The other day I was attaching a strap to my new purse, and I decided to do it with little leather tabs riveted to the purse. So I needed to make little holes in the leather tabs to put the rivets through, and I didn’t want to use my awl — my awl is cheap, doesn’t fit in my hand well, etc.
So I got out my hand drill. I love my pretty little Ben Franklin hand drill (it doesn’t really have anything to do with Ben Franklin, but it looks like it ought to), and the job took two seconds. I could choose any size hole I wanted, limited only by my collection of drill bits.
Then I realized I didn’t even need the drill, really: I just needed the bit. With a little patience, you can just spin the drill bit carefully in your fingers. (This is probably easiest with a small hole and thin leather.) [EDIT April 2012: And a sharp new drill bit.]
The bits are sharp as heck, which means watch your fingers, but it also means they carve into the leather smooth as anything. You wind up with a pretty tidy little hole. So the next time you need your belt to cinch a little tighter, or your stirrups to go up a little higher, or you want to put a carabiner through your tool belt or who knows what, just pick up your drill bits.