Each item is cut by hand. Be it a wallet, belt, or bag - it is cut by hand. No laser cutters, die cut press or outsourcing processes are used to cut the leather. It's done the old fashioned way with a sharp blade and a careful eye here at the workshop.
I use a multitude of different cutting implements, each with their own unique purpose! Below are just some of the knives that I use.
Perfect For Belts - The Plough Gauge
The plough gauge is used to push through thicker leather to create a straight even cut. Perfect for belts! They're an expensive tool, but well worth the value.
This particular one, a C.S Osborne plough gauge, is over 100 years old! So it was certainly built to last. Before me, it belonged to a saddler maker near Ipswich, in the state of Queensland, Australia. I'm not sure who owned this before the saddle maker, but the history of this tool is unimaginable! What I would give to know who's hands have held it!
The Tried And True - Rotary Cutter
Mainly used to cut fabrics, I find that the rotary cutter is perfect for thinner leathers like kangaroo. It also works very well on softer, chrome tanned, leathers.
I mainly use the rotary cutter to cut strips of leather off my kangaroo skins in preparation for the smaller pieces required for the wallets.
The rotary cutter is a deadly sharp cutting implement that must not be taken lightly. One wrong move and you can take the tip of your finger off without realising. If you ever use this knife, BE CAREFUL!!
The Humble Scalpel - #11 Blade, Of Course!
Easily my most used knife is the scalpel. While the rotary cutter excels at cutting through thinner leathers in the straight line, it is not so great and curves. That's where the scalpel comes in! I use a #11 blade which has a sharp point on the end. Depending on the angle that I hold the scalpel, be it shallow or steep, I have great control when cutting curves or around corners.
As you can see in this photo, I hand cut each and every card pocket. I also save each of those little cut out bits. To date I have around 10,000+ little cut out bits from every wallet that I have ever made. I have absolutely no idea what I'm going to do with those pieces, but it seems like such a shame to throw them all out!
Every Leather Crafter's Work Horse - The Head Knife
This knife, by far, is the most versatile knife any leather crafter will use. Distinctly the "knife of the leather world", the head knife can be used for a multitude of tasks.
From cutting long straight pieces, short pieces, curvy pieces, thick leather, thin leather, and even skiving, the head knife does it all.
Because of the odd semi-circle shape of the blade, different parts of the blade suit different tasks. For example, like a #11 blade on the scalpel, the point of the head knife is able to glide its way around curves. Alternatively, if you were to use the part of the blade closer to the top of the head knife, you could more easily cut a longer straighter line, as there is more blade for the leather to hug, which prevents movement.
This particular head knife was made for me by Danny Marlin of Marlin Knives, in Texas - United States of America! Thanks Danny!