Leather Mallets, Mauls & Hammers: Choosing the Right One for Your Leatherwork

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A popular question many beginner leatherworkers ask is about the different mallets and mauls for leather crafting. There is a wide variety, so how do you know which one is right for your leatherwork? In today’s blog, we’ll discuss the types of leather mallets and mauls we have and the uses and benefits of each. This way, you’ll be able to make an informed decision and choose the right leather tool for your workshop and growing leather career. Keep reading to learn all about leather mauls, mallets and hammers.

Rawhide Mallets

Are you working on delicate leather projects that require care and precision? Look no further than the trusty rawhide mallet. Crafted from soft water buffalo hide, these mallets offer a gentle touch while shaping and molding your leather project. The head offers excellent shock absorption without that “bounce back” effect you might experience from synthetic mallets. The softness of the head also protects your tools from damage, making them last longer.

Leather Mallet Selection Guide 3Rawhide mallets are a great choice for stamping due to their light weight.


  • Setting rivets, snaps and other hardware.
  • Light weight makes it great for stamping.

Shop Sailrite® Rawhide Mallet 9 oz.

Polyurethane Mauls

When you need more muscle and power behind your tool, choose a polyurethane maul. They have a special head that’s fastened to a steel base. This makes poly mauls really strong. They can handle very powerful strikes. Think of them as the "mighty mauls" for tough leather crafting jobs. The round shape of the head offers more surface area compared to a flat mallet and there is less risk of tool deflection when stamping and punching. The shaped wooden handle fits your hand for a secure, comfortable grip. Poly mauls are a staple tool in every leather workshop.

Leather Mallet Selection Guide 4Poly mauls are a versatile tool every leatherworker needs.


  • Driving stitching chisels and similar tools with a precise yet powerful impact.
  • Punching through thick leather with simple force.
  • Setting hardware pieces.
  • Lighter 1 lb. maul is recommended for light stamping and punching.

Shop Sailrite® Round Maul 1#

Shop Sailrite® Round Maul 3#

Shop Barry King Round Maul 3#

Bakelite Mallets

Bakelite is a specialty thermosetting plastic that is very lightweight. This makes bakelite mallets great for times when you need gentle force. Bakelite mallets are recommended for stamping leather, carving leather and setting rivets. But they’re not limited to only gentle uses. You can also use these lightweight mallets to punch holes in leather. The light weight of these mallets means they are easy on your wrist and comfortable to use. The durable head minimizes bounces and won’t crack or splinter even after years of use. The smooth striking surface won’t damage your tools.

Leather Mallet Selection Guide 5Bakelite mallets punch holes in leather with little "bounce back" effect.


  • Stamping and carving.
  • Setting rivets.
  • Punching holes.
  • Heavier 15 oz. mallet is not recommended for stamping.

Shop Sailrite® Bakelite Mallet 13 oz.

Shop Sailrite® Bakelite Mallet 15 oz.

Leather Hammers

A leather hammer is very similar in look to a carpentry hammer. It features a smooth, forged steel head and is used to set two layers of leather together when gluing. You can also use a leather hammer to set sharp folds (think wallets) and sink stitches into stitch lines so that your stitches lie flush with the leather surface to prevent snags and abrasion. A leather hammer won’t mar the leather surface or leave a mark behind. Hammers are not recommended for tooling or punching leather as the metal head can become damaged.

Leather Mallet Selection Guide 6Leather hammers are great for sinking stitches into the leather surface to prevent the thread from snagging.


  • Setting sharp folds.
  • Setting layers during the gluing process.
  • Sinking stitches into stitch lines.
  • Not recommended for punching or tooling.

Shop Sailrite® Leather Hammer


Leather crafting tools are as diverse and varied as the DIYers who use them. Choosing the right leather mallet, maul or hammer for your workshop comes down to personal preference and the type of leather goods you create. We hope this guide on leather mallets and more has helped you understand the differences between the tools and what they are used for. Each type of mallet or hammer has its unique use, though there is some overlap between them, as you’ve read. Choose the tools that best fit your leather crafting needs.

And if you have more questions, feel free to reach out to Sailrite customer support. We’re always happy to answer your questions and help you make the right purchasing decision. You can contact us via email, phone or through the chat function on our website. Happy leather crafting!