A bookcover of tooling leather can be made any size, to fit a particular volume. This is a project that entails planning, cutting, making pockets, and tooling of some outdoor design.

Equipment needed: knife; modeling tools; punch; awl; ruler and pencil; rawhide mallet.

Materials needed: tooling calfskin; lacing.


See preceding pages in this chapter for techniques used in this project.

1. Make a paper pattern to be sure of actual size. Make the cover 1" wider and 1" longer than actual size of book; allow for the back of the book (Fig. V-93).

2. Cut leather from pattern.

3. If pockets are desired, add leather strips to fit at A and B (Fig. V-93). Strips are usually about 2" or 3" wide for an average size book.

4. Make design, transfer to leather, and tool before punching holes.

5. Mark off line 14" in from edges, all around; punch holes 14" apart. Punch holes in three sides of pocket strips at same time, so holes coincide with cover holes (Fig. V-94).

6. Lace with whip stitch or buttonhole stitch.

7. Tie in piece of lacing in top center hole for bookmark (Fig. V-95).

8. Place cover under layers of paper; pound edges with rawhide mallet.

9. Finish with wax and polish.

Variation: Make of suede, with no tooling; this is a simpler project.

Tooled Bookcover

Autograph, Photograph, Memory, And Log Books

Two types of leather covers for books are shown here. Covers may be decorated by any appropriate method, or plain leather or suede may be used. The making of a log book cover, or a photo album cover, is a good group project for the camp library.

Equipment needed: knife; tooling, stamping, or carving tools; shears; ruler and pencil; punch; awl; rubber cement.

Materials needed: leather as desired; lacing, if desired; cardboard and lining papers; thong; pages.

Steps for Cover No. 1-using heavy leather, such as cowhide

See preceding pages in this chapter for techniques used in this project.

1. Cut leather 1/2" larger on all four sides than the size of paper to be used (Fig. V-96).

2. If the cover is to be decorated, make design, transfer, and tool, stamp, or carve as desired. Include in the design the placing of the two holes for the lacing (Fig. V-97).

3. Punch holes for lacing (Fig. V-97).

4. Polish leather.

5. Assemble with punched paper, and insert thong from back to front, through the pages. Tie with square knot (see Fig. 11-16) on top (Fig. V-98).

Steps for Cover No. 2-using thinner leathers cemented to cardboard

See preceding pages in this chapter for techniques used in this project.

1. Cut cardboards for back and front covers; make a hinge on front cover by cutting off 1" on left side (Fig. V-99).

2. Cut leather pieces 1/2" larger on all sides than cardboard pieces (Fig. V-100).

3. If the cover is to be decorated, make design, transfer, and tool or stamp as desired. Plan for hinge and holes for lacing in the design (Fig. V-100).

4. Spread rubber cement on back of leather, and on one side of each cardboard; wait 5 minutes and lay cardboards in place on leather. Mark places for cardboards before spreading cement. Place cardboard piece for hinge with 1/16" space (Fig. V-100).

5. Press from center to all sides, to eliminate air bubbles. Steps for Corners

1. Draw line 1/2" in from edges on cardboards; cover this 1/2" margin with rubber cement, and let dry 5 minutes.

2. Fold over edges of leather, one side at a time.

3. At corners, pinch edges of leather between thumb and forefinger, close to cardboard (Fig. V-101). With shears, cut off surplus leather, about 1/16" from flat surface, to make a flat corner or mitre (Fig. V-102).

4. Flatten leather down with one edge of mitre on top, making a flat corner.

Steps for Lining 1. Cut lining papers of construction or craft paper, 14" smaller than completed covers, including hinge section.

Cover One Side Of Paper

2. Cover one side of paper, cardboard, and half of leather fold with rubber cement; let dry 5 minutes, until both sides are "tacky."

3. Press together, pressing air bubbles out toward edges.

4. Put both covers side by side on newspapers; cover with paper, and press under weights for 24 hours.

5. Polish leather (except suede).

6. Insert thong and pages (Fig. V-98) and tie with square knot (see Fig. 11-16).


There are many types of moccasins, Indian and Eskimo being the most usual. Some are for indoor wear, some for outdoor wear. They may be beaded, fringed, or painted. A simple indoor type is described here. Lester Griswold's Handicraft and W. Ben Hunt's Indian and Camp Handicraft have more advanced projects in moccasin making.

Equipment needed: knife; 2 needles and waxed thread; paper, pencil, and stapler; awl.

Materials needed: horsehide, elk, or deerskin; thong.


See preceding pages in this chapter for techniques used in this project.

1. Make paper pattern first: stand on paper; draw around one foot, being sure to keep pencil vertical (Fig. V-104) . Make another pattern for other foot.

2. Make another line 1" away from foot outline, following shape around toes, from just below large toe joint, and to a place on opposite side (points A and B, Fig. V-105) .

3. At points A and B add an extra inch for flap, and carry past heel approximately 1" (Fig. V-105). If a fringe (Fig. V-113) is desired, add an extra 1/2" on the flap sections.

4. Make 2 small cuts, starting 14" from base of heel to edge, slightly on diagonal (Fig. V-105).

5. Cut tongue roughly the shape of top of foot (Fig. V-106).

6. Staple paper pattern together at tongue, and at heel, making edges meet (Fig. V-107). Try on and adjust for satisfactory fit. Make arid fit pattern for each foot.

7. Trace pattern on under side of leather.

8. Cut out leather pieces.

9. Cut pairs of slits through which to thread thong for tighter fit. Use knife or slit punch on sides and tongue (Figs. V-105 and 106).

Steps For Sewing Heel

1. Bring upper sides of heel together and sew this seam with 2-needle cobbler's stitch, first skiving edges to make them flatter (Fig. V-108). Make holes with awl; use waxed thread and needles.

2. Pinch edges together when sewing, to get firm seam (Fig. 109). Grasp threads with both hands and pull, keeping even tension. 3. Flap may be cut off and sewed to bottom edge of heel (Fig. V-110), or it may be turned up and sewed with running or cobbler's stitch (Fig. V-111).

Pinch Edges Together When Sewing

Steps For Sewing Tongue

1. Pin tongue in place at several places on sides (Fig. V-112), "easing" the extra leather on side pieces evenly between pins.

2. Use an awl to make holes for stitching.

Note: Sewing of tongue will be easier if moccasin is tacked to a wooden form. This form may be made from piece of pine 1" thick, cut to shape of foot and inserted in the moccasin (Fig. V-112).

3. Start sewing on left side and sew toward toe, using 2-needle cobbler's stitch. Reinforce starting and ending stitches with 2 overcast stitches.

4. If fringe is desired, cut fringe on flap (Fig. V-113).

5. Run thong through slits from tongue to heel and back to tongue. Tie over tongue with square knot (see Fig. 11-16) or bowknot.

6. If no fringe is included, thong may go through double thickness of leather (Fig. V-114).

Variations: Tongue may be decorated with beads or with an oil-painted design. This is done before the tongue is stitched into place.


This is an advanced project; it is especially good for older boys. The materials are more expensive than most projects, but a vest justifies the cost if the project is carefully developed.

Equipment needed: knife; punch; awl; scissors; 2 needles, waxed thread; tape measure; paper and pencil.

Materials needed: quarter skin or more of soft, pliable leather such as suede or tooling sheepskin; lacing; leather for fringe, if desired; thong for buttons or ties.

VestEspecially Good For Older Boys


See preceding pages in this chapter for techniques used in this project.

1. First-and most important-make a paper pattern. Use an old vest for a pattern, or make a paper one to fit (Fig. V-115). Add extra on front, for lap-over, if desired; or plan to tie with thong (Fig. V-118).

Add fringe on shoulders, sides, and bottoms of front pieces, and on bottom of back piece, if desired (Fig. V-117).

Try pattern on, and have someone pin to fit.

2. Cut leather by pattern. Back may be in two pieces; allow for seam, and join with cobbler's stitch on wrong side (Fig. V-116).

3. Seams may be stitched with cobbler's stitch with two needles, or with thongs or lacing and punched holes, using running stitch (Fig. V-117).

4. Buttons may be monkey's fists (see Figs. 11-54-57), pioneer buttons (see Fig. V-54), or of elkhorn or similar materials.

5. Put vest on to mark places for buttons and buttonholes. Cut buttonholes with knife.

6. Fringe is stitched into seams.

Camera Cases

This is a good advanced project for older campers. The main problem comes in the planning and making of a pattern to fit the individual camera. The same steps are used in making cases for other equipment, such as field glasses.

Equipment needed: knife; punch; awl; mallet; snap setting tools; ruler; pencil; rubber cement; modeling or stamping tools; shears.

Materials needed:, cowhide, horsehide, steerhide, or upholstery leather; lacing; buckles; leather for straps; snaps, rivets, and D-rings; thin cardboard for pattern.

See preceding pages in this chapter for techniques used in these projects.

In making the pattern, one main piece to cover top, front, bottom, and back, with two pieces for sides, may be planned; or each side, front, back, etc., piece may be cut separately, and laced together (this makes use of smaller, or scrap pieces).

Camera Cases

Case for Box-type Camera. (or for movie camera). Steps

1. Pattern: wrap thin cardboard strip around camera: do not make snug, as leather is thicker than cardboard (Fig. V-119 A). Cut this to fit, with lap-over for snap. Allow just enough for seams (A). Lay camera on side, draw shape, allowing just enough extra for seams. Round corners slightly. Cut pieces for sides (Fig. V-119B). Pin or staple cardboard pattern together, and "try on" (Fig. V-120); adjust as needed.

2. Place pattern on underside of leather; trace around and cut out.

3. Mark slits for strap, if desired; cut with knife.

4. Mark line 14" from edge to guide punching; punch holes (Fig. V-121). Punch A-piece first; make sure holes on B-pieces correspond. (See Fig. V-122 for inserting side pieces.)

5. Tool or stamp initials or design before lacing.

6. Set snaps before lacing.

7. Start lacing with whip stitch in center of flap, and lace both ways, 3 or 4 stitches on one side, then 3 or 4 on the other, until B-pieces are reached. Join 5-pieces to A -piece (Fig. V-122). Skive edges for better fit (Fig. V-123).

8. Attach strap and buckle, making strap either hand grip or shoulder length (Fig. V-124).

Case For 35mm. Camera. Steps

1. Pattern: make cardboard pattern, as in Fig. V-125, measuring each side or face of camera carefully.

For lens housing (B), make pattern as in Figure V-126; do not make this snug. Staple pattern into place, and "try on" for fit; adjust as needed.

2. Trace around pattern A on underside of leather; cut out; cut slits for strap as indicated; punch (Fig. V-125).

3. Cut circle for lens housing (B) ; dampen leather, and shape over a cup or glass about size of lens; cut flange cuts; punch 2 holes on sides of cuts (Fig. V-126).

4. Set snaps in flap and case.

5. Tool, stamp, or carve initials or design, if desired.

6. Cut opening in A-piece for lens cover to fit through from back to front (Fig. V-125 C).

7. Spread flanges of lens housing; score on underside, and fold. Punch holes in A and B to correspond. Lace in place with running stitch or sew with cobbler's stitch (Fig. V-127).

8. Dampen leather, and make folds before lacing.

9. Skive edges.

10. Lace as shown (Fig. V-128).

11. Make strap and insert. Attach with rivets and D-rings if desired (Fig. V-129).

12. Hammer edges with mallet, under paper, to flatten lacing.


Additional Suggestions Camera Case