How to Measure Leather Thickness

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When it comes to leather crafting, knowing how thick your leather is will help you decide if it’s suitable for your project. Leather thickness is usually represented as a weight in ounces; this number should reflect the weight of one square foot of leather. While there are no hard and fast rules, heavier leathers (8-10 oz.) are generally best for belts, sheaths and holsters, whereas 1-3 oz. leather is ideal for upholstery, lining and garments. Medium weight leathers between 4 and 7 oz. are generally used for bags and wallets. 

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Thickness will vary across the entire span of a hide. Leather is thinnest along the edge, so it’s best to measure as far in from the edge as possible. A measuring gauge with a long throat will be more accurate than a template, which can only accommodate the leather’s edge.

With a Slotted/Template Measuring Gauge

This style of gauge uses a graded slot with markings to indicate the leather thickness. To use one of these gauges, insert the leather into the slot so that it is snug but not compressed. The numbers on the gauge represent the weight in ounces, the thickness in millimeters, or both. To convert between the two measurements, refer to the chart below.

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Other versions of this style of measuring gauge feature several cutouts, each corresponding to a different weight or thickness.

With Calipers

Leather Calipers — A leather caliper, or a leather thickness gauge, measures leather by placing it between two plates calibrated to measure in millimeters and ounces. The dial can be either digital or analog.

Traditional Calipers — You can also measure leather thickness with a traditional caliper. These devices work the same way as a leather gauge; the material is placed between two points that are carefully tuned to measure the thickness of what is between the points. A caliper usually provides measurements in millimeters; refer to the chart below to convert millimeters into ounces.

Leather Thickness Conversion Chart

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