GeneH

Used straight or round knife on a budget - brands?

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I'm on the hunt for a general purpose knife, probably used, that would be a leap from x-acto or utility blades. The limiting factor is (of course) cost as my budget is really thin. Experience with kitchen and outdoor blades seems I get harder, easier to sharpen non-stainless for the price - seems cheap stainless is just .... mushy.

I don't know brands to look for, or exactly what shape I should get, but am leaning to a single bevel low angle or a round/head knife (the one with less curve and more pointed tips). (Armitage shows how a low angle blade can cut thin leather, but that's all I know) I don't want to use my wood carving knives again - their really thin and took a beating.

Nor do I know how to identify the manufacturing period, if that's a consideration for a particular brand.

So - can you folks give some guidance? I really want to keep under $40, no hurry. A nice stiff, thin, hard but not prone to chipping, blade would be awesome. Don't even care if it's dull as snot - sharpening is my zen time anyway.

Edited by GeneH

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Check out this guys stuff

https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.com%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F153109324797

This is as close to 40 bucks with some quality you're going to find. Be patient he is out of China. But he makes quality stuff.

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Am I likely to find as good (online) used?  The Osborn’s on eBay now (in the $35 shipped) look  pitted way more than I would like. But that’s just a small sampling. I can wait a month for the right deal to show.

 

 

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1 hour ago, bikermutt07 said:

I saw those but had no reference. I like the edge I get sharpening D2 so his looks good. Thanks for the really quick reply!

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Thanks for the endorsement Bikermutt.  I've saved his info.  I like his "stainless steel press edge clamp" and his shoe bottom edge skiver.  Actually, I like a lot more than that, but those two just got saved for when I've got a few extra pennies I don't know what to do with.

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12 minutes ago, Aven said:

Thanks for the endorsement Bikermutt.  I've saved his info.  I like his "stainless steel press edge clamp" and his shoe bottom edge skiver.  Actually, I like a lot more than that, but those two just got saved for when I've got a few extra pennies I don't know what to do with.

Right now I only have his small pattern knife and 2 more items on the way.

I have not bought one of his round knives, yet. I emphasize YET.

The pattern knife is great.

@GeneH, make sure and check out his other knives. He has a few different head/round knives available.

Kevin Lee ( his name)  has a big following on Instagram and Facebook, but he sells on eBay. He gets great reviews.

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1 hour ago, GeneH said:

Am I likely to find as good (online) used?  The Osborn’s on eBay now (in the $35 shipped) look  pitted way more than I would like. But that’s just a small sampling. I can wait a month for the right deal to show.

 

 

Buying used is buying used. When it comes to a knife I avoid used. You never will be able to tell from photos how badly someone wrecked the edge. 

And the newer Osborne's and Tandy knives just don't hold an edge. And, are usually more than 40 dollars. I have owned 2 Stohlman knives and have given both of them away. You might as well keep using a box cutter than to spend money on a blade with Tandy.

 

Edited by bikermutt07

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1 hour ago, bikermutt07 said:

You never will be able to tell from photos how badly someone wrecked the edge.

You’re right about that. I’ve only purchased used kitchen knives where it looks like it’s never been sharpened. I wouldn’t be able to tell if it’s been taken to a power sharpener and the edge’s HT is ruined. No fun grinding back to good steel including fixing the shape and bevel. That’s part of the reason I didn’t bid on any of those Osborn’s. 

I get the feeling a clean, good used knife is only going to save about 20 bucks over what Kevin has, if I can find one. No really worth the risk and time. Thanks for the opinion of Tandy and new Osborn’s.

Curious to hear what other opinions are out there.

Edited by GeneH

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Two things for you to consider - 

A head knife, aka a half round knife like an Osborne #73

A Japanese leather knife

I use both, and I'm happy enough with them. Once you've got used to the asymmetrical shape the Japanese knife works well

Search the Net for suppliers or Goods Japan; and YouTube for how they're used. JH Leather has a video on sharpening a half round knife, with a short demonstration of its use at the end

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22 minutes ago, zuludog said:

...

A Japanese leather knife

...

100% agreed on this: if I had to choose only one knife, I'd keep my Japanese  leather knife. It's easy to sharpen and maintain, very precise, can skive well ...all in all, incredible value for money.

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Thought I'd add this - I've made my own Japanese style knives; one from an old plane blade, and one from a piece of 40,, industrial hacksaw blade, the cost was very low

GENEH - looking at your other interests, I don't think you would find it too difficult to make one yourself. You will need to find someone who's good with a bench grinder, and go slowly, with quenching, to avoid burning such thin steel. Final sharpening by hand, and they get better as you use & resharpen them. Search YouTube for ideas. Handle can be any hard wood; I've used beech & hawthorn

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On 3/12/2019 at 3:34 AM, Alisdair said:

.... if I had to choose only one knife, ....

This is one of the responses I had hoped to receive as it's in line with how I get started: one tool that'll do the job well and expand from there as required.

 

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That's a couple votes for straight, single bevel, Japanese knives.  Zuludog I might have a small  plane blade around here to try out. That would give me an idea of how I would like that style of leather cutting. I watched a couple videos (since the last posts endorsing Japanese style blades) showing to hold it. I can easily thin and smooth the the bevel if it seems a little steep.  Edge retention might be so-so, but this is a low time investment to try.

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Let me comment again. Monday I received my 1" skiving knife from Lisa Sorrell. I got to say (after working up the edge) I bet a fella could do a lot worse than this 40 dollar knife. It's a scandi grind double bevel angled skiving knife, but I bet it would do in a pinch for an all around leather knife.

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7 minutes ago, bikermutt07 said:

.... I received my 1" skiving knife from Lisa Sorrell. ...after working up the edge) I bet a fella could do a lot worse than this 40 dollar knife....

I didn't see her knife listing before - seems she has 2 different sites. Now I see what she has here:

https://sorrellnotionsandfindings.com/product/skiving-knives/

And of course working up the edge should be expected on most knives just to suit our particular OCD bent for that perfect edge. :-)    It's my expectation to have to tweak a new tool. Nothing wrong with that is there. 

 

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Just now, GeneH said:

I didn't see her knife listing before - seems she has 2 different sites. Now I see what she has here:

https://sorrellnotionsandfindings.com/product/skiving-knives/

And of course working up the edge should be expected on most knives just to suit our particular OCD bent for that perfect edge. :-)    It's my expectation to have to tweak a new tool. Nothing wrong with that is there. 

 

I tell folks, unless the tool comes from a custom maker, expect to be expected to true it up. Nothing mass produced comes sharp enough for leather. At least that's my humble opinion.

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And Bikermutt until today I would have always, always agreed on that point. (can you sense a 'but' coming?)

I have always been oldschool UK pricking irons to mark the stitch and diamond awl to stich through (unmarked) rear leather. I was intrigued by the 'hole punch' stitching methods I had seen on here, so went for these, to try the method...

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/232832314053

They arrived today, and sharp as hell out of the pack. Who knows what will happen tomorrow, but went through 6mm leather like butter.

I dont know if I am pleased ar disappointed, as I have never paid so little for any tool, I kinda wanted it to fail.

I will buy better when needed, rather than sharpen, but for now they work.

H

Edited by hwinbermuda

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@hwinbermuda, I'm guessing you got lucky on that one. 

Now I haven't actually sharpened any irons. They may be an exception to the rule, but awl blades, corner and end chisels, knives, edgers, just about anything I can think of has needed finishing.

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40 minutes ago, bikermutt07 said:

I tell folks, unless the tool comes from a custom maker, expect to be expected to true it up. Nothing mass produced comes sharp enough for leather. At least that's my humble opinion.

That's a fair comment. I started with a Stanley knife/craft knife/box cutter knife and still use it sometimes. It seemed to work better after I'd resharpened the blades with a fine oilstone and a strop; probably because that reduced the shoulder of the bevel and gave it a better polish

Whatever knife you get, you will need two - the first is for cutting leather. The second can be more or less anything you want. Use it for opening parcels, sharpening pencils, cutting string, and that sort of thing; its purpose is to make sure you use the first one exclusively for cutting leather

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These just popped up for me. Stated as DC53 steel, and according to a quick google education, superior to D2, (tougher, more chip resistant at higher hardness)....soooo... if the HT is good then I should be more than satisfied. For a while. At the price I can't justify the T&M to make one. BONUS if it's really good then we might be looking for belt knives. heh.

I wonder if there is any real difference between left and right orientation when using the knife, 'cause I'm a leftie. No matter, we'll see what happens. If it wasn't for the videos I would have been using it backwards anyway.

 

image.png.74a4bc1781a45564e5511b654bc82fed.png

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A Japanese leather knife is held vertically in your fist with the bevel facing outwards, away from your palm, and the larger or trailing part of the asymmetric blade facing away from you. 

Thus in the picture a left handed person would use the black handled knife

In use, the bevel faces the good side of the leather and the flat side faces the waste

Try holding a ruler or a pencil vertically in your fist and extending your arm slightly. It's quite difficult to hold it perfectly vertical; there is a tendency for your wrist to turn and for the pencil to slant outwards at the top and inwards at the bottom. Because of this the bevel is vertical even if the blades slopes slightly, and so the cut is vertical.

Have a look at this video, he shows it well enough 'How to Use Japanese Leather Knife' by Leathertoolz

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Yep, I would have been holding the flat to the good side - exactly backwards.

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Gotta say everyone contributed so much that helped me off the fence to a purchase decision. I sure hope my replies came across the way I intended: affirmation of the reply, checked out the suggestions, figured it out, relayed what I learned, etc. I’m sometimes concerned I might come across in some way that depreciates you’re time spent posting  ideas and opinions. 

We shall see what this knife brings to the table and go from there! 

[ I’m going to keep an eye out for a piece of industrial hack saw blade just to see what it can do... :-)  ]

Edited by GeneH

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Gene, if you have some free time, check out this video and maybe give it a go.  The guy used some seriously basic hand tools and still turned out a good knife.

 

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Gene, Kevin will make you a left handed knife. I know he doesn't currently list one on eBay, but he has said it many times on his Facebook page. 

I am also a Lefty, but in a world of rightys this knife would not be a bad fit in the left hand. 

I'm sure the heat treat is fine. The small pattern knife I have from him is excellent. 

The more you deal with quality Chinese products the more you will like them.

You will find their pricing in-between classic Chinese junk and American pricing. The only two I have really dealt with is Wuta and Kevin in leather tools. My pattern knife from Kevin is used but it is a great knife. I have another tiny hawkbilled knife from him on the way.

I never pulled the trigger on a Wuta knife because I haven't really needed any that he offered. As a matter of fact Wuta only started offering a knife in the last year or so and I was already tooled up so to speak.

Most of my Chinese knife experience has been with Kizer pocket knives. They are rivaling people like Benchmade and others at a 3rd of the cost.

I have owned 4 of their knives in VG-10 and sv35. They are well designed and executed work horses. They hold an edge and some of them sport nice titanium frames with really smooth action.

I have been really happy with these pocket knives.

Who knew China could produce such products if given the chance?

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