Salpa Salamander - Great for Prototyping

Salpa is a bonded leather from Salamander Germany, a company specialising in bonded leather production. Their Salpa range is a finely milled fibre bound by natural fats and latex. 

Traditionally, Salpa is an excellent liner for bags, watch straps, and belts. However crafters have found an even more valuable use - for prototyping.


Many beginne leatherworkers will be tempted to skip prototyping when designing their first projects. However, it's important to realise that prototyping can save you time and money by preventing mistakes. Prototyping can be a tedious process, especially for those eager to create their project. Akin to eating your vegetables, it's something we should all be doing, but might not bring us the most joy in doing so. 

However, it is the first step to making a great design. 

One of the challenges in creating new leatherwork designs is that despite first glance, leather is a 3 dimensional material. Most beginners start off prototyping with paper or 2 dimensional CAD, spending valuable time tediously creating their templates. Once transferred to their material, they'll often face disappointment as wallets are too thick to close, belt loops look thick and unappealing, closure straps are too short to wrap around, or any number of other unexpected errors. 

Thanks to the Salpa article being available in a range of thicknesses, you can mimic the thickness of the exact leather you are using. No more guessing when it comes to accounting for thicknesses, or accidentally neglecting leather thickness. Prototype easily in 3 dimensions. The temper of Salpa sits between Buttero's stiffness and Pueblo's softness

You can even punch and stitch Salpa up into the full completed project, so you can perfect the process for new projects right away!

The best part is, Salpa is a fraction of the price of even the cheapest full-grain leathers. Rather than burning through dozens of square feet of leather, you can use Salpa without batting an eyelid (or breaking the bank!). 

Making Templates

Once prototyping is completed, you can also use 1.0-1.2mm Salpa for creating templates. The thicker weight gives a nice wall for a marker to run up against, and is stiff enough to hold its shape.

Just like the prototyping phase, it's incredibly economic compared to other template options. Acrylic templates typically require a great initial investment before they begin to pay off. These can also scratch leathers when laid out, while Salpa's attribute as a leather means it won't scratch even the most temperamental leathers (we're looking at you, Buttero!). 

Paper templates are easily scrunched up and damaged, not holding a true shape to mark against. Cardboard is too difficult to cut accurately. 


Salpa by Salamander is no slouch as a stiffener and anti-stretch addition to projects. Yet we've found its greatest value as a cost-effective prototyping material. Nothing else can mimic the characteristics of full-grain leathers quite as well. Confidently cut, experiment, and make changes with the economical Salpa Salamander. 

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