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leather shapes leather shapes

KINGSMERE CRAFTS

HAND-CRAFTED LEATHER GOODS

Hand-tools for decorating leather

An incising knife is about  5"– 6" long, almost pencil-like, with a narrow, angled, steel blade. It is held at right angles to the surface of the leather and is drawn towards you, and, depending on which hand you are holding it in, use a finger of the other against the flat side of the blade to guide it. The depth of your cut will depend on your design.

Click the above to see more detail

Hold like this for straight lines

Hold like this for the basic design

The swivel knife has in fact all but taken over from the basic incising knife. American in origin, it has been around about a hundred years; the main part is known as the barrel. This is what holds the blade, which is secured with a  small screw. The cutting edge of the blade is usually straight, but angled blades are used for finer work. Blades are  replaceable, as well as changeable to various widths from ¹/4"–³/8", most likely in steel, but there are ceramic ones. The barrel can be swivelled freely from the joint (which is usually ball-bearing) just under the yoke, hence the name of swivel knife. The knife is also adjustable for any size of hand.



design to be incised

design cut, bevelled and backgrounded

Before:- Design to be incised into leather

After:- Design cut, bevelled and backgrounded

The knife is held with the forefinger resting on the yoke whilst the barrel can be swivelled with the other fingers, normally the forefinger and thumb. The little finger meanwhile is held against the blade to steady it. Cuts are made at right angles to the leather surface with the corner of the blade, which is inclined forward and brought towards you. Changing direction of the blade is by turning the barrel while holding the yoke still. You can thus follow curves exactly.  This ability to follow curves is what makes this tool  so special.

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How to use the a swivel knife

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The opener, mentioned earlier, is similar to a modelling tool but for its blunter point. You put the point in your incised cut and the outer side of your incision is pressed downwards. You can push the tool forwards to the end of the cut and the uncovered area is then gone over with your modelling tools.


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