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December 25, 2022 4 min read

by April Quibido

A wife, a mom, and a definite homebody who loves writing about all sorts of interesting things online. She loves fashion, interior design, and other creative pursuits—writing included. She also has entrepreneurial endeavors and, like everyone else, wants to thrive and grow in all aspects of life.


When it comes to crafting leather, it’s important to know how thick your leather is. After all, this is what helps you decide whether it will be suitable for your leather project. Different project types and working styles are better with different leather thicknesses and weights.

Qualities of Leather

It’s no secret that leather is one of the most versatile materials. Its complex natural fibers are uniquely arranged in a way that provides variations on the different types of skins and hides. Some of the key properties of leather that often have variations are:

  • Water resistance
  • Softness
  • Water vapor permeability
  • Heat insulation
  • Thickness
  • Water absorption and desorption
  • Aesthetics and surface pattern
  • Malleability

Leather Measurements

There are different units used to gauge leather thickness around the world and across industries. Generally, the thickness of leather hides can vary, which is why they are often stated in ranges such as 2 – 3 mm or 3 – 4 oz.

Some of the main units of measurement used to describe leather thickness include:

  • Irons

This is an older unit of measurement generally used in the shoemaking industry by cobblers. One iron is equal to 1/48”. For instance, if a piece of leather is 6 irons thick then it would be equivalent to 6/4” or 1/8” thick.

  • Ounces

This unit of measurement to refer to leather thickness is used mainly in the United States. An ounce is equal to 1/64”. So an 8 ounce weight of leather would be equal to 8/64” or 1/8” thick.

  • Millimetres

This is the most common standard for leather thickness. The millimetre is equal to one-thousandth of a meter. It’s a very direct and straightforward measurement that doesn’t require conversion which is why it’s so popular. For example, if a piece of leather is measured to be .4 mm thick then it is .4 mm thick.

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Different Ways To Measure Leather

There are different tools used to measure leather. These tools are the caliper or the slotted/template measuring gauge.

  • Caliper

There are two types of calipers: the traditional caliper and the leather caliper.

With a traditional caliper, the material is placed between two plates that have been calibrated to measure in millimetres. Meanwhile, a leather caliper works essentially the same way as the traditional one, except it measures in both ounces and millimetres, and the dial can either be analogue or digital.

  • Slotted/Template Measuring Gauge

To use a slotted/template measuring gauge, the leather is inserted into the slot snugly but not compressed. This slot has markings that help indicate the thickness of the leather. There are numbers on the gauge that represent the thickness in millimetres, the weight in ounces, or both.

Uses For Leather According to Thickness

The following shows the common uses of leather according to its thickness and weight:

  • 1 – 2 oz: thinner wallets, molding, linings and small pouches
  • 2 – 3 oz: wallets, molding, boots, embossing and light upholstery
  • 3 – 4 oz: thicker wallets, smaller purses and handbags, shoes, and standard upholstery
  • 4 – 5 oz: boots, smaller knife sheathes, keychains and light aprons
  • 5 – 6 oz: boots, thicker pouches, chaps, and notebook covers
  • 6 – 7 oz: heavier boots, knife sheathes, thicker pouches, and thin armor
  • 7 – 8 oz: heavier boots, light slings, sword and bayonet scabbards, and light straps
  • 8 – 9 oz: heavier notebook covers, slings, typical purses and handbags, and holsters
  • 9 – 10 oz: knife sheathes, keychains, larger purses and handbags and bags and duffels
  • 10 – 11 oz: heavy knife sheathes, saddle bags, thicker carrying cases and thicker armor
  • 11 – 12 oz: heavy knife sheathes, heavy purses and handbags, thick pet collars, and light saddles
  • 12 – 13 oz: thicker slings, thicker cases, heavier belts, and typical saddles
  • 13 – 14 oz: heavy armor, light machine belting, thick belts and straps and light shoe soles
  • 14 – 15 oz: heavy armor, machine belting, thick belts and straps and shoe soles
  • 15 oz+: heavy armor, shoe heels, thick belts and straps and shoe soles
Leather thickness

Final Words

Now that you’re aware of how leather thickness is measured and its variety of uses, it should be easier for you to choose one for your leather project.

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