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10 Signs You're A REAL Leathercrafter (#3 Is Painfully True!)

If you're new to leathercraft then you might not identify with all these signs yet, rather this list serves as a taste (warning?) of things to come!


Leatherwork is no different to any other hobby (obsession?) whereby the average enthusiast loses much of their cognitive powers to thoughts of leather, tools, videos, books or anything related to our craft for that matter.

It's a passion (sickness?) that has taken over many of us. But rest assured, you are not alone in this. Together we will enable each other, holding hands as we go deeper down the rabbit hole.

Don't forget, if I've missed any other signs please comment below. I'd love to hear your thoughts!


1. You mentally deconstruct every bag that passes by

So there you are, walking down the street minding your own business and suddenly, out of nowhere, a bag with an unusual gusset design goes by.


You turn around to get a better look. You've never seen this type of gusset before with a welt down the side, or was it folded? Hmm. You ponder this for some time trying to figure out how it was made.

The person carrying the bag could have been dressed in a gorilla suit holding a gun, you wouldn't have noticed, so strong is the leatherworker's distraction.



But what you have noticed is the look on your wife's face. 'Hun, honestly, I was looking at her handbag'.

Well my friend, you're certainly going to get a close look at your wife's handbag now, as it fast approaches your head!



2. Raw edges deeply upset you

As you take your first steps as a new leatherworker, many things are realised in a short space of time.

Things like, there's more to edge painting than putting paint on an edge, the couch leather scraps you tried to make a wallet from are garbage (you thought you'd found a cheap hack there didn't you?) and vegetable tanned leather can be burnished to a super smooth edge like magic, quite easily too.


Armed with these basic truths, imagine your shock as you walked into that trendy hipster store, and there lying on the table for everyone to see in broad daylight, are minimalist wallets and belts with, *shudders* raw edges! The horror, the audacity! 'How could they go that far and not finish the job?' you scream hysterically.


You gesture your husband towards the exit, grab the kids by the shoulders and spin them around, then march straight out the doors. Only looking back to scowl disappointedly at the staff. I feel a Google review brewing.


3. You wish your life was as organised as your tools

Just look at all those pricking irons neatly stacked in a row. Each set organised by size and meticulously presented in ascending order.

You glance over to see your selection of paring and cutting knives, safe in the knowledge that each blade is ready for use at a moment's notice since you've gotten into the good habit of sharpening before putting them away (you have haven't you?).

You could close your eyes and still know where everything is. There's a sense of order, everything makes sense, all your tools are there precisely because they need to be. Nothing is illogical.


Just don't forget your kids needed picking up from school.. 30 minutes ago.



4. Your work computer sees more leatherwork than actual work

Thank goodness for 'Ctrl-Tab', the quick and easy way to seamlessly switch to the next tab in your browser as the boss walks by.

Because what you're searching for is NSFW (Nice Skins For leatherWork) and you've been caught looking at exotics before. A final warning could loom in the not too distant future.


However, this is not your first rodeo, you have many measures in place so that you and your sweaty palms can safely spend an astonishing percentage of your workday researching your favourite leather sites, fantasising about that next project.


*Knock-knock*


(Ctrl-Tab)


'Come in!'



5. You ask Alexa for the weather and she assumes you said leather

As one of the most intelligent forms of AI on planet earth, the gatekeeping enabler to your ever growing addiction of amazon purchases knows a thing or two about you, and what's on your mind.

So if you ask about the weather and she thinks you said leather, just assume she's probably right and go with it.



6. You consider saddle stitching a form of mindful meditation

It's been a long hard day at work, that irritating colleague you can't stand was in your department all damn day! You know the one, she always has to 'one up' all your stories. If you've vacationed in Tenerife, she's been to 'Elevenerife'.


The day mercifully ends, and after wading through the usual traffic, you get home and throw your keys on the side table, shower, then put on some fresh clothes.

You go to put the TV on, but somehow your heart rate is still high from the stresses of the day and you feel unsettled, like you need to do something other than vegetate on the couch.


So, you walk into your craft room, and there on the table is that wallet project you've been working on. You forgot you only have the stitching and edge finishing left to do!

Your brain releases a hit of dopamine. You smile.


You sit down, needles in hand and project in clams. As calming music plays in the background, you can think of nothing else but the task at hand. Your mind begins to unravel as you pull your stitches in tight. Suddenly everything feels right in the world again. Even your breathing aligns with the rhythmic process of the saddle stitch.


And as your heart rate finally comes back to normal and you feel whole again, you think to yourself 'I'm totally gonna tell that 'Elevenerife' joke in the office tomorrow!'



7. Edge paint drying is your trigger to make coffee

The devils bean has a very strong call, and that call is never stronger than after applying a layer of edge paint.

Oh yes, all that crafting momentum, then all of a sudden you realise the first layer needs a good 20-40 minutes to dry. But what to do? Oh, you know exactly what to do!


Now, if you were as organised as your tool rack, you would have realised the need to set up another task in advance so you can carry on working as the paint dries.

But hey, it's been a stressful day at work after all and your brain is fried. You know exactly what you need, a Nespress...COFFEE!



8. When you see leather, it will be touched

You know the videos, everyone is making them. The artisan throws a beautiful skin or hide over their work table like a fresh bed sheet. Then they proceed to look longingly at it like a lover. Nervous yet excited, the anticipation grows.

Finally, they slowly yet confidently caress the skin with their bare hands making sure to rub every part of the grain.

Some parts slow, some fast but always building the intimacy into a sensual crescendo.


After that, they start cutting into it with a sharp knife. Freud would have something to say.

If you're watching these kind of videos at work, just make sure you have some nude images to quickly switch to in the next tab. At least you'll have less explaining to do!


But I agree, leather sure is nice to touch.



9. You spend longer in the handbag department than your wife

Yes, I got you pegged! You've been walking around that high end department store for hours. Then suddenly you stumble into a boutique shop specialising in luxury leather goods.

You've been deconstructing bags you've seen on the street all day, so finally, this is now bag deconstruction nirvana!


You know the wife is looking at shoes on the other side of the store, so you pick up your fist bag to get a good look and see how they did that turned edge on both sides at the end of the zip.

'Can I help you with anything today sir?' rings in your ear behind you. 'No, go away' you say in your head.

You pause to assert dominance, feign a smile, then confidently turn around to send the sales assistant on his merry way. You're a pro at this now.


However, your wife has just walked in at this precise moment and clocks the bag you're holding. 'Oh, that would look gorgeous in red' she says.

'Actually, we have one left in red, I'll just go and get it, one moment' says the sales assistant.


Sorry pal, there are no brakes on this train. Choo-choo!


10. YouTube's algorithm has literally given up suggesting non-leathercraft videos

Every day you open YouTube and normally you're bombarded with desperate topic alternatives that YouTube thinks you may be interested in, hoping to keep you on the platform for longer and eye slap you with as many ads as they can get away with.


Do you like ship disasters? Mindful pumpkin carving perhaps? How about this guy who repairs a 186yo clock only to find a note from his great great grandfather inside, 'YOU WON'T BELIEVE WHAT IT SAYS!😲'.

But unlike the 23 million other people, you could care less. Unless that note from great great grandpappy explains how to measure gussets accurately, you keep scrolling...



You've worn the algorithm down to a submissive nub from your stubbornness and outright refusal to play any of it's games.

You tap the three vertical dots on every non-leather video and select 'not interested' by default. You'll sit through endless car insurance and injury lawyer ads with your finger hovering over 'Skip Ads' ready to pounce like a tiger the moment the countdown ends.


Finally, just to spite you, YouTube only offers you leathercraft videos that you've already watched a dozen times.


But congratulations, you beat YouTube. You're a REAL leatherworker after all!


Don't forget, if I've missed any other signs please comment below. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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Number 9 for the win. I never imagined looking forward to the handbag section of any store and now I can't escape it. My wife feeds the fire as she has a goal for me...Coach style saddlebag purse. She already picked the leather. We went into a Louis Vuitton store - just browsing, of course.

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It gets us all in the end Larry! 🤣

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Number 10 is right on! I love walking into LV to take pictures of the details on the bag's. The sales person asks me if I want to SEE anything. Lol! Actually, I explained to them that I was a "learning" leathercrafter, showed the pictures of my work from my phone and they were impressed. They then let me take photos of anything.

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Nice! That's a decent sales assistant!

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ymalnack
ymalnack
Oct 21, 2022

I couldn’t stop laughing while I was reading this! All of these tiny behavioral things we do is what makes us!

Cheers, Phil. 🍻

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Thanks young! It's funnier when it's true 😂

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lcallawayjr
lcallawayjr
Oct 21, 2022

Good start. Please add 11: Tool obsession, “Wow, I’ve got to get one of those.“

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Veronica (Nica)
Veronica (Nica)
Oct 21, 2022
Replying to

If that is the only sickness we all share, we should be so lucky!

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Several folders of screenshots and photographs of personal experiments in leatherwork, future things to try, leatherwork progress, techniques from exceptional leathercrafters, etc.


Also, I have an opportunity to come in contact with many different (usually middle of the road) brands that make leather bags. It is striking how LOW the quality of leathwork in most commercial production is. To an untrained eye a lancet handle with a 6mm+ thread and 5mm stitch distance isn't anything unusual but to us (I assume people in the blog do fine/european style leatherwork) that is a different story.


Many crafters on instagram make amazing leathergoods that major luxury brands do not even come close to. It comes to show that Luxury is all…


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Thank you for that insight Misha. Yes I agree with you. I'm glad you enjoyed the post 🙂

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