Most experienced crafters will agree that cutting/trimming is an essential skill in any leatherworking project. Any project will look better with clean cut-edges, particularly if a hobbyist plans to leave them rough, without any overcasting.
How can an artisan cut through cowhide:
- Craft knives — multi-use and affordable tools but not every beginner or even professional hobbyist will be able to use them correctly at first;
- Cutting wheels — if to compare with the previous category of tools, these instruments work fast, just like pizza cutters, but for crafting fabrics;
- Shears or scissors — the most straightforward tool to use for cutting cowhide;
Special snips for leather projects are under any budget, simple to apply, durable, effective. Their design won’t make a hobbyist cut rawhide even in the air. And it’s the worst way of cutting, but sometimes is obligatory is the work is related to small details.
5. Gingher 8-Inch Knife Edge Blunt Utility Shears — the sharpest cutters for any fabric!
|Will easily cut the thickest rawhide, even ¼ belts;||The most expensive cutters in the review — over $30;|
|Suitable for re-sharpening;||Not very convenient handle for a long work;|
|Blunt points on the edges;||No directions for sharpening;|
|Each blade has a chrome-over-nickel finish;||–|
|Can cut through EZeform;||–|
|Nice clean cuts;||–|
|Can be used right out of the box;||–|
|Good for left-handed and right-handed people;||–|
A great instrument for cutting through very dense fabrics. However, they cost more than any average crafting snips.
4. Professional 9-Inch Industrial High Carbon Shears — the most professional snips made of high carbon!
|Very solid construction made of high carbon;||Only for right-handed people;|
|Years of extended use are guaranteed;||Need to clean them with a dry cloth before using — delivered in a box with a small amount of oil on the blades;|
|May cut through rawhide, vinyl, denim, and even plastics;||–|
|Rubberized ergonomic bent handles that are made of metal;||–|
|Clean and fast cuts;||–|
|Can be re-sharpened manually or by machine;||–|
The sharp 9-inch razors and convenient grips deliver very convenient shears. It is a good professional cutting instrument for any homemade projects.
3. Leather Scissors with Sharp Durable Blades — the best craft shears under $8!
|Made of strong stainless steel;||For some craftsmen the blades may seem too short;|
|Tough and compact;||–|
|One-piece construction with handgrips;||–|
|Effortless clean cuts;||–|
|Convenient handles with large loops for fingers;||–|
|Very affordable — under $8;||–|
These heavy-duty cutters will never give cramps due to the soft-grip of hilts.
2. LIVINGO Premium 9-Inch Scissors — the most enduring shears with titanium-coated blades!
|Very durable blades made of forged stainless steel and titanium coating;||Only for right-handed people;|
|Ergonomic design;||Not good for all materials, like thick vinyl;|
|A lifetime warranty provided by the manufacturer;/td>||Parts of the handle are made of plastic, not the entire construction is made of full-length metal;|
|Can cut through 16 layers of fabric;||Hobbyists will need to sharpen them once per month;|
This all-purpose instrument will cut different fabrics without any efforts due to the multi-color titanium edges. Though, they are getting dull pretty easily
1. Tandy Leather 7-Inch Scissors — the smallest professional scissors to cut leather!
|Very sharp;||For some projects, leather scissors can seem too short;|
|A sturdy feel when cutting;||Sometimes cuts are not clean and straight;|
|Very portable — can easily fit any backpack or lady’s purse;/td>||Thin plastic handles can easily break due to the heavy pressure;|
|Will cost less than $9;||Good only for trimming really dense rawhide;|
These well-made cutters are the best for their price and size, but their quality is not the priority here.
Video Tutorial: Cutting Leather Using Scissors
Scissors for leather: the buying guide
1. Scissors vs. shears: how to pick the right tool?
Basically, all leathercraft scissors counted in this review are shears by definition, because standard cutters have blades that are less than 6 inches. Shears’ blades are usually over 7 inches. Another difference is that snips have equally shaped handles. While shears have a shorter grip for a thumb and a hilt with a larger hole for other fingers.
A small tip: to make really clean cut-edge lines with snips for rawhide you may need to cut with long but slow strokes. Consider avoiding short choppy moves, though may seem faster than slow strokes.
It is always wise to invest in high-quality scissors for cutting leather that cost over $20. However, some cheap options will do for standard rawhide products. The most important criterion is to avoid any struggling when cutting through fabrics.
3. Left-handed or right-handed?
There are separate shears for left-handed/right-handed people. But sometimes the manufacturers create universal instruments where a handle is usually great for ergonomic use in any case. Surely, lefties can use the right-handed cutters, but they will not be able to see what they are cutting with this kind of tool. Also, lefties may find it very inconvenient to use shears with a thumb-hilt.
4. How to Sharpen Scissors
All scissors really are two knives, but you take a different approach to it. If you are really into knives and you already know how to sharpen them, that’s one thing. But you have to understand the concept of what it is. Sharpening a knife, you’re trying to make both ends meet up to a very fine point then it gives you a sharp edge.
Where sometimes in the case of scissors or let’s say ice skates, perfect 90-degree angles are basically what create that sharp edge. It’s not quite the same. You don’t always have a symmetrical thing with full knives and fixed blades, and you tend to have a symmetrical grind. Obviously, scissor ground blades are a little bit different in that sense, and there are different grinds, but generally speaking, it’s even.
Scissors are not. And scissors are also sharpened on a different angle. Now you can buy kits and sharpening equipment that’s specifically pre-angled for you. That takes all the thinking out of it. They have ones where basically slide through the blades, and you put pressure as if you’re cutting and slide out. Those are super simple, but you don’t even need something like that. Pretty much any kind of sharpening equipment you can use for sharpening scissors.
First, let’s take a look at your blades. All right, don’t think of these as scissors, just think of these as two individual blades, right? The easiest way to figure out how to sharpen anything with an edge is looking at it. If it’s not super deformed, you can see exactly what the edge is supposed to be.
If scissors blades are rounded, you’d have a very bad problem. But if you did want to repair a super dull pair of scissors, basically, you would have to grind the back of the blade completely flat. And if you put it on a stone, it will literally be flat. And no angle at all. Just completely flat. And then once you ground down a little bit, you’d have to grind the other angle. Most scissors are able to be taken apart.
If you try to sharpen it when they’re open, you create problems, and you make it harder for yourself. It’s awkward because you have things sticking out that are in the way. So if you can disassemble the scissors, take them apart first and then treat each one individually.
So all you’re doing is you’re sharpening this angle. What degrees? It doesn’t even make a difference. You don’t even need to know that. All you have to do to make this simple is follow that same edge.
You can also use rods, but we don’t recommend them. You can use them in a pinch, but we would recommend a flat stone because you need that flat surface. If you start getting into using rods, there’s a lot of margin for error, but basically it would be the same thing. You have to keep completely flat against this flat edge.
The inherent problem here is it’s elementary to wiggle around. If you got a steady hand, or take it nice and slow, you could use a sharpening rod to sharpen your scissors as well. So in essence, what you have to try to do is create an excellent sharp connection point between angle, for again scissors. You want to create a nice connection state or connection point between angle and the back angle. So although it’s not symmetrical, it’s kind of funky and wide, but basically, you want that super fine where they meet up as long as they meet up pretty fine. All right, how the scissors are ground, the angles that they’re at already. That’s why they cut. You have to really fine edges, and when they come together at that point, they cut things.
All scissors are two knives. It’s just they work together, in essence, to cut things easier and more precisely than a single blade. So anyway, it’s elementary, Shouldn’t be intimidating. It’s not complicated. Just follow the angles that are already on your pair scissors, and you’re going to be fine.
So hopefully, that encourages so many guys out there to take your probably dull scissors and take your cooling sharpening equipment that you bought for your knives and use them to sharpen your scissors, so you don’t have to struggle. It’s like anything else, just no different than knives. The sharper the blade, the safer it is to use because you don’t have resistance. If you start struggling while you’re trying to cut something, whether it’s with a knife or a pair of scissors, that’s when you have the potential of not only screwing up what you’re cutting and not cutting straight and properly, but also it becomes dangerous.
Once you start to struggle, then you can. You’re putting too much pressure on things, and you got to push off, you might stab your leg, cut something you don’t mean to cut, including you or someone else. So anyways, sharpening scissors is really easy.
The leatherworking tools for cutting vary in price and size; however, one thing must remain the same — the crafting shears have to be sharp and easy to grip when trimming cowhide.