JJs Leatherworks

New Tandy Swivel Knives

28 posts in this topic

Got an email from Tandy today, like happens every Friday, and their new line of tools is now available.

Included in the new offerings are their two new swivel knives with either 3/8" or 1/2" barrels.

Anyone got to see and touch these in real life yet?

Do you think they will be able to compare to the likes of Barry King swivel kinives?

Would like to know if they are going to be a suitable upgrade from their basic models. I won't be in a Tandy store for a while, so any early opinions will be appreciated.

JJ

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Looked at the new tools today. Bought two just to see. My impression is that compared to the other craft tools they are a huge step up. The crispness of the tools looks good. The machining looks fair. They are stainless. They are more than Barry King (at list price).

Overall, Barry King tools are nicer. If you get a discount the new tools are charper (these tools are virtually exact copies of Barrys tools, Chinese manufacturing flattery). If you want to buy from Tandy it is really awsome to finally have a usable choice of tooling tools.

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these tools are virtually exact copies of Barrys tools, Chinese manufacturing flattery

Does that include the stamping tools or were you just referring to the knives?

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Does that include the stamping tools or were you just referring to the knives?

I was refering to the tools. They look like someone bought a set of Barry King tools and copied them.

I like the look of the knife. Didn't try cutting with if so not sure how it fits in my hand. It looked pretty good though. I didn't see any info on metal alloy in the blade.

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When I looked, the prices on the knives weren't much better than Barry's, so I'd say stick to his unless you're a swivel knife addict (assuming they're made in China to the same standards we're used to). I don't really know what they're like though, so I think I'd just stick to a known product. I am however always on the lookout for various bevelers since that's about 90% of what I do. Made me go look at Barry's again though :)

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I am a tool addict. Not a drug addict and not an alcholic so I buy tools. Most of my tools are Barry King.

One advantage I personally have with these tools is I teach basic tooling at Tandy and it is nearly impossible to do floral tooling with the previous line of craft tools. This gives me the ability to have tools to teach with.

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I got the email too and although I know they were announced previously as high end, I was surprised at the price. I think they should have stepped up the quality of the "cheap" ones but charge a bit more. Personally, I will still look for the old craftools which can be had for much less than these new ones.

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I got the email too and although I know they were announced previously as high end, I was surprised at the price. I think they should have stepped up the quality of the "cheap" ones but charge a bit more. Personally, I will still look for the old craftools which can be had for much less than these new ones.

I have tro agree that the price is surprising. Chinese mass production being sold for the same price as American made small scale production. But, this is true for most of what Tandy sells. Tandy is convenient and many people do shop there. Almost all new leatherworkers start at Tandy.

The new tools are far superior in quality to any tools they have sold in the last 30 years. They are stainless and not nade out of crappy metal that it covered in chrome, muting the impressions. The huge differance is that they have modernized the shapes. They now have undercut tools that actually undercut. There is a leaf liner, center shader, thumbprint and so on that they have not previously sold. If you are using western floral tooling patterns from 50 years ago, you likely will not be affected by this. If you are tooling in a more modern Sheridan style (tighter, closer more busy) this is huge.

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I am only a year into leather work and mostly buy from Tandy because I don't know what is better. Glad to have read this post! Infact I was just cursing my Tandy swivel knife today. I wouldn't say I am good or bad using it, it just seems there has to be a better way. I find myself stropping more than carving. I thought about trying the ceramic blade but I just don't know what to buy lol. I don't want to invest a ton of money on 10 different swivel knives trying to find a good one when that money could be spent on leather. Infact, my husband bought me the huge tool set for Christmas last year and the blade they had in the swivel knife didn't even fit it, it didn't come with a pear shader, one of the bevelers were chipped etc..Sorry for running on and on.......<<<<<damn girls!

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because I don't know what is better.

Barry King Tools

I thought about trying the ceramic blade but I just don't know what to buy lol. I don't want to invest a ton of money on 10 different swivel knives trying to find a good one when that money could be spent on leather. Infact, my husband bought me the huge tool set for Christmas last year and the blade they had in the swivel knife didn't even fit it, it didn't come with a pear shader, one of the bevelers were chipped etc..Sorry for running on and on.......<<<<<damn girls!

Ceramic blades are very hard but are not truely sharp either. I tell people if they are not going to sharpen their knives, ceramic is good. If you are going to sharpen, quality steel is better.

If a Tandy tool is damaged, they are guarantied for life. Take it back and exchange it.

Running on is OK, I like girls.

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I have tro agree that the price is surprising. Chinese mass production being sold for the same price as American made small scale production. But, this is true for most of what Tandy sells. Tandy is convenient and many people do shop there. Almost all new leatherworkers start at Tandy.

The new tools are far superior in quality to any tools they have sold in the last 30 years. They are stainless and not nade out of crappy metal that it covered in chrome, muting the impressions. The huge differance is that they have modernized the shapes. They now have undercut tools that actually undercut. There is a leaf liner, center shader, thumbprint and so on that they have not previously sold. If you are using western floral tooling patterns from 50 years ago, you likely will not be affected by this. If you are tooling in a more modern Sheridan style (tighter, closer more busy) this is huge.

That was the other thing I noticed, was the new shapes added to the Tandy collection. Like you, I am a bit of a tool addict (attracted to shiny things) as well, so am certain a few of them are going to end up in my collection.

Will probably ask to try out the swivel knives on my next visit to the store. I am curious as to the controllability differences between the two barrel diameters. Wondering which will feel better for real fine detail work.

There is no mention though, that the blades themselves are of any better quality ...

JJ

Edited by JJs Leatherworks

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I personally prefer smaller barrel knives. My hands are small (wear medium gloves) so they fit me. The blades are tapered and I am not sure of the metal alloys. As usual, this information is not available. If you are currently using a Tandy knife I think you will be in awe. The bearing in the top makes a huge differance. Most other knife makers have been using a top bearing for a long time, so if you are using a top end knife I am guessing it would be a sideways step.

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Thanks, I will check out the site!

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maybe i was lucky, but the swivel knife that came in my Tandy kit seems fine to me.

I have never used one before, but after spending a while honing and stropping it when i first got it, it seems to cut well. I have done quite a few cuts this past year, and my technique has improved with every project, the knife has given no hints that its dodgy.

Please could someone explain what it is about these Tandy knives that people seem to have problems with? I'm keen to know if a more costly knife would improve anything for me.

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The issue with most of the 'standard' knives is that they use a "cup on a point" - pull one apart and you'll see what I mean- and over time, the knife can/will develop a "less than smooth" feel to it. It's not just the blade, it's the yoke as well. A good bearing supported yoke will allow the knife to turn with no added resistance or choppy feeling from the yoke. To give an example, I can hold one of my tandy knives by the blade and lightly thump the yoke....it might go ONE full revolution. I do the same thing to a bearing supported yoke (different knife obviously) and it spins for just under 10 seconds. Completely free spinning. Heck, I can blow on the yoke and it'll turn....it's so much smoother that you really do have to feel it to understand it.

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lightningad, one of the biggest issues with the standard Tandy swivel knives is the way the saddle bit connects to the barrel. It's just metal on metal were the barrel goes into the collar.

This makes it not swivel quite as easily or cleanly as it should.

Most other brands use ball bearings in the collar, making for a much smoother turn.

It's not really that much of an issue with the blades, although people often have preferences concerning blade angle, width, and so on.

Edit: Had this post up since earlier in the morning, and didn't refresh, so I didn't see TwinOaks reply.

Edited by Tzalabak

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maybe i was lucky, but the swivel knife that came in my Tandy kit seems fine to me.

I have never used one before, but after spending a while honing and stropping it when i first got it, it seems to cut well. I have done quite a few cuts this past year, and my technique has improved with every project, the knife has given no hints that its dodgy.

Please could someone explain what it is about these Tandy knives that people seem to have problems with? I'm keen to know if a more costly knife would improve anything for me.

i think the best way to explain it is that many times you do not know what you are missing till you get better. Imagine someone from the jungle of Africa and give them really low quality ice cream. They would be is awe of how great it tastes. Would rant and rave, tell their friends that it is the best tasting stuff in all the world. You could tell them thst it is low quality and the good tasting stuff is Ben and Jerrys. They would tell that that there is no way that there could be anything better, this cheap ice cream is wonderfull.

As to the sharpening, I can sharpen almost any quality of steel to a razer edge. The question is not if you can get it sharp, it is will it stay sharp. Quality steel holds an edge. Tandy blades are not that hard, they can easily be sharpened, they also easily go dull. I don't know if the steel is differant or the same in the new knifes, so not sure if the blade issue has been addressed.

Aaron

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I don't think a super expensive knife is going to make anyone better at tooling though unless they are already good. I do very little tooling so I'm not that good but when I started I had Tandy ones as well as Barry King ones and another good one that I can't remember what it is. Neither made any noticeable difference to my tooling however someone more experienced than me would probably be able to tell the difference.

Moral of my post? I have no idea but if you're new don't think that spending 100 bucks or so on a new knife will improve much, that's what I thought and I was let down although at the time I probably mentally thought it made me better just to justify the cost. I still use my cheap ones along side the better ones since I have different blades in each it makes it easier for me.

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Looked at the new tools today. Bought two just to see. My impression is that compared to the other craft tools they are a huge step up. The crispness of the tools looks good. The machining looks fair. They are stainless. They are more than Barry King (at list price).

Overall, Barry King tools are nicer. If you get a discount the new tools are charper (these tools are virtually exact copies of Barrys tools, Chinese manufacturing flattery). If you want to buy from Tandy it is really awsome to finally have a usable choice of tooling tools.

I really enjoy my King knife

Edited by sinpac

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thanks everyone...now i understand. Its not so much the blade thats the problem as the bearings or lack thereof. I'll stick with what i have and spend any spare cash (ha!) on leather for the foreseeable.

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thanks everyone...now i understand. Its not so much the blade thats the problem as the bearings or lack thereof. I'll stick with what i have and spend any spare cash (ha!) on leather for the foreseeable.

That's a good plan, but if you're putting out production, the time spent sharpening that tandy blade can add up to lots of money. The $50 for a Barry King is well worth it. I used to have to hit the stone at least once a week with my tandy blade. I've had my BK for about 6 or 7 months now and it's never seen a stone. Just keep it stropped and it's done real well. But, I know the time's coming where I'll need to hit the stone with it.

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Aaron - really liked the ice cream anecdote. I love ice cream and can relate - I thoroughly enjoy the fancy brands but can't always justify the cost, but that doesn't mean I am not going to have ice cream on a regular basis even if I am settlling for the cheaper brand. There will always be some kind in the freezer and for a treat or special occasion, will bring out the good stuff. May have to have one really good swivel knife in the tool rack, for the special jobs.

Billymac - Like you, I have accumulated several knives over the years, although I have never bought a real expensive one. I enjoy having several on the go, as it saves switching out blades, angle blade, regular blade, filigree blade, one can have the hair blade, a couple will be attached to edge guides at preset widths (always ready to border a belt or strap).

I think I will seriously look at purchasing one of the new swivel knives, not expecting to instantly carve better, but hopefully to be easier on my hands. I do hope that I can try them in the store first, test drive if you please, as my hands are medium to large and I want to compare the feel of the different sizes and see if one fits/feels better than the other.

Before I spend my money though, I am wondering if anyone has tried one of the knives sold by 'Tanglefoot Traders'. There was a video posted in one of the other 'swivel knife' threads. The idea of the blade turning without have to twist the barrel with your fingers was a neat concept, and wondering what kind of learning curve there would be to adjust to the different style. They are more expensive again and by the time shipping to Canada is added in, they would need several five star ratings to be considered.

So many choices, so many considerations, .....

JJ

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I have a tangleboss. It is not one I would want to use as a primary knife. There is a learning curve to it and so far I have not yet mastered it. It would be best used on small, tight cuts and fast direction changes. My newest and most favorite to use knife is a leather wranglers. It is also the most exspensivew knife I have. I would hesitate telling someone to buy it as a first knife purchase. My previous favorite knife is a Chuck Smith. Still like it, but being a tool addict always looking for better. I use a straight blade most of the time, used to use an angled blade. It felt like I grew up to the adult table when I got the hang of the straight, like taking off the training wheels.

I don't know if that hurt or helped.

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While I'm only a novice at tooling, I do love my SK3 swivel knife from leather wranglers. I consider it worth every penny I paid.

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The issue with most of the 'standard' knives is that they use a "cup on a point" - pull one apart and you'll see what I mean- and over time, the knife can/will develop a "less than smooth" feel to it. It's not just the blade, it's the yoke as well. A good bearing supported yoke will allow the knife to turn with no added resistance or choppy feeling from the yoke. To give an example, I can hold one of my tandy knives by the blade and lightly thump the yoke....it might go ONE full revolution. I do the same thing to a bearing supported yoke (different knife obviously) and it spins for just under 10 seconds. Completely free spinning. Heck, I can blow on the yoke and it'll turn....it's so much smoother that you really do have to feel it to understand it.

The new Tandy knives have a ball bearing. I was at a store Saturday and we gave it the spin test. It spun for a whole lot longer than 10 seconds.

And I see people saying that these tools are made in China. Do we know that for a fact or is that just a guess?

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