The Three Essential Workshop Tools Belonging To Leatherworker Steve Enns


by Grady Mitchell | Tradecraft takes Scout readers into the workshops, kitchens, and toolkits of Vancouver’s most talented crafts-people. From trusty pencils and custom-built machines to good luck charms and bespoke chef’s knives, this new column aims to get to the bottom of every creative attachment. No laptops or cellphones allowed! To kick things off, we pay a visit to the Mt. Pleasant workshop of local leatherworker Steven Enns.

STANLEY KNIFE | “This is the first tool I bought for leatherwork, and my most used. I’ve used this regular Stanley knife every single day for the past 3 years, to the point that I’ve worn off all of the paint. Although one of the cheapest of my tools, it holds the most personal value.”

MANUAL SPLITTER | “It’s a J.D. Randall Machine, from around 1900-1910. It’s used to split down leather for bending and places where thinner leather would be preferred (wallets, accessories, etc.). I use it on my belt ends where the leather folds to hold the buckle, as well as splitting down thicker heavier leather to be used in my wallets and accessories.”

KNIFE COLLECTION | Here Steve shows a collection of his handheld tools.  At the top is a pricking wheel, used to mark out stitches. “This particular tool is a vintage model, probably from around the 1920s,” Steven says. “Vergez Blanchard Paris has been making tools for leatherworkers like Hermes and Louis Vuitton since 1823, and is still making tools (including this one) today.” Also in the image, from left to right: a Japanese knife handcrafted by Nobuyoshi; a diamond awl used for punching holes (also made by Vergez Blanchard); an American-made Creaser used to mark decorative lines in leather (probably from the 1930s-40s); a Pricking Iron for making stitch holes (“one of my most prized tools”); a pair of Japanese thread nippers; an awl for scratching patterns and punching holes; a burnisher for edges; and a pair of dividers for marking a line parallel to the edge.


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