Jump to content

Decorative Cuts

Recommended Posts

I've bungled up a few pieces at the very last step, decorative cutting. Usually because of two things:

1. I can't figure out how wet should the leather be. I've tried cutting without re-wetting and it drags. I've tried re-wetting with a quick squeeze on the spray bottle, and it's too mushy.

2. The thumb printed vines are the worse. The thumb print tends to "lead" the blade due to the uneven surface.

Any advice?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Practice. A lot.

Tips to be more successful, avoid cutting in thumb prints if at all possible. When you do, you need to take into account what plane the leather is facing, and tilt your blade to be perpendicular to it. Keeping your knife straight up and down will lead to undercuts. Moisture content, you want the color to have returned, but still be wet. Since it is a last touch kinda thing, if you must rewet the leather, wait until the natural color comes back before cutting.

But seriously, practice practice practice. If the thumbprint cuts are your hardest, hit a bunch of thumb prints and pear shaders on some scrap and practice those cuts specifically. Look at some of the better leather carvers work. See where they stop their shading in flower petals etc, and where the cuts are.

Hope this helps.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Boy, that is a tough one. I have problems with that too. Chuck is absolutely correct that it takes practice, as much as anything we do when carving leather. The shading from the thumb print does make it harder because that leather is compressed and much denser than the unshaded leather next to it. I don't think I would recommend much re-wetting if you don't have to. Re-wetting will take a little of the burnish out of your thumb print or shading, and a lot of extra moisture could cause you to loose some of the relief you have carved.

In order to make good decorative cuts I have to warm up first. I need to practice whatever the cut is going to look like first on some scrap. The first couple usually don't look that great. Also, make sure your swivel knife is very sharp and well stropped before you start. Having a sharp swivel knife makes all the difference in the world.

Hope that helps,


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...