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Nathanjespers

Blade preferences

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Still getting used to this site. Can anyone direct me to a thread on pros and cons. head knives, draw knives, scalpels, utility razors and such and such?

Thanks a bunch folks

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Try the search box up in the top right corner, and use the term "head knife" in quotations to see a list of threads discussing them. 

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Stohlman's book on leathercraft tools explains how to use and sharpen these tools.  One aspect of the choice is using a disposable blade versus spending time and money on sharpening equipment.

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4 hours ago, Nathanjespers said:

Still getting used to this site. Can anyone direct me to a thread on pros and cons. head knives, draw knives, scalpels, utility razors and such and such?

Thanks a bunch folks

Right tool for the job, the knife depends on the type, thickness, shape of the leather or pattern you intend to be cutting. so you will be getting a lot of confusing reply's unless you can give more info. Are you making saddles or watch straps? 

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As you've noticed, there are all sorts of knives available for leatherwork, at all sorts of prices. Search YouTube for 'knives for leatherwork' ; 'beginners tools for leatherwork' and similar headings, and you'll see what's available, and their pros & cons. Also watch videos on the things you'd like to make and you'll see what other people use.

Here are a few comments, in no particular order  --

Round knife - it has a semi circular blade with two points and will do most things; the disadvantage is that it takes practice & experience to use well, and they are expensive

Head knife - similar to a round knife but it has only one point, which makes it cheaper and easier to use. Have a look  at videos by JH Leather, she uses a head knife for most of her work

Stanley/utility/box cutter - simple, cheap, and easy to use; you can re sharpen the blades, and even new blades work better if they've been sharpened on a fine stone & a strop. You can do good work with a box cutter, have a look at videos by Ian Atkinson/Leodis Leather, he uses one for most items

Clicker knife - with a chubby handle and interchangeable hooked or straight blades; reasonably priced and easy to use & sharpen

Rotary cutter - such as Olfa or Fiskars; good for straight cuts on thinner leather like wallets or some bags

Japanese Leather Knife - with its distinctive asymmetric blade, but once you get used to it, it's good for straight cuts, gentle curves, & skiving; reasonably priced and easy to sharpen

Basic leather knife - a simple style with a wooden handle and a thin blade about 4" long; cheap, easy to use & sharpen 

Small craft knife or scalpel - such as Exacto or Swann Morton; replaceable blades; OK for thin leather & fine work such as wallets or watch straps, but too light for anything thicker 

Skiving knives - There are two main types - one is like a hand held chisel, and the other is usually just a plain strip of steel with an angled blade at one end. As you watch videos you'll see them both in use. 

These are, I think, the most common types, but no doubt you'll see other styles & variations as you gain experience

My suggestion - start with a box cutter, you probably have one already, then once you've got used to leatherwork, decide what's next

Whatever you choose, you will need to be able to sharpen, usually with a fine stone or abrasive paper, and a strop - but that's another story

Just one thing, a draw knife is a two handled knife used in woodwork, not leather.

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Thanks a bunch you guys. I I haven't been using this forum for very long but I appreciate the earnest information and opinions given forth by other contributors. 

Thanks again

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Here's a suggestion - have you got a strop yet? You'll need one for sharpening your knives, whatever type you get

Make your own from oddments of wood & leather, it's easy enough and will get you used to cutting and using leather. Search YouTube for 'how to make a strop', there are loads of videos

Green chromium oxide stropping compound is as good as any; it's cheap and a small bar will last for ages

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