Leatherworking: A Beginner’s Guide

So you want to be a Leatherworker?

This can be a very rewarding profession for those of you who actually wear leather or mail armor. This includes Hunters, Rogues, Druids and Shamans. It’s probably not the best choice for a class that doesn’t wear this type of gear, because one of the big benefits of creating leather and mail armor is getting to use it.

If you want to make these items solely for the purpose of generating some money, you might want to rethink that. Realistically speaking it can be rough making good money with most of the “armor” based professions. Your crafted gear must compete with loot drops as well as other crafters who are making the same items you are. It can be challenging but not impossible, especially when you reach the Specialty level and are able to further diversify yourself from other crafters. But I would say it’s more important to become a Leatherworker for the purpose of making your own gear than purely for the cash value. If money is your only goal you’re better off taking two Gathering professions instead.

Companion Skills

For leatherworking this is a no-brainer. Skinning is the only reasonable companion skill for leatherworkers. Of course you can buy leather from the Auction House if you really want to, but it’s unlikely that you’ll actually be able to make a profit in that case. On the other hand if you are a Skinner, you can always sell your excess leather for additional profit. I strongly recommend you take Skinning as your second Primary profession if you choose Leatherworking as your first.

The first thing you’ll need to do is locate a trainer. Any major city should have one of these, just ask a guard. There are also some trainers located in towns in various newbie zones, but this is not reliable so your best bet is to take care of this in the city.

One of the very first skills you will get is the Light Leather “combining” skill. Leatherworkers are given the ability to combine inferior leathers into larger pieces. For the early phases of skinning this is almost critical, as no recipe uses the Ruined Leather Scraps you’ll receive from your early Skinning efforts. So make sure you put this ability to good use, not only will you save precious bag space but you’ll also be getting valuable skill points too.

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A very nice recipe that you’ll get right away is the Light Armor Kit. Armor kits are very handy items that any player can use to improve the armor value of certain pieces of their gear. You can sell these on the Auction House and at the highest levels they will earn very nice money. If you have the leather to spare, be sure to keep your own gear beefed up with these kits as well. Armor kits can only be used for these item slots:

  • Chest
  • Legs
  • Hands
  • Feet

Please remember that an armor kit will overwrite any enchantment you might have on your item, so be careful about using them on gear that is already enhanced. Here is a chart of the various

Armor Kits that Leatherworkers can make:

Item Skill Required to Make Level Required to Use Armor Bonus
Light Armor Kit 1 1 8
Medium Armor Kit 100 5 16
Heavy Armor Kit 150 20 24
Thick Armor Kit 200 30 32
Rugged Armor Kit 250 40 40
Core Armor Kit 300 (+ recipe from Molten Core) 50 +3 Defense

In the process of skinning various beasts, you may notice that occasionally you’ll get a ‘hide’. This is normal, and you’ll need those for some of your recipes. They need to be cured before you use them, and trade vendors sell salt for this purpose. Once you work your way up to Thick Hides, you’ll no longer be able to use salt from the vendors. You’ll need Deeprock Salt, which can be looted from rock elementals. Good places to find rock elementals are Arathi Highlands and The Badlands. For curing Rugged Hides, you’ll also need a Salt Shaker. These are made by Engineers, and you can either buy one from the Auction House, or if you happen to be friends with an Engineer, perhaps they will make one for you.

Another item unique to Leatherworkers are ammo bags and quivers. You are the only crafter who can make this type of gear. There may not be a large market for these at the lower levels, but once you’re able to make the level 40 versions you should be able to sell them reasonably well. If you are friendly with an alchemist who can make the potions for you, that will be a great help in maximizing your profits on these items.

There are several quests related to Leatherworking, the first of which is available to you at skill level 70 (Alliance only). By talking to the Leather trainer in Darnassus, she will offer you the recipe for the Moonglow Vest in exchange for 11 various leather items. One note on this quest, it seems if you are wearing any of the items used in the quest she will take them from you. Be sure that any of the items on her list that you wish to keep are tucked in the bank before you return to her with the filled order. The Moonglow Vest is a very nice caster item and makes an attractive dark purple top, so I would highly recommend doing the quest, especially if you are a druid or shaman.

To advance your training beyond 150, Alliance players will need to seek out Telonis in Darnassus and Horde players should visit Una in Thunder Bluff. For Artisan Leatherworking (above 225) the trainers are Drakk Stonehand at Aerie Peak in the Hinterlands for Alliance and Hahrana Ironhide at Camp Mohache in Feralas for Horde. You will need to be level 35 before you can train as an Artisan. Around 200 skill is also where you will start learning recipes to create mail armor, for those leatherworkers who are interested in making gear for hunters and shamans.

Once you reach 225 Leatherworking skill, the next set of quests is available from a crafter at Feathermoon Stronghold in Feralas (Camp Mohache for Horde). This is the Wild Leather Armor quest line and involves multiple steps, crafting numerous items in exchange for five Wild Leather patterns. This quest line is required for those who want to pursue Tribal leatherworking as their specialty. It’s optional for those who are planning to go with Elemental or Dragonscale. The Wild Leather items themselves are not fixed stats, but when crafted will bestow a ‘random’ enchantment. Sometimes it’s a valuable one like Agility and other times it’s a less popular one like Spirit or some sort of resist bonus. Any time you make one of these it will be a potluck situation and you’ll end up with something that may not sell. My suggestion would be to skip this quest if you don’t plan to go Tribal, the time and component investment is quite steep for such a variable set of items.

After you become an Artisan Leatherworker, you’ll probably want to start thinking about what specialization to take. There are some general recommendations that most people make regarding which specialization is most appropriate for which classes. For Rogues this would be Elemental Leather, since these items lean towards Agility and Stamina bonuses and includes the Stormshroud Set. Dragonscale Leather is considered a Hunter/Shaman specialty due to the mix of attack power bonuses and caster-oriented stats and the fact that those recipes create mail instead of leather gear. Tribal Leatherworking is generally regarded as the Druid line, since many of the items are beneficial for druids. The Tribal recipes include the Ironfeather set which is very nice for healing druids, and the Devilsaur set that would be appropriate for Feral druids.

Once you’ve chosen a Specialization, you’ll need to locate the proper trainer. Here’s a chart of the various specialties and where the trainer can be found:

Name Location Specialization
Brumn Winterhoof (Horde) Arathi Highlands, just north of Stromgarde Keep Elemental
Sarah Tanner (Alliance) Searing Gorge Elemental
Thorkaf Dragoneye (Horde) Badlands Dragonscale
Peter Galen (Alliance) Azshara, east of Forlorn Ridge Dragonscale
Se’Jib (Horde) Stranglethorn Vale, north of Gurubashi Arena Tribal
Caryssia Moonhunter (Alliance) Feralas, at Thalanaar Tribal

More Special Recipes

There are a number of in-game factions that will sell you special recipes if you have a good reputation with them. These include the Timbermaw Tribe, the Argent Dawn, the Cenarion Circle and the Zandalar Tribe to name a few. They include recipes for all leatherworkers and some for the specialty leatherworkers as well.

If for some reason you decide that you don’t like the specialty you’ve chosen and you want to re-specialize, there is a way out. You’ll have to unlearn your current specialty (talk to any trainer) and pay a fee (usually 100g), then visit the appropriate trainer for the new specialty you want to learn.

Leatherworking in the Expansion: 300-375

Raising your crafting skill beyond 300 can be rough, especially the final 25 points to 375. The first thing you need to do is visit Brumman, the new Leatherworking trainer in Honor Hold. He is located outside the Inn, on the wall by the outhouses. Horde players can train with Barim Spilthoof, who stands under a small tent in front of the Inn at Thrallmar. If you haven’t already, you should also visit your old Artisan level trainer. For Alliance this is Drakk Stonehand in the Hinterlands, or Hahrana Ironhide in Feralas for Horde. Blizzard has added some of the high end drop recipes (250-300) to the trainers to ease the tradeskill leveling process through the previous cap of 300.

The reason I suggest training any missing recipes you might have in the upper range of Leatherworking is that they can come in handy for gaining points. Many of the level 300 recipes will still be orange to you and can be used for skill points up through 320. If you have lots of rugged leather and other old materials in the bank, you may as well use them up to get yourself some relatively cheap points. I went with the Wicked Leather Belt, since it only required rugged leather and some vendor-bought materials. You can easily milk these old recipes until they turn yellow, even further if you really want to maximize the easy skill points.

If you prefer not to use old recipes for points, you should probably start out making Knothide Leather. This is just a combining recipe to turn Knothide Scraps into a usable piece of leather. It’s yellow at 300 and gray at 310, so it won’t get you all that far, but it’s still 10 points for doing something you have to do anyway. After that you can choose one of the new gear recipes and make yourself some nice upgrade items or make Knothide Armor Kits to sell. Be cautious about grinding a ton of leather gear to sell, many people do this and as a result most of these items are severely undervalued. So make sure you do some research and see which items are not being made on your server before you crank out a bunch.

The upside of any useless gear you end up with is that they can be disenchanted into the various dusts that enchanters need to skill up. Illusion Dust and Arcane Dust are in very high demand for this reason, so find a buddy to DE all the backlogged inventory if you can. The pre-expansion gear will generally give you Illusion Dust and most of the post-expansion gear will give Arcane Dust, both of which sell pretty well.

Once you get to 325 or so you’ll have to start using the expansion recipes for skill points if you haven’t already. I would go with the recipes that make the most of whatever materials you have on hand. You should be able to reach 350 fairly easily by making the various uncommon quality armor recipes you received from the trainer. After that you’ll have to rely on faction recipes and loot drop recipes to make any further progress. If you’re not questing in Outland by now, you probably should be so you can open up those faction recipes. At a minimum I would suggest Honor Hold(Thrallmar) and Cenarion Expedition as the factions you can’t skip for Leatherworking purposes. You can also run dungeons in both of their respective zones for faction (up through Honored) if you prefer not to do the quests.

When you reach 350 you’ll probably want to seek out Thomas Yance in Old Hillsbrad to purchase the Riding Crop recipe from him. This requires you to enter the Caverns of Time, which is only available to level 66+ players. If you don’t happen to be that level yet, you can either recruit a buddy to buy the recipe for you, or purchase one from the Auction House. This is the easiest recipe to get for this skill range, so if you don’t have anything else this is probably worth having. Another relatively easy recipe to get is the Felstalker Belt, which only requires Friendly reputation with Honor Hold/Thrallmar.

In general, the 350-375 range for Leatherworking is very difficult to complete. All recipes that will grant skill points are of rare (blue) quality and require a hefty amount of materials to make. While some of these items will sell, don’t expect to make any profit unless you farm at least part of the components. The Fel Leather set for rogues and feral druids is pretty popular, but it’s still hard to get much for it beyond the cost of materials. Another good set is the Heavy Clefthoof set, which can be purchased from the Cenarion Expedition at Friendly/Honored. This is very good entry-level tanking gear for druids and probably will be part of their first tanking set until they start collecting dungeon drops, so it’s also a decent seller.

The only recipes that can give a guaranteed skill point in the final stretch beyond 370 are epic drop recipes. Unless you are lucky enough to get one of those, you’ll probably have to continue milking the Heavy Clefthoof Vest, Felstalker Bracer or Felstalker Breastplate after they turn yellow at 370. In my experience, the Heavy Clefthoof Leggings and Vest fetched a better price vs value of materials than the Felstalker gear, but feel free to research your own server before making a final determination. And while most recipes will be yellow to you at 370, they still give pretty good skill points. So don’t be afraid to continue making Clefthoof or Felstalker gear all the way to 375.

Another leveling option for heavy raiding types is the “Drum” recipes you can get at Honored reputation with various faction groups. These have very low component requirement compared with other post-350 recipes. As a result, they are a much easier way to skill up in Leatherworking if you have the ability to purchase them.

The prize at the finish line is the ability to craft your very own epic gear within your specialty. Good luck and enjoy your new goodies!

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