Leather Skiver: For Precise & Accurate Leather Thickness

leather skiver

A leather skiver is also an essential leather craft tool for those who want to achieve precise and accurate leather thickness. Come along with me as I share with you what a leather skiver is, how it works and why you need one!

A leather skiver is basically a handheld tool with a sharp blade that can be safely used to thin down an area of leather strap or strip that is too thick or to even out thicknesses in order to avoid bulges or uneven areas.

The leather skiver comes with a razor blade which, when drawn over the leather surface, will help thin your leather. The leather skiver will thin your leather based on the amount of pressure you use.

The above is a quick overview of what the leather skiver is and does, so stick around as I delve into more detail about how this nifty little tool can help you with your leather craft projects.

Here’s what I will cover in the rest of this article;

  • What is a Leather Skiver (Description of what a leather skiver is),
  • Types of Leather Skiver,
  • Applications or Uses of a Leather Skiver,
  • Pros And Cons of The Leather Skiver
  • Do’s And Don’t

What is a Leather Skiver?

The leather skiver is an important leather craft tool also known as a hand skiver, skive, or skiving knife. As the name suggests, it is used to pare or shave thin layers of leather from a thicker piece.

A leather skiver is a handheld tool that is used to horizontally thin down an area of leather that is too thick or to even out thicknesses in order to avoid bulges or uneven areas.

It works by shaving off a thin layer of the leather as it is drawn across the leather surface. The blade is usually set at a specific angle to the body of the skiver, which allows for greater control and precision when in use.

While the leather skiver can be used to thin down all sorts of leather, it works best on leather straps or strips and smaller leather pieces.

The skiver will either come with a curved blade or a flat blade, so it is able to easily bite into the leather and skive the leather without cutting it into leather.

The blades of the leather skiver are replaceable, and it is important to keep the blades sharp for the best results.

When your blades are dull, you can simply remove the screws that hold the blade in place and then replace the blade.

Types of Leather Skiver

There are two main types of leather skivers. The difference has more to do with the blade than the tool itself.

The Curved Skiver Blades

These types of skiver blades have a curved cutting edge that is ideal for working with softer leathers.

The leather skiver with a curved blade will usually help you skive or shave towards the inside of the curved blade.

This means that it is perfect for making curved shaves towards the middle part of the strap where buckles or holes will be placed.

The main advantage of using a curved blade is that it offers more control when skiving leathers. The curved blade helps to grip the leather better, which makes for a cleaner, neater, and fine shave.

The Flat Skiver Blades

The flat skiver blades have a, well, flat cutting edge that is ideal for working with tougher and thicker leathers.

The main advantage of the flat skiver blade is that it can be used to skive or shave thick leather evenly.

The flat blade will also help you skive or shave in a straight line, which can be helpful when working with leather straps of strips with different thicknesses.

Applications or Uses of a Leather Skiver

A leather skiver is a versatile tool that can be used for all sorts of different applications. Some of the most common uses for the leather skiver include;

Shaving Off Excess Leather For Folds

One of the main applications for the leather skiver is to thin leather so that it is easier to make a fold.

This can be helpful when you are working with belts, watch straps, wallets, and other leather goods where you need the folds to lay flat and be flush with the rest of the leather piece after you have installed a buckle or other hardware.

Shaving off Excess Leather For Gluing

If you are working with two pieces of leather that you need to glue together, then the leather skiver can be used to shave off any excess leather to make two pieces of leather seem like one piece.

You can use the skiver to quickly and easily remove any excess Leather around the edges of your project piece so that you have a clean surface for gluing.

Thinning Out Leather

The leather skiver can also be used to thin out any areas of the leather that are too thick. This is especially useful when working with thinner strips of leather or when you need to avoid bulges or unevenness in your project piece.

Evening Out Thicknesses in Smaller Areas

If you have very small or delicate areas in your project piece that need to be worked on, then the leather skiver can be used to evening out thicknesses. This will help you avoid any bulges or bumps in your final product.

Skiving Holes for Stitching or Lacing

The leather skiver can also be used to create small slits or holes in the leather so that you can stitch or lace through it. This is to help so that it is easy for the sewing needle or lacing to go through the leather.

Pros And Cons of The Leather Skiver

There are both advantages and disadvantages to using a leather skiver. It is important to understand both the pros and cons so that when you start using this tool, you know what to expect.

Some of the advantages of using a leather skiver include;

  • Allows for more precision and accuracy when skiving leather
  • The blade is easy to replace
  • It can be used on a variety of different leathers
  • The tool is relatively inexpensive

Some of the disadvantages of using a leather skiver include;

  • It can be difficult to control if you are not used to using one
  • Takes some time to get used to using the tool

Overall, the advantages of using a leather skiver outweigh the disadvantages. If you are looking for a tool that will help you skive or shave leather accurately and precisely, then the leather skiver is the perfect tool for you.

Do’s And Don’ts of Using a Leather Skiver

Now that you know some of the advantages and disadvantages of using a leather skiver, it is important to understand the dos and don’ts of using this tool.

Some of the dos of using a leather skiver include;

  • Do hold the leather skiver firmly and do well always to skive the leather away from your body.
  • Do make sure that the blade is sharp and replace it often.
  • Do replace your leather skiver in its hold or box when you are finished using it.

Some of the don’ts of using a leather skiver include;

  • Don’t use the leather skiver on wet or damp leather.
  • Don’t try to skive too much leather off at one time. Start with thin layers and work your way up.
  • Don’t use the leather skiver on anything other than leather.

Final Thoughts

I hope this article has helped you understand a little bit more about the leather skiver and how it can be used. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. I would love to hear from you!

Happy skiving!


Hi! I’m Kwabena, the owner and founder of Favored Leather. I’m a huge Leathercraft enthusiast and I’ve been that for almost 13 years now. I'm excited to share my experiences and all the new stuff I learn each day about leather craft, leather cleaning & care, and everything in-between!

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