What's the difference between a stitching clam and a stitching pony anyways?

Whether you choose to use a stitching clam or a stitching pony, rest assured both tools are going to get you to the finish line. If you're not familiar with either tool, their purpose is pretty simple: to hold your work in place so that you can use both hands when saddle-stitching.

Saddle-stitching requires the use of 2 needles so if you have one hand holding the work and only one hand to saddle-stitch, that would makes saddling-stitching a difficult and frustrating process.

There are however a few differences between the tools that might sway you in one direction or the other if you're thinking about purchasing one of these guys.

The 3 main differences between a stitching clam and a stitching pony

1 | Sitting ontop of the pony vs. laying the pony over the lap

The first main difference is in how the tool is used. A stitching calm is a long wooden tool that has a clam-shell like opening which holds your work in place while saddle-stitching.

To use the tool, the leather worker sits in a chair and lays the tool across the lap with one leg swung over the top of the clam opening. The weight of the leg is what keeps the clam closed on the work.

The stitching clam is a key piece that plays a big role in making the process of saddle stitching more manageable and enjoyable.

Stitching clam - leather beast blog article on the difference between and stitching clam and a stitching pony

A stitching pony has a similar opening to hold your work but instead of laying this across your lap with one leg swung over top, you actually sit ontop of this tool, to keep it steady and in place. You could also bolt it down to a table or tall workbench, if sitting while you work is not your thing.

Instead of your leg keeping the opening closed, the stitching pony usually uses a wingnut to tighten and hold your work in place.

The pony serves the same purpose as the stitching clam, and the main difference is that the pony is placed on the table top and the clam lies in your lap with one leg swung over top.

stitching pony. leather beast blog article describing the difference between a stitching clam and a stiching pony in leatherwork

2 | Ease of use

Both of these tools are fairly easy to use. The stitching clam has jaw-like open and when you need to move or re-position your work you simply lift your leg off of the tool, open the jaws and move the work.

With the tabletop version you adjust the wingnut or the part of the tool that tightens or loosens the opening, re-position your work and then re-tighten the work.

If I was pressed to say which one is easier, I would say the stitching clam, only because it's easier to move your work by lifting your leg then it is to adjust a wingnut but I think it only takes a few extra seconds to carry out to do that so it doesn't make a huge difference.

3 | Price

Price is always a factor isn’t it? And with these two tools, it's kind of a big factor. So what is the price difference between the stitching clam and the stitching pony?

The stitching pony is a much more economically priced tool coming in at anywhere between $30 - $75 on Amazon.

The stitching clam is a bit more pricey due to the quality of material and manufacture. The Vergez Blanchard brand of stitching clam (which is what I use), is around $200.


So whether you’re on a budget or prefer a tool that has is slightly easier to use, it doesn't matter too much because either tool you choose here, is going to get the job done. I love my stitching clam, but I don't think that using the more economical choice, the stitching pony is going to hinder your leatherwork or performance. 

Do you use a stitching clam or stitching pony for your traditional leatherworking projects? Which tool do you like best? 

Let us know in the comments below.