Tools of the Shoe Trade: Leather Cutting Knife

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The process of traditional shoemaking involves a whole host of specialist tools and techniques. We’re making it our mission to introduce you to some of them. In this post we’re looking at a tool that plays a very key role in the shoemaking process: the leather cutting knife.

Leather is the main component in traditional shoemaking. Natural leather materials are used to create the upper parts of the shoe as well as the sole. Because of this, it’s vital for shoemakers to have a selection of high quality leather cutting tools in their kit.

The most common of these is the traditional leather cutting knife. The style of these can vary, but their use is very simple. A leather knife is used to score and cut leather. This is usually done to a pattern, and each of the flat pieces of leather that is cut out will then be carefully stitched together to create the finished three dimensional shoe. 

The exact kind of leather cutting tools shoemakers use depends mainly on their personal preferences. Some shoemakers prefer a classic wooden handled cutting knife. Some opt for more modern craft style knives. There are also some shoemakers who use rotary cutters, especially for bigger cuts. 

Whichever type of leather cutting tools a shoemaker chooses to use, they’ll still have to make sure they take good care of them. In order to be fully effective, the blades on leather cutting knives need to be kept clean and sharp. The sharper they are, the more precise the cut; so this really is very important. 

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