Learning About Leather Weights and How They’re Used

The understanding of leather thickness and weight is important if you are buying leather for a project. You cannot simply expect to walk to a supplier or a manufacturer and ask him to cut you a piece. There are several things you need to know and consider. Depending on the projects, leather thickness and weights differ. Usually, leather thickness is measured in ounces.

Moreover, people normally assume that leather ounces have to do with the weight of the leather. However, in reality, it does not, leather weight is all about the thickness of the leather. Therefore, in this article, we are going to learn about leather weights and how they are used so that you have a head start for your next leather project. Let’s begin.

How is Leather Thickness Measured?

When it comes to measuring leather thickness, different gauges and units have been used over the years around the world. However, the general rule is that leather is measure by its weight and thickness. If we talk about leather hides in general, since they are natural substances, their thickness can vary. Furthermore, single leather pieces are usually measured in ranges such as 2-3 oz, or 2 mm-2.4 mm.

In addition to that, leather thickness is also influenced by the tanning process. The chemical processes that are used and the types of finishing and dying steps involved, all contribute to the thickness of the leather. It also needs to be mentioned that leather thickness is also affected by how hides are split. The reason being that large cutting machines separate hides into thinner layers.

As mentioned earlier, there was a time when there was no standard when it came to measuring leather weight. Therefore, with time certain measures were developed so that tanneries and leather workers knew what they were working with. Let us discuss different unit measurements used such as ounces, irons, and millimeters to understand how leather weight is measured today.

Measuring Leather Thickness in Irons

One of the unit measurements to measure leather weight or thickness is ‘Irons’. The iron is amongst older unit measurements used by cobblers back in the day for shoemaking. The iron is equal to 1/48”. In simple words, a 6 iron thick leather piece is equal to 6/48” or 1/8” thick.

In addition to that, leather shoe soles and several other related leather products are usually measured in irons. Although iron is still used to this day but it is a disputed unit of measurement. Leather manufacturers all around the globe are trying to develop a measuring standard so that optimum accuracy can be achieved.

Measuring Leather Thickness in Millimeters

The millimeters is the most popular and commonly used leather thickness measuring unit. The reason being that millimeters directly relate to the leather thickness. For instance, if a leather hide is .2 mm thick, it is actually .2 mm thick. There is no need to convert the measurements and this makes it all easy to understand leather thickness.

Measuring Leather Thickness in Ounces

Mainly found in the United States, leather thickness is also measured in ounces. The United States makes use of the Imperial System that includes pounds, inches, feet, and ounces. When it comes to measuring the leather thickness in ounces, each ounce is equal to 1/64”. For instance, an 8-ounce leather weight will be equal to approximately 8/64”.

As you can imagine, measuring the leather thickness in ounces can be confusing as compared to millimeters. The reason being that you have to convert the measurement into ounces to under the leather you are working with. Be that as it may, it is still the most popular weight-based system in the United States.

Why Do We Measure Leather in Ounces?

It is awkward to think that while measuring leather in ounces is relatively confusing, on the other hand, it is still used by the textile and garment industries across the globe but there is a good reason for that. When leather is measured in ounces, it provides a consistent value for a standard leather size sample.

This way, the designers are provided an idea about the thickness and density of the material, which is usually measured in ounces per square yard. When using ounces to measure leather weight, the standard for cut square is 1 foot x 1 foot. Since leather tends to be thicker and denser as compared to fabrics, the measurement scale begins small, usually around 1 oz.

Leather Thickness and Weight in Ranges

Now that we have discussed how and why leather weight is measured using different measuring units, it is now time to discuss why it is sold in weight ranges and thickness. As mentioned earlier, leather hides can vary naturally interms of thickness. Therefore, when they are split, it might be that they do not perfectly fall into a single weight. Larger hides tend to have a variable thickness, whereas smaller leather pieces and cuts feature relatively more consistent and even thickness.

What Tools Are Used to Measure Thickness & Weight?

Wood Leather Thickness Gauge

In some cases, wood or plastic leather thickness gauge is used that features a tapered notch running into it. The notch consists of measurements. The leather is fit inside the notch and depending on how much it fits into the notch, the measurements display the thickness of the leather.

Caliper Leather Thickness Gauge

Calipers are also used to measure the leather thickness. It is a device into which a leather piece is placed. Then, the metal rod is pushed until it cannot be compressed anymore. This secures the leather piece between two points. Based on how much the metal rod was pushed down, the thickness of the leather piece is measured.

Laser Sensor Thickness Gauge

Laser Sensor Thickness Gauge is usually used by commercial manufacturers or industries. Since it is an expensive thickness measuring gauge, not every business can afford it. A laser sensor thickness gauge measures the thickness of a leather piece by allowing it to pass through two fixed laser points. The lasers measure the thickness and send the data to the computer. Furthermore, for best results, it is recommended that the leather be measured at room temperature when it comes to using the laser sensor thickness gauge.

Where to Buy
Mitutoyo 500-196-30 Advanced Onsite Sensor (AOS) Absolute Scale Digital Caliper, 0 to 6"/0 to 150mm Measuring Range, 0.0005"/0.01mm Resolution, LCD
OwnMy Leather Cutting Tool Leather Strap Cutter with Aluminium Handle, Leather Strip Belt Cutter Hand Leather Craft Tools with 3 Blades - Stainless Steel Gauge Leather Cutter Tool for DIY Leathercraft


Recommended Products:

Mitutoyo Absolute Scale Digital Caliper

The Mitutoyo Absolute Scale Digital Caliper comes with an advanced in-built onsite sensor that allows optimum precision and accuracy. Its electromagnetic inductive sensor is immune to dirt, oil, and water. Be it leather, plastic, or any other material, this caliper will provide accurate readings as you go. Lastly, it is one of the most precise digital calipers out there that is designed to measure 0.0005 increments for precision.

Key Features:

  • Advanced onsite sensor
  • Digital display
  • Accurate and precise

Own My Leather Cutting Tool

The OwnMy Leather Cutting Tool is made of aluminum material and designed in a gripping style to allow effortless leather cutting and measuring. Furthermore, it comes with 3 blades that can be changed when required. The 4-inch scale engraved on the stainless steel ruler ensures that you cut the leather piece in proper dimensions. Therefore, this is a must-have product if you want to both cut and measure leather at the same time.

Key Features:

  • Replaceable blades
  • 4-inch scale
  • Easy to use

Final Word

Learning about leather weights and how they are used is important when it comes to purchasing leather or starting your own leather business. Depending on the type of leather business you intend to start, the unit measurements and weights vary. It all comes down to what you wish to make and sell. However, the rules remain the same. Although it might take a while for you to wrap your head around unit measurements but in the longer run, you will achieve pinpoint accuracy and precision.