This is the primary knife used for cutting leather. There are few types, with removable blades and with constant one that you need often to sharpen.
Another excellent alternative to this knife is to use a regular utility knife with a good blade (BD 100), and I explain how to operate with this tool like a master in all of my online shoe making courses without the need to source this special clicking knife. Because you must constantly have a sharpened blade, there is a shoemaking method for sharpening it with minimal instruments, which I explain in this free shoe making tutorial: "Simple Knife For Shoemaking Craft" and in this shoe making tutorial you can learn how to cut leather working with utility knife.
A "skiving knife" is a specialized tool used in shoemaking to thin the edges of leather pieces, ensuring seamless joints, making them more pliable and easier to stitch and reducing bulk. Its precise blade allows craftsmen to shave off thin layers, achieving a feathered edge which is crucial for creating smooth overlaps or folds. Indispensable for both aesthetic and functional aspects of shoe construction, the skiving knife ensures a refined finish and comfortable fit. To achieve even smoother edges post-skiving, it's crucial to flatten them using a shoemaker's hammer.
While it is a fundamental hand tool for shoemaking, if you plan to produce multiple pairs of shoes for your business, it's advisable to consider a specialized skiving machine.
There are many different kinds of skiving knives,so let's delve into the various skiving knives:
1.Skiving knife with curved blade
It's an italian skiving knife with beveled edge where the entire knife (including blade and handle) have curved shape. It increases your skiving capabilities, allowing for a range of skive widths—from very thin to broader—based on the desired leather thickness. It might be designed for both left- and right-handed shoemakers.
This knife is most useful knife amung others because it's versatile enough to cater to various shoemaking stages, including skiving, crafting soles, insoles, and heels. For those new to the craft of shoemaking, we highly recommend this knife as apart of their basic kit for beginners, reducing the need for multiple tools. This knife I use instantly in making all shoe types and reccomend this knife to all beginners in shoemaking.
If you're interested in learning how to use this knife for skiving, I invite you to explore our free shoemaking tutorial: "How to Skive Leather in Shoemaking?!". You are also welcome to visit this page if you wish to learn about the other shoemaking techniques.
2.Wide Skiving Knife
This knife has a wide blade and is primarily used for skiving larger surfaces or long edges of leather, where the type of leather is irrelevant but the size of the leather piece is.
3.Narrow Skiving Knife
As the name suggests, this knife has a narrower blade than the wide skiving knife. It's perfect for detailed work and skiving smaller areas.
A paring knife is distinguished by its uniquely angled blade that features a single bevel and eschews the presence of a traditional handle. Crafted from a singular piece of metal, its design can be bent or modified for enhanced ergonomics. The true advantage of the paring knife lies in its handle-less design, which facilitates cutting at a more acute angle.
Many opt for a flat blade when crafting and a curved one for skiving. Some gravitate towards steel paring knives complemented with wooden handles. Ultimately, the key is to find tools that align with your personal comfort.
5.Double Bevel Paring Knife
This knife is designed with a double bevel, which provides a versatile cutting edge suitable for varied skiving tasks. The double bevel ensures even skiving from different angles
6.Japanese Skiving Knife
A favorite among many artisans, the Japanese leather knife is renowned for its single bevel, flat cutting edge, and rounded handle.Not only limited to refining,skiving edges, it's also adept at creating precise straight lines and smoothing out rounded sections.
This tool is used to create a groove (or channel) in the sole of a shoe, into which stitches are set, ensuring the stitch lies flush with the sole.
Keep in mind that specialized tools can often be substituted with simpler alternatives if you have the right knowledge. For instance, in our English Welted Men's Oxford shoe course, we use a basic knife and screwdriver in place of this channel groover tool for welted shoe construction. There are always alternative approaches available. In some cases, you can even craft tools on your own. As an example, in our Dr. Martens boots course, we opted for a drill instead of a bench sanding machine.
Heel Paring Knife
This knife is used to trim and shape the heels of shoes.
It is a knife with a sharpened blade and a fence surrounding it. Especially made for trimming feathers around the insole's border when making shoes with welted construction in order to make a holdfust through which the upper will be sewn to the welt.
This knife is used to round the edge of the sole or insole to remove feathery leather edges. It might be designed for both left- and right-handed shoemakers
A specialized knife used for making precise cuts and trims, especially around the shoe's lip or upper edge. The tip of the lip knife is curved to stop it from cutting you by pulling through the leather.
With this knife, you can effortlessly trim the excess from the outsole after attaching it to the shoe bottom, as demonstrated in my T-strap Pump Shoe Course. However, if you don't have this specialized tool, there's an alternative method to craft outsoles. You can discover this unique shoemaking technique in this dedicated course "Creating Alternative Bespoke Outsole Course".
Half Moon Knife
It’s a knife with long history and in modern shoemaking it uses for skiving. Here you can find an interesting article about this knife
While not strictly a knife, the strap cutter is an essential tool for cutting straps of uniform width from a larger piece of leather.
Online shoe making stores
There are several online stores dedicated to shoemaking, and here are a few where you can find some of these knives. Additionally, I'd recommend checking out local stores in your area.