What is a leatherworker called


What is a leatherworker called?

By Webster dictionary a leatherworker is someone who works with leather, creating different items out of leather. The worker skives, cuts, shapes, molds, stitches and makes leather items. This is a very broad term that can be broken down into many different specialties of leather working. Today we are going to explain what is a leatherworker called and different terms for leather workers.

What is a leatherworker?

There are many different types of leather workers. Each one takes on a specific role to manipulate a leather hide. Either to make leather goods, turn a hide into leather or to make art into leather.

What is someone called when they prepare leather?

Tanners or Curriers are a general term for people who prepare leather before it can be crafted. This means they handle the tanning process of leather, remove hair and wash the leather.

Tanners Curriers
– Tanners and Curriers –

Curriers tend to take the tanned leather from the tanners and apply finishers, dyes and waterproofing to the leather. This must be done before going out to the public since leather can easily start to rot once the animal has been killed. These leather workers will allow the leather to last a very long time.

What is someone called when they make saddles and horse equipment?

Saddlers are a term for specific leather crafters who make horse saddles. These saddles use very thick and multiple layers of leather hold the strength of the rider. Saddles do not end with horses as specialized saddles have been made to fit other animals such as camels.  Before saddles had been made, blankets and other soft fabric had been used over top the back of the horse for more comfort.

Horse saddle

Lorimer leather crafters focus on horse tack. This is a wide range of equipment that is created for horses and other domestic animals. Some equipment made would be straps, harnesses, breastplates, and head gear for the rider to control (aka martingales).

What is someone called when they make leather designs?

There are two main ways to add a design into leather, this would be carving and painting. Leather carvers use a swivel knife and stamping tools to create unique texture and imagery into leather. This technique creates a cool 3D effect into the leather that you can feel.

Carved Leather

Leather painters use acrylic based paint to paint images onto the leather. This will create extra bold colors in leather that regular dye cannot accomplish. You will sometimes see painting by themselves or mixed with leather carving. The mixing of techniques creates a very cool 3D colorful piece for the customer.

There is also a form of burning leather also known as Pyrography. These leather burners use wood burning tools to melt imagery inside leather. This also creates a unique look as the leather will be inlaid and burnt with a unique image.   

What is someone called when they make leather shoes?

Shoemakers (as you could guess) make footwear, and this term is used regardless the material. Shoemakers use leather, canvas, suede, wood and or rubber. Although the craft has come a long way, there are as many handmade shoes due to mass production. But before this, each shoe, boot, sandal, moccasin and heel would be made by hand one at a time.  

Cobblers on the other hand are who you go to when you need a repair in your shoe. Although most shoemakers and cobblers can go in between crafts, it is good to mention the term. Since shoe making was a big craft, being a cobbler could reward you with a good job fixing shoes.

Shoe Maker
Shoemaker/Repairer – Photo Courtesy of Need Pix

Other notable terms of leather workers

Cordwainer is another term for shoe maker who got the name from working with cordovan leather. This is why it is much more known to be a leather crafter working with very fine/fancy leather. A fancy shoe maker, that top shelf shoe.

Bottelier is known to be someone who works to create leather bottles. These bottles are much more lightweight and durable than its glass counterpart.

Leather Bottle
– Leather Bottles –

Thonger leather workers are known to focus on making leather straps and laces. These finished products could be used with shoemakers and saddlers as horse tack uses many different straps.

Girdlers are known to make many different clothing style equipment common among women’s fashion. This can be from cord, sash, belts, to lightweight garments. They not only make these items for women but also are used to make military equipment.

Male makers on the other hand will make trunks/ pants and other clothing articles usually around men’s fashion.

Scabbard Makers focus on making scabbards for swords, since they need some protection too.


There are many different forms of leather crafting whether you are making shoes, wallets or holster. All of these terms will fall under a leather worker or leather crafter.  Someone who soley focusses on sheaths could be called a sheath maker or holster maker for guns.

But I hoped this answered the question of what is a leatherworker and different forms of leatherworking. If you have any other ideas of specific makers in the craft, drop a comment below.


My name is John and the owner of Maze Leather. I've been working with leather for a couple years now and dedicated this space for making content to help others get into leather crafting. Regardless of skill, hopefully you can find some type of resource through this site. Thank you for visiting Maze Leather!

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