Cutting leather may become a necessity in a plethora of different circumstances. Most commonly, cutting leather is a central activity in pretty much any process that involves crafting. Whether you are a DIYer, a designer, or you like crafting your stuff for friends, choosing the best knife for cutting leather becomes a necessity.
Not only does a knife make the job so much easier, but it also ensures a higher quality standard when it comes to the finished product. The market can be quite diversified when it comes to such tools. There are plenty of different types out there, and each category comes with even more products, making the process feel overwhelming.
A little education on the process and the most common types of knives will pay off, but becoming familiar with the top-rated products will also lead you in the right direction.
2021’s 3 Best Knives for Cutting Leather
Banyour Leather Knife Cutting
Banyour’s flagship is made of top-notch steel and features a wooden handle. It is well put together and feels stable as you operate it. The head measures 1.38×2.75 inches, while the whole knife is 6.7 inches in length. It weighs just under three ounces. The weight makes it feel like it does all the work for you – you have to guide it accordingly.
The best knife for cutting leather from Banyour is semicircular. The cutting edges are extremely sharp out of the box, so be careful with the handling. It is suitable for other materials too, not just leather. While you can use the edges for small and detailed operations, the wide head also makes it great for long straight cuts.
The knife has been designed for all craft enthusiasts, regardless of the experience level. Control is easy and allows for great detailing. Other than that, it is worth noting that this knife is excellent for skiving and beveling operations, apart from the long straight cuts.
- Made of durable materials
- Easy to keep sharp
- Good for more leather cutting operations
- Suitable for other materials as well
- Does not come with a sharpening tool
Tandy Leather Al Stohlman Brand Round Leathercraft Knife
Tandy is one of the leading names in the leather cutting industry. This round knife is one of its best-rated products and provides lots of versatility, regardless of what you need to do. The tool is suitable for general cutting and slight detailing, but it is just as handy in scrubbing or thinning leather due to its slightly unusual shape.
The blade itself measures 4-3/8 inches. As for the whole knife, it measures 12×0.5×7 inches. It weighs 9.6 ounces. It is a bit heavier than other similar units in this segment, but the extra weight is not a disadvantage. Not only does it underline quality materials, but it also helps during the cutting process. It does not require any pressure, so there is no strain on your hands.
The blade is made of stainless steel. It is polished, so it shines like a mirror. The shiny polish helps to slide through thick skin too – it is not only about looks. The grip is wooden. It is comfy and nicely polished. It provides a good grip, so you have full control. It will never slip out of your hands, even if they get a little sweaty.
- Ideal for classic cutting and rolling
- Extra weight for more balance and less pressure
- Comfortable handle
- Good looking design
- Does not come with a case for protection or storage
Tandy Leather Industrial Knife 3595-00
This could be the best knife for cutting leather from Tandy if you want versatility, durability, and a knife that will hold its sharpness for ages. It is designed for professionals, but it will most likely help anyone, regardless of their experience. Newbies may also take advantage of it and learn to craft with a professional tool.
You do not just get a knife to cut leather, but an actual set. You have two blades. One of them measures 5/16×2.25 inches, as well as a 7/8 inch radius and a narrow point. The second one has the same measurement. Only it features a straight grind on the slanted edge. Each blade has different uses – the former one is more suitable for detailing.
Other than that, the blades are made of steel, while the handle is made of walnut. You have brass jaws and ferrule for many years of use too. All in all, the knife is less than 2.5 ounces in weight – hence its popularity in fine detailing work.
- Comes as a set with an extra blade
- Solid and durable materials
- Comfortable handle
- Ideal for fine detailing
- Not too many options if you want to buy extra blades in different shapes
Types of leather cutting knives
There are more types of leather cutting knives out there – whether specialized or not.
Craft knives come with super sharp blades, which will add to the precision of your cuts. Such a knife is essential when you need lots of detailing and delicate cuts, as it provides flexibility and fine lines. The blade is fine and thin.
While this is not necessarily a knife, it can go in the same category because it is used in leather crafting. It is used to make holes – ideal for crafting specialists and DIYers. The manual punch does not look like a knife, but more like a set of pliers.
A swivel knife is an integral tool in cutting leather. It is mostly used for detailing – it comes with a sharp and small head. This way, you will be able to handle delicate cuts. The knife can be used in other crafts too.
Skiving knives are not always among one’s priorities when it comes to cutting leather, but they will certainly make your life easier. They are different from what you might expect. Such knives are suitable for general cuts – sharp and long blades. They are also used in skiving pieces of leather.
Curved knives can also be classified into more categories – based on the jobs they do. A curved knife allows access to tight and hardly accessible areas. It is great for complex jobs that require plenty of detailing.
The classic utility knives are very useful in cutting leather.
Choosing the best knife for cutting leather can be hard with so many options, and the list is even longer. Here are other common tools that you can use in leather cutting, even if they are not necessarily classified as knives:
- Leather shears
- Rotary cutters
- V gouges
- Mini anvils
How to Choose the Best Knife for Cutting Leather
There are more things to pay attention to when not sure how to buy a knife.
Sharpness is the most significant factor in leather cutting knives. The unit has to be extremely sharp, or it can damage the leather. According to experts, a dull knife is probably the most dangerous tool out there. A dull knife asks for extra pressure, which will lead to frustration, damaged materials, and severe injuries in the long run.
Imagine an uneven edge. A jagged and ugly result is the last thing you want to see when it comes to crafting leather. Sure, you can also invest in a burnishing machine too. It will finish such uneven edges, but it is simply not worth the money. You are better off getting the right knife upfront and preventing such problems in the first place.
Unlike classic knives, leather cutting knives do not require so much length. However, it depends on the type of projects you do. If you need long, clean, and straight cuts, you will also require a long knife. It will make everything smoother and straighter. However, a long knife does not always do a good job when in need of delicate work.
The tip of the knife is irrelevant for many operations, but not when you need it for leather cutting. There are more tips you will require here. Some of them are flat – such as a screwdriver. These tips are great for small linear cutting. Others are tiny and sharp and will let you come up with very detailed and delicate work.
There are more types of materials you will find out there. Stainless steel is quite common and not just in leather cutting knives but in pretty much any category out there. It is not the only option out there, though. Over the past few decades, ceramic has gained lots of popularity, and it is likely to overtake stainless steel.
Ceramic is much more durable than steel. You may need to change a steel blade daily or maybe every few days – depending on how often you craft. When it comes to ceramic, you might as well use the same blade for up to a few weeks – even more. Durability is not the only aspect to make a difference.
Stiffness is just as important. A metallic blade will bend a little when cutting a soft material like leather. Most experts will get used to it, so it will not necessarily affect their craft. But then, ceramic blades are less likely to bend like that. They provide more accuracy, and they require less pressure. They seem to glide through the leather as you cut it, so they become more and more popular.
The actual handle is not always relevant because there will be times when your cutting experience will be extremely uncomfortable – mostly when it comes to detailing. But for general, straight, or long cuts, you will require a comfy handle. It should put no pressure on your palms. Also, opt for a model with a nonslip handle – you do not want that sharp blade slipping away and cutting through your skin instead.
Type of knife
Choosing the best knife for cutting leather also involves planning everything. Think about the kind of work you do. Consider your craft, the final results you want to achieve, and your goals. What works for some crafting specialists may not necessarily work for you.
Some people are specialized in fine and detailed work, while others are more about long and straight cuts. Everyone has a different style, so you will have to experiment and figure out what works for you. Only then can you get the optimal style for your personal needs.
Frequently asked questions
Will I need more than one knife to cut leather?
It depends on your craft, goals, and designs. If you stick to simple things, you might get along with one knife only. If your work is more complicated and involves detailed cutting, fine cutting, and long straight cuts, you will probably require more than just one knife. It pays off starting with one thing at a time. Start with general knives, and then you can go on with more specialized equipment.
Do I need a special tool to cut through thick leather?
The truth is thick leather is way easier to deal with than thin later. Cutting through thick leather is a piece of cake while cutting through thin leather will raise a series of challenges. You can cut through thick leather with a good knife and a ruler. Stick the ruler on the line you want to cut, then drag the knife along. Thin leather asks for finer movements.
Can I drill a hole in leather with a knife?
You can drill a hole in leather with pretty much anything. You can do it with a pen, a knife, scissors and so on. None of these options is recommended. While it works, the edges will be uneven and rough. They will weaken the hole and the leather around it, leading to problems in the long run. Ideally, you should use a specialized tool.
The best knife for cutting leather is the one that will match your necessities, personal goals, and level of experience. While highly recommended to go for a top-rated product, make sure it is suitable for what you need.
Hi, I am Jay. I am the creator of Knife Guides, your one-stop site for everything related to knives. I am a computer engineer by profession, knife aficionado by passion. Here I work with a group of people who’ve always had a passion for knives and blades. Over the years we’ve kind of become experts and decided to share our knowledge and ideas. I am also an avid hiker and enjoy offshore gamefishing.