, we can help a lot better!

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In lieu of any other qualifiers, Springfield Leather Co. is one of my go-to sources.  They have both an online catalog and a printed one should that appeal to you.  It generally has some helpful info in it in addition to the products.

 

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Thanks all for taking the time to respond.  So much shopping is done online now it never occurred to me to give a location. I am in North east ohio. I have only been learning this craft a couple of weeks so it also didn’t occur to me to mention what I was doing. I have so far been doing small projects. Wallets and pen holders and bracelets. I have been working with 4/5 oz veg tan and that seems to work out well. I just foot a beginners tooling set so I want to give that a try as well. 

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8 hours ago, Mulligan31 said:

So far I have bought 4/5 ounce veg tan leather from Tandy. Is there a consensus on where a beginner can get cheap leather? 

as @Tugadude advised, solidarity

 

 

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I buy from Goliger leather in California.  Dont know about cheap though. I have learned that cheap is, well, cheap. Hermann Oak is reliable and consistent. I buy the sides. I've been benn doing this a while though. And saying that, I had a piece of 4/5 tandy veg tan I bought cheap that hung around my bench for a couple of years before I threw it out. Maverick leather and Montana leather have veg tan that's better than tandy and will sell it by the square foot.

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I use Tandy, Springfield and Weaver.  It's going to depend more on the project and if it's for you or sale.   I do leather work for fun and give away what I make or throw it in a box and move to the next project.

If your just starting out and want to learn nothing wrong with Tandy been using their leather for almost 40 years and have belts and holsters most people could not tell the difference between Tandy and Herman Oaks. 

I do like Herman Oaks and it's definitely very good leather tools good again it's depends on what your doing.

Give Springfield Leather a call nice people to talk to and see what they have on sale.

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All thanks For the input and guidance. I will check out the various recommendations. This is probably a naive question but what causes the quality difference between for instance a Tandy 4/5 oz veg tan and a Herman 4/5 oz vegtan  

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My guess would be how the hide is treated before tanning. Also the ingredients used in the tanning. I had double shoulder from Tandy that smelled like piss when it was wet.

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Really. So it’s fair to say there is a meaningful difference in the quality and this isn’t just a matter of preference. I will have to get some different stuff and see. The problem with starting out is the waste. 

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On 11/16/2022 at 4:10 PM, Mulligan31 said:

Really. So it’s fair to say there is a meaningful difference in the quality and this isn’t just a matter of preference. I will have to get some different stuff and see. The problem with starting out is the waste. 

If you're looking for the cheapest option go to Springfield leather and get a few bags of the scrap leather(veg). You can get different weights and also a mix of Herman Oak and import so you can tell the difference. Don't be fooled into thinking there's not usable sized pieces because there are. Also get a leather gauge ($4.00) so you can tell the different weights and what works best for ordering in the future. 

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On 11/16/2022 at 2:10 PM, Mulligan31 said:

Really. So it’s fair to say there is a meaningful difference in the quality and this isn’t just a matter of preference. I will have to get some different stuff and see. The problem with starting out is the waste. 

Use the cheap leather for learning on. Practice the things you want to do later on -- stitching, tooling, dyeing, etc.  Give away (or scrap bin) the projects that didn't quite work.

You should know also that many leather suppliers will sell you a piece of leather cut to a certain size, and even skive it to a certain thickness for you. So if you need a 12 X 12 inch piece of 4 oz. leather, for example, it's much more affordable to get a luxury leather panel in that size than to buy a whole hide. 

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I have been buying some panels from Buckleguy just to venture out into some leathers I don't have. Also, if someone wants something in a color I don't have, I'll check the panels first as to not buy a side of something that may sit along time. You can also buy seconds panels from them. Cut from the parts of a side where there may be defects. I use these all the time as these "defects" add character.....

Also, welcome from another Ohioan!

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Can't add much but I get most of mine from SLC and I think I have had 1 maybe 2 pieces of HO , most of what I use is just fine for practice .  I try and look at cost like I do ammunition for the other hobby , doesn't seem to sting quite as bad.

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Buy direct from Wickett & Craig in PA.

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1 hour ago, DaveP said:

Buy direct from Wickett & Craig in PA.

Great leather, but not t all cheap.

 

On 11/16/2022 at 5:10 PM, Mulligan31 said:

Really. So it’s fair to say there is a meaningful difference in the quality and this isn’t just a matter of preference. I will have to get some different stuff and see. The problem with starting out is the waste. 

Tandy has some good-quality leather, but their prices for the good stuff are right up there with Wicket & Crain and Hermann Oak. I was over a year into my leather journey when I bought my first HO, and I discovered that carving and tooling doesn't have to be such hard work. Folding HO didn't crack it, edges burnished more easily and to a better final shine, dyes went in more easily, cutting out patterns didn't dull my knife as fast.

It's not a perfect analogy, but think of it like playing golf: Tiger Woods will beat me every time, even with the worst quality clubs possible (good craftsmen can get great results with almost any leather). But I'm going to play better, and enjoy it more, if I have quality clubs that fit me (if I buy higher quality leather).

You should buy a 1 square foot panel of W&C and HO and compare it side by side with whatever you're using. Smell it, feel it, cut it, carve it, stamp it, dye it, and burnish it. Only you can decide whether the difference is worth premium price.

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Earlier this year I wanted to make a belt and decided to try a blank of Tandy's premium veg tanned leather. It was actually more expensive than the same thing in Herman's Oak at S&D Trading across town. Was it better? Certainly not and I relearned my lesson about Tandy's tooling leather.

I only do small projects for myself now and Herman's Oak can be found on e-bay in the right weight and sizes I need at reasonable prices. 

Using lower quality leather to learn tooling is mostly a waste of time and money as poor quality yields poor results. Go ahead and spend a little more to see the difference. 

Edited by doubleh

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All the suppliers mention here are going to take care of you just fine. Build a relationship with the company you fine is your best fit. 
 

We all are going to make mistakes and we are all going to fix them. However, the way they get fixed are going to vary and very likely that will vary between different employees you might speak with. 
 

We have customers that call and request to speak to specific customers service employees we have, because they have built that trust with them. 
 

So all of that…to say…this group has done a good job of giving you great places to reach out too. 
 

Best of luck in your leather adventures!

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late to the party but decades of experience to suggest don't shoot for the top end just yet.  Find a local leather retailer carrying any of the names already suggested; there are many in your area but you want accessibility so YOU get to pick out hides you want.  Then seek out a saddler near you and contact them.  Offer to buy lunch; if you connect remember lunch is on you forever; they might like the idea of you picking up a fast food sandwich and spending a lunch hour with them.  DO NOT become a pain for them so remember to treat their time accordingly; make our a list of questions before getting together; not too many on any occasion, (right?).  The idea is just get to see their shop, get a "whiff of the good life".

As for leather buying; don't go for the best until an advisor as above tells you you're making a good product.  Get used to the idea that time ... plenty of it is your ally.  You need an expert opinion ... without becoming a (what again? ... yeh, you got it).

stay away from the hobby shops. and you will soon learn quality/price.  Certainly don't need 'best' grade leather yet.

So, find a leather retailer (saddle leather retailer a search to try as well) and go from their.

Follow the above  and you'll come out of the dark into the light, faster.

 

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