Leather feet pads

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Forum topic by Woodworker123 posted 01-18-2011 11:51 PM 1596 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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89 posts in 4194 days

01-18-2011 11:51 PM

I am currently designing a pair of night stands and wanted to incorporate leather pads on the bottom of the feet. I was talking with my woodworking instructor and he mentioned he puts leather on the bottom of the feet so if the table is on an unlevel floor, it isn’t quite so noticeable.

On these tables, I was considering drilling out a circular relief, so that I can use thicker leather, without it being so noticeable when the table is upright. I haven’t figured out what type of leather would be best, or what thickness. My concern is, if I use thicker leather (1/8” to 1/4”) over time, it will compress from the weight of the piece and eventually become flush with the feet bottom surface. It’s a light table (CAD says 22 pounds), but may have heavy lamps, etc. placed on it.

Is this just a stupid idea altogether? I like the idea of the pads being “handcrafted” leather, as opposed to some rubber feet picked up from home depot. The tables would always be on hard floors, unless I happened to replace them and give them away.

14 replies so far

View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 4267 days

#1 posted 01-19-2011 12:47 AM

I think it’s a good idea!

Check with a saddle maker or leather tanning business if you have one in your area, often they have scraps they will give away.

I have “herman oak” leather scraps that I have used for hinges on bins, tacked on the bottom of legs as you mention (I think the inset circular idea is better), among other things. I got an armload for free 15 years ago, still using it.

I don’t think the compression will be an issue.

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


23347 posts in 5017 days

#2 posted 01-19-2011 11:35 AM will have small pieces of leather. Each oz in weight = about 1/16 of an inch in thickness, if i remember correctly ??

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View rance's profile


4281 posts in 4502 days

#3 posted 01-19-2011 01:57 PM

I agree, a great idea. Another idea would be a hand-fashioned piece of UHMW/Delrin. Either would require a small recess. Keep the recess as shallow as possible.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View levan's profile


472 posts in 4321 days

#4 posted 01-19-2011 02:52 PM

We put leather on the bottom of bench legs. No recess just glued it on. We use about 1-3mm thick leather and cut it about 2-3mm short of edges. Works well with no issues.

-- "If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right". Henry Ford

View Woodworker123's profile


89 posts in 4194 days

#5 posted 01-19-2011 03:35 PM

Thanks everyone. I got some leather at Tandy a few days ago, I tried putting it on a project, but it looked strange. This is probably because there was no recess, I went about 1/8” from the edges, and the leather was about 1/8-3/16” in thickness. So, if I use no recess, I guess at the very least I need to use thinner leather.

I may give delrin a shot, probably not on this project, but one I know will be moved around a lot more, and needs to be more durable.


View mpounders's profile


1013 posts in 4236 days

#6 posted 01-19-2011 05:47 PM

I bought a large bag of leather scraps from Hobby Lobby for about $5 that I used to make a power hone for my gouges. I have experimented with leather tips for my walking canes. You can glue pieces together if something thicker is needed and you can also sand it down as needed, to some degree. Since it is absorbent, you can also let some finishes soak in to make it stiffer or more rigid. I don’t think compression will affect it much, but you could test it putting some in a vise or clamping it between boards; I suspect you will see little change. Wear from rubbing or being moved would eventually reduce it in size, but consider how long a pair of shoes will last and the type of wear they experience.

-- Mike P., Arkansas,

View 2talltary's profile


5 posts in 3977 days

#7 posted 08-05-2011 06:07 PM

Uhmw or maybe some teflon would be good. They both have great wear resistance especially UHMW and they would make it easier to move the furniture if it’s to heavy due to them both having low friction resistance. Give a try.

View Woodworker123's profile


89 posts in 4194 days

#8 posted 08-05-2011 08:39 PM

That’s interesting. I wonder how well it’s self leveling properties would be, even though it’s plastic, it’s relatively hard. I bet it would be awesome for drawer runners. The couple of projects I’ve had drawers in, I applied wax to the wood surfaces and ironed it in. Works fine, but I don’t know how long it would hold up for, or if thin strips of PTFE would just give REALLY smooth sliding action.

Mike, I didn’t know they had that at Hobby Lobby. I wonder how the selection and price compares to Tandy leather. I’ll check it out sometime.

View JohnFD's profile


7 posts in 3828 days

#9 posted 08-05-2011 09:13 PM

Thanks for the comment mpounders. I just paid about $5 for a little card of pool cue tips. They are just leather cut into little circles. Next time I’ll go to Hobby Lobby and have lots of leather to experiment with after I retip my cue sticks.

-- JohnFD Lewes Delaware

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89 posts in 4194 days

#10 posted 08-05-2011 10:14 PM

Rick- I have some HDPE around, I could try that someday, too. I haven’t ever considered the friction properties of teflon versus hdpe.

View Grandpa's profile


3264 posts in 4017 days

#11 posted 08-06-2011 01:10 AM

I was going to recommend Tandy but I see you found them. You could use a belt blank and get some good thick leather (oak tanned) or they used to sell small practice pieces of leather for people learning to tool. there were about 1 inch wide by 4 inches long.

View BobTheFish's profile


361 posts in 3893 days

#12 posted 08-06-2011 02:16 AM

I’m going to be contrary and say it’s silly. It has some appeal (leather is always nice, and doing your own pads by hand has it’s appeal too), but leather’s going to wear when it gets rubbed, and it’s going to look ugly at the end. Also, you’re probably going to glue them on, and I’ve been burned too many times by devices like that that are supposed to either add friction or prevent sliding and are adhered by glue. I try to go with, at the very least, those cheap nylon pads with the tack through them, (which tend to snap in half, rather than come off via the tack) and preferably a rubber or other material pad with a screw through it.

Just my contrary two cents into the mix.

View Grandpa's profile


3264 posts in 4017 days

#13 posted 08-06-2011 04:13 AM

Bob: Normally I would agree but he said he would have it on hardwood floors. This should make it easy to move around. Not trying to be contrary….just point out something he said.

View BobTheFish's profile


361 posts in 3893 days

#14 posted 08-06-2011 04:24 AM


Well, grandpa, I’d still at least suggest figuring out a way to tack it rather than glue it..

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