Leather is a difficult topic to write about; it’s one of the first textiles that humans have ever used to create things - if not the first! There are endless ways to prepare, treat, and create things with it, so I’ll start by narrowing my scope: I’d like to make it less intimidating to start working with and using veg tanned leather.
Even if you wear armour that’s made of steel or cloth, leather still forms an integral part of your kit. It’s the belts and buckles that binds everything together, it’s the gloves under your gauntlets, it’s your turnshoes that always leak just a little bit when the field is muddy, it’s the bags and bottles that hang from your belt, and it’s the complex, multi-layered, painted and carved leather armour that creaks so satisfyingly when you move in it.
So if you want to make, modify, or even just take proper care of your kit, it makes sense to at least have a passing familiarity with leather. To that end, I’m going to show you a series of exhaustive videos that are going to go into way more detail than you’re realistically going to need about some of the very beginner aspects of leathercrafting.
The video will take you through how to cut veg tan, but why do I like veg tan so much more than other kinds of leather - and there are plenty! Chrome tan, alum tan, brain tan - if it’s gross and hazardous, you can probably tan leather in it.
If you’re using leather for a historical or fantastical purpose, veg tan is just the obvious choice! Not only is it more “historically accurate” (if such a thing exists), but the material itself can be much thicker and stronger, and is much better for the environment to boot. Veg tan is the only leather that you can carve and tool designs into, and it’s the only leather that comes thick enough to make sturdy structures out of - whether that’s armour for combat or a costrel for your drink break.
There’s a certain something I get from working with leather - a connection to a shared past, a feeling of carrying on a craft that predates history. To put it more simply in the words of Bender Bending Rodriguez:
"Nothing beats the rustic wholesomeness of working with one's own hands."
So I hope that you’ll join me on this little journey as I show you the very basics of how to approach this hobby, and maybe even show me some of the leather projects you’ve undertaken! You guys take it easy, and I’ll catch you later.