Knipper

Filigree Work

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Knipper   

This is not so much of a "How do I do that?" as a "How do YOU do that" question.

I'm interested in learning about any edged tools used to cut leather. Some of the filigree work I've seen posted here is just fantastic. I'm curious about the knives or blades people are using to cut these intricate patterns out from a carved leather piece. For example, I've seen where material is removed from around petals on carved flowers or vines. I'd like to know what blade shapes and sizes are most useful, if possible. No doubt X-acto knives come into play, but maybe there is more to it than meets the eye. Any input would be appreciated. Also, if I could get an idea about the weight of the leather used, that would be useful too.

Thanks

Knipper

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hi knipper, i would be lost without my scalpel and no.11 blade...super sharp!!!! great for filigree and skiving edges.

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Knipper,

Along with the standard complement of scalpel and blades there are also punches/chisels and the filigree swivel knife blade. Round punches can be used to remove certain portions. Bob Beard offers some straight and curved filigree chisels in various sizes. There also used to be a filigree punch set. Here's an example of shapes offered in it.

post-9-065751900 1312811328_thumb.jpg

As far as leather thickness it can vary greatly but generally 2-8 oz material is used. However I have seen a couple of pieces done with 10-12 oz leather. It just depends on the weight required for the item but thinner material is obviously easier to manipulate.

Hope that helps.

Regards,

Ben

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I used an exacto/art knife to cut the filigree on my leather holster. Not sure what else I would do it with, but it worked well for me. I struggled with slipping, but I worked around it using my granite edge as a stopper. I have seen some art knives in hobby stores that looked like they could be useful as well. Best to just browse through a general hobby store and see what they have and what seems most comfortable to you to use.

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Knipper   

I can see where a set of symmetric punches would be useful, if you wanted to do an alternating solid/cut-out pattern, much like stamping the leather. I guess I was looking more for those situations where say, a floral pattern is carved into the leather and then, some of the leather surrounding those patterns is cut out. They would most likely be odd shaped pieces...mostly curved. If most crafters are getting by with scalpels and X-acto knives, then perhaps specialized cutting tools would not get much attention due to the extra cost etc. I was thinking of some chisels (picture a round punch, cut in half and thinned to a fine cutting edge) where you could press straight down and get a clean cut, along with some thin pointed blades (45 degree angle in profile or less) that could handle longer curved cuts with precision. I may make something up just for fun to see how they would work. Of course, I don't know what I'm doing when it comes to leather working, but I know how to make things that cut! :)

Knipper

Knipper,

Along with the standard complement of scalpel and blades there are also punches/chisels and the filigree swivel knife blade. Round punches can be used to remove certain portions. Bob Beard offers some straight and curved filigree chisels in various sizes. There also used to be a filigree punch set. Here's an example of shapes offered in it.

post-9-065751900 1312811328_thumb.jpg

As far as leather thickness it can vary greatly but generally 2-8 oz material is used. However I have seen a couple of pieces done with 10-12 oz leather. It just depends on the weight required for the item but thinner material is obviously easier to manipulate.

Hope that helps.

Regards,

Ben

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Round punch wherever the flow of the pattern will accept, then exacto blade cutting from one curve of the punch to halfway to the next punch, then from the other punch back to the midpoint. I have a Exacto hobby set that has a bunch of different blades. I find I use a scalpel blade about as often as I do a pointed blade.

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Ladykahu   

I have only done one small filligree mask, so a learner absolutely..

But I sharpened up and used a set of lino cutting tools I had

They look like this and seemed to work ok

post-19292-032655800 1312875968_thumb.jp

Natalie

Edited by Ladykahu

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Knipper,

As I mentioned here's something similar to what you are talking about in these chisels. There are a few different sizes of straight and curved chisels. Check it out here. Look for CH and CHC Filigree Chisels (CH - straight and CHC - curved)

Filigree Chisels

Look forward to seeing what you come up with.

Regards,

Ben

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You might check at your Harbor Freight store. They usually carry a very inexpensive set of small wood carving tools that have various profiles that work welll for filligree work. I know they have a half round, a v shape and a straight blade that is small enough to get in the tight places. The quality isn't the greatest but for leather, they work very well.

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Terry, I do a lot of filigree on my floral carved chap tops. I mainly use sharpened veiner stamping tools in various lengths and degrees of curvature...I also use rond punches in the scallops of leaves and flowers. About the only place I use a scalpel or x acto is in a tight corner...Just my method and as I was told before...as long as it works for you it's probably the right way.

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pete   

I recall something that I saw Chan Geer do. I have used it and am well pleased. He sticks the ex-acto tip into the pine board vertically, and pulls the leather into the blade where possible. It allows for great precision and let's you make single cuts all the way through- something that I have had trouble with on some pieces.

Hope this is if help!

pete

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For those of us who are totally lost at the moment. Can someone post a link or a pic of some leather filigree work? I have no idea what it is but it sounds interesting.

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Ferg   

This is a filigree done with shaped punches. You would normally place a contrasting color behind this.

For those of us who are totally lost at the moment. Can someone post a link or a pic of some leather filigree work? I have no idea what it is but it sounds interesting.

post-15740-078495900 1313000170_thumb.jp

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For those of us who are totally lost at the moment. Can someone post a link or a pic of some leather filigree work? I have no idea what it is but it sounds interesting.

Also take a look at the user leatherrookie's stuff. He does some nice work with Sheridan carving and metallic leathers behind on belts and folios covers. If you just type in "filigree" into the search bar up above, you'll come up with a bunch of threads, some of which are his.

I'm tempted to get myself some of the punches like ferg/50years showed...It looks like a better way to make leather Christmas ornaments than what I've been doing!

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I have seen some of the Japanese leatherworkers using a ultrasonic knife. Price is about $4,000.00, so if you have some disposable income, give it a try.

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