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Cutting Leather

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  • Cutting Leather

    Greetings all:

    I am thinking of using a scroll saw to cut leather. The leather I work with is in the 6-7oz range (a little more than the thickness of a nickle). So it is tough to quickly cut with hand tools.

    I have zero experience with scroll saws and so I was hoping to get a few questions answered.

    1. Can scroll saws be effectively used to cut leather without shredding the leather?

    2. What type of blade should be used? The patterns I work with have some turns in them but nothing too tight.

    3. I was thinking of the Sears scroll saw. Is this considered a decent saw?

    4. I read in another post about cutting leather with scroll saw, that the poster used a "guard." Is this something that is used to hold your project down so it does not move while being cut?

    Thank you all for your comments.
    (btw, my first post!)


  • #2
    Great question ! I have no idea if you can cut leather effectively, but see someone is cutting stacks of paper, so why not? I know the guard is generally standard with all saw, I think it's like a federal law although i tossed mine in a drawer, it gets in my way, the hawk guard is way too big. The guard is just like a guard on a sewing machine. It's like two little fingers that press down on your wood as you cut, to help stop it from bouncing upwards, and helps stop fingers from getting into the blade. My old craftsman has a great guard, it's exactly that, two little flexible metal fingers, but my Hawk has a huge akward piece of plastic that does nothing but get in the way.
    Jeff Powell


    • #3
      Robert : My wife and I operated a custom leather shop for a good many years, and my advice is for you to use standard leather knives. Head knives(the half moon kind) come in many sizes and will cut the hardest 18/20 sole leather. Leather of 7/8 can essily be cut with good quality leather shears, except for very small curves. If you prefer a knife you use like a pencil, use a plain wood carving knife. Litlhof(Walt Rollison)
      Scrolling with a DW788
      As long as you know you're green, you grow but when you think you're ripe you begin to rotten.


      • #4
        Cutting Leather: reply


        For some reason my replies are not working, so I get to start a whole new thread in order to "reply" to your post.

        Currently I use a craft knife with a hooked/curved blade to do my cutting. I find that I need to go over an area a number of times in order to cut through the leather.

        It is very time consuming.

        My concern with the head knives is that I will have the same problem as with the craft knives. That is having to go over the same area more than once.

        I plan on making leather phone cases-a lot of them. So speed is very important.

        A punch press would be the ieal solution, but those are big bucks. I am hoping a scroll saw is the right solution for reducing the cutting time.



        • #5
          Hi Robert

          Unfortunately, your posts got caught up in our anti-spam measures. You'll find this is less of a problem once the forum software 'gets to know you', as it were. Anyway, I've done a bit of housekeeping and hopefully everything's hunky dory now .

          There is no opinion, however absurd, which men will not readily embrace as soon as they can be brought to the conviction that it is readily adopted.
          (Schopenhauer, Die Kunst Recht zu Behalten)


          • #6
            Cutting leather, revisited

            If you're cutting phone cases, I assume most of your cuts are straight. As in traditional woodwork, at least half of an apprentice's years in the trade are spent in learning to sharpen tools. Make sure your tools are razor sharp.
            Having said that, I wonder if you are trying to cut these cases out one at a time? I don't mean you should stack them, but if you are cutting a whole side or a back of 7/8 leather, you should be able to use your straight edge to cut at least a 5' run of any width you want. Louise and I used to cut 5 sides at a time of 8/9 or 10/11 with our strap cutter. I hope this helps, Walt.
            Scrolling with a DW788
            As long as you know you're green, you grow but when you think you're ripe you begin to rotten.


            • #7
              Mick, - Delta P-20

              A smile is a small curve that straightens everything out.


              • #8
                If I had some leather, other than something I wear, I'd try cutting it for you. I'm thinking a blade with alot of fine teeth.
                Jeff Powell


                • #9
                  I have cut leather strings very narrow by temporarly gluing or double stick taping it to a piece of 1/4" plywood using a dutchman #5 rev almost any good blade will cut it fine if you are cutting a stack just tape them to keep them from slipping. I haven't cut a lot but it works fairly well and quick.


                  • #10

                    "...So speed is very important."
                    A scroll saw will not cut any faster than doing it with a leather cutting knife. The knife cut edge will be a lot better, with no fraying.
                    Hegner Polymax- 3,Hegner Multimax-3,
                    "No PHD, just a DD 214"


                    • #11
                      Amazing how some threads get resurrected. I guess some folks don't look at the date of the original posting. This thread is from 2007 folks...LOL
                      "Still Montana Mike"

                      "Don't worry about old age--it doesn't last that long."
                      Mike's Wood-n-Things LLC


                      • #12
                        Nevertheless, I wasn't here in 2007 and bringing it "current" entinced me to search around the house looking for a belt or shoe to butcher.

                        "Ever Striving, Never Arriving"


                        • #13
                          lol. I suppose it never hurts to revisit a subject Mike.

                          I suppose while we're discussing it, I should put my 2 cents in for those who are interested. The scrollsaw will cut leather without a problem. It cuts through it like butter, quick and easy like, but it does leave a little bit of a fuzzy edge. At least that was my experience when I tried it.
                          Friends call me Matt

                          I'm just a sawdust junkie looking for a fix

                          My Album
                          Free Patterns by Matt Dickson (hey, that's me!!!)


                          • #14
                            What do you do to remove the fuzz on leather?

                            "Ever Striving, Never Arriving"


                            • #15
                              cuts plexi and matboard too LOL. but it kinda splinters the plexi on the outside edge just a tad bit, i didnt try it between two pieces of wood though, and i was using a #5 blade, maybe a 2 might work better i dunno . why in the world would i try to cut plexi on a scroll saw ? your probably wondering... well... im the one who runs a scroll saw in her master bathroom anythings possible LOL


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