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Help Sourcing A Good Skiving Knife For Making Watch Bands

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Hi guys, i need help to pick the right skiving knife for making watch bands, have been pretty unsuccessful thus wasted some cash,etc.

Sometimes i need to skive very soft cowhide/calf, if the knife isn't sharp enough... it will cause the leather to change in shape.

I have one option in mind, what do you guys think about it? UK right hand style skiving knife

http://www.handtools-uk.com/p1586-skiving-knife-osborne-ref-469b-uk-right-hand-us-left

Nonetheless, is this uk website trusted?

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Hi

I've bought many things from this website. Always helpful with a fast delivery time.

Hope that reassures you................

Cheers

Zip

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I would also try J Hewit and Sons Ltd for an English paring knife they sell bookbinding tools and leather and their knives are good to use and sharpen. They are based north of the border in Scotland.

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Try Knipschield custom knives,

http://www.knipknives.com

Terry will fix you up and even customize to your liking. I've got some of his knives and the nice thing about it is that it has a convex bevel this allowing more sensitive input as compared to a conventional bevel.

Fred

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One thing I will add be careful what steel you buy as the type of sharpening stones needs to be able to sharpen that steel correctly. The 154cm steel (stainless steel) that knipshield uses is harder to sharpen and takes longer to sharpen than carbon steel. HSS steel like the one found in Fineleatherworking will need a ceramic or diamond stone to sharpen and takes considerably longer to sharpen as the steel is harder (longer than Stainless and carbon.

Carbon steel or white steel tempered at rc 60 or above will sharpen faster and save time although the stainless and HSS will stay sharper longer in general. You may want to add a japanese utility knife made with white steel, it is very similar to the english paring knife but the steel is made by a master blade maker. The japanese blade is flat and not angled like the other knives so the skiving is slightly different.

If you want some personal advice j meyers in Singapore has a shop in Chinatown, he makes watch bands with exotics. I didn't have a chance to meet up with him though as he was away from his shop when I was there. Atelier lodge also in singapore has a shop that I did get a chance to visit. He's friendly and willing to share. He also hold classes.

Edited by DavidL

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For skiving edges I need to fold over on soft calf skin I use the cheap Tandy Safety Skiver. It's really easy to control for small areas and the blades are cheap and can be stropped to a perfect edge over and over before the need to be replaced. The key is to strop a lot. I'll usually give it 20 passes as soon as it doesn't seem to be cutting like I want and I flip the blade every other time I strop it. For larger items I use a round knife that I made from a high speed steel industrial fabric cutting wheel. It holds a fantastic edge.

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I'll offer my services if you're still looking.

I don't agree with the above caution on harder steels. If a steel is easier to sharpen it is easier to dull, hence more frequent maintenance. A steel that is harder dulls slower and requires less frequent maintenance, and with the advent and availability of diamond sharpeners, the old issue of sharpening hard blades with soft stones is rather dated.

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i use an extremely sharp wood chisel. it's 1/4" wide. my brother gave me all of his 1/4" chisels because he doesn't use anything that small. it's got a great shape for skiving and the narrowness of the blade allows for some great control on a narrow piece like a watchband. i know this doesn't fall in line with the title of this thread, but i figured i'd offer it just for some info.

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I purchased a knife thats stainless, curved like a clicker knife and convex blade geometry. Found out later that its not quite suited for cutting with a ruler (edge isn't flat but convex) and was hard to sharpen a curved convex vs a v grind or chisel grind (needs special round sharpening stones).

I read some of the japanese white steels become beyond sharper than other steels and sharpen up quick. My next knife will be a kiridashi - one flat edge to ride against ruler, white steel and inexpensive. Similar to what european leather factories sometimes use, a shoe makers knife. Just a thought..

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Japanese white steel and blue steel is not a rare or special metal. White steel is a high carbon, blue steel is a high carbon with a dash of tungsten. The name white and blue is derived from the color of the wrapping paper the manufacturer packages with.

Harder steels will become sharper than softer steels. Stainless steel only indicates an alloyed steel contaning at least 11-12% Chromium (depending on what sources you read). There are a ton of stainless steel alloys from run of the mill 440C to the modern super steels such as M390, Elmax and SV-30. How an alloy steel is made is just as or more important than the contents added. Powder metallurgy steel is vastly superior as it has a homogenous mixture of alloys within the iron matrix. Simple steels containing only Iron and carbon are your 'high carbon' steels, even though most stainless knife steels have a higher carbon content. High Carbon steel are lacking in the wear resistance alloys therefore are easier to sharpen, and consequently easier to dull.

All of the above regarding content and alloy is nothing without proper heat treatment. A poor or untreated supersteel would be a complete failure if compared to a properly heat treated simple steel. Alloy and content is potential, heat treatment is the realization of the potential. This is one reason why quality knives can cost more as they don't shortcut heat treatment, and test results, all taking more time and money.

The final issue with your blade's cutting performance is how the knife was made. A convex edge is touted by some as superior and stronger. While I can't disagree that it would be stronger since there is more mass as the edge I find it makes resharpening nearly impossible for the end user. A knifemaker can sharpen to a convex about as easy as you can sharpen a knife since guys who do this simply sharpen it against a slack portion of their belt grinder. The resulting flex gives you that convex 'appleseed' edge. I prefer a low flat grind with minimal sharpening bevel on a new knife. After enough sharpening you will arrive at the convex and either love it, or send it back and I regrind it back to a flat.

A lot of misconceptions with knife steels, but at least I didn't have to go down the pattern welded "damascus" route.

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good info into the world of knifes. like you said most important is for the knife to be heat treated correctly. I did a bit of research and some personal experience the type of grind how thick the edge and above the cutting edge is and many other factors come into play to get a good knife. From what I read the consensus is the thinner the edge the better cutting performance.

Also from what carter cutlery says (17th generation japanese blade smith) among the japanese blade smith community white steel #1 is the best cutting steel making the sharpest possible blade. Could be other steels that are similar, the white steel is proven good quality.

to me a chisel grind or hollow grind carbon steel would work well in theory. HSS steel and stainless I dont know for sure if it can get as sharp as good carbon steel or if its practical because of long sharpening times. Cutting upholstery leather/chrome the knife needs to be razor sharp or it will pull.

Edited by DavidL

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You don't need a knife splitter. You need a pull through splitter. I think a 6 inch blade would work just fine for you. It is very hard to control the depth of the cut with a knife that in turn will make your straps look like the ocean because of the variance in thickness. Just my 2 cents.

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I find that when working on small items like watch bands it helps to skive the leather before you cut out the final shape, this also helps to avoid "fuzzies."

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