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Alaisiagae

French Edge Skiver - is this going to be a problem?

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Hi, I'm still a newbie to leathercraft. I bought a French Edge Skiver, and I noticed the blade seems to be sharpened unevenly. As you can see in the photo of the tip of the skiver, the line slants upward from left to right. I tested it out on some scrap leather and it seems to cut okay, no areas along the blade that won't cut. I'd appreciate some advice: what's your take on the situation? The seller offered to send me a replacement if the tool didn't cut correctly, should I take him up on that? 

20200720_153754-01.jpeg

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Should not be a problem just make sure you keep it nice and sharp and keep your free hand behind the cutting edge many saddlers/leatherworker have a healthy respect for this tool.

These are my Skirt Shaves/French Edger take a close look at the edges one has chip out of it works fine the older two are Dixon adjustable Skirt Shaves never seen them before so brought them didn't realise they are for right handed people me being a leftie, can get them to work but it looks and feels odd they are great for setting the depth of the amount leather you want to skive. 

 

Hope this helps

JCUK

1a.jpg

1b.jpg

1c.jpg

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Eventually you'll have to sharpen it, and then you can fix that issue with your stone.

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Thank you both. Do you have any tips for using this tool? I practiced on some scrap belly after watching the Tandy how-to video for this tool. The guy makes it look easy! I found it very easy to plough right through the whiole thickness of the leather rather than skiving. Maybe I should have gotten that Safety Beveler for skiving... :rolleyes:

I'm not sure I've ever sharpened my tools, I've only stopped them on a leather strop with Tandy's economy jeweler's rouge. I also have wet-dry sandpaper 1000, 1500, 2000, and 2500 grits. What kinds of tools would I need to sharpen something? I have access to a dremel tool.

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It looks like the bevel is on the top?  Mine are on the bottom.  Send it back.  I strongly recommend Ron's tools or Barry King.  It has quite the learning curve.  It's a lot of wrist finesse.  Hmm, I'm curious, where are you in MA?  I'm in Boston.

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I wouldn't recommend using a Dremel tool (or equivalent) for sharpening -- they go so fast that it's too easy to remove a lot more metal than you want, especially if you're a beginner.
A set of sharpening stones in progressively finer grits would do what you need-- and  you can use them to sharpen any other knives, too!
If you're really concerned about that bevel, then  you can take a flat wooden stick (same width as the cutting edge) and glue some of your fine grit sandpaper to it and then carefully shape it. 
I also have a stropping stick which has a strip of leather the same width as my French edge skiver which I use to strop it. 
 

Edited by DJole

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Yeah, it's a Tandy French edge skiver, I know that's not top-of-the-line, but it also doesn't bust my wallet at $5.40 (got it on sale). Mike, I'm about 40-50 minutes (25 mi) west and a bit north of Boston.

I don't have any other skiving tools, and I liked the wood handle more than the metal Safety Beveler. It figures I'd end up picking something too difficult for my current skill level... :rolleyes: I seem to get in over my head rather easily. I still have some scrap belly pieces I can practice with.

DJole, thank you for the advice about sharpening stones. I've seen a few sharpening sticks on Amazon, but nothing with a brand name. The tool cuts quite well - but I've never used a French skiver before, so I have no idea if it's pulling to the left or to the right or if I just need more practice using it.

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ALAISIAGAE, THEY ACTUALLY COME IN 8 SIZES. AS WITH ANYTHING IN THIS HOBBIE/CRAFT, PRACTICE IS THE NAME OF THE GAME. YOU HAVE TO DO THIS WITH EACH ONE OF YOUR TOOLS, AT LEAST AT FIRST TILL YOU GET FAMILIAR WITH IT. THEN THE REST OF THEM{ IE THE BASIC 7] will be somewhat familiar to you even if they are a little bigger or smaller. I can give you a web site to go to so you can look at the different sizes and different leather working tools,..osborneleathertools.com  they are not cheap in price or quality but if you compare to other leather shops, they usually cost less. but this is probably a little farther down the road for you, just don't get discouraged . try adjusting your pressure you are using on the tool, and or vary your angle, plus it needs to be really sharp. but like the other guy said be careful where your other hand is. osborne also makes sharpening stones for the french edge tools and the edge bevelers. and I would stick with the tandy stuff till you get better and more comfortable with the tool and you can afford to up grade. remember! there is no race on.  hope this helps you some.  oh, the stohlman books from Tandy will help a lot. especially at this time his book on leather tools and how to use them and sharpen them. happy tooling.

 

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I haven't got a French Edge Skiver, and I haven't used one, but I wouldn't have thought it would be too difficult to sharpen it

You might want to correct the angle and the bevel of the cutting edge with a needle file first, then -

For the bottom/outside edge just use a fine stone or fine grit abrasive paper, followed by a strop. 

For the inside, make up a few sharpening 'stones' from strips of wood that fit inside, with progressively finer abrasive paper glued or pinned to them. If you're really keen you could go to finer grits like 5,000 and 7,000. Then make up a strop in a similar way

You may well find that if the cutting edge is correctly adjusted and very sharp you will be able to get more control, and thus not have to force the tool and cut too deep. Try Searching YouTube foe 'sharpening an edge beveller' ; yes, it's a different tool, but it uses similar methods to sharpen it

I wouldn't use a Dremel, it would be all to easy to damage things beyond repair. It will take a while to get things right, and sharp at first, but once you get there you should only need a quick sharpen on a strop 

Search YT for 'sharpening'; there are loads of videos and you'll soon see how things are done

Are you using the French Edger for general skiving? Search YT for 'skiving leather' for various methods

Edited by zuludog

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Try turning your stone on its edge,  It may fit the grove on the skiver

 

20200725_084253.jpg

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Thank you, @jcuk for the videos, that guy is a pro at using this tool - he makes it look so easy! But it also made me realize that when I used my tool, it did get a bit grabby on the badly beveled side, and was hard to control. I'm going to contact the seller about his offer for a replacement.

And thank you all for the tips for sharpening and stropping, I'll definitely need to use those. I don't have a whetstone - I wasn't sure what grit was appropriate for my cutting tools like my edge bevelers. I don't want to put a new edge on my tools, I just want to make them sharp. Stropping seems to help, but they get dull again quickly. I don't have that many cutting tools, just two swivel knife blades, a keen edge beveler, edge beveler, groover, and now the french edge skiver. I have a utility knife and bought some replacement blades for that, as well as a craft knife and 45mm rotary cutter.

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On 7/21/2020 at 10:07 PM, Alaisiagae said:

Thank you both. Do you have any tips for using this tool? I practiced on some scrap belly after watching the Tandy how-to video for this tool. The guy makes it look easy! I found it very easy to plough right through the whiole thickness of the leather rather than skiving. Maybe I should have gotten that Safety Beveler for skiving..:rolleyes:

I'm not sure I've ever sharpened my tools, I've only stopped them on a leather strop with Tandy's economy jeweler's rouge. I also have wet-dry sandpaper 1000, 1500, 2000, and 2500 grits. What kinds of tools would I need to sharpen something? I have access to a dremel tool.

I think there is a big misconception that it's hard to skive with a regular skiving knife. Does it require some practice, sure like all things you do in this craft. But just like the awl I didn't like the skiving knife at first, because I never got good results. What was the reason? my tools wasn't sharp enough, and I also used the wrong technique. I tried to push the skiving knife through the edge, instead of using a sawing motion and doing the skiving in multiple skives.

I have a tutorial here for skiving edge pockets, i'm no expert, but this works really good.

Sharpening with wet and dry sandpaper of good quality on a flat surface (glass or granite) will work fine with the grits you use, I sharpen my skiving knives, french edgers and awls up to 2500 grit (Mirka sandpaper) and finish with green chromoxide on a strop (relatively stiff leather with the grain side up) and it cuts everything from soft 0.5mm leather up to thicker veg tan like butter. There are also sharpening guides you can use. Look on Etsy (If you don't find it, ask me here, and I find it for you)

 

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Even new blades for utility & craft knives will work better if you strop them first

You can also re-sharpen them on a fine stone or fine grit paper, followed by stropping

You can get skiving knives with replaceable blades, I think 'Safety Skiver' is one make. But Search YouTube for 'Japanese leather skiving knife' You'll see that it can be used for both cutting and skiving leather. They are easy to sharpen, on a fine stone or fine abrasive paper, then a strop; you'll find that on YT as well

Edited by zuludog

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On 7/21/2020 at 6:58 PM, Alaisiagae said:

Hi, I'm still a newbie to leathercraft. I bought a French Edge Skiver, and I noticed the blade seems to be sharpened unevenly. As you can see in the photo of the tip of the skiver, the line slants upward from left to right. I tested it out on some scrap leather and it seems to cut okay, no areas along the blade that won't cut. I'd appreciate some advice: what's your take on the situation? The seller offered to send me a replacement if the tool didn't cut correctly, should I take him up on that? 

20200720_153754-01.jpeg

It should be an advantage to have used such tool before giving advice of how to sharpen it :)

This is a inexpensive Tandy model tool that have several issues. It doesn't matter if it "slants upwards from right to left" It has a wrong edge, double instead of a single one on the bottom side. The toes are to thick and it's not polished. I use better tools but I once started out with a similar one. Here it's how it should look like, straight on top and the edge on the bottom side. Looking like yours (with a double edge) it will tend to steer downwards instead of Skiving. It doesn't matter if it's straight cut off between the toes or in an angle.

Reduce the thickness of the toes and polish off the blueing black color. That will give it less drag and make it acceptable to use.

Use a small stone/file that fit between the toes to make it flat on the top. Take a sand paper around the stone with finer grits until polishing grit's. Polish the hole tool on a buffing wheel or a strop. A strip of leather that fit between, with polishing paste placed on the desk etc. will polish the top side. Make it look like in my pics and it will skive very well.

Tor

IMG_20200808_220159.jpg

IMG_20200808_220231.jpg

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9 hours ago, Trox said:

It should be an advantage to have used such tool before giving advice of how to sharpen it :)

This is a inexpensive Tandy model tool that have several issues. It doesn't matter if it "slants upwards from right to left" It has a wrong edge, double instead of a single one on the bottom side. The toes are to thick and it's not polished. I use better tools but I once started out with a similar one. Here it's how it should look like, straight on top and the edge on the bottom side. Looking like yours (with a double edge) it will tend to steer downwards instead of Skiving. It doesn't matter if it's straight cut off between the toes or in an angle.

Reduce the thickness of the toes and polish off the blueing black color. That will give it less drag and make it acceptable to use.

Use a small stone/file that fit between the toes to make it flat on the top. Take a sand paper around the stone with finer grits until polishing grit's. Polish the hole tool on a buffing wheel or a strop. A strip of leather that fit between, with polishing paste placed on the desk etc. will polish the top side. Make it look like in my pics and it will skive very well.

Tor

IMG_20200808_220159.jpg

IMG_20200808_220231.jpg

 

I actually think a lot of people have been scared away from leathercraft because they have bought tools from Tandy.

Someone who is new to this craft and want to try it out shouldn't buy really expensive tools, not only because it can be a waste of money if they decide this craft is nothing for them, because it often result in buying tools you don't need. A good example is pricking/stitching irons. I started with the Japanese style, and if I would have bought a really expensive set I would later have sold it, because I finally decided I like the European style. And that decision isn't easy to make before you have tried this craft for a while.

Some tools is possible to improve by reshaping/polish them. Some tools even require this. For example a Vergez Blanchard awl is basically useless when you buy it and before you polish (and reshape it depending on how you will use it) ps. I don't recommend Vergez Blanchard tools, there are better alternatives out there for the money.

But when it comes to beginner tools, they HAVE TO be at least possible to use "out of the box" And that's often not the case with Tandy's tools (Yes I understand they have tools that work decent,  but they also sell a lot of useless tools, and I really mean useless, unless you reshape them) I have talked both about their stitching irons and hole punch sets before, and especially the hole punch set, I would go as long as say it's fraud to call them hole punches. Is it possible to make a hole in leather with them? yes it is, but it is with a thick steel pipe too if you punch/press hard enough. For small leathergoods I would rather use stitching irons from Aliexpress for like 2usd instead of Tandys set.

I would recommend to stay away from Tandy, and look at Japanese budget tools, some of these tools are available in Us and Europe, but I really recommend leathercrafttools.com/ I have spent a decent amount of money on tools during the years, and have some  really expensive but I still use a lot of those cheaper Japanese tools, would I like to replace some of them? yes, and why? I would for example like some nice handmade skiving knives and awls. So the reason is not that they don't do the job.

 

Edited by Danne

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On 7/21/2020 at 7:17 PM, jcuk said:

Should not be a problem just make sure you keep it nice and sharp and keep your free hand behind the cutting edge many saddlers/leatherworker have a healthy respect for this tool.

These are my Skirt Shaves/French Edger take a close look at the edges one has chip out of it works fine the older two are Dixon adjustable Skirt Shaves never seen them before so brought them didn't realise they are for right handed people me being a leftie, can get them to work but it looks and feels odd they are great for setting the depth of the amount leather you want to skive. 

 

Hope this helps

JCUK

1a.jpg

1b.jpg

1c.jpg

If you want to sell one of those right handed adjustable skirt shaves drop me a message.

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