Leather is a tough, durable substance, which can be challenging to cut. The various tools to cut leather include a straight edge and a utility knife, a leather shears, a rotary knife, a mallet cutting die, a clicker die, or a laser cutting system.
A pattern is the first step in accurately cutting leather. To make a custom pattern, draw a pattern on paper with a pencil or use a computer drawing program to print out your pattern. Place the paper pattern on the leather piece, then cut through the leather with either a straight edge utility knife or a rotary cutter. A rotary cutter is easy to use and if used properly, results in a clean edge. Keep in mind that his tool has an extremely sharp blade and should be used with caution. Whenever you cut your leather using a rotary cutter, place a self-healing cutting mat beneath the leather to protect the surface you are working on.
A leather shears is a heavy duty scissors that usually has serrated blades, and is capable of cutting soft or even heavy strap leather. A high quality leather shears will cut through most leathers with ease.
The razor utility knife, swivel knife, or hobby knife refers to cutting tools that are designed specifically for crafting and are often employed in leather cutting. These types of knives have blades that are mounted within a holder that is adapted for manual operation by the user. Investing in a hobby knife set that contains blades of various shapes and sizes will allow you have multiple options in order to choose the best cutting tool for your leather craft projects.
A strap cutter is an adjustable wooden cutting tool that cuts parallel strips of leather from a piece of hide. It works equally well with heavy strap leather or soft garment leather. It is capable of cutting 16 oz. leather into 4” straps or soft suede into ¼” strips. This tool allows you to create straps, belts, or pieces for other projects that need straight lined cuts.
A clicker press is a machine that cuts shapes out of rolls of soft material, such as rubber, cardboard, or leather, using a sharp metal piece called a die. A metal tool and die shop will take a pattern, then bend, weld and form pre-sharpened steel into a die. A cutting die is usually a steel cutting tool to be used with a clicker press. Cutting dies are suitable for cutting paper, leather, rubber, plastic and more. You can find envelope cutting dies, label cutting dies, clicker dies, window dies, punch dies, gasket cutting dies, washer dies, trimming dies, high dies, threaded punch dies, rotary panel cutters, corner blades, strap dies and more!
Mallet dies are steel cutting dies with a longer bar attached to them that can be manually hammered in order to cut the leather. Mallet dies are great for clean, easy leather cutting.
Leather is increasingly cut by laser. Laser leather cutting is a highly skilled job. The operator will program the design to be cut by the laser cutting machine. Cutting leather in this method may be a time-consuming exercise. The leather cut by laser is extremely accurate, and true to your pattern.
There are many different methods for cutting leather, which is a tough, durable, difficult-to-cut material. For the home craftsman, the best ways to cut leather would include a leather shears, a utility knife and straight edge. For the small manufacturer, a clicker or mallet cutting die would increase production. The larger manufacturer usually uses clicker dies or a laser cutting system for its leather cutting. Leather Unlimited provides cutting tools and services, as well as many different types of leathers for all of your leather projects.