When I started looking to buy leather, one of the most confusing aspects I ran into was figuring out how thick I needed the leather piece to be. To make things worse, most leather vendors sell their leather with an ounce rating (ie. 4-5 oz, 6-7 oz, and 8-9oz).
I don’t get it!
How does a unit of weight (ounce) correlate to leather thickness? Well after some research I was able to make sense of all of this.
How Leather Thickness is Measured
Leather thickness is usually measured in ounces, not sure why so let’s just move on. One ounce is equivalent to 0.4 mm or 1/64 of inch. Most online leather retailers do not list the thickness of leather in inches so we will stick mainly to the ounce and millimeter ratings.
This handy little chart should provide some assistance for when you are after a specific leather thickness for your leather craft projects.
Please keep in mind that there are variances to the thickness of leather.
Leather comes from an animal. Like all living creatures, there will always be some variations between the animals. This will explain why most leather is sold with a range of thickness. Like mentioned above, a typical range will be 4-5 oz, 6-7 oz, 8-9 oz, and so on.
Realistically, this slight variation of thickness should not affect the outcome of your leather craft project.
Correct Leather for Your Project
Here is just a small example of the typical thickness used for your specific project.
4-5 oz Leather:
This leather weight will measure in around 1.6 to 2.0 mm thick. Common projects that use this leather weight would be light weight wallets, leather masks, coin pouches or clutches, small cases and light notebook covers. This weight is great for projects that require lightweight and flexibility.
6-7 oz Leather:
Leather in this weight range will measure in roughly 2.4 to 2.8 mm thick. This leather weight is most used to make camera cases, journal covers, narrow belts, knife sheaths, and small gun holsters. This weight provides both flexibility and strength which is great for many projects and can also be used for tooling or carving.
8-9 oz Leather:
Leather thickness in this range is about 3.2 to 3.6 mm thick. Common use for this thickness are belts, medium to large holsters, as well as saddle bags. This leather weight is mainly used for projects that require both rigidity and strength.
Experiment for Yourself
The examples above are just recommendations for those of you just starting out with leather crafting. Once you have a few projects under your belt, you will begin to develop a good sense for the proper leather thickness that you prefer.
I always recommend beginners to purchase leather scraps (eBay) when starting out. Leather scraps are great for small projects and will allow you to experiment with different leather weights. Another huge benefit of leather scraps is the amount of money you save when compared to purchasing full hides.
Let’s face it, you will probably make several mistakes at first but just remember to have fun doing it!