How to make a
tooled leather belt
To make a tooled belt you first need to mark the pattern on the belt ( unless you're a lot better at free hand drawing than I am)
The pattern outlines are then cut with a swivel knife, a special tool made for cutting the pattern on a tooled belt
Generally the edge lines should be beveled with a tool at this time
Then the larger areas of the pattern around the leaf and acorns are tooled with a larger beveling tool.
Then you can go to a smaller beveler to bevel the smaller areas and curves on the pattern outline and most of the acorn.
Then on this pattern I use an undercutter to undercut the areas of the leaf I want to make curl upward.
The belt then should be tooled along the edges of the leaf main stem
This is the tooled leather belt with the outline fully beveled except where the leaf overlaps the branches.
Then the leaf veins should be marked with a modeling tool
The area of the oak leaves that curl over then should be undercut and beveled to make them stand out.
Most of the area around the oak leaf and acorn should then be backgrounded (wait until the leather is a bit dryer to do this operation.
The acorns need to be detailed a bit with the undercutter or a small beveler
The area where the leaf overlaps the branch of the oak tree should be beveled some to make the leaf look like it is above the stem
The the leaf end details are tooled in
Decorative cuts should be made on the leaf for more detail
The curled are of the oak leaf we want to stand out (we undercut them earlier) should be lifted with a tool.
A checked pattern is then cut into the acorns
The edge is then rewetted and formed with an edge tool.
The backgrounding is then finished and detailed.
Oak leaf and acorn leather belt with tooling finished
We then dye the belt (this one is light brown.)
Then the belt is antiqued to bring the pattern out and darken the color a bit.
The leather should be dampened I find about ten seconds under water then stored in a plastic bag for a few hours works best.