Tooled Leather

Tooled leather is available on many JLS Leather goods.  When we use that term, we mean we have used carving tools to create shapes and designs in the leather, much like molding clay.

Many designate stamped or embossed leather as”tooled”, but these are not the same thing.  We have no objection to these other methods of decorating leather.  Indeed we offer all of these methods of enhancing leather.  But due to very different labor time involved, we would like to quickly describe the difference.


Tooled leather

tooled leather beltTooled leather uses various hand tools to mold the leather to suit the design.   It is the most versatile of the methods, as virtually any design and texture can be made in the leather.  Size or shape of the leather does not limit tooling.

Tooling leather is also the most time consuming method and the one requiring the most skill and practice.  Good tooling comes with increased costs; the other methods, less increase.


Stamped leather

Stamped LeatherStamped leather involves some shape tapped into the leather – usually with a mallet and repeatedly – in some pattern to make a design.  These include the popular “basket weave” stamp designs, geometric patterns, and alphabet shapes to add names or initials.  Each tool makes only one specific design impression, but using them in succession can create interesting patterns.  When done correctly, it looks good.  Consider our hand stamped belts.  This does require some attention to detail, but not the same skill or time as tooled leather.


Embossed leather

Embossed Belt CelticEmbossed Leather features a design pressed into the leather with a plate or embossing roller wheel.   The shape and size of the plate or wheel limit what can be done with it.  Our logo stamp would be a good example of an embossing plate.  It’s is a “tool” and it is “stamped” into the leather, but the impression is set; it makes one design.

We offer some embossed designs.  Properly done it is attractive and fast.  But, it’s not “hand tooled”.