We know that the leather world can be confusing. That is why we have always been open to answer any questions you may have about our business and working with leather in general. We have several resources for getting your questions answered and this page is where we will lay out which option best suits your concerns. Plus, we'll provide some answers to our most frequent inquiries so that you can get answers instantly. Of course, if you still have questions - we've got you covered.
Don't see the answer you're looking for?
Feel free to ask us questions about orders here, submit questions about leather crafting about here, check out some questions we've answered here and check out our YouTube page for instruction on a whole host of things!
Buying at SLC
(Orders, Shipping, Payments, Returns)
At SLC, we have just about every buying option you can think of!
For those who prefer the classic approach, we have our retail showroom, and our catalog and phone operators. All of these options come at no extra cost to you. Get your catalog here and give us a call toll free at 800-668-8518 and local at 417-881-0223. To buy online, use this website or one of our e-commerce accounts on Amazon, eBay and Etsy. Learn more about us here.
Cash, Credit, Debit and Check
Of course, we love cash, but we also accept credit and debit. In most cases, we do not process sales through PayPal. If you are interested in using a payment service not listed here, you may consider purchasing from us on one of our e-commerce platforms that accept different payment types or try giving us a call. We'll do our best to take care of you!
It's worth noting that when you purchase from SLC online, we pre-authorize your card for your purchase price, but do not actually debit any money from your account until we send the order to you. That's because buying leather can come with a lot of estimates, so when we finally fill your order, we adjust your price to reflect what you're actually getting. This gives you a window to make any necessary changes to your order and makes it simple for you to get your money back just in case we run out of something.
- You certainly can!
We used to process international orders just like our domestic orders, but we found that our shipping estimates were not always accurate. So, if you would like to order Internationally, visit this page. You can also call us at 800-668-8518. It's easy, we promise!
If it's our hiccup, send it back!
Buying leather online can be a bit of a toss up and we want to make sure that you're getting what you need. So, if you get the wrong item or something that isn't up to par, we will do all that we can to make you happy. Generally speaking, we won't allow you to return something overly used or worn, that you've held in your possession for a long time or something you have broken. However, if we sent you something broken, defective or otherwise unusable, we'd love to fix it for you. For best results, please contact us about issues with your orders within 30 days. Of course, everything depends on the case, so don't hesitate to give us a call toll-free at 800-668-8518 or locally at 417-881-0223. Get more details here.
USPS, UPS, FedEx, and DHL.
We always do our best to get you the lowest shipping prices possible! We have a working relationship with USPS, DHL, UPS and FedEx. We tend to choose the carrier that works best in handling your package quickly, safely and affordably. If you have a special circumstance or shipping need, please give us a call to place your order. If you've already placed it, still give us a call and we'll do what we can to get things squared away for you.
To check the shipping status of an order, check your email for the order confirmation/shipping notification. There, you will find a tracking number. You can also login to your Springfieldleather.com account. If you have placed an order online with us, you have one - it's required! If you still can't find your tracking number, you can always call us. We'd love to help.
It's best to check the time!
We wish we could have customer service 24 hours a day, but until we get there, here are our hours:
Monday through Saturday, 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. CST. On Wednesday mornings we have a company-wide meeting - the phones will not be available until 9:30 a.m. CST
In the interim, if you simply must contact us outside of those hours, you are welcome to use our other means of communication listed at the top of the page.
Please note that our social media platforms operate within the same timeframe as our phones with the exception of Saturdays.
(Buying Leather + Terminology)
One ounce = .016 inches
One of the more unique aspects of buying leather is the way that the industry refers to thickness. In the leather world, we call leather thickness "weight" and we measure that weight in ounces. So, a piece of leather that is .016 inches thick, will have a "weight" of one ounce.
The origin of this form of measurement is quite old and originally used in a more traditonal manner - the assumption being that leather of a certain thickness will have a certain weight per square foot. With all of the different ways to finish leather, the actual weight of the leather is no longer a good indicator of the thickness, but the terminology remains.
Leather weight is often declared as a range, like 5-6 oz., because leather is a natural material. Just like people, animals have spots where the skin is thicker or thinner, so weight is expressed in a range to account for those differences.
Leather weight is commonly measured in ouncs, but can be converted to inches, millimeters, and irons. Please review the chart below for some commonly used figures.
Quantity = square feet
Buying leather by the square foot can seem a bit confusing, but once you learn the basics, it's easy as pie! We are one of the few companies that offer this awesome service because we want to help you get the most bang for your buck and not be afraid to try new things! First, you need to know how to calculate a square foot.
Multiply the length of your leather by the width of your leather and, you’ve got your square footage. So, if your leather is 4 feet long and 3 feet wide, you’ve got 12 square feet of leather. You’ll often see sites with pre-cuts that are 12in x 12in - that’s one square foot! Compare that price to the leather you’re considering and you might save yourself some dough.
So, if buying by the square foot is cheaper than a pre-cut, why do people sell pre-cuts? That's because pre-cuts give you a piece of leather in a specific shape and set of dimensions. Buying by the square foot gives you the same amount of leather is no guarantee about the shape or dimensions. Pre-cuts will also have little to no flaws, while buying by the square foot gives you a more organic experience. Generally speaking, if there is a flawed piece of the leather, we'll avoid it when cutting.
Now that you know what a square foot is, you can easily calculate how much material you'll need for your project. Simply adjust the "quantity" to match the number of square feet you need and you're set!
Pro tip: Make sure you buy at least 20% more leather than your project calls for. And don't forget, buying by the square foot is not the same as buying a pre-cut. You won't normally get a square or rectangular piece.
To learn more about buying leather by the square foot, check out this blog post!
A square foot can look very different! You can cut a square foot in a circle, or a sqaure, or a rectangle or from the natural edge of a of the leather. The graphic above shows precuts in various sizes. Notice that the 12" round is one square foot, just like the 12x12 square. But these are pre-cuts
If you are buying by the square foot, we won't cut it in a circle or a square (most likely). Instead, we start at one end of the side and cut the amount you request. So, if you ask for 3 sq. ft., you might get a piece that looks like this.
25% more than you need for a project.
Well, that depends on what you need the leather for, of course! In general, we suggest that you buy more than you actually need for your project to make sure that you have enough. Every piece of leather is unique and even if you get the same kind of leather more than once, what you get will vary to a degree. A pattern or set of instructions will give you an amount of leather to buy, but we always recommend buying a bit extra. Why? Because leather isn't perfect and neither are you - even master craftsfolk make mistakes and you don’t want to run the risk of a vendor running out of the leather you need before your project is done. We recommend buying 20 - 25% more leather than your project calls for. So, if you have a project that calls for 12 square feet of leather, we recommend getting 15 square feet. That gives you wiggle room for blunders, cutting around imperfections and testing out tooling, dyes and paints.
- Veg Tan
- Belt Blanks, Strips & Straps
- Oil Tan
- Furs, Faces and Tails
Just about anything you can think of!
We sell traditional cow, of course. Then there's water buffalo, pig, bison, kangaroo, camel, ostrich, snake, frog/toad, stingray, boar, deer, elephant, elk, rabbit, giraffe, fox, fish, and more!
We sell many of those leathers as splits, chrome tans, veg tans, laces, liners, hair-on and everything between. The best way to see what we have is to browse the leather tab above. The links below are some very broad categories of some of our best-sellers.
Vegtable tanned leather - usually from cows.
Vegetable tanned leather, also known as veg tan, is leather that is treated in a more natural way than most leathers. Typically characterized by a light brown or tan color, veg tan leather is the best choice for people looking to customize their work with stamping, tooling, painting, dyeing or staining. Veg tan is typically stiff and is a favorite for saddle makers. It can be used for just about anything and is extremely versatile. Veg tan is also known for its aging. It gracefully gets darker and tells its own story through something called patina. This patina look is well-sought after and guarantees that projects made with veg tan will evolve for years to come.
Most of the leather that you see is chrome tanned.
Chrome tan doesn't fit into just one box. It can be matte, glossy, oily, embossed, brushed and everything in between! Chrome tan is often colored with dyes, but can be adaptable enough for painting. It also comes in firm and stiff varieties; pebbly milled and embossed patterns - just about anything you can think of!
Chrome tanned leather treated with oils.
Oil tan is type of chrome tan leather best known for its "pull up." Oil tan leather is heavily treated with oils that darken the color of the leather. When the leather is creased or scratched, the oil redistributes to reveal a lighter color. That lighter color is called "pull up". Pull up is lauded for making brasions and wear look more appealing, making it perfect for rustic projects and projects that emphasize creases and/or folds.
These are all specialized words for different parts of a cow hide.
A cow is a big animal and more often than not, you don't need to whole hide. In addition to selling leather by the square foot, we also sell leather by the piece. That means we have to use all sorts of specialized language to easily communicate the general shape, size and properties of a certain part of the hide. Below you'll find images and text that we borrowed from our blog post about leather terminology. You can read the complete Leather Terminology list here on our blog.
Hide - a leather hide is the whole of an animal’s skin. So, if we’re talking about a cow hide, it’s the full amount of leather that could come from one cow. This hide is then commonly cut into pieces that are characterized by the part of the cow. Be sure to view the chart below for visual help.
Side - a side of leather refers to one side of the hide; half of a vertically cut hide.
Neck - not commonly sold alone, the neck is the skin from a cow’s neck.
Shoulder - one half of the topmost quarter of a hide. So named because it is the skin from a cow’s shoulders. Includes the neck, part of the belly and, of course, the shoulder. If you purchase one side, you will get one shoulder.
Also sold as a double shoulder, as seen below.
Belly - also included in a side, the belly is the outermost portion of a side identifiable by its irregular edge. Belly leather is where you will notice wrinkles and less consistent leather. The inconsistent parts are often called flanky, they will be porous, stretchy and not great to work with. Bellies are cheaper than other cuts of leather and are a great way to try out a piece of leather you’re unsure about. It will certainly have some pieces that are not usable, but make great test piece for dyes, paints and tooling. With all of its potential for fault, bellies still have plenty of usable leather. You can easily get great small projects and even a belt or two out of a belly. The leather is the same grade as the rest of the hide, it just has more waste than you would get from other cuts.
Back/Bend/Butt - this the prime real estate of a side. There is a bit of inconsistency about what these pieces are called, however, each name has its meaning.
The back, occasionally referred to as the bend, is comprised of the all parts of a side, not including the belly. A bend at SLC, and most leather companies, will not include the neck.
The lower 60% (toward the back of the cow) or so of this piece is often called the bend or the butt. This interpretation of bend is more commonly used.
Culatta - the bend of the hide + corresponding belly.
Leathercrafting Tips + Tricks
(Some of our best advice)
Get a hard surface, a mallet and pound away!
Using a punch is simple! You just have to make sure you're using the proper tools along with it. It's a small and simple tool, but it can a lot of damage if you're not careful. First, it's important to make sure that you're working on a hard surface. Not a carpet or table, but something seriously hard like a granite or marble slab.
Then you want to make sure you have something you don't mind messing up and it won't break from the impact. For that, we suggest a poly board. Other thick materials will work. Just try to pick something soft enough to not bend your punch and and thick enough to not be punched through or split from the impact.
Last, get a poly or wooden mallet to drive the stamp in. You don't want to use a standard hammer or you'll bend your punch out of shape.
Hold your tools steadily and use a little extra force to punch your hole and you're good to go!
Grab some veg tan, a stamping tool and a mallet. Place them on a hard surface and make your mark.
Stamping and tooling are labors of love. While the concept is simple, the execution can take some time to get right. Much like punching, you want to make sure you have the proper tools and work space. You'll need a hard work surface like marble or granite. You'll also need a rawhide, poly, or wooden mallet. Then, you just need veg tan leather, water, and a vision! There are a lot of ways you can stamp and tool.
Pro-tip: You can use tape on the back of your leather to prevent some of the stretch. Here are some of our best video tutorials on tooling!
Check out our Interiors and Kits tab for books, kits, patterns and instructions on leather tooling.