What is a Leather Skiving Machine? Here’s All You Need to Know!

Parts of Skiving Machine

Chances are that you’re here curious about more efficient ways to skive leather maybe because you do a lot of leatherwork projects and having to use handheld skivers is simply slowing you down. You’re on the right blog because I did all the research to help you find the best information on leather skiving machines in the quickest possible way.

A leather skiving machine is a skiving device you will use to reduce the thickness of the outer edges of the leather. It’s a really helpful tool not only because it makes your leather less bulky, neater, or professional looking but also speeds up the skiving operation easily and perfectly accurately.

Before we head on to a bit more details on the leather skiving machine and its related topics, let’s first take a brief look at what skiving is.

What is Leather Skiving?

Leather skiving is a process of thinning or reducing the outer edges of your leather to the desired thickness to help make folding, joining different leather pieces or making seams for stitching on bags, wallets, etc. easier.

Others also include helping make bag top line, cording, binding, French binding, etc.

Leather skiving is also known as “Paring” in the leatherwork.

One important thing to note is that leather skiving is only done on the outer edges of the leather, unlike splitting that reduces the thickness on the entire surface of the leather evenly.

So leather skiving machines will perform mainly this precise function of skiving just the edges of the leather while skiving knives may be needed for parts other than the edges.

Until today, I have had countless colleagues confusing both terminologies of splitting and skiving and ended up buying the wrong tool.

Leather skiving can generally be done by machine, or by hand using a skiving knife. You can check out an article I wrote earlier on the best skiving knives for leather. I did all the work as I highlighted the best skiving knives and a lot more details if your choice of skiving tools are knives.

The Leather Skiving Machine

The leather skiving machine comes in different brands, sizes, and functionality. However, the leather skiving knife, no matter the brand will have the same or similar parts, adjustments, and functionality.

You can check out this electric leather skiving machine or this non-electric leather skiving machine on Amazon! at a fairly great price. If you’re budget ready this is the perfect tool for you, however, to be absolutely honest, if you’re patient enough and do a bit of digging you might find better deals on other knock-off platforms.

Electric Leather Skiving Machine

Non-Electric Leather Skiving Machine

Common Parts of the Leather Skiving Machine

While there are a couple of leather skiving machines out on the market, some of the most common ones are the bell knife skiving machine, the cylindrical knife type skiving machine.

On a typical leather skiving machine like that of the bell knife skiving machine, you can expect to have common parts like:

  • Control unit
  • Foot pedal
  • Bell shaped knife with a safety guard over it
  • Pressure Foot
  • Bottom Feed Roller
  • Sharpening stone
  • Skiving Guide

Common Adjustments on The Leather Skiving Machine

There are a variety of adjustments you can make on a leather skiving machine depending on the brand you buy. But, there are basically three very common adjustments you can make on almost all leather skiving machines:

  • Control the Speed of the cutter, the stone or the skiving blade.
  • Control the angle of the skive or make flat or gradient skives.
  • Regulate the depth of the skive

With the right kind of adjustments and operation, the leather skiving machine can skive or pair both thick and thin pieces of leather accurately with almost no risk of destroying your leather unlike some instances with skiving knives.

The leather skiving machine, however, requires a certain degree of skill and expertise otherwise you might destroy your leather and machine.

Leather skiving machines today are built to enable the user to make very fine adjustments. These adjustments are required, not only to produce different skives but also to be used on various kinds of leathers.

One common tool you will find very using when skiving is a leather thickness gauge. Get one and thank me later. You can check out an article I wrote previously on some of the best leather thickness gauges.

Types of Skives You can Make with Leather Skiving Machine

Generally, you can skive to obtain any thickness you want but, to help put things in the right perspective, here are the three basic types of Skives.

  • Raw Edge Skive: Clean slight skive is done on flesh side edges of the leather
  • Folded Edge Skive: This is a type of skive you will make when you want your leather to return to its original thickness after folding
  • Underlay Skive: This skiving technique reduces how bulky the leather would be after two or more pieces have been joined together.

Tips on How to Maintain A Leather Skiving Machine

If you’re seriously considering to invest some of your hard-earned cash on a leather skiving machine for your studio or leather workshop, it’s paramount you in addition to knowing about some common parts and general functions, a fair idea of how to maintain the leather skiving machine.

This is to equip you so as to phantom in advance what you’re getting yourself into so that you don’t wear out your leather skiving machine.

If you’re like me and maintaining tools is usually the last thing you remember to do, then you’d have to rethink and have a new resolve.

So with specific reference to the bell knife skiving machine, here are a few quick tips that will be extremely useful.

  • The lever that engages the presser foot should always be up to prevent wearing out its spring over time.
  • Ensure the bevels are correctly engaged in a consistent pace and position.
  • Frequently oil metal parts and thoroughly clean all excess from the sliver machine.
  • Ensure that the excess leather shavings are not clogging inside the leather skiving machine. In case of clogging, you will need to turn some sort of a handwheel or lever back and forth or up and down depending on the kind of leather machine skiver you have. If this isn’t done, the leather you’d place will not move properly when fed.
  • Sharpen the blade of the leather skiving machine timely.
  • Deburr the blade after sharpening. Usually, you will have burrs on the blade after sharpening and this may impede the skiving process. Deburring is done using a deburring stone that will be supplied with the skiving machine you will purchase.
  • Ensure from time to time that the grindstone of the leather skiving machine isn’t filled with metal remnants. You can do this by holding the super radar roller supplied with the machine against the turning grindstone until the grindstone is clean again.

Watch a Useful Video on how to sharpen the Blade of a Leather Skiving Machine (Bell Knife)

Do You Really Need a Leather Skiving Machine?

It goes without saying that you will at some point in your leatherworking journey ask this question. The answer to this question isn’t a straightforward one and depends on a couple of factors.

These include the kind of leather you use, the number of leather projects you do, what kind of works you do.

For example, if you make a lot of bags, then the use of a leather skiving machine is extremely invaluable. On the other hand, if you mainly work on projects like wallets and any other similar projects, then I’d say no but rather a leather splitter machine will be more crucial to have.

Having clarified as and when the leather skiving machine is most useful, it can however still be useful in all leather projects.

My Conclusion and Pick!

A leather skiving machine is a tool for reducing the thickness of the edges of the leather. It’s indeed an invaluable tool that makes leather projects very easy, professional-looking, and accurate. With all said and done, I feel it will be unfair not to recommend the once I find will be useful to you.

If you’re interested, I found some great ones you won’t regret investing in. If you don’t mind using an electric leather skiving machine. You can check this out over here on Amazon!. On the other hand, if you want something non-electric and a more simplified skiving machine, then this right here on Amazon will be a perfect choice in a leather electric skiving machine for you.

Before you make the purchase be sure to compare prices on other platforms for better offers and deals. Continue to Enjoy the Thrills of Making Leatherworks! 😀


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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