Definition for Tooling

Tooling is a technique that involves creating raised decorative patterns on leather by pressing and cutting the material. 

Because of the intricate details that go into the leather, this process is done by hand using specialized tools, such as swivel knives, mallets, and stamps.

There are several benefits of tooling leather:

  • Customization: Tooling allows for unique and personalized designs to be created on leather products, making them one-of-a-kind.
  • Artistic expression: Leather tooling is a form of art, and can be a creative outlet for those interested in expressing their creativity.
  • Enhanced aesthetics: Tooling adds depth and texture to leather products, enhancing their visual appeal.
  • Increased value: Hand-tooled leather products are often considered higher quality and more valuable than plain leather products.
  • Increased durability: Tooling compresses leather, which strengthens it and makes it more resistant to wear and tear.

While tooling and carving may seem similar, there are some notable differences between the two techniques. 

Tooling involves creating raised and recessed areas on the surface of the leather to create a textured design, while carving involves removing layers of leather to create a design. 

Carving can be used to create more three-dimensional designs, while tooling is better suited for creating intricate patterns and designs with texture.

The table below compares features of tooling and carving techniques:

Comparison Tooling Carving
Technique Creating raised and recessed areas to create textured designs Removing layers of leather to create designs
Level of Dimension Focuses on creating intricate patterns and textured designs Allows for more three-dimensional designs
Application Well-suited for creating intricate patterns and decorative designs Ideal for creating detailed designs with depth and dimension
Versatility Provides versatility in creating various patterns and textures Offers versatility in creating three-dimensional designs

Tooled leather products are quite expensive due to the time put in to create the designs. For this reason, you should take care of them well by wiping them with a damp cloth and then applying conditioner evenly once they dry.

Example of Tooling in a sentence

“He may have spent hours tooling a design on the leather wallet, but the result was worth the time he put in.”


Incising, decorating.

Related terms for Tooling