The Half Moon Leather Cutting Knife, also known as the Round Knife or Head Knife, is the oldest and most traditional tool for cutting and shaping all grades of leather. It’s the tool the pros use and is featured in all guidebooks on the craft – made in the USA by an industrial firm that specializes in crafts’ tools for professional use.
The entire shape is used, thus distributing wear over the whole blade. The design allows a light touch on thin leather and also the ability to power-down on thick leather or multiple layers. The middle, rounded belly area is best for straight cuts (it follows a pattern, guide or template very well). The points, or ends of the blade are used for curves and corners. Very tight radii, even notches and slots can be cut cleanly and smoothly. The round knife is also the traditional tool for skiving, the technique by which the thickness of leather is reduced to make it more pliable and less bulky when doubled-over and stitched.
Use the knife on a hobby mat, poly cutting board or sacrificial wood surface when cutting leather. For skiving, a hard, smooth surface such as polished marble or plate glass works best. The knife should be kept razor sharp and well-polished with a leather strop or honing wheel on your bench grinder. Care should always be taken to keep fingers well out of the way when using the tool. We strongly recommend the leather sheath – it should always be used when transporting and storing the tool – again for protection.